This Coleslaw recipe is crisp and refreshing, with just enough creamy dressing to bring it all together. It’s a great side for many different dishes, and both picnic and potluck friendly!
If you need to erase the memory of the typical stale, mayonnaise-drowned coleslaw that so often makes appearances at the grocery store and potlucks, let me introduce you to this wonderfully refreshing and flavorful coleslaw.
Coleslaw is one of those recipes that gets written off as nothing to get excited about, but I think much of the reason is because of how it’s typically encountered.
Many of the pre-made coleslaws you can buy are a couple days old, drowning in mayonnaise, and made of machine-cut confetti pieces of cabbage, instead of crunchy, thin, and long strands of fresh cabbage. These things all make a big difference.
Over the years I’ve experimented with many different versions, and this is where I’ve landed, with a version that you’ll notice is actually pretty simple and minimal.
Here the natural sweetness of the cabbage is the star of the show. Let’s dive in!
How to Make Coleslaw:
One of the most important elements of a fantastic cole slaw is how the vegetables are cut.
I believe the best coleslaw is made using cabbage that’s sliced with a mandolin. It slices the cabbage into even pieces that are long and crunchy.
In my post for How to Cut Cabbage, you can see the difference between the hand cut cabbage on the left, and the mandolin cut cabbage on the right:
It’s the exact same head of cabbage, but the eating experience between those two textures is quite different, all based on how it’s cut. That post will also walk you through how to core and prep the cabbage.
If you want to use purchased pre-cut coleslaw mix, I suppose that will work here too, but I really do think it’s worthwhile to cut your own if you have a few minutes to spare. It will taste so much fresher, and the texture will be better too.
Because the pre-shredded coleslaw mixes are machine cut, you can get a lot of “confetti” pieces.
To make the dressing, combine a great quality mayonnaise, apple cider vinegar, and an optional whole grain mustard:
I enjoy the little pops of the mustard seeds, and mustard has a flavor affinity with cabbage, so I like adding it. If you don’t like mustard, leave it out.
Whisk that all together, then add salt and pepper:
It will have a very pourable texture, with a consistency between buttermilk and ranch dressing.
Pour the coleslaw dressing all over the vegetables:
You’ll see that I only include three in my mix: green cabbage, red cabbage, and carrots.
And actually, I really only use two types of cabbage because I think it looks pretty.
There are a lot of extras that I see people adding to cole slaw, like bell pepper, red onion, and heck, even parsley. If you want to add these things, I won’t stop you, but I really don’t think that adding them makes coleslaw better. I actually find their strong flavors to be a bit distracting.
Toss the vegetables and dressing together for a good minute or so, until combined:
Then I like to let the coleslaw rest in the fridge for at least 30 minutes before serving, so the flavors can meld.
Admittedly, there are plenty of times when I dive right in, and it’s still delicious.
This coleslaw is a great side dish to bring to summer potlucks, and pairs well with recipes like Slow Cooker Pulled Pork, tacos (especially fish tacos), lunch wraps with deli meat, hot dogs, and more. Enjoy!
Can coleslaw be frozen? I don’t recommend it, as raw cabbage does not freeze well.
How long does it last? About 3 days in the fridge, then it starts to go downhill after day 4. It will still be edible, but the texture starts to break down too much.
Can coleslaw be made in advance? Yes, a few hours before is best, but a day ahead is the most I’d do for optimal texture.
- 6 cups shredded green cabbage
- 2 cups shredded red cabbage
- 1 cup shredded carrots
- 3/4 cup mayonnaise
- 3 tbsp apple cider vinegar
- 1 tbsp whole grain mustard optional
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
- Place the cabbage and carrots in a very large mixing bowl.
- In a small bowl, whisk to combine the mayonnaise, apple cider vinegar, mustard if using, salt, and pepper.
- Pour the dressing all over the cabbage, and toss well to combine.
- Let the cole slaw rest in the fridge for at least 30 minutes before serving, then enjoy!