Best Homemade Coleslaw

12 reviews

This post may contain affiliate links. Please read our disclosure policy.

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

Homemade coleslaw for pulled pork in a large bowl with text overlay - Homemade Coleslaw.

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.

Coleslaw is extremely easy to make and only requires a few ingredients. 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!).

Homemade coleslaw greatly outweighs the pre-made stuff. The store-bought, pre-shredded coleslaw mix you can buy at the grocery store will not be as crisp, and the flavors of the cabbage are muted.Take the time and make this coleslaw from scratch. It’ll be worth it, I promise. 

Coleslaw for Pulled Pork

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 Simple Smoked Pulled Pork without a big side of fresh coleslaw. 

This coleslaw is perfect piled on top of pulled pork for pulled pork sandwiches. While this coleslaw goes great with other BBQ as well, this coleslaw for pulled pork is simply divine. The tart and crunchy coleslaw balances out the smoky pulled pork. I guarantee it’ll be your go-to coleslaw for pulled pork!

Red cabbage being chopped on a wooden board.

Coleslaw Dressing

Coleslaw can be made with many different types of dressing. Some standard dressings use cider 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!

Here’s what you need to make this dressing:

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

Chopped cabbage and carrots in a glass bowl.

How to Make Homemade Coleslaw

Once you have all your ingredients prepped, you’re ready to make this homemade coleslaw. Here’s how to make coleslaw for pulled pork.

  1. Prep veggies. 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. Once your veggies are chopped, mix all vegetables in a large bowl and set them aside.
  2. Make the dressing. 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.
  3. Make the slaw. Toss the coleslaw dressing in the vegetables right before serving. Serve as a side dish alongside your favorite BBQ or add a large scoop to pulled pork sandwiches.

Dressing being poured into a bowl of chopped cabbage.

Tips for the Best Slaw for Pulled Pork

Check out these 4 tips to make sure your coleslaw comesout 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 being stirred in a bowl.

Coleslaw for Pulled Pork Sandwiches

Slaw 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:

Coleslaw Recipe for Pulled Pork

Follow the recipe, and I’ll teach you the simple steps to making your own coleslaw for pulled pork at home. If you’re looking for the ultimate way to help you make better BBQ, feed the people you love, and become a backyard BBQ hero, join my members-only group The Grill Squad for full access to all my meat, rubs, sauces, and meat buying masterclasses, podcasts, and so much more.

This post was originally published in May 2019. We recently updated it with more information and helpful tips. The recipe remains the same.

Best Homemade Coleslaw

By: Susie Bulloch (
5 from 12 votes
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!
Prep Time20 minutes
Cook Time0 minutes
Total Time20 minutes
Servings16 people


Save this recipe!
Just enter your email and get it sent to your inbox! Plus you'll get the latest from Hey Grill Hey every week!
Please enable JavaScript in your browser to complete this form.


  • 1 head green cabbage shredded
  • ½ head red cabbage shredded
  • 2 cups carrots shredded
  • ¼ cup red onion shredded


  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • ¼ cup Dijon mustard
  • ¼ cup lemon juice
  • 2 Tablespoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon celery seed
  • 1 teaspoon poppy seeds
  • salt and black pepper to taste


  • Shred the vegetables. Using a sharp knife, shred the cabbage, carrots, and onions, and combine all shredded vegetables in a large serving bowl.
  • Make the dressing. In a smaller bowl, whisk together all of the ingredients for the dressing.
  • Make the coleslaw. 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

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Like this? Leave a comment below!



Susie is the BBQ Brain behind the Hey Grill Hey website. Her passion for smoked meats and developing fun, new recipes have landed her on the Food Network, cooking turkeys with Shaq, and on a couple of Guinness World Records. When she’s not grilling, she is hanging out with Todd and their three kids, preferably outdoors!

Related Recipes

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating

Reader Reviews

20 Reviews

  1. Don says:

    Awsome as usual. Need to try the cole slaw because I already some made.

  2. Sue says:

    Really good recipe! We added jalapeños- my husband thought it was a little too tangy. Do you think I could a a little more sugar to it?

  3. Troy says:

    I love that you have YouTube videos on the things that you grill .Thank you