This easy and creamy Homemade Coleslaw Recipe sticks to its Southern roots and is super quick to make. Shredded cabbage and carrots are tossed with the best mayo and mustard dressing to create a low-carb side dish. This American classic is perfect for picnics, barbecues, or just on a typical summer weeknight!

The best Southern Coleslaw recipe that is made with vegan mayo, Paleo mustard, and a little bit of sugar.

Here in the South, a backyard BBQ or Summer picnic is not complete without a big bowl of homemade coleslaw.

Whether it’s made with mayonnaise, mixed with carrots, sweetened with a touch of sugar, or made Paleo…

Southern coleslaw is ALWAYS, and I repeat ALWAYS, made with A LOT of love.

And what some may think of as a delicious side to go alongside a plate of decadent barbecue…

I would also argue that Sweet Potato Black Bean Burgers, Air Fryer Hamburgers, or Salmon Burgers would not taste nearly as good without a big scoop of coleslaw to go alongside.

Or really any Summer dish you’re enjoying outside. Because this homemade coleslaw recipe was made to go with just about ANY main dish during the hot summer months!

Cabbage, carrots, mayo, mustard, vinegar, and seasonings for homemade coleslaw.

Ingredients

The easy-to-find ingredients that you will need for the best coleslaw recipe include:

  • Cabbage. Red or green cabbage or a mixture of the two can be used interchangeably in this recipe. Including red cabbage really gives a nice color. Check out these tips on how to cut and shred cabbage. Or, buy 2 bags of pre-shredded coleslaw mix.
  • Carrots. Peeled, whole carrots are shredded using a food processor, but pre-packaged matchstick carrots may also be used if that’s what you have on hand.
  • Onion. Just a bit of finely diced sweet onion gives a nice kick to the coleslaw. Feel free to leave it out or substitute it with yellow or red onion.
  • Parsley. This might seem like an optional ingredient, but this herb gives a wonderful pop of color to the slaw and a freshness you don’t want to miss!
  • Mayonnaise. This ingredient makes up the bulk of the dressing so you want to find one that you enjoy. Duke’s and Hellman’s mayo are popular choices. If you are Paleo, Primal Kitchen has a wonderful avocado oil mayonnaise. If you are vegan, you might enjoy Hellman’s vegan mayo.
  • Mustard. Dijon mustard delivers the perfect balance of tanginess and sweetness to the dressing. Feel free to substitute with yellow mustard if that’s all you have available.
  • Vinegar. After testing this out with a few different types of vinegar, apple cider vinegar is by far the best. You can also use distilled white vinegar or white wine vinegar if you prefer.
  • Sugar. While this is optional, if you’re not avoiding sugar then definitely keep this in! It gives this slaw that secret oompfh that will have your guests begging you for the recipe.
Coleslaw dressing with mayonnaise and mustard being poured over shredded cabbage.

How to Make Homemade Coleslaw

Here are the step-by-step instructions for this easy coleslaw recipe you will need to follow:

Shred the Veggies

If you didn’t buy shredded carrots and a cabbage mixture, you will need to prepare them first. Follow these step-by-step instructions for how to cut and shred cabbage.

Start by removing the outer layers and washing the cabbage. Then, set it stem-side down on a cutting board. Slice in half top to bottom, then cut in half again going through the stem each time.

Slice the core off of each quarter at an angle. With the cabbage flat-side down, thinly slice each section. You want to end up with ⅛-inch thick slices that are about 2 inches long.

To easily shred the carrots, use the grating attachment on a food processor. A box grater works great, also!

Finely dice the onion and chop the parsley.

Place all of the veggies in a large mixing bowl.

Coleslaw Dressing

In a separate medium-sized bowl, combine the mayonnaise, mustard, vinegar, sugar, salt, and pepper.

Use a whisk or fork to thoroughly mix the creamy coleslaw dressing.

Mix and Refrigerate

Pour the coleslaw dressing over the vegetables. Gently toss until everything is well-coated.

Refrigerate for at least an hour or up to overnight.  Serve chilled with additional fresh parsley and enjoy!

A wooden bowl full of a southern coleslaw recipe.

Prep-Ahead and Storage

  • To Prep-Ahead: You can make this creamy coleslaw completely ahead of time. For the best texture, prepare the coleslaw no less than 2 hours and no more than 8 hours before serving. If you want to meal prep it further in advance you can always make the dressing, shred the vegetables, and store them separately.
  • To Store: Homemade coleslaw will last for up to 3-4 days when stored in the refrigerator in an airtight container. After about 1-2 days the cabbage will get softer and the dressing will get runnier. While the texture won’t be as great, the flavor will still be there.
  • To Freeze: This is not recommended as the dressing will separate and the texture will change.

Expert Tip: Due to the eggs in the mayonnaise, make sure you do not let it sit out at room temperature for more than 2 hours or at temperatures above 80 degrees for more than 1 hour.

Dietary Modifications

The recipe you’ll find below is already gluten-free, dairy-free, low-carb and vegetarian as written. Here are some adjustments and substitutions you can make to help it fit your other dietary requirements:

  • Keto – Leave out the sugar.
  • Vegan – Use a plant-based mayonnaise.
  • Whole30 – Omit the sugar, and use a mustard and mayo with no added sugars.
  • Paleo – Leave out the sugar or sub a refined sugar-free option like honey or agave nectar and use an avocado oil mayonnaise.
Quick, easy, and healthy coleslaw recipe in a white bowl.

FAQs

How do you make coleslaw not watery?

In order to ensure your coleslaw is not runny, there are a couple of things you can do. First, make sure to dry the veggies well before mixing them. Also, serve within eight hours.

How can I make my coleslaw better?

To make the best coleslaw, be sure to use fresh ingredients and follow this easy recipe. Or, add in things for extra flavor, like celery seeds or onion powder.

What do you eat with coleslaw?

Anything! Barbecued meats, fried chicken, pulled pork sandwiches, burgers, hot dogs, fish, and tacos all go well with this classic coleslaw recipe.

Expert Tips and Tricks

  • Don’t skip the parsley. The fresh herb adds a wonderful color and flavor.
  • Shred it small. Cut cabbage into thin slices so you don’t get large chunks in your coleslaw.
  • Serve during the sweet spot. The coleslaw needs to sit for at least two hours in the fridge before serving to chill and allow the flavors to meld. After 8 hours the texture will begin to soften.
  • Play it safe. Make sure you do not let it sit out at room temperature for more than 2 hours or at temperatures above 80 degrees for more than 1 hour.
  • Use as a topping. Sure this coleslaw is great as a side, but it’s also great added to other recipes. Try garnishing burgers, BBQ sandwiches, or fish tacos.
An easy coleslaw recipe with shredded cabbage and carrots, mayonnaise and mustard.

What to Serve with Coleslaw

There are so many dishes that go PERFECTLY with this coleslaw recipe:

Other Easy Picnic Recipes

If you enjoyed this quick side dish, you might also enjoy these other cold salad recipes perfect for a picnic:

Tap stars to rate!

5 from 2 votes

Homemade Southern Coleslaw Recipe

A creamy, easy Homemade Coleslaw Recipe that sticks to its Southern roots is super quick to make. Shredded cabbage and carrots are tossed with the best mayo and mustard dressing to create a low-carb side dish.
Yield 10 servings
Prep 30 minutes
Total 30 minutes

Ingredients 

  • 1 head of cabbage red or green, about 8 cups
  • 2 large carrots peeled
  • ¾ cup mayonnaise Paleo or vegan if needed
  • 1 ½ Tbsp. Dijon mustard
  • 2 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp. sugar optional
  • ¼ cup sweet onion finely diced
  • ¾ tsp. salt to taste
  • ¼ tsp. black pepper to taste
  • 2 Tbsp. fresh parsley finely chopped

Instructions 

  • Cut and shred cabbage into ⅛-inch thick slices that are about 2 inches long.
  • Shred carrots by using a large food processor with the grating attachment or a cheese grater.
  • In a medium-sized bowl whisk together the mayonnaise, mustard, vinegar, sugar, salt, and pepper.
  • Add shredded cabbage, carrots, onion, and parsley to a large bowl.
  • Pour dressing over the ingredients. Toss to coat.
  • Refrigerate for at least an hour or up to overnight before serving. Serve chilled with additional fresh parsley and enjoy!

Tap stars to rate!

5 from 2 votes

Notes

Prep-Ahead and Storage

  • To Prep-Ahead: You can make this creamy coleslaw completely ahead of time. For the best texture, prepare the coleslaw no less than two hours and no more than eight hours before serving. If you want to meal prep it further in advance you can always make the dressing, shred the vegetables, and store them separately.
  • To Store: Homemade coleslaw will last for up to three to four days when stored in the refrigerator in an airtight container. After about one to two days the cabbage will get softer and the dressing will get runnier. While the texture won’t be as great, the flavor will still be there.
  • To Freeze: This is not recommended as the dressing will separate and the texture will change.

Nutrition

Calories: 152kcal, Carbohydrates: 9g, Protein: 2g, Fat: 13g, Saturated Fat: 2g, Cholesterol: 7mg, Sodium: 305mg, Potassium: 234mg, Fiber: 2g, Sugar: 5g, Vitamin A: 3093IU, Vitamin C: 46mg, Calcium: 43mg, Iron: 1mg

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

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