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Southern Coleslaw

by victor

Homemade coleslaw inside a speckled grey bowl, on a table with a spoon next to the bowl.

Coleslaw is one of those foods that I used to not care much about until I made this recipe. This homemade southern-style slaw is so good that I now make it every few weeks just because I miss the taste. It’s got a perfect balance of tartness and sweetness, the spices are subtle, and the crispy cabbage contrasts the creamy sauce. This simple creamy coleslaw is the perfect side dish for your next BBQ, grilling cookout, pulled pork sandwich and hot dog.

But wait, there is more to this coleslaw. It’s got a secret ingredient. It’s blue cheese dressing. The addition of blue cheese dressing takes this salad to a whole new level. I love how it enhances the overall flavor profile of the slaw and adds that bold flavor and chunks of pungent blue cheese. This is the only coleslaw recipe that I will ever need.

How to make coleslaw?

Making coleslaw is very easy. Start with shredding cabbage and carrots. You have some options here: you can chop, grate, shred or hash your cabbage and carrots. It’s a personal choice but I prefer shredding.

Oftentimes recipes call for a mix of regular and red cabbage. You can do that too. Typically, white and red cabbage are added in an 8 to 1 ratio. For example, for 8 cups of white cabbage you will add about 1 cup of red cabbage. But this really depends on your personal taste.

The second step is to prepare the dressing. Then mix the shredded veggies with the dressing and enjoy. That’s all there is to it. Coleslaw is at its best freshly prepared so try making it a few hours before serving to allow for a few hours of refrigeration time.

What’s the best cabbage to use for coleslaw?

It’s customary to use white or green cabbage for making coleslaw, sometimes with red cabbage mixed in. That said, savoy cabbage or Napa cabbage can be used as well. It all depends on your taste.

Top down close up view of a bowl filled with homemade coleslaw.

How to cut cabbage for coleslaw?

To shred cabbage for coleslaw, first cut the cabbage head in half then remove stems making diagonal cuts. Lay the cabbage halves cut side down and make parallel vertical cuts with a long sharp knife. How thick or thin to make those cuts really depends on your preference. Then cut the strips across to make them shorter. Here is a good video that demonstrates the cabbage shredding process.

Coleslaw dressing

The dressing is what makes or breaks coleslaw. There are different ways to make coleslaw dressing, using different ingredients and proportions. This recipe uses full-fat mayo, apple cider vinegar and blue cheese dressing as the base. This combination works so well that I get tons of compliments on this dressing every time.

How long can you store coleslaw?

Coleslaw doesn’t last long and the taste starts to degrade soon after you mix the cabbage with the dressing. The cabbage will start to release water and lose its crunch. It’s best to consume it the same day.

If you think you’ve overestimated the amount of needed coleslaw, store your shredded cabbage and the dressing in a fridge separately. Don’t mix all of the cabbage at once. Start with a half. When you are about to run out, mix some more as needed. Shredded cabbage and the dressing not mixed together will easily last a week in the fridge, while mixed together they won’t last a day before you notice taste degradation.

Making coleslaw in advance

As I mentioned above, you can shred your veggies and make the dressing up to a week in advance. Store them refrigerated and mix when ready to serve.

What is the right amount of coleslaw to make?

If your guests are big eaters, plan for about 1 cup of coleslaw per person. About a 3/4 for an average person and about 1/2 a cup per kid. This recipe makes about 6 cups of coleslaw and should be enough for about 8-10 servings.

Tips for making this coleslaw taste its best

  • For best results, use the best quality ingredients. Great quality mayonnaise and blue cheese dressing make great slaw.
  • Use fresh cabbage and carrots. Freshly shredded cabbage and carrots make a huge difference compared to pre-shredded veggies sold in bags.
  • Eat this coleslaw fresh. As in, make it and eat it the same day. Coleslaw is one of those salads that doesn’t get better with age.
  • If the cabbage is young, mix it with the dressing just before serving.
  • If the cabbage is older, you can mix it with the dressing and keep in the fridge for a few hours.

Other side dishes you may enjoy

Top down close up view of a bowl filled with homemade coleslaw.

Southern Coleslaw Recipe

5 from 2 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: American
Keyword: cole slaw, coleslaw, coleslaw salad
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Servings: 10 servings
Calories: 191kcal
Author: Victor


  • 1 cabbage (medium size, about 2 lbs, rinsed and shredded)
  • 2 carrots (peeled and shredded)

For the coleslaw dressing

  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 3 Tbsp blue cheese dressing
  • 1 clove garlic (pressed or minced)
  • 2 tsp brown sugar
  • 2 Tbsp grated onion (yellow or Vidalia)
  • 1 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp celery seed


  • Add the ingredients for the coleslaw dressing to a large mixing bowl and whisk until well combined. Taste for salt and pepper and adjust if necessary.
  • Add the shredded cabbage and carrots, and mix until everything is well coated in dressing.
  • Refrigerate for about 2 hours before serving. Give the slaw a good mix one more time and serve.


If you are using made ahead refrigerated shredded cabbage and dressing, there is no need to refrigerate the salad again before serving.


Calories: 191kcal | Carbohydrates: 7g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 17g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Cholesterol: 9mg | Sodium: 559mg | Potassium: 210mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 2140IU | Vitamin C: 34.2mg | Calcium: 49mg | Iron: 0.6mg


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