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Creamy Coleslaw Recipe with cabbage carrots and onions.
Classic southern style tangy Coleslaw Recipe
Did you know I’m a graduate of the GRITS Culinary School? (GRITS = Girl Raised In The South) To graduate with honors one must be able to make a deliciously tangy, creamy southern style Coleslaw Recipe.
Our slaw salad has the perfect balance of crunchy, creamy, sweet and tangy. It’s great as a simple side dish served with any kind of grilled meats. And it’s also outstanding piled high on hot dogs and pulled pork sandwiches.
If you’re not a fan of mayonnaise based slaw recipes, try our fantastic Super Coleslaw Recipe. This mayo-free simple slaw has a nice bite from the apple cider vinegar and plenty of flavor from pimentos, onion and chopped green pepper. It keeps well for days, too!
A potluck favorite for decades
My husband and daughter are both ravenous fans of great coleslaw. They’ve been known to make a special trip to KFC (Kentucky Fried Chicken) to buy just coleslaw. KFC is widely known for their terrific slaw recipe (seriously!)
When they told me this was a great KFC copycat coleslaw recipe, I knew exactly what they meant. This recipe, originally developed and published in 2012, is as close as you can get to perfect coleslaw.
This creamy coleslaw is one of our most requested recipes at family gatherings and it’s made with basic ingredients you probably already have at home. Coleslaw is the perfect summer side dish for office potlucks, church picnics and family reunions. This recipe makes a lot, so feel free to cut it in half if needed.
Ingredients needed to make our creamy Coleslaw:
- cabbage – one medium to large head shredded on a large box grater
- carrots – shredded on a large box grater
- onion – sweet onions like Vidalia work well in this recipe.
- granulated sugar – to add a nice sweetness to balance the tangy vinegar
- distilled white vinegar – to add a nice zippy tangy flavor to the dressing
- mayonnaise – use a good quality mayo like Blue Plate or Hellman’s. Many southerners swear by Duke’s brand mayonnaise.
- fresh ground black pepper
- celery seed – added to the dressing and used as a garnish on top. Be sure to use celery seeds not celery salt!
Can you use pre-shredded, packaged store bought slaw mix?
First, I highly recommend shredding your own cabbage, onion and carrots. It really makes a huge difference in the quality of the slaw.
However, if you must use a pre-shredded cabbage, be sure to buy an extra-large bag or two smaller bags, then cut the dressing recipe in half.
How to make the BEST creamy Coleslaw
First prep the cabbage:
Shred the cabbage using the large holes on a box grater. Or if preferred, slice the cabbage into thin strips. Mix the chopped cabbage with the salt and place in a colander set over a large bowl.
Cover the cabbage with plastic wrap and place a couple of heavy plates or a small skillet directly on top. This will help extract any excess moisture in the cabbage.
Refrigerate for at least 1 hour or up to 4 hours.
Next make the Coleslaw Dressing
Combine all the dressing ingredients together in a small bowl. Blot the cabbage dry using paper towels and pour into a large serving bowl.
Pour the dressing over the cabbage and stir to combine. Refrigerate for a few hours or overnight in an airtight container.
The slaw might seem just a little soupy but will thicken up just a bit after sitting a few hours. Serve using a slotted spoon if desired.
Check the seasoning and add salt and pepper if needed. Stir well just before serving and enjoy!
How to make the perfect Slaw Dog:
My favorite way to enjoy Coleslaw is piled high on a BBQ sandwich or a nicely charred all-beef hot dog.
If you love a good Slaw Dog too, you’ll want to try this recipe!
- Serve grilled hot dogs on a toasted bun. The bun can be placed directly on the grill or split open, buttered and broiled until golden brown.
- Add a slice of cheese – I love mine with cheese!
- Grill bun length all-beef hot dogs (or your favorite variety) until well charred on all sides. Don’t overcook! They’re best removed from the heat before they split.
- Add a heaping helping of Coleslaw on top of the dog and bun.
- Top with mustard (or ketchup if you must) and finely diced onions.
Serve with pickles and chips and perhaps a nice icy cold beer! Enjoy
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Creamy Coleslaw Recipe
- 1 medium head of cabbage shredded
- 2 teaspoons salt
- ½ cup shredded carrots
- 1 tablespoon shredded sweet onion
- ¼ cup granulated sugar
- ¼ cup white vinegar
- 1 cups mayonnaise
- ½ teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
- ½ teaspoon celery seed plus more for garnish
- Shred the cabbage on a large box grater. Chop or finely slice any remaining cabbage pieces or large leaves. Mix the cabbage and salt together. Place the cabbage in a colander set over a large bowl. Cover the cabbage with plastic wrap then place a couple of heavy salad plates or small skillet on top to compress. Place the colander and bowl in the refrigerator and rest for at least 1 to 4 hours to drain. Once drained, pat the cabbage dry using paper towels and pour into a large serving bowl. Discard the drained cabbage water.
- In a small bowl combine the remaining ingredients from carrots through the celery seed. Whisk until blended. Pour the mayonnaise mixture over the shredded cabbage and fold together until blended. Refrigerate for several hours or overnight before serving. Check seasoning and adjust if needed. Stir well before serving.
- Refrigerate leftovers sealed in an airtight container. Stir well before serving.
- Slaw will keep for 3 to 4 days.
- We recommend a good quality mayonnaise like Hellman’s or Blue Plate. The thinner the mayonnaise, the soupier the slaw will be. It will still taste fine and should be served using a slotted spoon.
Here are a few more recipes you might enjoy:
- Creamy Apple Slaw Recipe
- Deviled Eggs
- Easy Oven Baked Beans Recipe
- Southern Macaroni Salad Recipe
- Easy English Pea Salad
Originally published April 2012, republished and updated May 2021