Classic, creamy, homemade Coleslaw is an amazing and refreshing side dish that is perfect for summer barbecues and cookouts.
Crispy, crunchy cabbage is tossed in a zesty, creamy dressing.
Did you know that this American classic has Dutch roots?
The term coleslaw comes from the Dutch word 'koolsla'. 'Kool' means cabbage ('Kohl' in German), and 'Sla' means salad.
Having worked in a number of restaurants, I learned many years ago that are a lot of coleslaw recipe variations. This is my favorite.
It's easy to make, and my friends and family have loved it for years. Learn how to make your own restaurant-quality coleslaw in no time.
At the most basic level, there are two types of coleslaws: creamy and oil-based. In this recipe, we'll make classic creamy coleslaw.
You can shred your own cabbage and carrots. I used pre-shredded, store-bought cabbage and carrots for this recipe.
CABBAGE - You'll want to use both red and green cabbage.
CARROTS - While they are actually an optional ingredient in a classic coleslaw, I like to add them for color.
MAYONNAISE - Whether you are team Hellman's, team Miracle Whip, or team homemade mayo is up to you. Choose whichever one your family likes best.
LEMON - Adds a hint of tanginess.
SUGAR - Balances the tanginess.
MUSTARD - Use yellow, dijon, or if you are like me and born in Düsseldorf, you "must" use Dusseldorf Style Mustard (Düsseldorfer Senf).
SALT - This is for the saltwater bath.
How To Make Coleslaw from Scratch
Making homemade coleslaw is super easy and takes just a few minutes.
The most important step is to make sure that you allow the cabbage mixture to sit in the salted water. See Recipe Success Tips for more information.
- SALT BATH - Add shredded cabbage and carrots to a large bowl, pour about 4 cups of very cold water over the mixture, and add 2 tablespoons of salt. Set aside for 1 hour.
- DRY - Drain well and pat dry. Make sure the cabbage mixture is very dry. You can use a salad spinner to speed up the process.
- DRESSING - Whisk mayonnaise, lemon juice & zest, mustard, and sugar. Pour the dressing over the coleslaw and combine well. Chill 15-30 minutes before serving.
📌 PIN THE CREAMY COLESLAW
HERE TO SAVE FOR LATER!
Tips for Success
So why do you need to soak the cabbage in salted water? Why not just add the dressing and call it a day? The answer is simple but maybe surprising.
Cabbage contains 93% of water!
I remember being so surprised when I learned this little factoid. You know that cucumbers have over 90% water, but cabbage, who'd have thunk it?
Having such a high water content means that your coleslaw can easily become watered down. Maybe you've had this experience before where you picked up a side of slaw, and it was all watery.
Bathing the cabbage in salted water solves this problem.
How long does Coleslaw last?
Once prepared, you can keep the coleslaw refrigerated for 3 days. Store it in an airtight container.
If you decide to buy a head of cabbage and shred it yourself, you will have extra cabbage. Use the leftover cabbage to make this delicious fried German cabbage noodles dish called Krautfleckerl.
Craving More Side Dishes?
HONEY ROASTED SWEET POTATOES - Reader Favorite. Perfectly roasted sweet potatoes that can be a side dish or served on top of a salad.
GERMAN TOMATO SALAD - Chopped tomato salad with a deliciously tangy, smoky dressing.
PEA SALAD - The revival of a vintage side salad.
SPÄTZLE - Classic German egg noodles. Easy to make and a great side dish for a variety of dishes.
- 12 ounces cabbage shredded
- 4 ounces carrots shredded
Salt Water Bath
- 4 cups water cold water
- 2 tablespoons salt
Salt Water Bath
- Combine shredded cabbage and carrots in a large bowl. Pour 4 cups of cold water over the mixture and add two tablespoons of salt. Soak cabbage mixture for 1 hour.
- Whisk together mayonnaise, mustard, lemon juice and lemon zest. Set aside
Making The Slaw
- Drain cabbage mixture well and pat dry. Be sure to remove as much moisture as possible.
- Pour the dressing over the cabbage mixture and combine well. Store in the fridge for 30 minutes.