This easy creamy coleslaw recipe is a simple and tangy homemade coleslaw that comes together quickly. Friends and family proclaimed this creamy coleslaw to be the best coleslaw recipe they have tried. We agree.
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Why is it Called Coleslaw?
The word coleslaw is believed to be a 18th Century take-off of a Dutch dish called “koolsla” which is a cabbage salad with vinegar based dressing. Our 3 year old calls coleslaw – “cold”-“saw” I guess because coleslaw is best served chilled and even better if prepared the night before and left in the fridge. Maybe the saw part has something to do with cutting the cabbage?! Aah, the mind of a 3 year old.
What’s in Coleslaw?
Coleslaw ingredients typically include shredded cabbage and shredded carrots mixed with a coleslaw dressing. Simple!
Coleslaw dressing recipes can be creamy or a vinaigrette. This homemade coleslaw uses a simple creamy dressing recipe. The addition of the toasted cumin seeds really makes this the best creamy coleslaw dressing recipe. Tangy and flavorful.
- Adding raisins is a nice change and sweetens the coleslaw
- For a nutty flavor, add sunflower seeds or pepitas (roast the pepitas like in Kale Quinoa Salad to elevate the flavor even more!)
- Cranberries add a bit of sweetness, but with some tartness too. They pair well with slivered almonds or sunflower seeds in coleslaw
- Poppy seeds add a little nutty crunch
- Shredded broccoli stalks add texture and flavor
- Fresh herbs for a fresh change
How to Make Coleslaw
Coleslaw is easy to make and takes only a few steps:
- Toast cumin seeds and mix together dressing ingredients
- Shred the cabbage. I have used a mandoline in the past, but most recently have been using a spiralizer. It is even quicker than the mandoline if you can believe that!
- Grate carrots using a grater
- Add carrots and cabbage to a large bowl, add dressing and toss!
What kind of Cabbage Can I Use For Coleslaw
There a 7 kinds of cabbage: Red, Savoy, Bok Choy, Cannonball (Green), Choy Sum, January King Cabbage and Napa. This easy coleslaw recipe calls for the most common cabbage variety green cabbage (or Cannonball – great name for eating coleslaw around the pool) and red cabbage for color. Savoy and Napa cabbage could be used as well.
I love the flavor and crunch that red cabbage adds to coleslaw (and Italian Salad). My hubby’s mom made the best coleslaw, and I mentioned that I love purple cabbage. The next time she made us dinner, she made me a purple cabbage coleslaw. I love vinaigrette based dressings (like Homemade Italian Dressing and vinaigrette caesar salad dressing) and she’d made the coleslaw with a vinaigrette dressing. I thought it was so sweet and thoughtful!
Cutting Cabbage For Coleslaw
Begin by removing the outer leaves of the cabbage. Slice off the bottom of the core.
Shredding the slaw (the cabbage) in coleslaw is easy and requires a long sharp knife, or even better a long mandoline slicer, to cut the cabbage consistently. To prepare the cabbage for shredding with a mandoline or knife, it’s easiest to cut the cabbage into quarters, or if it is really small, cutting it half may work as well. Remove the hard core in the center of the head of the cabbage.
We like to set the mandoline at approximately 1/16 – 1/8 inch depth with the straight blade. Try a couple slices, then adjust to your desired thickness. Safety first! Be sure to use the guard or a protective glove when using the mandoline. They are so very sharp!
To use a spiralizer, leave the cabbage whole and center the top of the whole cabbage on the stabilizing central coring blade, and secure the core side with the teeth of the handle and press firmly. Spiralize! Review the instructions for your spiralizer. Any spiralizer will work, but I really love the Inspiralized brand. I find it easy to use and it works really well.
You definitely can use a store bought coleslaw mix instead of shredding your own cabbage if that’s better for you.
How to Make Coleslaw Dressing
Easy homemade creamy coleslaw is made with a mayonnaise based dressing, giving it a creamy smooth taste. At times I have replaced the mayonnaise with aioli for a more garlic flavor creamy coleslaw, depending on the main dish. If the main dish contains garlic I avoid this switch.
If you are trying to make your dressing a little zesty then I use lemon zest with some red wine vinegar or apple cider vinegar in place of the white vinegar.
To make this a vinegar coleslaw recipe with a vinegar based dressing add 1/2 cup olive oil in place of the mayonnaise. Taste the dressing and adjust to taste.
What Goes With Coleslaw?
Coleslaw is well known for pairing with pulled pork, as well as fish tacos. We also enjoy it as a side salad for any barbecued items. Add any meat, and you’ve got a meal. Truly, creamy coleslaw goes well in all tacos, on burritos, with fried chicken, barbecue ribs, and on any sandwich. Roast beef sandwich with coleslaw? Yum! Pulled pork slider with coleslaw? Yum! Beef brisket sandwich with coleslaw? Yum! Smoked chicken breasts? Yummy!
- ½ small head green cabbage finely shredded
- ½ small head purple cabbage finely shredded
- 2 carrots peeled and grated (or julienned)
- 1 ½ cups mayonnaise
- ½ cup white vinegar
- ⅓ cup granulated sugar
- 1 Tablespoon toasted cumin seeds
- ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- In a small bowl, whisk mayonnaise, vinegar, sugar, cumin, and pepper to make dressing.
- In a large bowl, add dressing to shredded cabbage and carrots and mix thoroughly. Refrigerate to allow flavors to meld. Can be made a few hours ahead of time.
- Toss again immediately before serving.
Nutrition information does not include optional ingredients or garnish and is an estimate. It may change based on actual ingredients and cooking methods used.
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Slightly adapted from Barbecue Secrets