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Classic Coleslaw

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A quick, flavorful, 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, flavorful, 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

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, Edamam.com. 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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  • If you see this now on 3/6/23=@2:45PM, Please let me know.
    Made the dressing as listed. Had purchased 12oz broccoli slaw. How much dressing would yiu recommend?
    I guess I could put a portion of it in the bowl and then add the bag of slaw. If not enough dressing, would be able to use more.
    Looking forward to trying this.
    Sunny Drohan

    • — Sunny Drihan on March 6, 2023
    • Reply
    • Hi Sunny, I’m just seeing this now – sorry! How did the coleslaw come out?

      • — Jenn on March 6, 2023
      • Reply
      • Excellent. Thank you. Your recipes are always so good.

        • — Sunny Drohan on March 8, 2023
        • Reply
  • I have been trying to find a good coleslaw dressing. Finally found yours and it is perfect. Not too sweet or sour. Thickness is perfect. I will check out more of your recipes. Thanks

    • — Judy on January 29, 2023
    • Reply
  • I’d give this 10 stars, if possible! In fact, I keep extra dressing in the fridge which makes it easy when company comes (or I’m craving it). I buy the bagged coleslaw mix and chop it up extra-fine in a mini-chopper…..Perfect!

    • — Barbara Kettler on November 19, 2022
    • Reply
  • Hi Jenn,
    I made this recipe and it is awesome. My family all raved about it.
    Love your site for the best recipes!

    • — Dee on October 15, 2022
    • Reply
  • Thank you! Finally a really good classic coleslaw without any “special” ingredients. Great with ribs, pulled pork or a burger.

    • — Sharon T on September 24, 2022
    • Reply
  • Another hit at our house! Made as directed and will definitely make again.
    Thanks Jen.

    • — Ria Klein on September 21, 2022
    • Reply
    • Meant to be 5 stars!

      • — Ria Klein on September 21, 2022
      • Reply
  • Hi! I REALLY enjoy your recipes 😍 I recently made the pumpkin bread and my family said it was the best bread they ever tasted. I like good coleslaw, but it’s rare, so I’m super excited to try this one as a topping to shredded barbecue tofu sandwiches. We don’t do much dairy here, so my question is this: Can you add more mayonnaise (Veganaise) in place of the sour cream? Or would you recommend a vegan sour cream? Thank you!

    • — Cyndi on September 6, 2022
    • Reply
    • Hi Cyndi, It will be a bit richer with more mayo, but it will work. And so glad you like the recipes! 🙂

      • — Jenn on September 7, 2022
      • Reply
  • Excellent coleslaw recipe! I do use light mayo and sour cream to cut the fat and calories. You probably wouldn’t even guess that it is a “light” version. Thank you Jenn!

    • — Brett M on September 6, 2022
    • Reply
  • I am excited about preparing a “Once Upon a Chef” lunch for neighbors tomorrow! While prepping today for the Classic Coleslaw, I found my celery seed jar is empty. Is there a substitute or is it better to just omit it? I have your cookbook, but still learn so much from your online comments section! Thank you for your easy-to-follow and delicious recipes that you so graciously share with us!

    • — Barbara K. on August 19, 2022
    • Reply
    • Hi Barbara, I would just omit the celery seed; it will still be delicious. 🙂

      • — Jenn on August 20, 2022
      • Reply
      • Exactly as you said….omitting the celery seed worked fine! Everyone
        raved about the delicious lunch!!!!

        • — Barbara K. on August 21, 2022
        • Reply
  • This is so delicious! And it took almost no time at all to make, which is a bonus. I didn’t have celery seed so I left it out but otherwise made exactly as written and it is the best cole slaw I’ve ever had!

    • — Lesley K. on August 15, 2022
    • Reply
  • My brother who says he doesn’t even like Cole slaw, said this is the best he’s ever eaten and even requested I bring it to a party he had on the 3rd of July.

    I love everything I’ve made from your recipes, Jenn and have even done some test baking prior to your last cookbook, but I have to vent my frustration with the way your emails simply refuse to let me view the recipes you offer on my apple phone. no matter where I hit, an unwanted video totally unrelated to the recipe I am trying to see automatically starts playing and there seems to be no way to circumvent it. Make me so frustrated. Luckily it doesn’t happen on my laptop.

    • — Kathleen H. on August 13, 2022
    • Reply
    • Hi Kathleen, so glad you (and your brother!) like the coleslaw. 🙂 And I’m sorry about the issues you’re encountering when you try to view a recipe on your phone! I will talk to my ad network so they can address it. Thanks for bringing it to my attention!

      • — Jenn on August 15, 2022
      • Reply
  • I had a recipe where I loved the taste of the dressing but it was too thin. I just tried this recipe today and it is perfect. Not too thin and I love the tang ACV gives this. I would love to share that a local restaurant puts dried cranberries in their coleslaw and it is delicious. I am going to try that addition next time. So glad I found your website.

    • — Judy on August 3, 2022
    • Reply
  • The only coleslaw I have ever liked – perfect topper for my BBQ pulled chicken sandwiches!

    • — Jen on July 29, 2022
    • Reply
  • Absolutely loved the coleslaw. Made as written.

    • — Elizabeth on July 19, 2022
    • Reply
  • Another winner! My first time making this and not the last. It was so easy and so tasty. I omitted the celery seed and scallions as I didn’t have any. And used white wine vinegar instead of ACV (again as I didn’t have the latter). It was delicious! I do like when recipes are resilient to changes, though next time I’ll plan ahead and try it as written — if this was already 5 stars, maybe that’ll be 6 🙂

    • — Laura W on July 10, 2022
    • Reply
  • Oh my gosh! I finally have a recipe that’s just like my Mom’s! Thanks Jenn!!

    • — Maureen on July 4, 2022
    • Reply
  • Best ever coleslaw recipe! I’ve tried a lot of coleslaw recipes. I’ve rearranged the ingredients in all of them. This recipe needs no changes. Yummy as written!

    • — ILoveBirds on June 26, 2022
    • Reply
  • 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
    • Reply
  • 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
    • Reply
  • 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
    • Reply
  • 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
    • Reply
  • 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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