So you want to learn the secret to making the most delectable Southern-style coleslaw? Look no further! In this article, we’ll show you a mouthwatering recipe that will have you craving the crisp crunch and creamy texture of this classic salad. Get ready to tantalize your taste buds with a colorful blend of fresh cabbage, carrots, and a tangy dressing that will transport you straight to the heart of the South. Whether you’re planning a backyard barbecue or simply want to add a touch of Southern charm to your next meal, this delicious coleslaw recipe is sure to impress. Get your chopping board ready and let’s get started!


To make delicious Southern-style coleslaw, you will need the following ingredients:


Cabbage is the main component of coleslaw and adds a satisfying crunch. Choose a firm and fresh cabbage for the best results.


Carrots add color and sweetness to the coleslaw. Grating them will ensure they are evenly distributed throughout the dish.


Mayonnaise forms the creamy base of the dressing. Look for a high-quality mayonnaise for the best flavor.

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Sugar adds a touch of sweetness to balance the tanginess of the vinegar and mustard.


Vinegar provides a tangy kick to the coleslaw. White vinegar or apple cider vinegar are both excellent choices.


Mustard adds a subtle heat and depth of flavor to the dressing. Use your favorite type, whether it’s yellow mustard or Dijon mustard.

Salt and Pepper

Salt and pepper enhance the overall taste of the coleslaw. Adjust the amounts to suit your personal preference.

Celery Seed

Celery seed adds a unique and aromatic flavor to the coleslaw. It is an optional ingredient, but highly recommended for that extra touch.


Before you start mixing everything together, there are a few preparation steps to follow:

Shred the Cabbage

Start by shredding the cabbage into thin, uniform strips. This will create the perfect texture for the coleslaw.

Grate the Carrots

Next, grate the carrots using a box grater or a food processor. Grated carrots will blend beautifully with the cabbage, adding both color and flavor.

Prepare the Dressing

Now it’s time to make the creamy and tangy dressing that will coat the vegetables and give the coleslaw its signature taste:

Mix Mayonnaise and Vinegar

In a mixing bowl, combine the mayonnaise and vinegar. Stir well until they are thoroughly blended together.

Add Sugar and Mustard

To the mayonnaise and vinegar mixture, add the sugar and mustard. These ingredients will add sweetness and a hint of heat to the dressing.

Season with Salt, Pepper, and Celery Seed

Finish off the dressing by adding salt, pepper, and celery seed. Adjust the amounts to your liking. The celery seed will give the coleslaw a distinctive flavor, so don’t skip it if possible.

Mixing the Coleslaw

Once you have prepared all the ingredients, it’s time to bring everything together:

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Combine Cabbage and Carrots

In a large mixing bowl, combine the shredded cabbage and grated carrots. The combination of these two vegetables creates a wonderful balance of flavors and textures.

Pour the Dressing Over the Vegetables

Pour the dressing you prepared earlier over the cabbage and carrots. Make sure to coat the vegetables evenly with the creamy dressing.

Toss to Coat Evenly

Using tongs or two large spoons, gently toss the vegetables and dressing together until everything is well coated. Take your time to ensure each piece is covered in the creamy goodness.

Refrigeration and Serving

To allow the flavors to meld together, you’ll want to refrigerate the coleslaw for a bit:

Cover and Refrigerate for at Least 1 Hour

Cover the mixing bowl with plastic wrap or place the coleslaw into an airtight container. Let it chill in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour. This will give the flavors time to develop and the coleslaw to become more cohesive.

Stir Before Serving

Just before serving, give the coleslaw a gentle stir to make sure everything is well combined. This will ensure that each bite is flavorful and consistent.

Serve Chilled

Southern-style coleslaw is best enjoyed when served chilled. The cold temperature adds a refreshing element to the overall dish.


If you’re feeling adventurous, there are several variations of coleslaw you can try:

Creamy Coleslaw

The classic creamy coleslaw is what we have described so far. However, you can experiment with different mayonnaise flavors or even add a splash of buttermilk for extra tanginess.

Vinegar-Based Coleslaw

For a lighter and tangier coleslaw, consider making a vinegar-based dressing. Instead of mayonnaise, use a combination of vinegar, oil, and spices. This version is perfect for those who prefer a lighter and less creamy coleslaw.

Spicy Coleslaw

If you enjoy a little heat, add some jalapeƱos or a pinch of cayenne pepper to your coleslaw. These additions will give it a spicy kick that pairs well with grilled meats or spicy dishes.

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Tips and Tricks

To make your Southern-style coleslaw even better, keep these tips and tricks in mind:

Choose a Firm and Fresh Cabbage

A firm and fresh cabbage will provide the best texture and flavor for your coleslaw. Avoid cabbages that feel soft or have discolored outer leaves.

Adjust the Sweetness and Tanginess to Taste

The amounts of sugar and vinegar in the dressing can be adjusted to suit your personal preference. If you prefer sweeter coleslaw, add a bit more sugar. If you like it tangier, increase the amount of vinegar.

Add Other Vegetables or Fruits for Added Flavor

Feel free to get creative with your coleslaw by adding other vegetables or fruits. Thinly sliced bell peppers, diced apples, or even shredded broccoli can add interesting flavors and textures to your coleslaw.

Serving Suggestions

Southern-style coleslaw is incredibly versatile and pairs well with many dishes:

Serve as a Side Dish for Barbecue

Coleslaw is a classic side dish for barbecue fare. Whether you’re grilling burgers, ribs, or pulled pork, a scoop of coleslaw on the side will bring a refreshing and crunchy element to your plate.

Top Burgers or Sandwiches with Coleslaw

For an extra burst of flavor and texture, add a heap of coleslaw on top of your favorite burgers or sandwiches. The creaminess and crunch will take your meal to a whole new level.

Pair with Fried Chicken or Seafood

Crispy fried chicken or seafood dishes like fried fish or shrimp are beautifully complemented by coleslaw. The creamy, tangy flavors of the coleslaw serve as a delightful contrast to the fried and savory main dishes.

Storing Leftovers

If you have any leftovers, here’s how to properly store them:

Transfer to an Airtight Container

Place the coleslaw in an airtight container to keep it fresh and prevent it from absorbing any odors from the refrigerator.

Refrigerate for Up to 3 Days

Southern-style coleslaw will stay fresh in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. After that, it may start to lose its crunchiness and flavor.

Rejuvenate with a Little Mayo Before Serving

If the coleslaw seems dry after being refrigerated, simply add a small amount of mayonnaise and toss it gently to rehydrate the vegetables and bring back the desired creaminess.


Now that you know how to make delicious Southern-style coleslaw, it’s time to get in the kitchen and give it a try. Whether you’re serving it alongside a barbecue feast or using it to top your favorite sandwich, this creamy and tangy coleslaw is sure to be a hit. Enjoy the flavors of the South and savor every bite of this classic dish!

Jenny Jones

By Jenny Jones

Jenny Jones is a passionate culinary enthusiast hailing from the heart of the South. Born and raised in a small town known for its rich culinary traditions, she developed an unwavering love for Southern cooking from an early age.