Creamy Coleslaw Recipe (2024)

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by Michelle
May 13, 2021

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4.52 (29 ratings)

Make this creamy coleslaw recipe for your next potluck, picnic, or backyard bbq. Made with a crisp coleslaw mix and a sweet yet tangy homemade dressing, this classic coleslaw hits the spot!

Creamy Coleslaw Recipe (1)

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

Coleslaw can elicit some serious love or hate feelings in a lot of people. When it’s done well you get crisp bites of cabbage tossed in a not too sweet, but deliciously tangy dressing that holds its own when paired with pulled pork or tacos. This homemade creamy coleslaw strikes the perfect balance between sweet and tangy, yet crisp and fresh. No soggy slaw here!

I love this coleslaw recipe because it’s creamy but not in that gloppy mayonnaise-y way.

Whether you eat it as a side dish or on sandwiches, this is such an easy, basic coleslaw dressing to keep tucked away for whipping up a batch in a hurry. No store-bought bottle necessary!

Ingredients You’ll Need

Creamy Coleslaw Recipe (2)

Coleslaw Dressing

A couple of quick notes:

  • Mayonnaise: Use your favorite brand or variety!
  • Sugar: You can adjust the amount to make your dressing more or less sweet.
  • Vinegar: Like the sugar, you can adjust this to make your dressing as tangy as you’d like. Some folks like to use up to a ¼ cup of vinegar.
  • Celery seed: This is optional, but adds a warm bitterness that pairs perfectly with the slaw.

Coleslaw Mix

I’m a big advocate of saving time by buying a 14-ounce bag of coleslaw mix from the grocery store to toss with the dressing, but if you want to make your own, you’ll need the following:

  • Cabbage: Green cabbage works best in this recipe. You will need about 4 cups of shredded cabbage if you are making your own mix.
  • Shredded Carrot- Add about ½ cup of freshly shredded or packaged shredded carrot to the cabbage.

Other Add-Ins to Try

If you are looking for ways to switch up your coleslaw recipe, here are a few different mix-ins you might want to try:

  • Apple: Green apple adds a wonderful tart bite to the coleslaw. Slice it into matchstick pieces.
  • Green Onion: Chop into small pieces.
  • Purple Cabbage: For a little added pop of color swap out one cup of the green cabbage for shredded purple cabbage.
  • Dried Cranberries: Adds a nice tart but sweet bite to the coleslaw.
  • Sliced Almonds: For an added crunch.
  • Sunflower Seeds: Another good option for crunch!

How to Make It

Step #1: Make Your Coleslaw Mix

If you are making this recipe from scratch here are the steps to prepare your own coleslaw mix. Skip this section if you plan to use a pre-made coleslaw mix bag and move to the directions for making the dressing.

  • Prepare the cabbage: Wash and drain the head of cabbage. Quarter the cabbage vertically from the top to the core at the bottom.
  • Cut out the core: Remove the core from each of the quarters by cutting a V-shape along the left and right side of the core to cut it out.
  • Shred the cabbage: Rotate the cabbage quarter and slice it from the short edge to produce small thin shreds of cabbage. Repeat with the remaining quarters until you have about 4 cups of shredded cabbage.
  • Shred the carrot: Use the large holes on astandard box grater. You could also use a shredding disc for afood processorand follow the instructions in the manual for shredding carrots. You will need about 1 medium-sized carrot to get ½-cup of shredded carrot.

Step #2: Mix the Coleslaw Dressing

  • Mix together the dressing: In a large bowl stir together mayonnaise, sugar, vinegar, salt, pepper, and celery seed if using.
  • For immediate use: Keep the dressing in the bowl if you are planning to mix up the coleslaw right away.
  • For future use: If you are making the dressing in advance, transfer the homemade dressing to an airtight container and store for up to 3 days.
Creamy Coleslaw Recipe (3)

Step #3: Mix Together the Coleslaw

  • Add mix to the bowl: In a large bowl with the dressing add the homemade or pre-made coleslaw mix.
  • Coat with dressing: Stir until the coleslaw is evenly coated with the dressing.
  • Chill: Refrigerate for at least 1 hour before serving.

Storing and Making Ahead

  • Storing: Store this creamy coleslaw in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 days.
  • Freezing: Since the dressing contains mayonnaise, I would not recommend freezing coleslaw for longer storage. The mayo will separate in the thawing process and leave you with a soggy slaw.
  • Making Ahead: If you are looking to save some time and prep in advance I would suggest making the coleslaw mix and storing it in an airtight container separate from the dressing. They can be prepped up to 3 days in advance. Toss the dressing with the mix at least 1 hour or up to 12 hours before you plan to serve.
Creamy Coleslaw Recipe (4)

Serving Suggestions

This easy, creamy coleslaw makes the perfect addition to a weekend BBQ, potluck, cookout, or picnic. Serve it up with one (or more!) of these main dishes for a filling meal.

  • Hamburgers
  • Hot Dogs or pretzel dogs
  • Tacos
  • Homemade Primanti Bros Sandwich
  • Pulled Pork

Some other sides that go well with coleslaw include:

  • Potato Salad
  • Pasta Salad
  • Creamy Macaroni Salad
  • Creamy Mexican Corn Salad

Coleslaw FAQs

Is coleslaw better the next day?

This is really based on personal preference. The longer coleslaw sits in the dressing the soggier the cabbage and other vegetables get. For the freshest coleslaw mix the dressing and mix together about 1 hour before serving. If you prefer a softer coleslaw, letting it sit longer will soften up the vegetables. See make-ahead tips above for suggestions for making 1 or more days in advance.

How far in advance can you make coleslaw?

You can prep the ingredients for coleslaw up to 3 days in advance but I would not mix the slaw and the dressing together more than 8 to 12 hours before serving.

What is the best cabbage for coleslaw?

Green (also called cannonball) cabbage is the most frequently used cabbage for making coleslaw.

Creamy Coleslaw Recipe (5)

More Quick Coleslaw Recipes

  • Oil and Vinegar Coleslaw
  • Chinese Coleslaw
  • Fancy Coleslaw
  • Thai Peanut Cabbage Slaw

This delicious side dish comes together in 5 minutes and is the perfect addition to a burger, hot dog, pulled pork sandwich, or tacos! Make this homemade coleslaw for your next potluck, picnic, or backyard bbq.

If you make this recipe and love it, remember to stop back and give it a 5-star rating – it helps others find the recipe!❤️️

Creamy Coleslaw Recipe (6)

Creamy Coleslaw Recipe

Yield: 6 to 8 servings

Prep Time: 5 minutes mins

Total Time: 5 minutes mins

Crunchy coleslaw tossed in a creamy homemade dressing makes this 5 minute coleslaw recipe a must make dish!

4.52 (29 ratings)

Print Pin Rate


  • ¾ cup (168 g) mayonnaise
  • 2 tablespoons (1 tablespoon) granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons vinegar, cider or rice, preferably
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • ½ teaspoon (453.59 g) celery seed, optional
  • 1 14-ounce bag coleslaw mix


  • In a large bowl, stir together the mayonnaise, sugar, vinegar, salt, pepper, and celery seed, if using.

  • Add the coleslaw mix to the bowl and stir until it is evenly coated. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour before serving.


  • Homemade Coleslaw Mix: In lieu of bagged coleslaw mix, you can use 4 cups of shredded green cabbage (about 1 head) and add ½ cup shredded carrot.
  • Sugar and Vinegar Adjustments: Both of these ingredients can be scaled up or down to suit your personal preference. Make it a sweeter or tangier dressing easily!
  • Add-ins: Optional add-ins for different flavors and textures could include chopped apple, green onion, purple cabbage, dried cranberries, sliced almonds (or other nuts), and sunflower seeds.
  • Storing:Store this creamy coleslaw in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 days.
  • Freezing:Since the dressing contains mayonnaise, I would not recommend freezing coleslaw for longer storage. The mayo will separate in the thawing process and leave you with a soggy slaw.
  • Making Ahead: If you are looking to save some time and prep in advance I would suggest making the coleslaw mix and storing it in an airtight container separate from the dressing. They can be prepped up to 3 days in advance. Toss the dressing with the mix at least 1 hour (or up to 8) before you plan to serve.

Nutritional values are based on one serving

Calories: 74kcal, Carbohydrates: 15g, Protein: 1g, Fat: 1g, Cholesterol: 3mg, Sodium: 261mg, Potassium: 170mg, Fiber: 2g, Sugar: 11g, Vitamin A: 75IU, Vitamin C: 27.6mg, Calcium: 43mg, Iron: 0.4mg

Did you make this recipe?

Leave a review below, then snap a picture and tag @thebrowneyedbaker on Instagram so I can see it!

Author: Michelle

Course: Condiment

Cuisine: American

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36 Comments on “Creamy Coleslaw Recipe”

  1. Nance Reply

    Have used this recipe for years. It is easy and tasty! Lost the recipe. Took me a while to find it
    Thank you!! We love it!

  2. Tamaron Reply

    This is a very good recipe. You used to have one posted that was a basic creamy coleslaw that included brown sugar. I can’t find it on the site. Is it still posted? I may be searching the wrong name. It was my family’s absolute favorite.

  3. Rita Demetzer Reply

    Love this dressing. I’ve made it four times in three weeks (halve it for myself).

  4. Alice Norris Reply

    Great! But I usually add some minced green pepper to add a bit of color.

  5. Elizabeth Eberhardt Reply

    Thanks for the recipe! I will like it but I need to
    cut the sugar completely from the recipe. It makes my sugar go up higher! Would it still be fine?
    Elizabeth Eberhardt

    • Michelle Reply

      HI Elizabeth, Many people make (and prefer) an oil and vinegar coleslaw dressing, so cutting out the sugar is fine, but just know that you will just have tang without the sweetness. This really depends on your personal taste preferences.

  6. Suzanne H Reply

    I was just telling my husband that I have yet to find a coleslaw recipe I’m truly happy with. I can’t wait to try this one!

  7. Jennifer Reply

    HI. I can’t wait to try this coleslaw. It looks so tasty! Can you tell me what grilled sandwich that is right above “more quick coleslaw recipes”? I want to try it when I make the slaw. Thank you for sharing!

    • Michelle Reply

      Hi Jennifer, It’s a Reuben but with colelsaw instead of sauerkraut! Use pastrami or corned beef, Swiss cheese, colelsaw, and spread Thousand Island on the bread :)

  8. Carl Pirro Reply

    Thanks Michelle for the Cole slaw recipe, will be making this for our Memorial Day weekend Clibhouse chicken bbq. 75 attendees. I should make a bunch.

  9. sue Reply

    Don’t be afraid to use flavored vinegar. A local craft vinegar maker ( chaparral) creates an Asian Spice blend that is awesome in slaw of any kind. Also have tried the ancho pepper and blackberry-basil vinegar in slaw and potato salads. Experiment! Thanks for the cooking tips on the pork roast. While don’t care for pulled pork, I do make Carnitas for Mexican dishes, also oven Kahlua pork. Getting out my boning knife!

  10. Martha Reply

    I added 1/2 cup chopped scallions to a small head of cabbage and 1/2 lb carrots (I shredded it with my Kitchenaid) – 1/2 cup fat free greek yogurt and only 1/2 cup mayo with a bit more vinegar and 3T granulated sugar mixed and poured over – DELISH!

  11. Marsha Abelson Reply

    I just had your Cole slaw at my son’s Robert Abelson ‘s house and thought it was the best I’ve ever had. He is going to send me the recipe .

  12. Jennifer Lee Reply

    I’m always looking for the perfect potato salad and coleslaw recipe. I will make yours tonight for a pool party tomorrow with ribs & skirt steak marinated to hopefully be fajita meat. I’ll let you know the results!

  13. Elaine Reply

    Hey! I grew up in Pittsburgh too! Though now I live in Switzerland. But I love da ‘burgh! So true what you said about sandwiches! Dying for some coleslaw, yours was the first recipe I found and I have all the stuff! Thanks!

  14. Melissa Reply

    My husband would never allow me to buy pork because he insisted he hated it (even though I’ve seen him eat and enjoy it in the past.) I decided to ignore him one day and make pulled pork sandwiches, but only if I had a good coleslaw recipe that he would enjoy in case he really hated the pulled pork. This recipe was a huge hit! My 2 year old loves it too!! My hubby ended liking the pulled pork, so pulled pork sandwiches topped with coleslaw is a meal we have once a month!

  15. Jeff Brown Reply

    I just made this for dinner to accompany deep fried fish and hushpuppies. Thank you for the recipe! It’s delicious… I added a shredded carrot and a TBSP of lemon juice and it turned out amazing!!

  16. Clubberer Reply

    what kind of mayonnaise do you use for the Coleslaw Dressing. Is it a normal mayonaise like Hellmann’s or is it a salad dressing mayonnaise such as Miracle Whip. I think both types to fit in with mayonnaise based Coleslaw Dressings, but it would be nice to know which type is ment. :-)

    • Michelle Reply

      I use Hellmann’s :)

  17. Rosalie Reply

    Both my husband and I are hard to please when it comes to cole slaw, but we both love this recipe. It’s easy and delicious; my kind of recipe.

  18. Heather @ My Overflowing Cup Reply

    Just this past Father’s Day, we were at dinner with friends and they served us shredded beef sandwiches with the coleslaw on the sandwich. That was the first time I had ever had it on a sandwich, but I loved the flavor and crunch it added. Thanks for the recipe. I’m going to have to serve it next time I make shredded pork sandwiches. YUM!

  19. Lori @ RecipeGirl Reply

    Definitely trying this for our next barbecue!

  20. Mary Frances Reply

    I hate when coleslaw is overly gloppy. If it’s the creamy variety I also prefer it to be light on the mayonnaise.

  21. Tracy | PeanutButter and Onion Reply

    Everyone needs a basic coleslaw recipe. This is now my goto!

  22. Mir Reply

    This will be perfect with a sandwich from the deli! It’s a great recipe.

  23. Carol Reply

    I watched Lidia Bastianich visit Primanti Brothers on her show last year and saw them make this delicious sandwich with French fries and cole slaw, it looked so yummy. My son-in-law is from Pittsburgh and took my daughter there to eat. I have added that to my bucket list now.

  24. Suzanne H Reply

    Perfect timing. I am expecting a houseful of family this weekend and am planning to make, among other things, some BBQ which requires cole slaw. I have tried many, many recipes but have yet to find the “perfect” one. This looks like it might be it (I too despise the over mayonnaised versions). I can’t wait to try it! I will be adding poppy seeds though. :)

  25. marcie Reply

    Pittsburgh sounds like a great place to eat a sandwich — coleslaw on top sounds amazing. I normally only top my pulled pork with it, so I’ll have to try it elsewhere. The dressing is what makes the slaw, and this looks delicious!

  26. Emily Reply

    I always do my coleslaw with a red wine vinegar dressing, but this looks super. Might have to give it a try this week!

  27. Amanda Reply

    Looks perfect! I need to make some coleslaw – I have two heads of cabbage in the fridge from my CSA, but my husband despises white sauces, so I’ll be eating it all myself!

  28. Rachael Halling Reply

    Wait, I had no idea you were from Pittsburgh! Now I love this blog even more! Who doesn’t love Primantis?!

    • Michelle Reply

      Yes! Pittsburgh girl through and through :)

  29. Laura @ Raise Your Garden Reply

    Coleslaw is BIG where I live. It’s always served with Chiavetta’s chicken (absolutely fab). It’s a unique BBQ Buffalo sauce that is to die for.

  30. Harry Reply

    I make mine almost exactly like that. As a side with crispy, crumbed chicken breasts….,mmmmmm…. But what I do add is some poppy seeds to the dressing. You should try it, you wont regret it!

  31. Averie @ Averie Cooks Reply

    I love coleslaw and this looks perfect! (no sandwiches needed for me!) Pinned :)

  32. Pieliekamais Reply

    Wait, you can put sauerkraut on a sandwich? I’m Latvian (and we eat a ton of sauerkraut in the autumn/winter), and I didn’t know this. Very neat!

Creamy Coleslaw Recipe (2024)


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