If there is one summer salad skill that you need, it’s how to make Classic Homemade Coleslaw. There’s nothing fancy here, no wine vinegar’s or crazy spices, this is just a homemade coleslaw like your Grandma used to make!
Traditional Homemade Coleslaw Recipe
This really is as traditional as you can get – except I tell you that you can use bagged coleslaw instead of chopping fresh! Yes, a modern cheat for modern busy people. I find it a lot easier than cutting up half a purple cabbage and half a green cabbage. That said, I do have fresh cabbage in the house almost all the time -to make my Bacon Wrapped Cabbage Wedges of course- so I’ll use fresh or bagged cabbage mix when it comes down to it. The real treasure in this recipe is the dressing!
How do you make American coleslaw dressing?
This is the only part of making homemade coleslaw that people find intimidating – the coleslaw dressing! Now I call this American dressing because Mexican coleslaw has a tangy lime and oil based dressing, nothing like the heavier mayonnaise based American style coleslaw dressing. The basic ingredients for a mayonnaise based coleslaw dressing are:
- white sugar
That is really the basics. Now, you can add in yellow mustard, dill, celery seed, pickle juice but the tried and true old-fashioned homemade coleslaw dressing is those three ingredients and you build on your own recipe from those three ingredients.
Want to try a lighter coleslaw recipe? Try my Mexican Coleslaw, it has lime juice, olive oil, cilantro and more!
Can you make coleslaw ahead of time?
While you can definitely prepare the vegetables ahead of time, I wouldn’t recommend combining the cabbage etc. with the coleslaw dressing until the morning of the day you’re going to eat it or a few hours ahead. Coleslaw gets watery in the refrigerator if it’s kept in there too long. I would err on the side of caution if you are making this for an event and make it the morning of. I know, it’s not exactly the easiest but the hardest part is chopping the cabbage. Mix the dressing together and store it in a closed container until you need it, prep the cabbage and really, all you have left is 5 minutes of tossing the salad together!
How long can you store coleslaw?
While you can store coleslaw in the fridge, the quality does deteriorate like I mentioned above. The cabbage loses it’s crunch and the dressing goes watery. I have completely eaten coleslaw and enjoyed it a day or two later, don’t get me wrong, but it just isn’t as good as the day of. Try to make close to the amount that you are going to eat. However according to food safety standards, you are totally safe storing the coleslaw in the fridge for 3-4 days.
Now, cutting up the fresh cabbage! This is easily explain via video so here you guys go. If you are cutting up fresh cabbage this how-to video will help you out!
How to Cut up a Cabbage Video
Does it come as any surprise that this Ukrainian girl loves to add a bunch of dill to hers? It shouldn’t! Dill is much better than the usual parsley in my opinion, as parsley really doesn’t have a special taste like dill does. I don’t know, parsley to me seems like a good garnish for color and that’s about it, so go with dill for the flavour! Also : celery seed. My coleslaw has to have celery seed! It really just brings together the flavours.
Low Carb Coleslaw Dressing
To make this low carb simply replace the white sugar with splenda or other sweetener of choice.
Now, what ingredients do you add to your homemade coleslaw? What does your family traditionally add to your coleslaw? I’d love to hear your tips and tricks in the comments below!
Pin This Recipe to Your SALADS and BBQ Boards and Remember to FOLLOW ME ON PINTEREST!
Thanks to ads on this website, readers of The Kitchen Magpie are now sponsoring 2 families a month through the Edmonton Food Bank. Learn how you can help here.
Learn to cook like the Kitchen Magpie
Flapper Pie and a Blue Prairie Sky
A Modern Baker’s Guide to Old-Fashioned Desserts
The Prairie Table
Suppers, Potlucks & Socials: Crowd-Pleasing Recipes to Bring People Together
Subscribe to The Kitchen Magpie on YouTube
One click and you'll get notified of new videos added to our YouTube account!Subscribe on YouTube
Classic Homemade Coleslaw Recipe
- Prep Time
- 20 minutes
- Total Time
- 20 minutes
- Karlynn Johnston
- 8 cups thinly sliced cabbage (you can use bagged coleslaw for a fast trick!)
- 1 carrot grated coarsely
- 2 green onion, sliced into thin pieces
- 1/4 cup chopped dill OR parsley
Homemade Coleslaw Dressing
- 1/2 cup mayonnaise
- 2 teaspoons yellow mustard ( more to taste)
- 2 teaspoons white vinegar or apple cider vinegar ( more to taste)
- 1 teaspoon white sugar (more to taste)
- 1/2 teaspoon celery seed
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
Prepare a Small Fresh Cabbage
- Cut the cabbage into four quarters, and then cut out the core in each section. Cut each quarter crosswise in half. Cut the cabbage pieces into long, thin ribbons like shown in the photo. You most likely will have more than 8 cups, cabbage is hard to gauge! Simply store the extra cabbage.
- Place 8 cups of the cabbage in a very large bowl ( I use my huge Tupperware dough bowl). Add the shredded carrot, green onion and dill/parsley to the cabbage and toss to mix.
Prepare the Coleslaw Dressing
- In a large glass measuring cup, whisk together the mayonnaise, vinegar, mustard, sugar celery seeds, salt, and pepper together. Taste test and add more vinegar and mustard if desired. Add more sugar if you prefer a sweeter coleslaw dressing.
- Pour the dressing over the coleslaw and mix - I find a fork does a better job than a spoon. Serve right away or refrigerate for a few hours. Store in a closed container in the fridge for up to 3 days, but the quality will deteriorate.
All calories and info are based on a third party calculator and are only an estimate. Actual nutritional info will vary with brands used, your measuring methods, portion sizes and more.
Made this recipe?
Share a photo of what you made on Instagram or Facebook and tag me @thekitchenmagpie or hashtag it #thekitchenmagpie.
Please rate this recipe in the comments below to help out your fellow cooks!
Comments & Recipe Tips Share a tip or comment!
This is a great start for any coleslaw recipe! I like to add some onion/garlic powder, crushed garlic cloves, craisins, sunflower/pumpkin seeds. Yum ! 😋
Patricia Sue Aaron says
I love the old fashion coleslaw the way it’s cut up course not soupie with dressing.
Lorraine Murdoch says
Why have I never thought to add dill. I’m Ukrainian too. Next time for sure. I use sweet onion, sliced thinly and I do make this dressing but I use brown sugar. Delish!
Denise M. Bailey says
Like grading onions into my coleslaw.
I LOVE coleslaw. I always cheat and get the store bought Cole slaw dressing. I didn’t realize it was that easy! I like to add fruit, mandarin oranges, shredded apples or pineapple. Maybe even dried cranberries. It’s one of my favorite side dishes.