Classic Coleslaw

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Whip up the ultimate tangy, creamy, and crunch-packed coleslaw in just 10 minutes — the perfect sidekick for all your summer cookouts!

Classic coleslaw in a wooden bowl.

With a refreshing crunch and just the right amount of creaminess, this coleslaw recipe is my go-to for summer cookouts and potlucks. It’s the quintessential coleslaw as you know and love it, but tastier and more vibrant. The secret? Cutting some of the mayo in the dressing with sour cream to add 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 reuben sandwiches. Best of all, the recipe utilizes pre-shredded coleslaw, one of the most practical items found in the produce section of the supermarket. With all the tedious chopping already taken care of, the slaw only takes 10 minutes to prepare. Plus, it can be made a day in advance, making your meal planning that much easier.

“Bravo! This is the gold standard for coleslaw. It’s crispy, flavorful, made with readily available ingredients and delicious.”


What You’ll Need To Make Classic Coleslaw

Coleslaw ingredients including sour cream, mayonnaise, and apple cider vinegar.
  • Mayonnaise : Provides a creamy base and adds richness to the dressing. When cooking with mayonnaise, always use a good-quality brand, like Hellmann’s or Duke’s—it makes a huge difference.
  • Sour cream: Adds tanginess and creaminess to the dressing, balancing the flavors.
  • Apple cider vinegar: Introduces acidity, brightening the taste of the coleslaw.
  • Sugar: Adds a subtle sweetness to balance the vinegar’s acidity.
  • Dijon mustard: Contributes a mild spiciness and tangy depth to the dressing.
  • Celery seed: Adds a distinctive, slightly bitter flavor that complements the creamy and tangy elements of the dressing.
  • Prepared shredded coleslaw (cabbage and carrot mix): The main ingredient of the dish, providing crunch and volume.
  • Scallions: Add a mild onion flavor that adds freshness and a slight crunch to the coleslaw.
  • Jump to the printable recipe for precise measurements

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 dressing

Add: 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.

Wooden bowl of coleslaw.

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Classic Coleslaw

Whip up the ultimate tangy, creamy, and crunch-packed coleslaw in just 10 minutes — the perfect sidekick 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

Powered by Edamam

  • 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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  • My favorite coleslaw! Thanks so much!

    • — Elaine on July 7, 2024
    • Reply
  • You are my go-to when looking for a recipe. I have tried many different coleslaw recipes and there is just something about this one that makes it a winner for me. Thank you for recipes that are easy and use ingredients from my pantry. Win, win! This is a keeper in my recipe box.

    • — Veronica on July 3, 2024
    • Reply
  • I was overwhelmed trying to pick a coleslaw recipe and finally – thank goodness – realized I should have checked Once Upon A Chef. Jenn is always the right answer. Not serving it until tomorrow but tasted it like any good home chef and was blown away. My gosh! I could have eaten an entire bowl of it right now! (I followed the recipe exactly but shredded my own cabbage/carrots/Vidalia onion.)

    • — Jill on July 3, 2024
    • Reply
  • Hi Jenn! Have you ever pre-salted the cabbage to keep the slaw from getting soupy? If so, what is the technique (how much salt) and do you rinse before tossing with the dressing? Thanks and Happy 4th!!!

    • — Cam on July 2, 2024
    • Reply
    • Hi Cam, no, I can’t say I’ve ever pre-salted cabbage.

      • — Jenn on July 3, 2024
      • Reply
  • This is really delicious and refreshing, it`s 103 today in Nor -Cal and this hit the spot.Adjusted the sugar to taste about 1 T.The addition of celery seed is what kicks up the refreshing factor,super easy and quick.

    • — lowandslow on June 23, 2024
    • Reply
  • Perfection! Reminds me of days in the kitchen cutting/shredding the ingredients with my mom.

    Could this dressing be used for a potato and egg salad? Thank you.

    • — Kathleen Schools on June 21, 2024
    • Reply
    • Glad you liked it! And, I’ve never tried it, but think it would work nicely for either potato or egg salad. I’d love to hear what you think if you try it!

      • — Jenn on June 24, 2024
      • Reply
  • Hi Jenn, I just made this and I really liked it. How can I make it less “mayo” tasting, and make it a little more “lighter” tasting and maybe a little sweeter?

    • — JT on June 10, 2024
    • Reply
    • Hi JT, you could use cut use 1/2 cup mayo and 1/2 cup sour cream instead of the current ratios. Keep in mind that this will make the coleslaw a bit tangier, not sweeter, so you may want to increase the sugar by 1/2 to 1 tablespoon. Hope that helps!

      • — Jenn on June 11, 2024
      • Reply
  • I feel like this is the silliest question…. I bought a one pound bag of shredded coleslaw mix, but the nutrition label says it’s only 3.5 cups total which is half the amount in cups that the recipe says, but the correct weight. Which do I go by? Thank you!!!

    • — Sarah on June 2, 2024
    • Reply
    • Hi Sarah, Not a silly question – that is very confusing! Definitely go by the weight, as there can be a lot of variation with cup measures.

      • — Jenn on June 2, 2024
      • Reply
  • Made this for dinner last night to serve with soft shell crab sandwiches. Delicious! My husband is not usually a coleslaw fan but even he went back for seconds.
    This will be on repeat over the summer for sure! Thanks for another great recipe.

    • — Excellent coleslaw on May 28, 2024
    • Reply
  • Easy! And Excellent!
    Simple! And Sensational!

    Thank you!!😊

    • — Susan Kerrigan on May 26, 2024
    • Reply
  • Made this delicious coleslaw recipe as written for the first time yesterday. It looked great when I initially mixed the dressing and cabbage, but when I actually served it about three hours later, it had become very soupy. Is this to be expected when making this slaw in advance? If so, can it be avoided by using less dressing or is it simply best to mix and serve immediately?

    • — Astrid on February 12, 2024
    • Reply
    • Hi Astrid, It’s natural for the coleslaw to release a little liquid as it sits. If that bothered you, feel free to wait until right before serving to toss the dressing with the cabbage.

      • — Jenn on February 13, 2024
      • Reply
  • Made this recipe as written for the first time today. It was delicious, although it became rather soupy by the time I served it. I had made it a few hours before serving. Is that to be expected if you aren’t serving it right away?

    • — Astrid on February 11, 2024
    • Reply
  • Sublime! Will only use this coleslaw recipe from now on! Flavors were so amazing! Best comfort food!

    • — Tara on January 11, 2024
    • Reply
  • Jenn,

    I believe this recipe used to call for Worcestershire sauce and did not use apple cider vinegar. I made this new version, and though delicious, I miss the old. Would you be able to link to the old version or respond to this comment with the differences?


    • — Sarah on October 5, 2023
    • Reply
    • Hi Sarah, this recipe never contained Worcestershire sauce; I think you must be confusing it with another coleslaw recipe.

      • — Jenn on October 5, 2023
      • Reply
      • Jenn, I might be thinking of your egg salad. I just remembered that I used balsamic vinegar last time because I was out of apple cider vinegar, and that’s why it was different. 🤦🏼‍♀️

        • — Sarah on October 6, 2023
        • Reply
  • Love this recipe. My wife used to turn her nose up to coleslaw but the two of us eat the whole thing in two days. One improvement that we think puts it over the top (for us), is the generous addition of caraway seeds to the recipe.

    BTW, this is my go-to site for 90% of the recipes I use.

    • — Mike Hardiman on September 27, 2023
    • Reply
  • Delicious! Just made this to go with a burger supper tonight (using your steakhouse burger recipe). Serving it alongside my own potato salad and fresh from the garden corn on the cob. Wish you could join us Jenn as it’s your wonderful recipes I keep using and two of them will be starring at supper tonight with the family!

    • — Susan on August 13, 2023
    • Reply
    • 💗

      • — Jenn on August 14, 2023
      • Reply
  • This was sooooooo good. Used a 16 oz bag green cabbage shredded and a 10 oz bag red cabbage shredded,. Grated a little extra carrot and made the dressing exactly as described. Served with some baby back ribs and we were licking our lips! Thanks again Jenn for so many “go to” recipes. This is another keeper!!

    • — Deborah Adamo on July 30, 2023
    • Reply

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