Southern Coleslaw Recipe (with Best Homemade Dressing)

Southern Coleslaw Recipe (with Best Homemade Dressing)

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The Best Southern Coleslaw Recipe – Deliciously cold and crunchy homemade slaw with creamy dressing is the perfect side for any spring or summer gathering!

Fork taking bite from pile of creamy coleslaw.

Why We Love This Recipe

Coleslaw is a popular cold side dish that can be made with many unique variations, as seen in our Caribbean Coleslaw and Buffalo Blue Cheese Coleslaw. Although we love these other dazzling slaw recipes, it’s about time we share our most classic southern version!

Crunchy and cold traditional cole slaw with mayo dressing is a delicious barbecue side dish and topping for burgers and sandwiches. It’s creamy, tangy-sweet, and made with just the right blend of cabbage and carrots!

This easy homemade Southern Coleslaw recipe is perfect for spring and summer parties. A batch is a breeze to whip up in only 15 minutes, and is even a great make-ahead dish! Slice and stir everything together in the late morning or afternoon, stick it in the fridge, and serve perfectly chilled later in the day. That’s it!

Top down view shredded coleslaw with creamy dressing in a bowl.

Ingredients You Need

  • Green cabbage – shredded
  • Red cabbage – shredded
  • Carrots – shredded
  • Mayonnaise – use light if you prefer
  • Lemon juice – fresh, not bottled
  • Rice vinegar – or apple cider vinegar
  • Granulated sugar – I don’t recommend using alternative sweeteners
  • Salt and pepper – just a pinch
  • Celery seeds and onion powder – the secret spices to really make this creamy coleslaw pop

Pro Tip: It doesn’t take a big cabbage to create 5-7 cups of shredded cabbage. Buy small ones, 1-2 pounds or less.

Recipe Variations

  • Want less color? I have learned people are quite particular about the color of their coleslaw. I like lots of color, but if this blend is too colorful for you, use 7 cups green cabbage, ½ cup red cabbage, and ½ cup carrots.
  • Use pre-shredded coleslaw mix. Don’t want to mess with shredded cabbage? Use two 14-ounce bags of cabbage and carrot cole slaw mix.
Shredded green cabbage on cutting board.

How to Make Classic Southern Coleslaw

First, shred the green and red cabbage. I find the best way to do this is to use a mandolin slicer on a fine setting. (Use the safety guard to protect your fingers!) You can also do it carefully with a large chef’s knife. Then shred the carrots using a box grater.

Add the shredded green cabbage to the bowl.

Shredded green cabbage in a bowl.

Add the shredded red cabbage.

Shredded red and green cabbage in a bowl.

Then add the shredded carrots.

Shredded carrots added to shredded cabbage in a bowl.

Toss well.

Cabbage and carrots tossed together in a bowl.

In a separate bowl or measuring pitcher, combine the mayonnaise, lemon juice, rice vinegar, and sugar.

Get the Complete (Printable) Southern Coleslaw Dressing Recipe Below. Enjoy!

Lemon juice being squeezed into measuring cup.

Then add the spices: Salt, black pepper, celery seeds, and onion powder.

Adding spices to measuring cup with other creamy coleslaw dressing ingredients.

Mix until smooth.

Top down view creamy slaw dressing in a measuring cup.

Pour the dressing over the coleslaw mix. Toss well to fully coat.

Then cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.

Top down bowl of creamy coleslaw dressing.

Serving Suggestions

Homemade cole slaw is a must-have southern side dish at picnics, potlucks, barbecues, or any summer meal!

Cool and creamy coleslaw is the perfect side to enjoy with fried chicken and fried fish. Or pair with grilled favorites like salmon, barbecue chicken, hamburgers, and hot dogs.

It even makes a great topping! From burgers and dogs, to pork sandwiches and tacos, pile a generous portion of this crunchy chilled slaw salad on whatever mains you like!

Close view final dish.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do you thicken runny coleslaw?

First, be sure that washed cabbage and carrots have been thoroughly dried before shredding. This coleslaw dressing recipe is fine-tuned to make a delightfully creamy and non-runny dressing. So if the proportions and steps are followed everything should be great! Also, keep in mind that the dressing will thicken a good bit once the cole slaw chills for at least 30 minutes.

Can you make this southern coleslaw dressing recipe with no mayo?

Mayonnaise can be substituted with sour cream or plain greek yogurt. Note that this will change the flavor slightly for a tangier taste – but your slaw will still be delish!

How far in advance can I make coleslaw?

Homemade coleslaw is great to make ahead a few hours before serving, or even the day before. But I wouldn’t prepare it too far in advance… The cabbage and carrots will become a bit soft after sitting in the fridge for several days, so it’s best to enjoy it within 36 hours of preparation.

Can you double the recipe?

Absolutely! As-is this recipe yields approximately 8 servings. Easily double the ingredients for a larger batch to feed a party.

Fork taking bite of slaw.

Looking for More Traditional Southern Side Dishes?

Southern Coleslaw Recipe (Best Homemade Dressing)

Deliciously cold and crunchy homemade slaw with creamy dressing is the perfect side for any spring or summer gathering!

Servings: 8 servings

  • Shred the green and red cabbage. I find the best way to do this is to use a mandolin slicer on a fine setting. (Use the safety guard to protect your fingers!) You can also do it carefully with a large chef’s knife. Then shred the carrots using a box grater.

  • Set out a large mixing bowl. Add both kinds of shredded cabbage and the carrots. Toss well.

  • In a separate bowl or measuring pitcher, combine the mayonnaise, lemon juice, rice vinegar, sugar, salt, black pepper, celery seeds, and onion powder. Mix until smooth.

  • Pour the dressing over the coleslaw mix. Toss well to fully coat. Then cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.

Picking cabbages – It doesn’t take a big cabbage to create 5-7 cups of shredded cabbage. Buy small ones, 1-2 pounds or less.
Less color? I have learned people are quite particular about the color of their coleslaw. I like lots of color, but if this blend is too colorful for you, use 7 cups green cabbage, ½ cup red cabbage, and ½ cup carrots.
Pre-shredded coleslaw mix? Don’t want to mess with shredded cabbage? Use two 14 ounce bags of cabbage and carrot coleslaw mix.
Homemade coleslaw is great to make ahead up to 36 hours before serving. 
As-is this recipe yields approximately 8 servings. Easily double the ingredients for a larger batch to feed a party.
 

Serving: 0.5cup, Calories: 181kcal, Carbohydrates: 9g, Protein: 1g, Fat: 16g, Saturated Fat: 2g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 9g, Monounsaturated Fat: 4g, Trans Fat: 0.04g, Cholesterol: 9mg, Sodium: 449mg, Potassium: 191mg, Fiber: 2g, Sugar: 6g, Vitamin A: 2979IU, Vitamin C: 30mg, Calcium: 38mg, Iron: 1mg

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