Sweet & Tangy Citrus Slaw

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Citrus Slaw

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This refreshingly bright and crunchy slaw is a great side dish to burgers or Sloppy Joe’s.

Sweet & Tangy Citrus Slaw

Inspired by Aida Mollencamp’s Cabbage & Carrot Herbed Slaw on Chowhound, this side is refreshingly bright and crunchy. It’s a healthier alternative to mayo-laden versions and a perfect accompaniment to burgers or Sloppy Joes. Make it at least an hour or up to a day ahead of time, as the flavor and texture improve as it sits. And to make life easy, go ahead and buy the cabbage and carrots already shredded — I do.

What you’ll need To Make Sweet & Tangy Citrus Slaw

Slaw ingredients including carrots, lime, and garlic.

To Make Sweet & Tangy Citrus Slaw

To begin, simply combine all of the ingredients in a large bowl.

Bowl of unmixed slaw ingredients.

Toss well.

Bowl of sweet and tangy slaw.

Then cover the slaw and refrigerate at least one hour or overnight to allow the flavors to marry and the vegetables to soften. Serve cold and enjoy!

Spoon in a bowl of sweet and tangy slaw.

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Sweet & Tangy Citrus Slaw

This refreshingly bright and crunchy slaw is a great side dish to burgers or Sloppy Joe’s.

Servings: 6 to 8
Prep Time: 20 Minutes
Total Time: 20 Minutes


  • 6 cups shredded red cabbage
  • 3 cups shredded carrots
  • ¼ cup finely chopped shallots, from 1 to 2 shallots
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • ½ cup coarsely chopped fresh cilantro (parsley may be substituted)
  • Zest and juice from 1 orange (about 1 teaspoon zest and ¼ cup juice)
  • ¼ cup fresh lime juice, from 2 limes
  • ⅓ cup vegetable oil
  • 1½ tablespoons sugar or honey
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper


  1. Combine all of the ingredients in a large bowl and toss well. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour or overnight. Stir well, then taste and adjust seasoning, if necessary (I sometimes add a bit more sugar or honey).

Pair with

Nutrition Information

Powered by Edamam

  • Per serving (8 servings)
  • Calories: 135
  • Fat: 9 g
  • Saturated fat: 1 g
  • Carbohydrates: 13 g
  • Sugar: 8 g
  • Fiber: 3 g
  • Protein: 1 g
  • Sodium: 307 mg
  • Cholesterol: 0 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.

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  • Great recipe! I made some tweaks including swapping the veg oil for olive oil, adding extra garlic, subbing scallions for shallots (by mistake haha), and omitting the honey. I like it a lot.

    • — Nichole on June 7, 2024
    • Reply
  • Made this last weekend and served it with your tomato basil grilled shrimp and the two complimented each other nicely. This would be great for meal planning as it holds well.

    • — Shannon C on May 28, 2024
    • Reply
  • Not very interesting. I was hoping for more zing from the citrus but it was rather sweet and bland.

    • — Leslie on February 12, 2024
    • Reply
  • I know we all like to tweak recipes, soooo …

    I made this according to directions, and while it tasted great, it just didn’t look great.

    So I added green cabbage, red onions and slivered almonds (to give a bit more crunch). I then added a bit of citrus vinaigrette and some lemon juice.

    The only problem is, I now have waaaay to much of it, LOL.

    My takeaway is that next time, I’ll mix red and green cabbage just to help (to me) the look.

    • — Jill-Marie on October 31, 2023
    • Reply
  • I have made this slaw twice. It is sooo yummy. So easy to make. Takes 10 minutes max. Stays fresh for several days in the frig. It is my go to summer slaw!

    • — Chris on August 22, 2023
    • Reply
  • My 10 year old son dislikes vegetables but loves this slaw. Thank you so much for this win for him.

    • — V on April 17, 2023
    • Reply
  • This site is very erratic today. Too many pop up ads interfering.
    Question: Since it’s just my husband and me, how long can it sit in fridge both safely and taste wise?

    • — Sunny Drohan on March 5, 2023
    • Reply
    • Hi Sunny, I’m sorry you saw so many pop-ups today — I will check in with my ad network to try to rectify. I think this can last in the fridge for 3 to 4 days. Hope you enjoy if you make it!

      • — Jenn on March 6, 2023
      • Reply
  • I love this recipe!! Have made it multiple times to go with pulled pork and brisket. I do add probably about a half cup of apple cider vinegar and reduce the vegetable oil to 3/4 cup to give it more bite since we like vinegar slaw, but the orange juice and lime add another level of depth of flavor that is to die for! Thanks for the recipe!

    • — Kaitlyn R on October 8, 2022
    • Reply
  • Great! I hate when people rate recipes… but didn’t follow the actual recipe. So forgive me here. I didn’t have shallots or garlic on hand (imagine that!) but I made the rest of the recipe as written. It was fresh and bright and crunchy and tasty. Delicious and then some. I’m sure it would be even better if I’d had *all* of the ingredients!

  • Can you just give me an idea of how many cabbages and carrots I will need? With all due respect, I find it rather frustrating when that info. is not provided…..it’s hard to guess what 3 cups or 6 cups is when purchasing the ingredients whole. Thank you!

    • Hi Marcia, When shredded, 1 medium head of cabbage should yield about 8 to 8.5 cups so you’ll need about 3/4 of the head. Regarding the carrots, I’d guesstimate you’ll need about 2 medium. Hope that helps!

      • I agree about the cabbage, but I think you’ll need a little more than two medium carrots. Mine were on the large side, and I used two.

        • — Anne on August 6, 2022
        • Reply
  • So delicious and refreshing! A perfect colorful salad that paired beautifully with the Korean-Style Bulgogi Burgers.

  • This was delicious and I had enough left over for lunch the following day, when I added some cold quinoa to it. Next time I’m going to add some sliced almonds, but honestly, it’s perfect as is. Great side dish or main salad with some added protein!

  • I had something like this, but it seemed like there was unsweetened orange juice red cabbage, carrots and I can’t remember the rest. Can you help ?? Otherwise this would work too 🙂

    • Hi Becky, without knowing more about what into the salad and dressing, it would be hard for me to say. I’d just go with this one — I think you’ll enjoy it. 🙂

  • This recipe was very tasty – tart, tangy, yet a bit of sweetness plus savory. Combining the dressing ingredients in a separate bowl enabled me to taste and adjust seasonings before adding to the cabbage/carrot mixture. I’ll definitely make this again.

  • Couldn’t wait to try this recipe and proceeded to make it with ingredients on hand : white cabbage, red cabbage and shredded carrots. Substituted a mandarin for the orange and added another Tbsp of honey. I am giving this 5 stars despite these modifications and look forward to making it as written. Easy to make, kept its flavor and crispness after 2 days in the refrigerator.

  • This recipe is bursting with flavour and colour. Tastes and looks equally as amazing! I made this for a large dinner party as a side dish, and it stole the show!!! Almost the whole lot went, everyone loved it!

  • This is absolutely amazing! The flavor here is so nuanced and delicious. Bright, citrusy, crunchy, sweet. Yummy! I could eat it on it’s own. We had it with your sloppy joe sandwiches and it was perfect! You are a genius!!

  • Wonderfully refreshing! This is an official “go to” recipe.

    • — Teri J Shusterman
    • Reply
  • Hello, I hope you and your family are doing well. It is just me and my daughter in the house and most of the time she doesn’t eat what I eat. I want to make this slaw recipe but I don’t know how to modify it for one serving. Or enough for me to eat for two days. Any suggestions? Thank you, Christie

    • — Christie Wilson
    • Reply
    • Hi Christie, You could cut the ingredients by 3/4 (if you can figure out the math)! 🙂

      • I just found a guide online to help break down recipes. Let’s see how this goes. I’ll let you know. Thanks for the reply.

        • — Christie Wilson
        • Reply
  • Have you ever made this with these subs: green cabbage for purple; lemon for lime; parsley for cilantro? Running low on groceries and wanting to make a side dish to go with your buttermilk chicken tenders. Thanks!

    • — Angelique Batsel
    • Reply
    • I haven’t, but I do think all of those would work. Please LMK how it turns out if you try it with these subs!

  • Could you substitute lemon for the orange?
    Thank you for all your wonderful recipes!

    • Hi Siobhan, glad you like the recipes! If you replace the orange with lemon, the salad will definitely taste more tart. So it’s possible, but you may need to add another pinch or two of sugar or honey. Please LMK how it turns out if you try it this way!

  • Excellent. Light and refreshing. Made with Sloppy Joes as recommended. Will make again!

  • This is my new favorite cole slaw! My family has always made a vinaigrette slaw but this took it over the top with orange and lime! Thanks Jenn!

  • I found the salad to be quite tasteless; perhaps I should have let it sit overnight in the frig? I will try to make it again and to do that and maybe add some apple cider vinegar.

    • — Margeaux C Pearson
    • Reply
    • Hi Margeaux, Sorry you found this to be a bit bland! The flavor and texture of the salad improve as it sits, so next time I’d refrigerate it overnight.

  • Made the slaw tonight and making the sloppy joes tomorrow for complete dinner. I thought the slaw was delish and the dressing had lots of flavor with the zest and shallot. I omitted the garlic. I think it will be even better tomorrow!

  • Yummy slaw recipe! I added some grated ginger, a chopped jalapeño, a dash of coriander and cumin and … wow! I will use this recipe again! Thank you Jenn!

  • Hi Jennifer, I made this salad a couple of weeks ago. I just finished eating it yesterday, and it was still crunchy!
    The couple of changes I made were, I used white basalmic vinegar ro taste to give it a little more kick, and I added more sugar to offset the vinegar.
    It was wonderful. I ate it with habernaro chicken sausages, fish tacos, everything I could think of.
    I will definitely be making it again, and it stays good so long that I can almost keep it as a condiment!
    Thanks for this excellent recipe and all your hard work!

  • I loved the bright red and orange colors of this slaw, as well as the crunch, but was disappointed in the underwhelming flavor. I did not find it tangy, as titled. The lemon and lime seemed to get lost, especially the lime. I’m made several excellent salads from this site, but have to agree with a few of the other reviews that this one is a bit bland.

  • I made this in addition to your Sloppy Joe recipe and my family loved it! Loved the flavors and zing! Thank you!

  • I made this along with the Sloppy Joe recipe. I was super optimistic about this recipe with the citrus dressing. I followed the recipe to the T and unfotunately I found the flavors to be flat. Like flat flat. I was hoping for some tang and zest. I sprinkled leftovers the next day with some apple cider vinegar and that added a little more flavor but it still didn’t resonate with me. I also think this could be very tasty with some type of fruit in the salad as well.

  • I made this today, and it is unbelievably delicious! The orange and lime give it a great citrusy flavor that is not too overwhelming, and the cilantro and garlic provide wonderful depth of flavor. It’s also very healthful and fits in well with my vegetarian diet. Alterations: I did not have any shallots on hand, so I used red onion instead. I also added 2 tsp of cumin.

  • Jenn, I love your recipes! I feed 15 adults from my church weekly, and I showcase your recipes every single time. In this case, I am looking for freeze-able sides. Do you think this one would freeze?

    • — Amanda Woodiel
    • Reply
    • Hi Amanda, how nice that you do that weekly (and thanks for using my recipes)! It’s never occurred to me that this could be frozen, but looking at the recipe, I don’t see why not. 🙂

  • Hi Jenn, This may be a dumb question but can you make the filling a day ahead and then reheat the following day? I will be out all of one day with company and would love to just reheat the filling when we get back home. Thanks for your wonderful recipes!!

    • Hi Hannah, Which recipe are you referring to?

  • A light, very flavorful slaw. It’s pretty too. Everyone loved it, even the veggie-averse.

  • This recipe is wonderful. Super simple and easy.. I always add a bit extra garlic and a little zest. Tweak it to your liking and I’m sure it will still be wonderful!

  • This is one delicious salad! It’s crunchy and so pretty to look at. The colors are gorgeous. Always a hit wherever I make it.

  • Just the way I like my slaw…tangy and low fat. It was a big hit even with the grandkids.

  • I made this salad with what I had on hand. I substituted tangerines for the oranges and green onions for the parsley. I love the bright colors of this salad and the taste is fresh and delicious.

  • I was thinking of adding cranberries and/or nuts. What would you recommend?

    • Hi Karen, I think that’d work well. I’d love to know how it turns out if you try it. 🙂

    • I added some chopped peanuts before serving and I thought it was delicious!

  • I loved the bright colors and convenience of the preshredded red cabbage and carrots. However, I probably wouldn’t spend that much money on the dressing again, too bland for our taste. Would add my favorite store bought dressing, maybe poppyseed? But, I love trying your recipes!

  • When I first saw this recipe, I was skeptical about the flavor, but since I was preparing the sloppy joes, I decided to give it a try. Wow!! The flavor is really fresh and good. Once again, Jennifer, you are a rock star.

  • This was so delicious. I followed the directions exactly. Thanks!!

  • Hi- any other oils possible to use instead of veg oil? Thanks- love all your recipes.

    • Sure, Jill – any neutral tasting oil will work.

  • I used a little less than a level tablespoon of demerara sugar and found the flavor still with a pleasant amount of tang but extra flavor depth with the demerara sugar.

  • This salad looks really good and different with the shallots, cabbage, carrots, orange juice, etc. Just a little different, but so pretty.

  • Love this site! Always have wonderful results using your recipes! I think we also have a mutual friend, Susan Levings😍

    • Yes, I love Susan…and just saw her this past weekend!

  • What a great alternative to the mayo glop. This is with a refreshing tang.

  • Can sugar sub. be substituted to lower carbs?

    • Sure, Kathy. The original recipe actually didn’t call for sugar but I found it too tart. You might just add it to taste.

    • I used Stevia and it worked fine!

      • I added shaved beets and it made the salad even more colorful and the flavors brighter.

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