Asian Coleslaw

Quick and delicious, this Asian coleslaw is great with burgers, fish, or any Asian-inspired dish. A creamy dressing with peanut butter and rice vinegar brings it all together.

Asian Coleslaw Recipe
Elise Bauer

We eat a lot of cabbage around here. Could be my father's Minnesota German roots, but for whatever reason, coleslaw is on the menu several times a week.

I recently had a lovely Asian coleslaw at a local grill that was served with an ahi tuna burger. This is my attempt to recreate that coleslaw, and I think I've come pretty close (may try my hand at the burger sometime, too). It's super easy to put together.

What Goes Into an Asian Slaw?

The defining ingredients for an Asian slaw are cabbage, rice vinegar, and toasted sesame oil. This version also has some peanut butter in the dressing and some twice toasted peanuts.

Asian slaw, as far as we know, is not actually Asian. It's called that because it gets its flavor from ingredients fundamental to Asian cuisines.

Asian Coleslaw dressing
Elise Bauer

What Can You Serve With This Coleslaw?

Anywhere you would serve coleslaw—like alongside a sandwich or a burger—you can serve this. It works well as a light and refreshing side to fish and shrimp.

So good! We had to stop eating this Asian slaw after our "test kitchen" tasting, just to save enough for dinner.

Make-Ahead Tips

You can prep the dressing and the dry salad ingredients for this coleslaw a few days ahead of time. Keep refrigerated. Wait to toss them together and add garnishes until you're ready to serve.

Any leftovers will keep for a few days in the fridge, but the coleslaw will start to become more wilted and watery.

Love Coleslaw? Here Are a Few More

Asian Coleslaw

Prep Time 15 mins
Total Time 15 mins
Servings 6 servings

The dressing on this salad is peanut-based. If you have a food allergy to peanuts, you can substitute tahini for the peanut butter (or leave it out all together), and toasted sesame seeds for the peanuts.


For the dressing:

  • 1 tablespoon creamy peanut butter

  • 6 tablespoons vegetable oil

  • 1/2 teaspoon toasted (dark) sesame oil

  • 4 tablespoons seasoned rice vinegar (if seasoned rice vinegar is not available, add a teaspoon or two of sugar to regular rice vinegar)

For the salad:

  • 8 cups thinly sliced cabbage (napa, green, purple, or a combination)

  • 1 cup grated carrots

  • 1/2 cup toasted, salted, shelled, peeled peanuts

For garnish (optional):

  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro

  • 2 thinly sliced green onions or chives


  1. Prepare the dressing:

    Place peanut butter in a medium bowl. Add the vegetable oil and the toasted sesame oil and whisk until nicely smooth. Whisk in the seasoned rice vinegar and do a taste test.

    Depending on how you like your dressing, how salty your peanut butter is, how seasoned your rice vinegar is, you may want to add a little more vinegar, a little more sugar, or a little salt. (Makes about 3/4 cup of dressing.)

  2. Toast the peanuts:

    Although the roasted peanuts from the store may already be cooked, you'll get even better flavor with just a little toasting.

    Heat a small skillet on medium high heat and add the nuts to the pan. Do not ignore or the nuts can easily burn.

    Stir a little with a wooden spoon until the peanuts begin to get browned in spots and you can smell the toasting aromas. Remove peanuts from pan to a dish.

  3. Toss the salad together:

    In a large bowl, toss the sliced cabbage, grated carrots, and peanuts together, and any other optional garnishes, such as a little chopped cilantro or green onions.

    Right before serving, mix in the dressing.

Nutrition Facts (per serving)
267 Calories
21g Fat
16g Carbs
6g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 6
Amount per serving
Calories 267
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 21g 28%
Saturated Fat 2g 11%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 92mg 4%
Total Carbohydrate 16g 6%
Dietary Fiber 6g 20%
Total Sugars 7g
Protein 6g
Vitamin C 77mg 385%
Calcium 115mg 9%
Iron 1mg 4%
Potassium 558mg 12%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate. In cases where multiple ingredient alternatives are given, the first listed is calculated for nutrition. Garnishes and optional ingredients are not included.