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posted May 24, 2019

Best Homemade Coleslaw

This recipe for homemade coleslaw blows the store-bought kind out of the water! It’s crunchy and refreshing with a light, tangy dressing. This coleslaw is a must-have with fried chicken, BBQ sandwiches, and so much more!

bowl of the best homemade coleslaw on a wooden table.

Homemade Coleslaw

Coleslaw is a BBQ side staple, so I’ve put together an easy recipe for you to make your own coleslaw at home. My recipe is made with a classic mayonnaise-based dressing, making it creamy and oh-so refreshing.

This coleslaw is crisp and crunchy, a perfect compliment to rich and flavorful meat. It’s the perfect side to take to any backyard BBQ, and I wouldn’t dream of eating my Smoked then Fried Chicken Wings without a big side of fresh coleslaw.

How to Make Coleslaw

Coleslaw is extremely easy to make! After you make this delicious homemade coleslaw, I guarantee you’ll never buy the premade stuff again. (Trust me, the homemade kind is so much better!).

To begin, you need a handful of fresh veggies. Grab some green cabbage, red cabbage, carrots, and red onion, and shred them using a sharp knife or mandoline. A sharp knife is key to getting your vegetables cut nice and thin. I recommend using a Kamikoto Kanpeki knife to make quick work of shredding or chopping your vegetables.

Believe me when I say it’s best to buy fresh. The store-bought, pre-shredded bags you can buy at the grocery store will not be as crisp, and the flavors of the cabbage are muted. Take the extra step and shred the veggies yourself. It will make all the difference. Once your veggies are chopped, mix all vegetables in a large bowl and set aside.

In a smaller bowl, combine the ingredients to make the dressing. Add salt and pepper to taste, but don’t go overkill on either. You want to keep the dressing light and refreshing. Toss the coleslaw dressing in the vegetables right before serving, and enjoy!

bowl of chopped green and red cabbage, onions, and carrots

Coleslaw Dressing

Coleslaw can be made with many different types of dressing. Each one uses a different base, and each variation changes the taste and texture of the finished coleslaw. Some common dressings use vinegar, ketchup, mustard, mayonnaise, or buttermilk as their main ingredient. Each recipe is delicious in its own way, and each one compliments different meat and entrees.

The dressing for this coleslaw is a classic, creamy mayonnaise dressing that mixes 8 simple ingredients to give you a perfectly crisp homemade coleslaw. Fresh lemon juice and Dijon mustard are added for a nice tart flavor. Finish this dressing off with a bit of sugar for sweetness and light seasoning, and you’ve got a coleslaw dressing that will likely be your new go-to!

coleslaw dressing being poured on chopped vegetables.

Tips for the Best Coleslaw

Check out these 4 tips to make sure your coleslaw comes out perfect every time:

  • Texture is important. Shredded vegetables make the best texture for classic coleslaw, but many people prefer chopped cabbage with smaller pieces. But take note! Using chopped veggies often leads to a more watery coleslaw.
  • Add some variety by mixing and matching your vegetables. Coleslaw doesn’t have to be made with the 4 veggies specified in this recipe. Feel free to mix and match them, and try adding roasted corn or chopped green onions to your bowl of veggies.
  • Toss, don’t stir! Lightly toss in your dressing to evenly coat the vegetables and keep them crisp. Start slow when you add the dressing, and add more until you get the coleslaw to your ideal veggie/dressing ratio.
  • Keep your veggies and your dressing separated and in the refrigerator until you are ready to serve. This ensures that your vegetables stay crisp and crunchy and don’t go limp before dinnertime.

Coleslaw for Pulled Pork

Coleslaw goes great with a large plate full of pulled pork. Once you made this easy homemade coleslaw, try out some of my most popular pulled pork recipes below:

Simple Smoked Pulled Pork
Carolina Style Pulled Pork
Bourbon Brown Sugar Smoked Pulled Pork

Best Coleslaw Recipe

Glass bowl of homemade coleslaw.

Best Homemade Coleslaw

Susie Bulloch (
This recipe for homemade coleslaw blows the store-bought kind out of the water! It's crunchy and refreshing with a light, tangy dressing. This coleslaw is a must-have with fried chicken, BBQ sandwiches, and so much more!
5 from 8 votes
Prep Time : 20 mins
Cook Time : 0 mins
Total Time : 20 mins
Servings : 16 people
Calories : 136kcal



  • 1 head green cabbage (shredded)
  • 1/2 head red cabbage (shredded)
  • 2 cups carrots (shredded)
  • 1/4 cup red onion (shredded)


  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/4 cup Dijon mustard
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 2 Tablespoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon celery seeds
  • 1 teaspoon poppy seeds
  • salt (to taste)
  • black pepper (to taste)


  • Using a sharp knife, shred the cabbage, carrots, and onions, and combine all shredded vegetables in a large serving bowl.
  • In a smaller bowl, whisk together all of the ingredients for the dressing. Pour the dressing over the coleslaw vegetables just before serving and toss gently to combine.
  • This coleslaw is best eaten day-of, but it will last 3-5 days in the refrigerator.


Calories: 136kcal | Carbohydrates: 9g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 11g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Cholesterol: 6mg | Sodium: 162mg | Potassium: 227mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 6g | Vitamin A: 3030IU | Vitamin C: 38.4mg | Calcium: 48mg | Iron: 0.7mg
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