Coleslaw

The word “coleslaw” comes from the Dutch word, “koolsla”, “kool” meaning cabbage and sla, salad. The word entered our English language from the Dutch in New York in the late 1700s. Since then it has been a featured side dish at almost every picnic or barbecue in America. We have coleslaw at least once a week, usually with fish, and often with burgers or hot dogs. Our ways of preparing it are ridiculously simple, one with a mayonnaise dressing, the other with rice vinegar and a big of sugar. Sometimes we add some shredded green apple to the mix. Are you a coleslaw eater? If so, what’s your favorite way of preparing it?

Coleslaw Recipe

  • Yield: Serves 4.

Preparation time: 5 minutes.

Ingredients

  • Cabbage, either green or purple or both
  • Carrot
  • Green onion

For the version with mayonnaise:

  • Mayonnaise
  • Yellow mustard
  • Pepper

For the version without mayonnaise:

  • Rice vinegar or white vinegar
  • Sugar
  • Salt and pepper

Method

1 Starting with a head or half a head of cabbage, thinly slice the cabbage until you have approximately 4 cups (not packed) of sliced cabbage. (Using a mandoline helps in this case.) Julienne a half of a carrot. Thinly slice a couple green onions.

1 For the mayo dressing version, add 3 Tbsp mayo, 1/2 teaspoon of yellow mustard and mix in with the cabbage, carrot, and onions. Add pepper to taste.

3 For the non-mayo version, add a couple tablespoons of rice vinegar. Sprinkle with sugar, salt, and pepper to taste.

Serve immediately.

coleslaw-a.jpg
Coleslaw with a rice vinegar dressing

56 Comments

  1. Pam

    Thank you so much for your website. I volunteer to feed shut-ins from our church and I was supposed to make coleslaw and couldn’t find a recipe in my cookbook. You were a lifesaver. Again thank you and may God Bless you.

    Sincerly,

    Pam

  2. Cheryl

    Hi Elise, your coleslaw recipe is excellent! I was worried that we wouldn’t have any salads for our Australia day bbq. Your recipe is so simple to make and tastes just great :)

  3. mary

    I adore coleslaw. I worked as a waitress for two summers at a Greek diner when I was in college. It was my job to make the coleslaw. It was a fairly traditional recipe, but there was sugar in there with the mayo and lots of celery seed (I agree with Nancy). Needless to say I make coleslaw with no actual recipe, but it comes out best when I make it in a 10 lb. batch. Unfortunately my husband won’t touch the stuff.

  4. Don

    Great recipe. But add a tsp. of garlic powder and it’s even better. Or, for a little kick, I like to add 1/2 tsp.(or to taste) of ground red pepper.

  5. Lisa Jean

    Coleslaw

    1 large head green cabbage, thinly shredded
    ½ cup onion, finely diced
    2 large carrots, shredded

    1 ½ cups mayonnaise
    ¼ cup cider vinegar
    ½ cup white sugar
    1 teaspoon stone ground mustard
    1 teaspoon black pepper, coarse ground
    1 teaspoon salt

    Toss together in a large bowl the cabbage, onion and carrots. Stir together remaining ingredients and mix into cabbage. Leave sit in refrigerator at least an hour before serving.

  6. farmgirl

    Hi Elise,
    I’ve been on a coleslaw binge lately! I’m the kind of person who starts to feel strange if I have to go more than a day without some sort of salad, but it’s too hot to grow lettuce in Missouri during the summer. Enter cabbage.

    I’ve always adored coleslaw, but I never realized until this year how versatile raw cabbage really is. One of my favorite ways to use it is in what I call Mexican Jumping Bean Slaw, an easy, healthy, & colorful twist on coleslaw that I created last year after bringing home 20 pounds of cabbage. It also makes great vegetarian tacos. You can find the recipes here.

  7. Kaeleigh

    At some point this summer I started developing my own coleslaw style from my mother’s. When I was little, coleslaw was an event that involved pulling out the Cuisinart and shredding huge quantities of cabbage and carrots almost into a mush.

    I went to make a small-ish batch to go with some battered fried fish over the summer, and I didn’t want to run half a cabbage over the box grater, so I just julienne’d it quicker than I could have grated it. I still grated the carrot so it would be more distributed, but mainly, this was a cabbage event and I wanted it crisp!

    My dressing is kind of a best-of-both-worlds approach, with similar amounts of white vinegar and white sugar whisked into mayonnaise (old restaurant recipe – inelegant but delicious!). Perfectly zippy, sweet and creamy. I think my only argument with your recipe is that coleslaw only gets better after a bit of rest, to give the cabbage a little while to relax and let the flavors blend.

    Only thing that makes it better is a big pile of Carolina pork bbq!

  8. gumbeauxgal

    Hi Elise!
    My basic recipe is the same as yours. However, for the dressing, I combine light mayo or plain nonfat yogurt with rice wine vinegar. I also sometimes add shallot and pickle relish.

    Gumbeauxgal

  9. GG Mora

    I make my slaw with a dressing of rice vinegar, a very little bit of sesame oil, and some pomegranate molasses. Vegetables are green cabbage, red and yellow bell peppers, and sweet onion. I call it “Crack Slaw”.

  10. merd

    I recently discovered the art of my own slaw (dressing) this summer. It just seemed too simple to pick up a bag of tri colored pre-shredded deli mix @ the store for a buck fifty. yeah I know they package one that comes with the separate little dressing pouch ready to mix in it already, but where’s the art in that? I wanted to make something more unique.

    I never really measure things properly, but typically use the same ratios. I make very little dressing to lightly coat the cabbage with a sweet and tangy zing. I use something like a tbsp nonfat yogurt to a tbsp of (whole) milk for the base (if I had half and half, I would use it instead). to that, I add 2 tsp of stevia (sweetener) or a tbsp sugar and mix so the sweetener dissolves. Then add tbsp cider vinegar, a dash of celery seed and dill seed, a grind of black pepper and toss in the cabbage. It’s wonderful on grilled catfish and corn tortillas. Quick, healthy, and fun to make variations like strips of broccoli, onions, chopped cilantro, etc.

  11. felicia

    I LOVE cole slaw! I make my version with a dressing made of:
    2T Vinegar (whatever you like best, I use something different each time)
    2T sugar
    1T mayo
    1T oil (whatever you like best)
    Dash of red hot
    1/4 t dry mustard
    salt & pepper to taste

    I toss about 1/2 head of green cabbage with this, and sometimes add carrot or purple cabbage too. Yum!

    Love the other version ideas here too! This has got to be one of the most versatile & healthy side dishes out there. A nice big dose of cruciferous veggie!

  12. Reenie

    My nanny (grandmother) taught me how to make coleslaw and now that she is gone it is my responsibility to bring it to every family meal. I do not use a recipe. I have this very old ‘food processor’ called a Feemster, which is basically a very sharp blade that you pass the cabbage over and it slices it very thin. My grandmother had the same one.

    The first thing I do when I am done slicing the cabbage I sprinkle sugar over the cabbage. I cream the mayo, add a little milk, vinegar, salt, pepper and celery seed. I toss the cabbage over the dressing and let chill for a few hours before it is served.

  13. alisa

    With a base of cabbage (green, red, napa, whatever you have)add carrot and drained, crushed pineapple. Dress with mayo, lemon juice, a dash of sugar (cuts any bitterness)and a smidge of salt. Yummy!

  14. Renee

    Personally, I prefer the mayo version of coleslaw as opposed to the vinegar and sugar. I use my food processor to shred the cabbage which really cuts down on the work involved! Also, I usually add a little pineapple or orange juice. I am looking forward to trying it with mustard!

  15. Esta

    I love cole slaw and the best way our family makes it is,,,,Mayonaise whipped with a small amount of milk… Celery seed,,, dry mustard(a sprinkle) also chopped onion so fine you will need a magnifying class to see them with.And now for the best. Its a family tradition to serve our SLAW on steaming hot dogs….ok great goodness you have never tasted before

    Thanks Esta

  16. Arrina

    Here is a recipe that I came up with that has converted many coleslaw snubbers.

    I do not measure ingredients so the veggies are guesstimated.

    1/2 head green cabbage (shredded)
    1/2 head purple cabbage (shredded)
    3-4 medium carrots (shredded)
    1 medium white onion (shredded)
    1/4 cup sunflower seeds ( optional)
    1/4 cup raisins or any other chopped dried fruit (optional)
    fresh bacon bits (optional)

    Dressing:

    in a food processor throw in :

    1/2 cup mayonaisse
    1/2 cup plain yoghurt
    1 jar of marinated artichokes
    (add 1/2 of the marinade as well)
    2 – 3 Tbsp. Honey or Sugar -whatever you prefer
    S&P to taste

    Blend to desired consistantcey . I blend mine ALMOST smooth, still has texture.

    Place veggies,sunflower seeds & dried fruits into bowl.
    Add desired amount of dressing. Toss well
    Garnish with the bacon bits or leave out and let everyone add as they desire.

    Great with everything!! Hope you try it & enjoy it.

  17. PellaDawg

    I have always used Miracle Whip instead of plain mayo, and I add cider vinegar and sugar until it is the desired sweetness/sourness. Also a dash of Tabasco. Finally, I found that adding shredded radishes really adds a nice dimension.

  18. Tony

    My fav coleslaw is one called smokey coleslaw. I know I got it from a recipe somewhere but I don’t remember where…
    When making a smoked dish on the grill throw the slaw veggies in the grill for 20 minutes or so to give them some smoke flavor. The recipe I had called for smoking the cabbage, carrots, and some green pepper. The dressing is a simple mayo and cider vinegar dressing with the addition of some horse radish for added zip.
    I’ve made this one with out the smoke step and it is very good that way too.

  19. beyonduplication

    I put lots of things in my dressing. Mayo, Miracle Whip, sour cream, sugar, oil, grated onion, salt & pepper. I think that is all… maybe a little vinegar. mmmm

  20. Jess

    I recently went to a Mexican resteraunt that served a vinegar based Coleslaw with all of their dishes. It was very good.

  21. Helen

    I have rice vinegar in my cupboard, never sure what to do with it – now I know!
    I make my coleslaw with cabbage, onion (red if I have it, otherwise white) and carrot. Thinly slice all of these (I’m not actually very goood at chopping, so I tend to make a chunky coleslaw), sprinkle with lemon juice and dried parsley, then add mayonnaise and mustard. I’m already famed for it at church lunches, and its only made 2 appearances.

  22. Pam

    I don’t follow a recipe for coleslaw. I just make what sounds good. I add at different times thinly sliced green onions, chopped sweet onions, drained crushed pineapple, pineapple chunks, toasted sesame seeds or nuts, a mayonnaise dressing with all kinds of seasonings added as well as prepared, Dijon and/or specialty mustards, a vinegar and oil dressing, dried cranberries, sliced apples, sliced turnips, carrots, raisins, etc. You can also julienne some of these ingredients. I think about the other items I’m serving then I adjust the coleslaw to suit me. I get bored easily and rarely make any recipe the same way twice. Pam

  23. John

    Years ago I had a friend that made a coleslaw with bleu cheese and lots of garlic. It was excellent and unfortunately he would not give out the recipe. These days I get close to it in taste by using garlic powder, onion powder, bleu cheese, and Marie’s slaw dressing. I sure wish I could where he found that recipe.

  24. Catnik

    I love coleslaw. My family only made it from scratch for holidays, typically, and that would be the mayo-dressed kind. Vinegar slaw, however, is absolutely wonderful on sandwiches. (With hand-cut french fries, too, for added authenticity) – I make it whenever I feel a real hankering for home.

  25. mac

    I love coleslaw. I don’t think you can have a Carolina Pig Pick without it. I like Tony’s suggestion of smoking the cabbage, I’ll have to try that. A trick I got from the “Best Recipe Cookbook” is to toss the shredded cabbage with sugar and salt and let sit in a colander for a few hours. Now the dressing doesn’t get all watery. I like the rice vinegar and oil, with a few drops of sesame oil (like mentioned above) for the dressing.

    Cheers.

  26. Jeremy

    My favorite coleslaw is a little further off the beaten path.

    - apples, golden raisins, purple cabbage
    - cider vinegar, honey, celery seed, salt and pepper

    So good.

  27. Karen

    I am not sure if I came up with this cole slaw receipe….or if it was my husband..but we love it.
    Bag of preshredded cole slaw mix
    1/2 lb medium shrimp cooked and diced (bite size)
    Small can of diced pineapples (mandarin oranges are GREAT in this also)
    Dill (chopped)
    Garlic powder
    Ground black pepper

    Dressing ingredients:
    1 cup of mayo
    1/4 cup rice vinegar
    Pinch of sugar

    Toss the cole slaw mix and diced shrimp together.
    Add dill, garlic powder and ground pepper.
    Toss throughly.
    Combine dressing ingredients and coat cole slaw mixture.

    Be sure to drain liquid from diced pineapple (or mandarin oranges) and fold into the salad.

    Add additional dill, garlic powder and ground pepper to taste.

    Serve immediately or chill and serve.

  28. Kathleen in NYS

    Blue Cheese Coleslaw

    This recipe is adapted from Ina Gartens Barefoot Contessa at Home (Clarkson Potter 2006).

    Makes 6 to 8 servings

    1/2 small head green cabbage

    1/2 small head red cabbage

    4 large carrots, scrubbed or peeled

    2 cups (16 ounces) mayonnaise

    1/4 cup Dijon mustard

    2 tablespoons whole grain mustard

    2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar

    1 teaspoon celery salt

    1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

    1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

    1 1/2 cups (6 ounces) crumbled Roquefort blue cheese

    1 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

    Cut the cabbages in half and then in quarters and cut out the cores. Set up the food processor with the slicing blade and place the pieces of cabbage, one at a time, lying horizontally in the feed tube. (If they don’t fit, cut them to fit lying down.) Place the feed tube pusher on top and turn on the processor. Don’t push on the feed tube pusher or the slices will turn out too thick. Continue with the remaining red and green cabbage quarters. Transfer into a large bowl, discarding any very large pieces. Before you pour the dressing on the salad, save a handful of the grated vegetables to decorate for serving.

    Change the slicing blade for the large shredding blade and cut the carrots so they also lie down in the feed tube. Since the carrots are hard, replace the feed tube pusher and press firmly with the food processor on. Add to cabbage.

    In a medium bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise, both mustards, vinegar, celery salt, kosher salt and pepper. Pour enough mayonnaise dressing over the grated vegetables and toss to moisten well. Add crumbled blue cheese and parsley and toss with vegetables. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate for an hour or more to allow the flavors to meld. Serve cold or at room temperature.

  29. Amanda

    In Pittsburgh there is a restaurant that serves sandwiches with vinegar dressing (instead of the mayo) as a topping. They are fabulous!

  30. sandra gore

    My mother use to make a German cole slaw and I have never seen another one like it. She cooked egg whites in a little butter and would pour that over chopped cabbage. Than she would add apple cider vinegar. She than added a little sugar to taste and lots of pepper. I’m not sure if she added any salt. Has anyone heard of cole slaw being nade this way?

  31. Molly

    Everyone has their own variation. My grandmother used to make a “cabbage salad” with thinly sliced cabbage, chopped tomato, sliced and halved cucumber, Miracle Whip and salt and pepper. I’ve never had it that way, since Mom tasted mayo in her teens at a friend’s house and has never looked back. It’s so yummy with the mayo that I’m afraid to try it with Miracle Whip. We always have it with tamale pie.

  32. Nancy

    At our house we have BBQ slaw which is the recipe my mother-in-law always made. It is probably more like a relish; we have it in the refrigerator all the time as it keeps forever. It is similiar to the kind served in Lexington, NC style BBQ restaurants on the the Eastern side of North Carolina.

    1 head of cabbage, grated

    ketchup, vinegar, sugar, salt, pepper, red pepper(cayenne) to taste. It should be fairly “red” from the ketchup; the rest of the seasonings used to taste. It is delicious on hotdogs, hamburgers, with chicken or pork or especially pulled pork sandwiches. As a side note, now that diabetes is a part of our family, my husband makes the slaw with Splenda instead of sugar. Works just great.

  33. Kaci Lynn

    I have been one to make my own quick and easy coleslaw from a head of shredded cabbage, a small amount of red cabbage, 2-3 large grated carrots, and one 16 oz can of crushed pineapple (juice removed and drank. good use of it.) mix it all together with one jar of Marzetti’s Cole Slaw Dressing (Note: Why it’s called Quick and easy.) Chill it for an hour and serve. Comes out really nice and not soggy. I have used a food processor though to do the cabbage. I also mix Black Pepper in as well.

  34. megermano

    I use agave necter to replace the sugar! Fabulous, smooth & less impact on sugar levels.
    I use similar recipes for Broccolislaw.

  35. Dee

    First, thank you so much for inviting us into your food home via this blog. I enjoy it so much and visit regularly.

    Secondly, I really appreciated this post, and the question about how others make their coleslaw. I am a huge coleslaw fan, and I loved reading through the many variations.

    Dee

  36. Desiree

    Love the white bowl, where can I find one like it? thanks!

    I bought it at a china closeout sale. The maker is Limoges Ceralene, but I have no idea what pattern. ~Elise

  37. Tracy

    I make 2 different types.

    The first is finely shredded cabbage and grated carrot. The dressing is equal parts french mustard and mirin. Salt and pepper to taste. I love this as a side to simply cooked pork. You could add more mirin if you don’t want it to be so mustardy.

    The second is actually my hubby’s recipe. It is cabbage, carrot, grated apple, finly sliced spring onions and walnuts. The dressing is equal parts mayo (Thomy delikatess) and no-oil french dressing.

  38. tony

    Hello,

    I have been frequenting your site for a few weeks and I really like your recipes. I have done a few and they were very good and I am excited to try more.

    Here’s my thing….

    I hate mayo. I mean I really hate the stuff. I call it egg sauce because thats what it is….

    But I like tuna salad and potato salad if there isn’t too much mayo, and I wonder if there is an alternative to mayo that produces tasty tuna and potato salad….

    I think I read somewhere, it may have been here, that you could use yogurt?

    Any thoughts?

    Some people use yogurt (full fat) as a sub for mayo in recipes. I find it much too tart to do a straight substitute. You might try half yogurt and half mayo, though. That would cut down on the mayo taste, but you would still get the creaminess. ~Elise

  39. ten55

    I add radicchio, diced onions, and dried cranberries. For dressing, I add promegranate vinegar and olive oil to a little mayonnaise, a packet of splenda, and salt and pepper. Going to try it with yogurt next.

  40. Irina Wardas, CHHC

    Hi Elise, love your recipes. I always make cabbage with tomatoes instead of carrots and add some garlic. Instead of mayonnaise, I use plain yogurt with a little bit of turmeric to make it even healthier:-)
    Breathe, smile and be happy.

  41. mina arjali

    your website is very helpful
    to the coleslow salad I add some raisin
    it gives sweet taste tosalad
    try it you will love it.

  42. Emily

    I’m so glad to see other people say, “I love coleslaw!” because I also love it and always feel like it’s kinda dorky to like it. I’ve never actually made it and I did today and it is delicious (and easy)! Interesting to read the comments and see so many people put fruit in their slaw; I’ve never seen/tasted that. Maybe another time. Thank you so much!

  43. Mikayla

    @ Mina

    First of all Coleslaw is not dorky ;) It’s a special, time honored dish of our family, and I know for all of yours as well! Elise thanks for sharing this with us! I made it the last couple nights and my boys loved it!

    Mikayla

  44. Monica

    This is soo simple!
    1/2 a head of Green cabbage
    1/2 a head of Red cabbage
    1 carrot peeled or sliced on Mandolin
    1/4 cup of olive oil
    1/4 cup of Braggs Apple Cider Vinegar
    Honey to taste to your liking.
    It is a hit everytime and all my gal pals are always asking for the
    recipe!

  45. Melissa A Canchola

    Hey Don, I tried out yours. I think it’s pretty good. Now I have to see what my sister and dad thing. :)

    Referring to this one:

    Posted by: Don on September 8, 2007 8:08 AM
    Coleslaw

    1 large head green cabbage, thinly shredded
    ½ cup onion, finely diced
    2 large carrots, shredded

    1 ½ cups mayonnaise
    ¼ cup cider vinegar
    ½ cup white sugar
    1 teaspoon stone ground mustard
    1 teaspoon black pepper, coarse ground
    1 teaspoon salt

    Toss together in a large bowl the cabbage, onion and carrots. Stir together remaining ingredients and mix into cabbage. Leave sit in refrigerator at least an hour before serving.

  46. John Tonge

    Wow,

    This is a great site. I was surfing the web this morning for a coleslaw recipe to use up the enormous cabbage in the fridge. I think I will make two different kinds! My mom who is from eastern Europe makes a slaw with vinegar, oil and sugar. She heats the dressing ingredients in a sauce pan with a couple of whole cloves of peeled garlic and pours it over the cabbage, red bell peppers, onions and carrots. She puts it in glass jars in the fridge after it cools. It keeps for a week or so.

I apologize for the inconvenience, but comments are closed. You can share your thoughts on our Facebook page ~ Elise.