I love a good creamy coleslaw. It’s such a versatile side dish–and healthy too, chock full of fiber-filled veggies. It’s also a great summer side dish. Coleslaw’s crunch and tang offset rich, fatty grilled meats. And slaw is also a fantastic condiment; I love it piled on a spicy taco or sandwich (like my buffalo eggplant sandwich) to offset the heat.
I make an absolutely perfect coleslaw. This isn’t hubris. I make plenty of things that aren’t perfect and will never see the light of day on this blog. But my coleslaw recipe is legit. It’s a bit tangy, a touch sweet, and the coleslaw dressing is just creamy enough without being gloppy.
Since this is a dish that’s just calling for your own tweaks, here are they keys to my success. Follow these tips and you’ll be able to riff on this recipe while keeping what’s great about it.
Tips for Perfect Coleslaw
- Shred the cabbage as thinly as possible–this makes the slaw as tender as possible to eat while still being very crunchy because, well, cabbage is inherently crunchy.
- Use a julienne peeler for the best carrot texture. You can certainly grate the carrot or run it through the food processor using the grater blade. But I think the longer, thinner shreds of carrot from the peeler are the best here.
- A few herb-y mix-ins add extra flavor to your slaw. I think scallions are non-negotiable. And I like cilantro–especially if I’m going to serve my slaw on tacos.
- The dressing is key to the recipe and the combination of vinegar, mayonnaise, and–this is important–a touch of sugar make a very well balanced dressing.
- RE: the dressing, mince the onions super small. You want all the flavor but none of the crunch. Mincing the onions will allow for maximum flavor to meld with the rest of the dressing ingredients.
- Finally, course grind the black pepper called for in the dressing. This creates a little pop of spice in each bite which is a nice and surprising addition to the overall flavor. Lots of people use celery seed for this texture and spice, but, meh. Black pepper is so much better.
The Best Easy Creamy Coleslaw
- ½ small head green cabbage ~13-16 oz.; shredded thinly
- 1 large carrot julienned
- 2 scallions white and green parts sliced thinly
- 1/2 cup cilantro or parsley loosely packed; roughly chopped
- 2 tbsp cider vinegar
- 2 tbsp onion finely minced
- 1 tbsp sugar
- ½ tsp garlic powder
- ½ tsp kosher salt
- ½ tsp coarsely ground pepper
- ⅓ cup mayonnaise full fat
- In a large bowl, combine the cabbage, carrot, scallions, and cilantro (or parsley). Toss to mix well.
- In a small bowl, whisk together the cider vinegar, onion, sugar, garlic powder, kosher salt, black pepper, and mayonnaise. Whisk until smooth and well combined.
- Pour the dressing into the vegetable mixture. Use tongs to mix the coleslaw. Make sure the slaw is evenly coated in the dressing. Serve. Or refrigerate until serving.
- A note on cabbage. Any green cabbage will work here, so pick your favorite if you’re a person that has a favorite cabbage. I am that type of person and have been drawn to Taiwan cabbage lately which is a bit more tender than your basic green cabbage (BGC). I think Napa or Savoy cabbage would be great, too. But, BGC works just fine.
- Cilantro or parsley is optional. I like cilantro a ton here but it also doesn’t taste like soap to me so YMMV.
- Truly, pick up a julienne peeler for the carrots because you’ll want to make this recipe a ton after you make it; it’s also a great tool for adding carrots to other salads. You can use this tiny tool to make zucchini noodles, too!
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