Creamy Coleslaw Recipe

Classic Creamy Coleslaw Without Mayonnaise

The Spruce / Stephanie Goldfinger

Prep: 20 mins
Cook: 0 mins
Total: 20 mins
Servings: 8 to 12 servings
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
21 Calories
1g Fat
2g Carbs
1g Protein
Show Full Nutrition Label Hide Full Nutrition Label
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 8 to 12
Amount per serving
Calories 21
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 1g 2%
Saturated Fat 1g 4%
Cholesterol 4mg 1%
Sodium 104mg 5%
Total Carbohydrate 2g 1%
Dietary Fiber 1g 2%
Total Sugars 1g
Protein 1g
Vitamin C 10mg 52%
Calcium 16mg 1%
Iron 0mg 1%
Potassium 73mg 2%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

Do you think all classic coleslaw recipes needs mayonnaise? They don't! This classic creamy coleslaw recipe uses a bit of cream and malt vinegar to dress the shredded cabbage. The acidic nature of the malt vinegar naturally thickens the cream to dressing-like consistency. Quick and easy, this recipe creates the perfect creamy slaw. It's great for your next backyard barbecue or potluck party. The coleslaw travels beautifully and can be made ahead of time. 

This recipe makes a very lightly dressed coleslaw. For an even creamier version, simply double the amount of dressing and use the same amount of vegetables.


  • 3 tablespoons heavy cream

  • 1 tablespoon malt vinegar

  • 1/2 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste

  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper, plus more to taste

  • 1/2 teaspoon celery seed, optional

  • 1 cup shredded green cabbage

  • 1 large carrot, optional

  • 1/4 head red cabbage

  • 1/2 medium red onion, optional

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Classic Creamy Coleslaw Without Mayonnaise ingredients

    The Spruce / Stephanie Goldfinger

  2. In a very large bowl, combine cream, vinegar, salt, pepper, and celery seed, if you are using. 

    combine cream, vinegar, salt, pepper, and celery seed in a bowl

    The Spruce / Stephanie Goldfinger

  3. Cut the cabbage in half lengthwise, remove the core.

    cut the cabbage and remove the core

    The Spruce / Stephanie Goldfinger

  4. Cut the cabbage into very fine shreds (you can use a mandoline if you have one, but a very sharp knife and a steady hand work just fine). Add shredded cabbage to bowl.

    shredded cabbage in a bowl

    The Spruce / Stephanie Goldfinger

  5. Peel and grate carrot, if using, and add to cabbage. Similarly, shred and add red cabbage and/or red onion.

    cabbage with carrots and onions in a bowl

    The Spruce / Stephanie Goldfinger

  6. Toss the slaw, lifting from the bottom of the mixture to bring the dressing to the top. Continue tossing the slaw. It will take a while to thoroughly combine the ingredients. You want the slaw to be completely coated with a small amount of dressing.

    mixed vegetables with dressing in a bowl

    The Spruce / Stephanie Goldfinger

  7. Taste and add more salt and pepper if you like. Toss again to fully combine.

    Classic Creamy Coleslaw Without Mayonnaise in a bowl

    The Spruce / Stephanie Goldfinger


  • For a crunchy slaw, serve immediately; for a slightly softer slaw cover and chill for at least 1 hour and up to overnight. Toss again and serve.
  • If you use only the green cabbage, your slaw will not be very colorful. By adding the carrot, red cabbage, and red onion to the green cabbage, your coleslaw will be bright with varied colors. Don't be concerned if the cream mixture takes on a reddish tint, this is simply from the juices of the cabbage and/or red onion.
  • Although this classic coleslaw does not contain mayonnaise, you will want to follow some basic food safety guidelines if you plan to serve it outside, especially on a hot summer day. Avoid leaving this coleslaw, and other food items that require refrigeration, outdoors in warm weather for more than two hours. If you plan to serve the slaw outdoors for longer than two hours, consider resting the bowl of coleslaw over ice to keep it chilled and prevent any spoilage. 

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