Southern Cole Slaw Recipe – Creamy and Sweet

Nothing compares to the creamy texture, and acidic and sweet flavor of Southern-style coleslaw.

It is a delicious side dish that is inexpensive and simple to make. It makes a great summertime topping for pulled pork sandwiches, barbecued ribs, or any other smoked, grilled, or barbecued meat.

Here is a step-by-step tutorial for preparing the best coleslaw in the South that will wow your visitors. Get ready for a lot of requests for the salad recipe!

What you will need to prepare this southern-style coleslaw?

Prep time: 5-10 minutes

Servings: 8


  • A 16-oz bag of coleslaw mix*
  • 1 cup of mayonnaise (Useful tip: If you want to make healthier coleslaw with less fat and calories, we suggest that you replace the cup of mayonnaise with fat-free Greek yogurt)
  • 2 tablespoons of Dijon mustard
  • 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons of sugar
  • ¾ teaspoons of kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon of finely grated onion (or a teaspoon of onion powder)
  • 2 teaspoons of celery seeds (or you can use celery salt)
  • *Note: if you want to prepare the coleslaw mix from fresh vegetables yourself, then you will need
  • ¼ finely shredded green cabbage
  • ¼ finely shredded red cabbage
  • 1 grated carrot
  • ¼ finely sliced red onion

How to Prepare the Memphis-style Coleslaw? – step-by-step instructions


Making the dressing for the coleslaw

Take a large bowl and pour and mix the mayonnaise, the Dijon mustard, the apple cider vinegar, sugar, salt, and celery salt. Mix all ingredients well, and in a few minutes, you will have your creamy dressing ready for the southern-style coleslaw.

Prepping the vegetables

If you are using a ready-made bagged slaw mix, then this step is pretty easy. All you need to do is add the shredded cabbage into the dressing, toss it so that it mixes well, and refrigerate it for at least 1 hour before serving the side dish.

If you will be making your own mix for the salad, then make sure that you slice the red and green cabbage finely, and then grate the carrot and slice the red onion.

You can “massage” the shredded cabbage gently in order to soften it and reduce the bitterness.

Before you add the sliced red onion to the mix, you can pour some boiling water over it and allow it to soak for a few minutes. Then rinse it out with cold water, and lay it on paper towels to dry.

This procedure will help reduce the strong unpleasant taste and bad breath from eating raw onion.

You can add the onion to the shredded cabbage and grated carrot and pour the mixture into the bowl with the dressing when you are done. Give the veggies a nice toss so that each strand is covered with the delicious creamy sweet and tangy dressing.

Let the salad rest in the fridge for at least an hour before serving it.

This delicious salad can be stored in the refrigerator for up to two days, but if you are serving it after several hours or a day of making it, you should make sure that you drain any excess liquid from it.

The preparation of the coleslaw should take no more than 5-10 minutes, depending on whether you will be using bagged veggies or will be slicing and grating them yourself.

Once you are done, you can proudly serve the slaw with delicious barbecued or smoked meat, or in a pulled pork sandwich, taco, or in any other combination you like.

It may be a simple recipe, but it will leave a lasting impression on your family and guests.

Southern-style coleslaw recipe overview

Time for prep: 5-10 minutes

Number of servings: 8

Course type: side dish

Nutritional value

Calories: 228 kcal

Carbs: 8g

Protein: 1g

Fat: 21g

Cholesterol: 11mg

Sodium: 450mg

Potassium: 120mg

Fiber: 1g

Sugar: 6g

Vitamin C: 22mg

Vitamin A: 75IU

Iron: 0.6mg

Calcium: 37mg


A bag of pre-made slaw mix or ¼ shredded green cabbage, ¼ shredded red cabbage, 1 carrot grated

Mayonnaise – 1 cup (or replace with fat-free Greek yogurt- for a healthier version)

Dijon mustard – 2 tablespoons

Apple cider vinegar – 2 tablespoons

Sugar – 3 tablespoons

Kosher salt – ¾ teaspoon

Finely sliced red onion – 1 tablespoon, or 1 teaspoon of onion powder

Instructions for preparing the southern-style slaw

  1. Mix the ingredients for the dressing in a large bowl until; they are completely combined
  2. If you are using a ready-made bagged slaw mix, then you can skip the following steps for the vegetable preparation
  3. Slice the quarter of green and the quarter of red cabbage and massage it gently with your fingers so that it softens and tastes less bitter
  4. Grate the carrot and mix it with the cabbage
  5. Grate or slice the red onion, and pour some boiling water on top of it in a small bowl. Let it sit for a few minutes and then rinse it with cold water and set it on a paper towel to dry
  6. Add the onion to the mix
  7. Pour all veggies into the bowl with the dressing
  8. Toss them thoroughly until each strand is covered with the dressing
  9. Place the ready salad in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour
  10. Serve with the main course of your choice!
  11. You can store the leftover salad in the fridge for up to 2 days

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