Southern Coleslaw

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This southern coleslaw is crisp, cool and packed with flavor. Our fresh coleslaw dressing is sweet, creamy and tangy. Serve this easy cold salad as a tasty side for meals, potlucks and picnics. It’s a southern deli classic.


Coleslaw in a clear glass serving bowl on a white farmhouse table.


For the Salad

  • Green Cabbage: Look for a round, hard head with fresh-looking leaves.
  • Red Cabbage: Adds beautiful color and texture.
  • Carrots: Feel free to use regular (long) carrots or baby carrots.
Ingredients for coleslaw on a white tabletop.

For the Coleslaw Dressing

  • Mayonnaise: Is the creamy base for the coleslaw dressing.
  • Sour Cream: Adds a rich creamy texture and delicious tang.
  • Apple Cider Vinegar: Makes this southern salad extra tangy.
  • Fresh Dill: Adds a fresh grassy flavor and minty aroma.
  • Lemon Juice: Brightens the flavor of the salad.
  • Honey or Granulated Sugar: Adds the perfect amount of sweetness.
  • Dijon mustard: Adds a sweet spicy flavor. I prefer the type of dijon made with white wine.
  • Sea Salt: Enhances the flavor of the other ingredients.
  • Black pepper: Adds a rustic flavor and aroma with a hint of heat.
Ingredients for the best coleslaw dressing recipe.


  • STEP 1: Shred the cabbage with a sharp knife or a food processor. Shred the carrots. Mince the dill.
  • STEP 2: Add the shredded produce to a serving bowl. Mix to combine.
  • STEP 3: In a small mixing bowl combine the ingredients for the coleslaw dressing. Whisk well.
  • STEP 4: Pour the salad dressing over the cabbage mix. Use tongs to toss the coleslaw and fully distribute the dressing.
Four images showing step-by-step recipe instructions for both coleslaw and coleslaw dressing.


These are the most commonly-asked questions when making southern coleslaw, and the most helpful answers for recipe success.

Best types of cabbage for making coleslaw?

For traditional deli coleslaw, use green cabbage as the base. Add in red cabbage for color and texture. If you can’t find a hard, round head of green cabbage at the market, substitute with Napa cabbage or savoy.

How long does coleslaw last in the fridge?

Placed in an air-tight container, coleslaw will last about 3 days in the refrigerator. Before serving, drain off any excess liquid.

How much coleslaw to make per person?

When feeding a crowd, expect each guest to serve and eat 1/2 cup of salad. At potlucks where there are several dishes to choose from, not everyone will serve all items. When coleslaw is the main side dish at a family dinner you’ll need 1 cup salad per person.

Tips for making coleslaw fast?

At the market look for packets of pre-shredded carrots and cabbage in the produce section. Or buy a simple coleslaw mix. At home, empty the packets into a large serving bowl. Prep the coleslaw dressing, and mix everything together. Your coleslaw is ready to serve.

Can coleslaw be made in advance?

Yes. It can be made in advance. Shred the produce. Store each type in a separate airtight container in the fridge. This will keep everything fresh. It’ll also prevent the color of the purple cabbage from bleeding onto the other produce. Assemble the homemade dressing, store it in a small jar, and refrigerate. Mix everything together just before serving.

Coleslaw dressing mixed into shredded cabbage for coleslaw recipe.


There are so many delicious recipes to pair with tri-colored southern coleslaw. Add these tasty mains to your meal-plan rotation.

Coleslaw recipe presented in a clear serving bowl next to a flower-printed flour-sack towel.


For social gatherings, we’ve gathered together the best summer salad ideas in this recipe round-up 👉🏻 classic potluck salads.

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Flavor testers rated this the best southern coleslaw recipe. They said our fresh creamy dressing with it’s sweet tangy flavor made all the difference. It brightened the produce and provided the perfect southern taste.

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Coleslaw in a clear glass serving bowl on a white farmhouse table.

Southern Coleslaw

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5 from 21 reviews

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This southern coleslaw has beautiful colors, flavors and textures. It features a bright, sweet/tangy dressing that’s creamy and delicious. Make this easy cold salad in 20 minutes.


Units Scale

For the Salad

  • 5 cups shredded green cabbage
  • 3 cups shredded red cabbage
  • 2 cups shredded carrots

For the Coleslaw Dressing

  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons fresh dill
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons honey or granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper


  1. Shred the cabbage and carrots with a food processor or a knife. Mince the dill.
  2. Add the shredded produce to a salad bowl. Mix to combine.
  3. Prep the dressing: add all ingredients for the dressing to a small mixing bowl. Whisk well.
  4. Pour the salad dressing over the coleslaw. Toss well.


How long does coleslaw last in the fridge? Fully assembled and stored in an air-tight container, coleslaw will last about 3 days in the fridge. Before serving, drain off excess liquid.

  • Prep Time: 20 Minutes
  • Cook Time: 0 Minutes
  • Category: Salad
  • Method: Mixing
  • Cuisine: American
Gold Line: Sprinkles of Inspiration |


When was the last time you enjoyed homemade southern coleslaw? What main dishes will you serve it with. Join the conversation below.

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  1. I avoided coleslaw for many years, but when I finally tried some fresh coleslaw I was amazed at how tasty it is. I’ll have to try this recipe, it looks delicious!

  2. I love coleslaw! Well let me clarify, I love ALL salads! I could live on them all of the time but there’s nothing better than summer salads!

  3. This looks and sounds delicious. I haven’t made a coleslaw in a really long time but think my kids would enjoy this!

  4. There is something about coleslaw isn’t there! This sounds like an absolutely amazing looking dish as well, definitely the perfect thing to pop on the table.

  5. I am really getting into coleslaw salads. I am experimenting with a lot of different dressings. Yours looks delicious!

  6. We are going to have a cookout this weekend, so your coleslaw will be perfect for it, thanks for the awesome recipe!

  7. I love how refreshing this coleslaw is! The apple cider vinegar gives it that extra little twang to make it unique!

  8. Time for me to experiment with coleslaws – this one looks absolutely amazing. I am sure it is even a bit crunchy which I would really like!

  9. I can see why that dressing makes this coleslaw even better. Great dish to take with you when you are going to your friend’s house.

  10. Okay, I had to stop and comment because it’s not often I find a coleslaw recipe that I love, enough to make again, but this is one! It was delicious and I’ll put it on repeat, thanks!

  11. What I really like in coleslaws is when they are crisp and even crunchy. I just love that feel. So I am very excited to try your recipe – it looks fantastic!

  12. I like that this coleslaw uses 2 kinds of cabbage. The dressing sounds very creamy and delicious!