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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.

a large bowl of coleslaw

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.
ingredients for homemade coleslaw in prep bowls

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.

mixing up coleslaw dressing with a spoon in a bowl and adding to cabbage

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.

Helpful tips

  • 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

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.

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.

a large bowl of coleslaw
5 from 22 votes

Best Coleslaw

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.
Prep: 10 minutes
Total: 10 minutes
Servings: 8

Ingredients 

  • 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

Instructions 

  • 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.

Notes

  • 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.

Nutrition

Calories: 178kcal, Carbohydrates: 5g, Protein: 1g, Fat: 17g, Saturated Fat: 3g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 9g, Monounsaturated Fat: 4g, Trans Fat: 0.04g, Cholesterol: 13mg, Sodium: 440mg, Potassium: 111mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 4g, Vitamin A: 114IU, Vitamin C: 21mg, Calcium: 33mg, Iron: 0.3mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

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Hi! Iā€™m Natasha.

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48 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    Loved this coleslaw!! I really liked the idea of adding celery salt. Lovely blend of flavors! Pairs beautifully with pulled pork. Thanks for sharing!!

  2. 5 stars
    Iā€™m very happy with the dressing recipe, not too sweet and full of flavor. I used celery seed vs salt which is my preference to limit salt intake.
    I knew I was going to love your recipe, I have enjoyed several Salt and Lavender recipes, thanks for posting good stuff šŸ„°

    1. I’m so glad it was a hit!! That makes me so happy you’ve been enjoying my recipes, Marlene. I appreciate your support! šŸ˜€

  3. 5 stars
    Great. Second time I used seasoned rice vinegar in place of white vinegar. Gave it a little sweeter taste like I like. Thanks for sharing

  4. I am making this for 125 people
    I would like to confirm I have accurate quantities
    Thank you so much. Figure 1/2 C per person

    1. Hi Corinne! I am not sure how much a serving size works out to exactly. In this case I would definitely do a test run of one or two batches just to be sure it’s the recipe you’re looking for and to see if indeed the 8 suggested servings works out to what you think it should work out to (the 1/2 cup per person) as I just eyeball it.

  5. This was a yummy recipe. I don’t usually like coleslaw, but I think this one would even sway my Dad away from KFC slaw. I did a little doctoring of it to give it a deeper flavor. I did half and half of balsamic and white vinegar, a 1/2 tablespoon of creamy horseradish sauce, and some celery seed. It just made that flavor deeper with a little more sweetness without adding more sugar. It was delish!

  6. 5 stars
    Very creamy and delicious. I always use yellow mustard but I had some Dijon and it is incredibly good. Will be my go to for dressing.