With just the right amount of that sweet and tangy dressing we all love, this is the best coleslaw recipe! It’s simple, keeps its crunch, has loads of creamy flavor and is perfect for every occasion. Creamy Southern Coleslaw is a quick and easy side dish that’s hard to resist.
What is Creamy Coleslaw made of?
Creamy Southern Coleslaw is a classic side dish made from chopped and shredded cabbage, carrots and green onions dressed with a mayonnaise-based dressing that is both tangy and sweet. It’s bright colors, cool and creamy dressing, flavorful zing and surprising crunch are what makes it a must-have cookout favorite!
Is Coleslaw a Southern Thing?
Well, not exclusively. But it’s crisp, sweet tanginess sure tastes like it was custom made for a lot of our southern favorites! So much so, that creamy coleslaw is a true blue southern staple at potlucks, tailgates, cookouts, fish frys and, of course, with smokey BBQ.
What to Eat with Southern Coleslaw
There’s not much a side of good southern coleslaw doesn’t go with, but a few of my favorites are:
- fried chicken,
- crispy fried perch or catfish,
- BBQ chicken thighs,
- salmon patties or crab cakes,
- Louisiana red beans & rice,
- chicken fried steak fingers.
Why This Recipe Doesn’t Get Soggy
This easy southern coleslaw recipe resists getting droopy because it’s made with a bagged cole slaw mix, bagged shredded carrots and crunchy red cabbage. The bagged cabbage and carrots are drier than if you grate your own (even if you salt it and squeeze the excess water out), meaning your slaw will stand up to it’s dressing longer than freshly grated. Not to mention, much easier to make!
Ingredients for Southern-Style Coleslaw
- green cabbage coleslaw mix
- shredded carrots
- red (or purple) cabbage
- green onions
- real mayonnaise
- white vinegar (I prefer white vinegar, but many recipes use apple cider vinegar)
- celery seed
- salt & pepper
My Go-To Kitchen Tools for Coleslaw
How to Make a Good Southern Coleslaw
Toss the Slaw. Toss together the cole slaw mix, carrots, red cabbage and green onions in a large mixing bowl.
Whisk the Dressing. In a large measuring cup, whisk together mayo, mustard, vinegar, sugar, celery seed, salt & pepper. Taste and add a pinch more salt, if needed. Pour a little over half of the dressing over the cabbage mixture and stir it all together.
Chill & Serve. Cover and chill in the fridge for at least 30 minutes. When it’s time to serve your coleslaw, toss in the rest of the dressing and garnish with more black pepper, chopped green onion tops or chopped parsley for extra color and pizzazz.
Adding in just a portion of the coleslaw dressing/ sauce at first helps you serve a top notch slaw side dish in a couple of ways:
- It lets your coleslaw marinate in all of the flavors of the dressing before serving.
- It keeps your coleslaw from being unintentionally overdressed and runny. If the cabbage weeps any while it sits, you can decide how much, if any, extra dressing you want to add.
- Adding some of the dressing right before serving, lets you serve a slaw with a truly creamy dressing instead of a thin, watery one. Just the way a southern coleslaw should be.
Making Coleslaw in Advance
If you want to make your coleslaw a day or two in advance, make the dressing and the cabbage mixture, cover and store separately until about 30 minutes before serving.
Leftovers are usually good for 3-4 days if covered tightly and stored in the refrigerator. You may need to re-toss the slaw before serving it again.
- For an even creamier coleslaw (like KFC coleslaw), add 2 tablespoons of sour cream to your dressing.
- For more crunch, throw in a handful broccoli slaw mix.
- For even more savory flavor, add just a small pinch of onion powder or a dash of Worcestershire sauce.
More Southern Cookout Side Dishes
- Creamy Dill Potato Salad
- Deviled Egg Potato Salad
- Classic 7 Layer Pea Salad
- Confetti Frito Corn Salad
- Tomato Cucumber Salad
- Southern Macaroni Salad
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Creamy Southern Coleslaw
- 14 ounce green cabbage coleslaw mix
- 1 cup finely sliced red (or purple) cabbage
- ½ cup shredded carrots
- 3-4 green onions, chopped
- ½ cup real mayonnaise
- 2 tablespoons white vinegar
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- ½ teaspoon mustard
- 1 teaspoon celery seed
- 1 teaspoon coarse ground black pepper
- ¼ teaspoon table salt
- Toss together coleslaw mix, red cabbage, carrots and green onions in a large bowl. Set aside.
- In a large measuring cup make the coleslaw dressing by whisking together the rest of the ingredients. Pour half to ⅔ of the dressing over the coleslaw. Toss to coat.
- Cover slaw and rest of dressing tightly and store in the refrigerator 30 minutes to 2 hours before serving. Pour rest of dressing over coleslaw and toss right before serving. Garnish with extra black pepper, chopped green onion tops or chopped parsley, if desired.