Easy Coleslaw Recipe

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With fresh ingredients and a tangy, creamy dressing, this classic coleslaw recipe is the perfect side dish for BBQs, camping trips, and picnics. 

Coleslaw in a yellow dish.

This homemade coleslaw recipe is one of our favorite side dishes to make during the summer! It’s a perfect side to compliment pulled pork sliders, hotdogs & burgers, or anything else that comes off the BBQ.

We love this recipe because nearly all the prep work can be done ahead of time. Chop the cabbage and carrots and prepare the dressing at home, so all you have to do when you’re on-site is combine.  The result is a delicious coleslaw that’s creamy and tangy, with the perfect amount of crunch. 

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So if you’re looking to discover your new favorite coleslaw recipe, look no further! 

Ingredients for coleslaw displayed on a counter.

Ingredients

There are only a few basic ingredients to make this coleslaw! 

Exact measurements can be found in the printable recipe card at the end of this post.

Green & red cabbage: A mix of green and red shredded cabbage make up the base of this slaw. Green cabbage tends to have a mild flavor, while red cabbage can be a bit more peppery. We like blending the two together for a more well-rounded flavor profile. For a milder coleslaw flavor, you can swap out the red cabbage and just use green. 

Carrot: Shredded carrot adds a bit of sweetness — in fact, we find it adds just the right amount, so no added sugar is needed!

If you’re in a rush, you can alternatively pick up a bag of coleslaw mix from the grocery store, that contains pre-shredded cabbage and carrots. 

Cilantro: We love fresh cilantro in our coleslaw! It gives it a fresh and unique summery zing. Feel free to swap it out if cilantro isn’t your jam — flat-leafed parsley works, as would green onions. 

Coleslaw dressing: Rather than using only mayo or vinegar to make the dressing, our recipe calls for both. Our creamy and tangy dressing uses mayonnaise, apple cider vinegar, Dijon mustard, and salt & pepper. Alternatively, you could use white or red wine vinegar. 

Celery Seeds [Optional]: In the South, the inclusion of celery seeds in coleslaw is nearly considered mandatory. We are not from the South and never grew up with celery seeds in our slaw. But if you did, then by all means feel free to add them. 

Shredded cabbage, carrots, and cilantro on a cutting board.

How to Make Homemade Coleslaw

In order to save time and energy at the campground, we highly suggest doing the prep work for this coleslaw ahead of time from the comfort of your home kitchen. 

Cutting the core out of a cabbage and slicing the cabbage thin.

To start, you can pre-chop all of your vegetables. Using a sharp knife, cut the cabbage into quarters, cut out the core, and shave thin slices off. Use the large holes on a box grater to grate the carrots into shreds. Give the cilantro (or other fresh herbs) a rough chop.

Place the prepared vegetables in a 1-gallon resealable bag. 

A mason jar filled with creamy coleslaw dressing.

Next, you can prepare the dressing. We suggest doing this in a wide-mouthed Mason Jar or in another type of sealable container. Combine the mayonnaise with apple cider vinegar, Dijon mustard, salt, and black pepper, and whisk together. This is where you would add the celery seeds if you were using them. 

A cooler filled with ice, coleslaw components, and other items.

Transport both of these containers, the baggie of vegetables and jar of dressing, in your cooler. 

You want to wait until a few hours before mealtime to actually make the coleslaw. To do this pour dressing into the zip-top baggie of prechopped vegetables. Massage the outside of the baggie with your hands to make sure everything is well coated. Return the baggie to the cooler until you’re ready to serve. 

Pouring dressing into a bag with cabbage, carrots, and cilantro.

For the best results, we suggest combining 1-3 hours prior to mealtime. But after the dressing goes in, the slaw should sit for at least 30 minutes. 

When it’s time to serve, transfer the cole slaw to a large bowl for serving. 

A bag of coleslaw in a cooler of ice.

Make-Ahead / Storage Tips 

  • Chop all the vegetables and premix the dressing, but store them in separate containers in your fridge or cooler. Mixing in the dressing too early will cause the vegetables to become soggy and watery. 
  • Add the dressing 1-3 hours before mealtime.  
  • Once mixed together, the coleslaw will keep for 3-5 days in the fridge/cooler–but the cabbage will significantly soften and release water.
  • Drain as needed before using leftovers, and add more mayo if you lose too much of the dressing.
Coleslaw in a yellow dish.
Coleslaw in a yellow dish.

Coleslaw Recipe

You're going to love this classic coleslaw recipe! Simple, fresh ingredients along with a tangy, creamy dressing make this the ultimate side dish for BBQs, camping trips, and picnics.
Author: Fresh Off The Grid
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Prep Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 10 minutes
6 servings

Ingredients

  • 3 cups green cabbage
  • 2 cups red cabbage
  • 1 cup carrots
  • 1 cup chopped cilantro, or parsley

Dressing

  • ½ cup mayonnaise
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • Salt + Pepper to taste
  • Optional: 1 tablespoon sugar, if you prefer a sweeter coleslaw

Instructions

  • Using a sharp knife, cut the cabbage into quarters, cut out the core, and cut the cabbage into thin slices. Use the large holes on a box grater to grate the carrots into shreds. Give the cilantro (or other fresh herbs) a rough chop. Place the vegetables in a 1-gallon resealable bag (if making ahead) or bowl.
  • To make the dressing, combine the mayonnaise, apple cider vinegar, Dijon mustard, salt, and black pepper, in a small jar and whisk together. (Add additional sugar or celery seeds now, if using.)
  • Transport both of these containers, the baggie of vegetables and jar of dressing, in your cooler, or place them in the fridge.
  • Mix the dressing and vegetables together, making sure everything is well coated, 1-3 hours before serving (and at least 30 min). Once combined, place it in the fridge or cooler to chill until you're ready to serve.

Notes

Make-Ahead / Storage Tips 

  • Chop all the vegetables and premix the dressing, but store them in separate containers in your fridge or cooler. Mixing in the dressing too early will cause the vegetables to become soggy and watery. 
  • Add the dressing 1-3 hours before mealtime.  
  • Once mixed together, the coleslaw will keep for 3-5 days in the fridge/cooler–but the cabbage will significantly soften and release water.
  • Drain as needed before using leftovers, and add more mayo if you lose too much of the dressing.
*Nutrition is an estimate based on information provided by a third-party nutrition calculator
Salad, Side Dish
Camping

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