Classic Coleslaw

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A quick, delicious, and no-fuss coleslaw for all your summer cookouts

Fresh, crunchy, and creamy, this is my go-to coleslaw recipe for summer cookouts and potlucks. It’s exactly what you expect when you think of classic coleslaw, only brighter and tastier. The secret is cutting some of the mayo in the dressing with sour cream, which adds tangy flavor and richness. Apple cider vinegar, Dijon mustard, sugar, and celery seed amp up the flavor even more. The slaw is terrific with BBQ chicken or ribs, burgers, bratwurst, pulled pork, and deli sandwiches. Best of all, the recipe makes use of pre-shredded coleslaw – one of the best items in the supermarket produce section because all the work’s already done – so it takes just 10 minutes to make, and it can be prepared a day in advance to boot.

What You’ll Need To Make Classic Coleslaw

coleslaw ingredients
Step-by-Step Instructions

Begin by making the coleslaw dressing. In a large bowl, combine: 3/4 cup mayonnaise, 1/4 cup sour cream, 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar, 2 tablespoons sugar, 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard, 1/2 teaspoon celery seed, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper.

mayonnaise, sour cream, vinegar, sugar, mustard, and seasoning in mixing bowl

Whisk until combined.

whisked coleslaw dressingAdd: 1 pound of pre-shredded coleslaw and the dark green portion of 2 scallions, finely sliced. Toss until well combined.

shredded coleslaw and scallions tossed with dressing

Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary. Cover and refrigerate for up to 24 hours, or until ready to serve.

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Classic Coleslaw

A quick, delicious, and no-fuss coleslaw for all your summer cookouts

Servings: 6 to 8
Prep Time: 15 Minutes
Total Time: 15 Minutes


  • ¾ cup mayonnaise, best quality such as Hellmann's or Duke's
  • ¼ cup sour cream
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • ½ teaspoon celery seed
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 lb (about 7 cups) prepared shredded coleslaw
  • 2 scallions, dark green parts only, thinly sliced


  1. In a large bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise, sour cream, vinegar, sugar, mustard, celery seed, salt, and pepper. Add the coleslaw and scallions and toss until well combined. Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary. Cover and refrigerate for up to 24 hours, or until ready to serve.

Nutrition Information

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  • Per serving (8 servings)
  • Calories: 266
  • Fat: 24 g
  • Saturated fat: 4 g
  • Carbohydrates: 12 g
  • Sugar: 10 g
  • Fiber: 1 g
  • Protein: 1 g
  • Sodium: 258 mg
  • Cholesterol: 14 mg

This website is written and produced for informational purposes only. I am not a certified nutritionist and the nutritional data on this site has not been evaluated or approved by a nutritionist or the Food and Drug Administration. Nutritional information is offered as a courtesy and should not be construed as a guarantee. The data is calculated through an online nutritional calculator, Although I do my best to provide accurate nutritional information, these figures should be considered estimates only. Varying factors such as product types or brands purchased, natural fluctuations in fresh produce, and the way ingredients are processed change the effective nutritional information in any given recipe. Furthermore, different online calculators provide different results depending on their own nutrition fact sources and algorithms. To obtain the most accurate nutritional information in a given recipe, you should calculate the nutritional information with the actual ingredients used in your recipe, using your preferred nutrition calculator.

Gluten-Free Adaptable Note

To the best of my knowledge, all of the ingredients used in this recipe are gluten-free or widely available in gluten-free versions. There is hidden gluten in many foods; if you're following a gluten-free diet or cooking for someone with gluten allergies, always read the labels of your ingredients to verify that they are gluten-free.

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  • Wonderful creaminess. Only suggestion is I would cut celery seed to 1/4 tsp. A little too overpowering at 1/2.

    • — SLB on June 19, 2022
    • Reply
  • I will be camping (without any refrigeration). Do you think the coleslaw can remain at room temperature for three days?

    • — Linda on June 17, 2022
    • Reply
    • Unfortunately not — sorry!

      • — Jenn on June 17, 2022
      • Reply
    • Simple and perfect

      • — Lynnessa R Struble on June 23, 2022
      • Reply
  • Here’s a chef-y tip: Throw the store bought coleslaw into a blender and pulse until somewhat fine. It will make it even better than it already is!

    • — Andrew on June 13, 2022
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  • I made this for a Memorial Day gathering at a neighbor’s house. I dropped it off a day ahead because I was working the night before and knew I would arrive late. I needed to make something ahead, plus quick and easy. As soon as I got to the gathering the next afternoon, everyone had moved on to bowls of ice cream- a neighbor came up and said ” that coleslaw was fantastic!” My husband devoured the leftovers at home! I am not a fan of regular coleslaw, but this was tangy and really good! Don’t buy the gloppy stuff at the store- this is way too easy and delicious!

    • — Ruth on June 9, 2022
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  • I made this recipe yesterday and threw it in the fridge for an overnight. Today, I cut up three large boneless chicken breasts (about 2 pounds) and followed your Buttermilk Fried Chicken Tenders recipe. Oh my! I’m the queen of great food today! To top things off, corn on the cob at hubby’s request. Picnic food for an absolutely glorious day in eastern Pennsylvania. Thank you!

    • — Nancy K on June 8, 2022
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  • Can red wine vinegar be used in place of the apple cider vinegar?

    • — Janet on June 5, 2022
    • Reply
    • Yep that’s fine 🙂

      • — Jenn on June 6, 2022
      • Reply
  • Well I have to say that it’s the best I have ever made a tangy not sweet and very tasty my sisters and husband loved it.
    Merci its a keeper

    • — Suzanns Bussiere on June 2, 2022
    • Reply
  • This is a near perfect coleslaw. Too often coleslaws are either overly sweet or bland. This is nice and tart, and the flavors become even a little more so overnight in the fridge. The celery seed adds a nice little pop of bitterness. I typically use tarragon vinegar for coleslaw, and add some very finely chopped raw kale. This is a great base to start with, and add your own favorites to. All of that said, I think I will likely halve the sugar the next time I make it. Thanks, as usual, Jen!

    • — PaulainVA on May 31, 2022
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  • So good! Reminds me of the coleslaw I had growing up. I followed the recipe as written, no changes needed. Thanks Jenn for sharing another great recipe:)

    • — Stephanie on May 29, 2022
    • Reply
  • I’ve been looking a long time for a coleslaw recipe I like and have had no luck so far. This sounded like it might be a winner so I gave it a try. As I was about to make it I decided it seemed like it would be creamier than I’d like so cut the mayo down to 1/2 cup and added another tablespoon of vinegar and another teaspoon of sugar. Flavors are still melding in the fridge but I like the first taste a lot. I also used light sour cream and light mayo – we just prefer lighter, less rich tasting foods.

    • — A good start but I made modifications to make it more to my liking on May 28, 2022
    • Reply
  • WOW – this dressing is amazing and definitely a keeper!

    • — Vicki, New Zealand on May 28, 2022
    • Reply
  • I have been looking for a good cole slaw for a while. Made this tonight and it is now my go to recipe for coleslaw. I alway shred my own vegetables and never got the premade vegetables. Absolutely fantastic. Thank you for giving us such a great recipe. You never disappoint!

    • — Mariellen on May 26, 2022
    • Reply
  • This is the identical coleslaw to mine …every ingredient. The only addition now and again has been celery for even more taste and crunch. It is really really good and ironically, I plan to make it tonight to go with cold ham.
    You cant go wrong with this .
    PS. You are my favourite chef . I use your recipes all the time . Thank you for your generous sharing .

    • — Brenda Benson on May 26, 2022
    • Reply
  • I like adding a clove of minced garlic to the mix too.

    • — Carol on May 26, 2022
    • Reply
  • Hey Jenn,

    I noticed you put white wine vinegar in the instructions and apple cider vinegar in the recipe. Looking forward to trying your version! It’s similar to what I do, but I’ve never tried adding sour cream.

    • — Kerrie on May 25, 2022
    • Reply
    • Thanks for catching that, Kerrie! It’s fixed 🙂

      • — Jenn on May 26, 2022
      • Reply

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