When you need a quick and easy side dish for BBQ, parties or potlucks, this traditional coleslaw recipe will be your go-to. No fuss, no frills, just good ol’ classic coleslaw. The creamy, tangy homemade dressing makes all the difference.
Why You’ll Love Our Coleslaw Recipe
Using only a few ingredients, this classic coleslaw recipe is very quick and easy to make. Crunchy shredded cabbage, carrots and onions together with a creamy homemade coleslaw dressing, you will have a delicious BBQ side dish ready in no time.
Plus, there is no need to buy coleslaw dressing in a bottle. I’ll show you how easy it is to make from scratch! You will most likely have the ingredients on hand for this creamy homemade dressing.
And who doesn’t love a good coleslaw at BBQ or parties? Coleslaw is the perfect companion for hamburgers, fish & chips, hot dogs, pulled pork and, of course, crispy fried chicken.
What Goes in A Traditional Coleslaw Recipe?
Traditional coleslaw ingredients essentially include cabbage and a creamy mayonnaise dressing. Today cabbage is often still the main ingredient but there are many variations of coleslaw.
Flavour/Texture: Crunchy texture with tangy, creamy flavour. That is what we are aiming for with a classic coleslaw recipe. The Dijon mustard and horseradish add the extra element of zing to the homemade dressing.
Ease: This is one of the most simple and easy salad recipes to make.
Time: 15 minutes is all you need to make your own delicious homemade coleslaw.
These are the ingredients you need for coleslaw recipe:
Cabbage: You can use green or red cabbage for this recipe or even a mix of both. I have used red cabbage in mine only because I love the colour of red cabbage in coleslaw.
Carrot: Finely shredded carrot not only adds colour but sweetness.
Onion: I like adding raw onions to salads, but it is not everyone’s cup of tea so adjust accordingly.
Mayonnaise: Make sure you use good quality mayonnaise as the salad relies very much on a good salad dressing. I do like to use whole egg mayonnaise.
Dijon mustard/horseradish cream: For extra zing, I added both Dijon mustard and horseradish cream. I like the mild heat and slightly tart flavours that both these condiments add. It helps cut through the richness.
Maple syrup: I do prefer the caramel sweetness of maple syrup but honey would also work perfectly as a sweetener in the dressing.
Apple Cider Vinegar: To balance the creaminess of the salad dressing.
Variations and Substitutions
Adjust mayonnaise: For a lighter version of the coleslaw dressing, replace part of the mayonnaise with sour cream or yoghurt.
Vegan version: Switch mayonnaise for your favourite vegan brand.
Additional ingredients: you can make your own easy coleslaw recipe with other extra ingredients such as apple, pear, broccoli stems, celery, bell peppers, scallions, chives and parsley. Make sure you cut them thinly to match the shredded cabbage.
Celery seeds/salt: I’ve often used celery seeds in coleslaw dressing recipes to add that “something something”, but I decided to use horseradish cream for the extra punch. You can swap the horseradish cream for celery seeds if you wish.
Step by step instructions for how to make coleslaw recipe:
How to Make The Salad
Cut or shred red cabbage into thin strips.
Use mandoline or julienne peeler to shred carrot.
Finely slice onion into half moons.
How To Make Coleslaw Dressing
In a small bowl, add mayonnaise, horseradish cream, Dijon mustard, maple syrup and apple cider vinegar together.
Mix salad dressing well until combined and creamy.
How to Assemble the Salad
In a large mixing bowl, add all ingredients, drizzle salad dressing and toss together.
Make sure the salad is well coated and mixed well.
Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Coleslaw is ready to serve but giving it some extra time in the fridge to chill will help the flavours and texture of the salad.
How to Make This Salad Perfectly (Expert Tips)
Serve chilled: As much as coleslaw can be served immediately after making it, I feel it is much better chilled. Leave it in the fridge right up to before serving and it will help with the overall texture.
Like our broccoli salad, this will help soften the raw vegetables without losing their crunch and meld the dressing. Plus, as it is a creamy coleslaw dressing, best not to leave in direct sun when serving outside.
Dressed the salad properly: In a traditional coleslaw, do not skimp on the salad dressing. It is what makes it so delicious and tasty. Make sure the salad is well dressed. If you prefer a lighter dressing than all mayo, substitute parts of it with sour cream or yoghurt.
Shred / cut the vegetables evenly: Make sure you shred or cut the vegetables evenly. You don’t want a huge chunk of carrot or cabbage randomly through the salad.
Great Mains for This Salad
Nothing quite beats a traditional coleslaw recipe. All it needs are some great mains:
Coleslaw goes well with strong flavoured dishes such as these succulent BBQ baby back ribs and salt baked fish. For taco Tuesdays you can try these sweet potato and black bean tacos for something a little bit different.
Frequently Asked Questions
Both green or red cabbage is suitable for traditional coleslaw. You can use also use a blend of both.
Savoy cabbage or even wombok/napa cabbage will work too. However, wombok has high water content, releasing more water when left to sit.
You can make coleslaw in advance. Shredded vegetables can be left in fridge in a sealed bag for up to 2 days.
Once the coleslaw salad is dressed, leave it in fridge until ready to serve. Just be mindful that cabbage will release excess water so make sure you coat the salad well with dressing. Give it another toss before serving.
Any leftovers for coleslaw can be stored in the fridge in an airtight container for up to 2 days.
No fuss, no frills, just good ol’ classic coleslaw. There is a reason why classic coleslaw recipe has been a trusty summer side dish for all this time.
BBQs, potlucks and cookups are not the same without it. So next time you are tasked to bring a coleslaw, make sure it is as good as this one.
More Classic Easy Salad Recipes
Traditional Coleslaw Recipe with Homemade Dressing
- ¼ red cabbage, shredded
- 2 carrot, shredded
- ½ onion, thinly sliced
Click on the toggle below for conversion to US Cooking Units.
- Cut or shred red cabbage into thin strips.
- Use mandoline or julienne peeler to shred carrot.
- Finely slice onion into half moons.
- In a small bowl, add mayonnaise, horseradish cream, Dijon mustard, maple syrup and apple cider vinegar together.
- Mix well until combined and creamy.
- In a large mixing bowl, add all ingredients, drizzle salad dressing and toss together.
- Make sure the salad is well coated and mixed well.
- Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Coleslaw is ready to serve but giving it some extra time in the fridge to chill will help the flavours and texture of the salad.
- Make sure you shred or cut the vegetables evenly.
- For a lighter version of the dressing, replace part of the mayonnaise with sour cream or yoghurt.
- For a creamy vegan coleslaw, switch regular mayonnaise for your favourite vegan brand.
- You can very much make your own easy coleslaw recipe with other extra ingredients such as apple, pear, broccoli stems, celery, bell peppers, scallions, chives and parsley. Make sure you cut them thinly to match the shredded cabbage.
*Disclaimer: Nutritional information provided is an estimate only and generated by an online calculator.
Don’t want to miss out on a recipe? Feed your FOMO and we’ll deliver it into your inbox!
Disclaimer: This site contains affiliate links to products. We may receive a commission for purchases made through these links at no additional cost to you.