Simple Coleslaw

Coleslaw Recipe

 The Spruce

Prep: 12 mins
Cook: 0 mins
Total: 12 mins
Servings: 4 servings
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
189 Calories
11g Fat
22g Carbs
4g Protein
See Full Nutritional Guidelines Hide Full Nutritional Guidelines
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4
Amount per serving
Calories 189
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 11g 14%
Saturated Fat 2g 9%
Cholesterol 6mg 2%
Sodium 726mg 32%
Total Carbohydrate 22g 8%
Dietary Fiber 8g 29%
Protein 4g
Calcium 131mg 10%
*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.)

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 is also a great accompaniment for Southern fried chicken, fried fish, and seafood.

You do not 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 or slicing blade to make quick work of the cabbage. An even easier solution, you can buy pre-cut 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.

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

    Coleslaw Recipe
    The Spruce 
  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.

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

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

    Coleslaw Recipe
     The Spruce
  6. Pair with your favorite barbecue main dish or put a portion on your sandwich and enjoy!


  • Sugar use: The amount of sugar desired may vary according to which dishes are being served with the coleslaw. You can also substitute artificial sweetener for the sugar.
  • Creamy vs. tangy: Vary the ratio of mayonnaise and vinegar until you find the amounts that suit you best. Mayo adds creaminess, vinegar adds tanginess.
  • Black pepper preference: Black pepper is another personal preference. Use the amount that suits your taste. Some coleslaw recipes call for 1/8 teaspoon black pepper and others use 1/2 tablespoon. This illustrates a wide range of taste preferences. You may also find that you need less freshly ground black pepper as opposed to shaking some out of the ground pepper can. Ground pepper can lose some of its bite over time.

Recipe Variations

  • Ingredient 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. Mix together red and white cabbages with apples and make the Everything Slaw.
  • Salt, celery seeds, and onion powder: Cut the regular salt in half and substitute 1/2 teaspoon celery salt. Or, use 1/4 teaspoon celery seed or 1/2 teaspoon onion powder.