Simple Coleslaw

Pulled pork sandwich with coleslaw
Karen Thornton/Flickr
Ratings (32)
  • Total: 12 mins
  • Prep: 12 mins
  • Cook: 0 mins
  • Yield: Serves 4
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
189 Calories
11g Fat
22g Carbs
4g Protein
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

This coleslaw is easy to make and perfect for topping Carolina-style pulled pork sandwiches or fish tacos. You can adjust the mayonnaise and vinegar ratio to suit your palate. Coleslaw will complement any grilled meat at your backyard barbecue. It's also a great accompaniment for Southern fried chicken, fried fish, and seafood.

You don't need fancy tools to make coleslaw. You really only need a knife to chop the cabbage. Place the cabbage on its core and cut it into wedges. Then cut each wedge crosswise into thin slices. If you prefer, you can get out the food processor and use the shredding/slicing blade to make quick work of the cabbage. If it's easier, you might even consider buying shredded cabbage at the grocery store.

There are many variations to add color and flavor. Besides simply using a green cabbage, you could add some red or purple cabbage for interest. Red bell pepper can be sliced thinly and you can shred some carrots as additions. You can adjust the salt and black pepper to your taste as well


  • 1 small head cabbage
  • 1/4 cup cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon salt

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

  2. Chop cabbage coarsely with a sharp knife. Wash thoroughly with cold water and place in a salad spinner to remove excess moisture.

  3. Combine cider vinegar, mayonnaise, sugar, black pepper, and salt in a large bowl plastic or glass bowl. Metal is reactive with acid, so do not use a metal bowl for this recipe as it will corrupt the flavor of the slaw.

  4. Add cabbage to the mixture and gently combine. Place into refrigerator for at least 1 hour before using.

  5. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to three days after initial preparation.

  6. Pair with your favorite barbecue main or put a portion on your turkey and roast beef sandwich and enjoy!

Tips and Variations

Once you have mastered basic coleslaw, you can change it up to suit your taste and purposes. Try these variations, singly or in combination.

  • Add one medium carrot, shredded.

  • Add one red pepper, thinly sliced.

  • Add 1/4 cup crumbled bacon.

  • Substitute purple cabbage for some of the green cabbage.

  • Cut the regular salt in half and substitute 1/2 teaspoon celery salt. Or, use 1/4 teaspoon celery seed to add flavor.

  • Add 1/2 teaspoon onion powder.

  • Substitute artificial sweetener for the sugar.

  • Vary the ratio of mayonnaise and vinegar until you find the amounts that suit you best.

  • Use more or less sugar. The amount desired may vary according to which dishes are being served with the coleslaw.

  • Adjust the black pepper amount to suit the dishes you are serving. You will see coleslaw recipes with 1/8 teaspoon black pepper and those with 1/2 tablespoon, showing a wide range of how much some people prefer. You may also find you need less freshly ground black pepper as opposed to shaking some out of the ground pepper can.