Home » Salads » Creamy Coleslaw

Creamy Coleslaw

This post may contain affiliate links. See my disclosure policy.

The BEST coleslaw and the perfect side dish for your barbecue, picnic and summer potluck!  This classic creamy coleslaw recipe is quick to make and features the perfect texture and balance of flavors, rivaling your favorite restaurant or deli version!

best coleslaw recipe creamy mayonnaise carrots cabbage kfc copycat

It’s hard to imagine a barbecue, picnic or summer potluck without coleslaw!  And we’ve got the perfect creamy coleslaw recipe for you to try!

This classic side dish is an American staple.  It features crispy cabbage and carrots tossed in a tangy and seasoned mayonnaise dressing.  It’s the classic dish to bring to picnics, potlucks, cookouts and barbecues.

The name coleslaw arose from the Dutch word koolsla which means “cabbage salad.”  Shredded cabbage salads exist around the world in different variations, most commonly with a base of oil and vinegar.  But when mayonnaise was invented by a French chef in the mid-18th century its popularity took off in America and soon the classic creamy coleslaw was born.

Quick and easy to make, this recipe provides the perfect balance of flavors and rivals your favorite restaurant or deli version!

What to Serve With Coleslaw

It’s the quintessential classic summer side dish along with things like potato salad, pasta salad and corn on the cob.

It’s enjoyed as a side dish and is also phenomenal heaped on pulled pork sandwiches, wraps, hot dots, burgers and tacos!

Can I Freeze Coleslaw?

The mayonnaise makes it unsuitable for freezing because it tends to separate after being frozen and becomes very watery.  Raw cabbage likewise does not freeze very well.  For a delicious variation that can be frozen, try our Freezer Slaw.

freezer slaw recipe

BEST Coleslaw Recipe

Let’s get started!

A key to making the best coleslaw is eliminating excess water so the end result isn’t watery which will dilute the flavor and prevent that great creamy consistency we’re after.  To do that we need to draw out the water from the vegetables before adding the dressing.

Place the veggies in a bowl and sprinkle with a teaspoon of salt.  Toss to combine.  Let this sit for at least an hour to draw out excess water.  Rinse and thoroughly drain (either use a salad spinner to spin dry it or lay it out on paper towels and blot dry.)  Return the cabbage to the bowl.

Combine the dressing ingredients in a medium sized bowl.   Be sure to use a good quality mayonnaise, it makes all the difference.  Pour the dressing over the veggies and stir to coat.  Cover and chill in the fridge for at least 2 hours before serving.

This dish is naturally gluten-free and for a vegan coleslaw simply use vegan mayonnaise.


best coleslaw recipe creamy mayonnaise carrots cabbage kfc copycat

For more delicious salads be sure to also try our:

Creamy Coleslaw

This creamy coleslaw recipe features the perfect balance of flavors and is just what you need for your barbecue, picnic or potluck!
4.99 from 152 votes
Prep Time 10 minutes
Total Time 10 minutes
Course Side Dish
Cuisine American
Servings 6 servings
Calories 319 kcal


  • 16 ounces shredded cabbage/carrot blend (classic is green cabbage but you can add some red cabbage for color)
  • For the Coleslaw Dressing:
  • 1 cup quality mayonnaise
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons yellow mustard
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon celery seeds
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper


  • Place the shredded cabbage and carrots in a large bowl and sprinkle a teaspoon of salt over them.  Toss to combine.  Let this sit for at least an hour to draw out excess water.  Rinse and thoroughly drain (either use a salad spinner to spin dry it or lay it out on paper towels and blot dry.)  Return the cabbage to the bowl.  
  • Combine the dressing ingredients in a small bowl.  Pour it over the cabbage mixture and stir until combined.  Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours before serving.


Serving: 0.5cupCalories: 319kcalCarbohydrates: 11gProtein: 1gFat: 30gSaturated Fat: 5gCholesterol: 20mgSodium: 564mgPotassium: 149mgFiber: 1gSugar: 9gVitamin A: 160IUVitamin C: 27.6mgCalcium: 50mgIron: 0.6mg
Keyword coleslaw
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

Originally published on The Daring Gourmet June 21, 2018

kimberly killebrew the daring gourmet

Hi, I’m Kimberly Killebrew and welcome to Daring Gourmet where you'll find delicious originals, revitalized classics, and simply downright good eats from around the world! Originally from Germany, later raised in England, world-traveled, and now living in the U.S., from my globally-influenced kitchen I invite you to tour the world through your taste buds!

Read more about me...

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating

4.99 from 152 votes (125 ratings without comment)


  1. This is my go to recipe now, I just love the flavours. I use honey instead of sugar and the taste is great. My husband loves it and normally doesn’t like this kind of thing at all. I don’t bother with the salting. I can never seems to rinse enough of the salt out for some reason, and I like it extra crunchy. It does not last long here so I don’t worry about it getting too watery (it does get a bit watery the next day) I shred up my own cabbage and buy the bags of shredded carrots to add. I use homemade mayo and 15% fat sour cream.

  2. Just the recipe I was looking for. Used store bought slaw dressing once…..it tasted horrible threw it out. I didn’t use celery seed cause I don’t like them, but I add a small grated sweet onion.
    SoOoOO Good I will made this over and over. Yummy

  3. I thought I’d never find a good creamy coleslaw recipe but I was wrong! This one is so yummy. We don’t care for apple cider vinegar so I switched it out with balsamic vinegar. I take this salad to all my gatherings now and it always gets rave reviews!

  4. This is the absolute best coleslaw. My family requests it all the time :) my one question is where do you find your quality mayonnaise? What store and brand?

    1. Thank you so much, Katie! :) Well, the very best mayonnaise would be homemade. In the absence of homemade I recommend avoiding generic brands. Even though it still contains soybean oil (something I try to avoid wherever possible), Hellmann’s has my vote for the best flavor (rebranded “Best Foods” in some regions). I would prefer to use avocado oil-based mayo but every brand I’ve tried just tastes sooooo bad.

  5. Very good recipe, although it did add rasains and ce out perfectly great. I made slaw before but never put sour cream or mustard
    Thanks you much

  6. This has been my go-to recipe for several years. It’s definitely my favorite. I use Avocado mayo and organic ingredients. Yummy!

  7. Absolutely one of the best Coleslaws I’ve ever made/tasted…thank you for this yum of a side dish. Been asked for the recipe several times.again thank you

  8. This has become my go to recipe over the last two years. I’ve made it countless times for bbqs. I looked it up again today to bring to a family lunch and realized that I should have left a review long ago! It’s the perfect balance of creamy and tangy. The celery salt and onion powder are a game changer. Thank you for the great recipe!

  9. 5-stars ‘go-to’ recipe! Definitely a keeper. Goes well with BBQ Chicken, Jerk Chicken, or a nice smoked beef rib. Yum.

  10. I fixed this exactly as the recipe said and WOW this is WONDERFUL!!! I’m very picky about slaw which is why I don’t eat it. There are VERY FEW slaws that I like. But I made this to go with Baked Smoky Parmesan Fish and green beans and WOW!!! It’s delicious!! This will be my go to recipe from now on!!

  11. Never found the need to do the salt method. I added horseradish and fresh chopped garlic and used hand blender to mix it. Perfect!

  12. This is an excellent and “perfect” coleslaw EXCEPT that the ingredients seem to be too much for only 16 ounces of shredded cabbage (with carrots). I make approximately 32 ounces of shredded cabbage and carrots (combined) and, then, I follow the recipe BUT ONLY USE HALF OF EACH INGREDIENT ON THE LIST, from mayo down to black pepper. Result? Perfect Creamy Coleslaw!.

  13. Fantastic! My husband NEVER eats anything creamy, I served this with pulled bbq chicken and he had 2 large helpings. I look forward to making this again soon!

  14. Why do you draw the water out and then rinse it? I’m looking at a big wet mess of cabbage now when I thought the purpose was to dry it out, unless I’m missing something?

    1. Hi Anjelica, the purpose of salting the cabbage is to drain out the water from inside the cabbage itself. Rinsing it is to get rid of the salt, otherwise the coleslaw will be too salty. Just be sure to thoroughly drain the cabbage after rinsing.

      1. Thanks! Second comment is that I had to use about 4 cups of cabbage vs the 2 suggested in the recipe and it’s still VERY creamy – when I put two cups in, it was like a coleslaw soup. Wondering if I missed something – the flavour is great but I had a big delay as I had to salt/drain more cabbage after making it as per the recipe.

    2. I tried the salt trick a few times myself. I didn’t like it. It made the cabbage/carrot mixture too salty. Sometimes it looked more brown and didn’t last as long… also wasn’t crunchy. I’ve been making coleslaw for at least 45 years. I stick with the good old shredding method and mix in the dressing. If it ain’t broke… 😉

      1. Seen you have been making slaw for 45 years . Is it a creamy one ? If so, would use share with me ? Thank you

        1. Hi Betty
          I am looking for a good creamy cole slaw recipe. I would be interested in seeing the recipe you have used for 45 years. Thanks so much!