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Classic Creamy Coleslaw

This classic creamy coleslaw recipe is the perfect side dish for any summer barbecue or family gathering. With its crisp, cool cabbage and carrots tossed in a tangy, creamy dressing, it’s a refreshing and easy-to-make salad that complements any meal.

Classic creamy coleslaw in a grey bowl.

Classic coleslaw is my favourite summer side

I love this classic coleslaw recipe because it’s such a reliable side dish. It pairs perfectly with so many of my favorite summer meals, like pulled pork sandwiches, grilled chicken, and even stir-fried chicken and rice. There’s just something about that cool, crisp cabbage and the creamy dressing that makes it the perfect partner for all kinds of meals.

But here’s the best part – this basic coleslaw recipe is so easy to customize and make your own! Sometimes I’ll mix things up by adding in some extra crunch with chopped bell peppers or radishes, or even throw in a sweet surprise like diced apples or dried cranberries. And if I’m feeling like a lighter dressing, I’ll swap out the creamy sauce for a zesty vinaigrette or even a yogurt-based dressing.

What do you need?

  • Shredded cabbage. I like to use a mix of red cabbage and white cabbage for this recipe, but you can use one or the other if you prefer.
  • Carrots are an essential coleslaw ingredient, which add sweetness that complements the slightly bitter taste of the cabbage. You can shred them, grate them, or even spiralise them!
  • Dressing. I make a creamy dressing for this coleslaw from mayonnaise, lemon juice, Dijon mustard, salt and pepper. You can also add a little sugar or honey if you prefer a sweeter slaw.

Let’s make this classic coleslaw

1

Shred the veges.

Shred the cabbage and carrots. I usually grate the carrots, and slice the cabbage thinly by hand. Alternatively, you can shred them both in a food processor.

Hands slicing cabbage on a wooden board.

2

Mix the dressing.

You can either shake the dressing ingredients together in a sealed jar, or whisk them together in a bowl.

3

Toss the coleslaw.

Drizzle the dressing over the shredded vegetables, then gently toss to mix the dressing through the coleslaw evenly.

Creamy coleslaw in a glass bowl.

Variations

  • Corn slaw – corn is a family favorite addition to this basic coleslaw recipe. You can use canned corn kernels, leftover cooked corn, or fresh corn off the cob.
  • Apple slaw – sliced or shredded, apple is a tasty addition to coleslaw, especially if you are serving it with pork.
  • Kale slaw – slaw is full of nutritious fresh veges as it is, but you can up the ante by adding some shredded kale into the mix. It also adds a slightly nutty flavor to the slaw.
  • Herb slaw – try adding some fresh chopped herbs like parsley, cilantro or basil.
Creamy coleslaw in a grey bowl.

Serving ideas

  • Serve alongside pulled pork in soft buns for a classic barbecue combination.
  • Add a scoop to a rice bowl with stir-fried chicken and teriyaki sauce for an Asian-inspired twist.
  • Pair with crispy air fryer chicken tenders for a satisfying crunch in every bite.
  • Use as a topping for grilled fish tacos, adding a refreshing contrast to the warm, spiced fish.
  • Serve as a side salad with grilled steak or pork chops for a light, refreshing accompaniment. Add to a wrap with deli turkey, ham, or roast beef for a quick and easy lunch.
Classic creamy coleslaw in a grey bowl.

Classic Creamy Coleslaw

3 from 1 vote
This classic creamy coleslaw recipe is the perfect side dish for any summer barbecue or family gathering. With its crisp, cool cabbage and carrots tossed in a tangy, creamy dressing, it's a refreshing and easy-to-make salad that complements any meal.
Prep Time5 minutes
Total Time5 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 small cabbage (red or white, or ½ of each [Note 1])
  • 4 medium carrots (peeled [Note 1])

Creamy Coleslaw Dressing

  • ¾ cup mayonnaise
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • salt and pepper (to taste)

Directions

  • Remove any damaged or discolored outer leaves from the cabbage, then finely slice. Grate or shred the carrot [Note 2].
  • Add the cabbage and carrot to a large bowl and toss to mix.
  • Add the dressing ingredients to a small jar with an airtight lid, and shake until well combined, or whisk together in a small bowl. Taste and adjust salt and pepper if necessary.
  • Pour the dressing over the coleslaw and gently toss until well mixed.

Notes

  1. Save time by using pre-shredded slaw mix.
  2. Or shred in a food processor.

Nutrition

Serving: 1  Calories: 164kcal  Carbohydrates: 6g  Fat: 16g  Saturated Fat: 2g  Polyunsaturated Fat: 13g  Cholesterol: 9mg  Sodium: 262mg  Fiber: 1g  Sugar: 5g

Nutrition information is an estimate and provided for informational purposes only.

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