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Traditional Coleslaw Recipe

Discover the secret to the best coleslaw recipe that will have you making this refreshing side all summer long!

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overhead shot of creamy coleslaw recipe

Coleslaw is great for bringing wonderful crunch and creaminess to the table. But do you know the key to giving it that irresistible flavor that will keep you (and everyone else) coming back for more?

Good news: it’s super simple. The trick is to let it chill in the refrigerator for at least an hour before serving!

This step might seem like an afterthought, but it’s exactly what the coleslaw needs for all those flavors and textures to meld together. 

That’s what takes it from a so-so side to the best coleslaw recipe, the one with the refreshing crunch that no one can resist!

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traditional coleslaw tossed in creamy dressing

Everyone needs a Classic Creamy Coleslaw Recipe

Coleslaw is more than just a side. It’s a versatile staple that complements a wide range of dishes! And it’s oh-so-perfect for summer.

When made the right way, coleslaw adds vibrant freshness to any spread. It’s so good for potluck picnics, backyard barbecues, or any meal that could use that burst of brightness.

This creamy coleslaw recipe strikes the perfect balance between tangy and sweet, creamy and crunchy. Believe me when I say that once you try one bite, it’ll become your warm-weather go-to.

What is Coleslaw?

Coleslaw is made primarily from thinly sliced cabbage tossed in a creamy dressing. This simple coleslaw recipe adds a hint of red cabbage and carrots for color and extra crunch!

While mayonnaise makes up the foundation of the dressing, apple cider vinegar, and lemon juice add that perfect balance of acidity. All together, homemade coleslaw is a delightfully vibrant way to liven up any meal.

ingredients needed for coleslaw recipe

What’s in the Best Coleslaw Recipe?

  • Coleslaw mix — choose one with red cabbage and carrots
  • Mayonnaise
  • Granulated sugar
  • Apple cider vinegar
  • Lemon juice
  • Celery seeds
  • Salt and pepper

How to Make Homemade Coleslaw

A full printable version of this recipe with ingredient measurements is available at the bottom of this post.

STEP ONE: In a small bowl, combine the mayonnaise, sugar, vinegar, lemon juice, and celery seeds. Add in the salt and pepper to taste.

mixing together the ingredients needed to make the coleslaw dressing

STEP TWO: In a large bowl, add the bag of coleslaw mix and pour the dressing over it. Toss the mix to coat it completely. 

drizzling coleslaw dressing over cabbage mix

STEP THREE: Refrigerate the coleslaw for an hour before serving. 

tossing coleslaw with two wooden salad tongs

Simple Coleslaw Recipe Variations

  • Add a cup of matchstick apples for a sweet twist to this traditional coleslaw recipe.
  • Mix a tablespoon of hot sauce or a teaspoon of cayenne pepper into the dressing for a kick.
  • Substitute Greek yogurt in place of mayonnaise for a lighter version.
  • Chop fresh cabbage and carrots instead of using a bag mix for an extra burst of freshness.
  • Add sliced bell peppers to this recipe for coleslaw for a big kick of flavor and even more fresh crunch.
homemade coleslaw in a white bowl

Traditional Coleslaw Recipe Tips and Tricks

  • Taste the dressing before tossing the coleslaw to make sure you have your perfect balance of tangy and sweet.
  • Add salt and pepper to taste to enhance the flavors of homemade coleslaw.
  • Toss the coleslaw thoroughly to ensure everything is properly coated.
  • Chill the coleslaw in the refrigerator for at least an hour so the flavors meld and the cabbage soaks up the dressing.

What to serve with Homemade Coleslaw

close up of cabbage coleslaw and carrots

How to store this Recipe for Coleslaw

For the best results, store your coleslaw in an airtight container in the refrigerator. It will stay fresh and delicious for 3-4 days. 

This creamy coleslaw recipe is great for making ahead or having a refreshing snack or side on hand any time!

Can you freeze coleslaw?

I wouldn’t recommend freezing coleslaw. The creamy dressing may separate, and the cabbage can become soggy once thawed. 

The best coleslaw recipe deserves to be enjoyed the right way. And that’s fresh and chilled out of the fridge!

taking a bite of creamy coleslaw

More Salad Recipes:

traditional coleslaw tossed in creamy dressing

Simple Coleslaw Recipe

Samantha Erb
This classic coleslaw recipe offers the perfect combination of creaminess and crunch, with a balance of sweet and tangy flavors that make it a delightful accompaniment to any BBQ or picnic spread.
No ratings yet
Prep Time 10 minutes
Chill Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 10 minutes
Course Side Dishes
Cuisine American
Servings 6 servings
Calories 249 kcal


  • 14 ounce bag of coleslaw mix with red cabbage and carrots
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon celery seeds
  • salt and pepper to taste


  • In a small bowl, combine the mayonnaise, sugar, vinegar, lemon juice, and celery seeds.
  • Add in the salt and pepper to your preferred amount.
  • In a large bowl, add the bag of coleslaw mix and pour the dressing over it. Toss the mix to coat it completely. 
  • Refrigerate the coleslaw for an hour before serving. It can be stored in an airtight container for 3-4 days.


Serving: 1gCalories: 249kcalCarbohydrates: 13gProtein: 1gFat: 22gSaturated Fat: 3gPolyunsaturated Fat: 18gCholesterol: 13mgSodium: 324mgFiber: 2gSugar: 10g

This nutrition information is based on the exact products I used in this recipe. Brands and sizes of products could alter exact nutrition and should always be calculated independently.

Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!


About Samantha

I’ve always had a love of cooking and creating new recipes, so it only made sense to create a food blog so I could share those recipes with you. This site is designed to provide easy and flavorful recipes with as little ingredients as possible. That means you still get great flavor combinations without all that extra time and effort. Read more...

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