This zesty, crunchy, and creamy coleslaw recipe isn't your average coleslaw! It's the perfect balance of exciting flavors so that you'll crave it all summer long.
Try my Cajun Grilled Corn on the Cob and Creamy Cucumber Salad for more seasonal sides.
Why you'll love it
Since there's nothing more disappointing than sad coleslaw (ok, maybe I'm exaggerating a little) at a BBQ or cookout, I decided to make THE best coleslaw. Mine is balanced between being creamy, tangy, a touch sweet, and has an irresistible savory zip!
It's simple to make my coleslaw dressing with everyday ingredients, and you'll really enjoy the flavor profile. Celery salt, Dijon mustard, and onion powder are the game changers you've been missing in other homemade coleslaw recipes.
What you'll need
- Mayonnaise and sour cream - I used full-fat mayo and sour cream so the dressing is smooth and silky
- White vinegar - for that signature touch of acidity
- Dijon mustard - nope, it doesn't make this taste of mustard! It's a trick to give savory depth to dressings and sauces.
- Sugar - a hint of sweetness to make it well-rounded
- Celery salt - it's a mix of ground celery seeds and salt, and its distinct flavor is bright and earthy. It's a key flavor component, so don't be tempted to skip it.
- Onion powder - a special touch for more savory goodness
- Coleslaw mix - I buy the convenient pre-shredded mix found in the produce section of the grocery store. It typically contains green cabbage, red cabbage, and carrots.
Tools for this recipe
Check out Natasha's favorite kitchen essentials, gadgets, and cookware!
- If you aren't using the pre-shredded mix, shred or chop your cabbage with a sharp chef's knife.
- I make the dressing in a medium-sized metal mixing bowl and toss the salad in a glass prep bowl.
- I like serving coleslaw with a pair of scissor salad tongs. They eliminate a lot of the mess at potlucks!
How to make coleslaw
This is an overview with step-by-step photos. Full ingredients & instructions are in the recipe card below.
In a medium bowl, add the dressing ingredients and combine until smooth. Give it a taste and make any adjustments. Add the cabbage and carrots to a salad bowl, and toss with the dressing. Refrigerate so the flavors set, and enjoy.
- If you're bringing this to a family function, it's a great one to make ahead and store in the fridge for a day until ready to serve. The flavors will meld, and it's one of those "tastes better the next day" kinda recipes.
- For a smaller quantity simply halve all recipe ingredients, or make the full amount of dressing and only prep half the coleslaw mix and then use the rest of the dressing in a couple of days time so the salad is fresh.
- This dressing does have a bit of zip. If you do prefer a more subtle version, try my Simple Creamy Coleslaw.
Substitutions and variations
- I recommend making this recipe as-is, at least for the first time you try it. The dressing has been tested and perfected. If you want to make tweaks from there, you're welcome to.
- You can make your own coleslaw mix if you prefer. Shred a medium head of green cabbage and a large carrot, or you can mix green and red cabbage. You'd want around 8 cups of the homemade coleslaw mix.
- Subbing the mayo and sour cream for lower fat alternatives may alter texture and taste.
- If you happen to have celery seed on hand, you could swap it for the celery salt and then add a teaspoon or so of salt to the dressing to make up for it. It's a large quantity of cabbage, so be sure to season it properly!
What to serve with coleslaw
- Try it as a topping for hot dogs, burgers, and my Pulled Pork or BBQ Chicken Sandwiches to complement the smoky flavors.
- It's also fantastic with fish tacos or fish and chips, fried chicken, or in wraps.
- This is a great BBQ side dish for your whole spread along with my Easy Grilled Pork Chops, this Caprese Tortellini Pasta Salad, and this Easy Broccoli Salad recipe.
Leftovers and storage
- Coleslaw will last for 3-5 days in the fridge in an airtight container, but keep in mind that after a couple of days, the cabbage won't be as crunchy, and it might get a little watery.
- Also, if it's been sitting on the table or outdoors for any length of time, you will want to eat it ASAP or throw it away.
- I don't recommend freezing this recipe.
More summer salad recipes
I hope you agree this is the tastiest coleslaw you've tried! Yes, it's better than KFC. 😉 Please leave a star rating and comment below if you made it. You can also tag me #saltandlavender on Instagram.
- 3/4 cup mayo
- 1/4 cup sour cream
- 2.5 tablespoons white vinegar
- 1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- 3 teaspoons granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon celery salt
- 1/4 teaspoon onion powder
- Pepper to taste
- 14-16 ounces coleslaw mix see note
- Add all the ingredients except for the coleslaw mix to a medium bowl, and combine until smooth. Taste and adjust if needed.
- Add the coleslaw mix to a large bowl. Pour the dressing over and toss. Depending how creamy you want the salad, you may have a little dressing left over.
- I recommend letting the flavors meld for a few hours in the fridge prior to serving, but you could serve right away if needed.
- Coleslaw mix can vary in size depending where you buy it, but anything from 14-16 oz. will work. If you prefer, you can chop/shred your own cabbage and carrots vs. buying a conveniently prepped bag from your local grocery store. You'd want about 8 cups of shredded cabbage/carrots if you're making the coleslaw mix yourself.
- Nutritional information is provided as a courtesy only and should be construed as an estimate rather than a guarantee. Ingredients can vary and Salt & Lavender makes no guarantees to the accuracy of this information.
By far, the best homemade coleslaw recipe I've tried to date! This one is a keeper and I've been sifting thru recipes for the perfect slaw for years!
I'm so happy to hear that, Leanne!! 😀 It took some experimenting, but I was thrilled when I landed on this particular version, and so I had to put it on the blog immediately haha. Appreciate your review!
Linda Johnston says
Nothing better than a good coleslaw. Thanks for this recipe!
You're very welcome, Linda!!
I just made this, thank you! I did add 3oz pineapple juice, cause I love that with it. Very good recipe. TY
You're very welcome!! That pineapple juice idea intrigues me. Thanks for your review! 😀
Lauren Bock says
Can I make this without the sour cream? I have to go dairy free and cannot find DF sour cream. Do I just up my mayo if I leave it out?
Yes I would up the mayo. You may need to adjust the vinegar but it'll work just fine.
jerri papke says
Try grated onion it is great and all mayo no sour cream
Sounds good to me, but I hope you'll give this version a try. 🙂