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Creamy Coleslaw Dressing

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This classic creamy coleslaw dressing is perfect to add to a bag of coleslaw mix to make the classic summertime side dish staple. The homemade dressing is easy to make and tastes great.  The slaw is quick to make and its good with burgers, BBQ and more! 

White serving bowl filled with creamy coleslaw.

There is just something about a delicious creamy coleslaw. It is one of the few salads that is even better when it is made ahead of time and it goes so wonderfully with fried chicken, BBQ and more. It is a favorite summer side dish.

What MiMi Had to Say About the Recipe

Our family has been enjoying this coleslaw recipe for years.  The original recipe is from The Better Homes and Gardens red and white checked cookbook that Pops and I received as a wedding gift 34 years ago.

I changed it just a little to suit our tastes.  So many of the meals I grew up eating came from my mom’s red and white checked cookbook that she got as a wedding gift.

My daughters all have one too.  I have gifted many brides with their own copies.  Hopefully they will use theirs as references for years too!


Dressing the Coleslaw Ahead of Time

Every time I make coleslaw, I am amazed by the process.  When you first pour the dressing on and give it a stir, it never seems like it is going to be enough. 

But over time in the refrigerator, the salt and vinegar work their magic. The cabbage softens up and everything comes together in the end. 

That is one of the fabulous parts about this salad.  Unlike most salads, you don’t have to put it together at the last minute. 

In fact it is best when you do it a couple of hours ahead of time and let it sit in the refrigerator.  Just give it a quick toss when you are ready to eat and you are ready to go. Now worries about wilted lettuce! 

Making Traditional Coleslaw:

The slaw base: I usually use bagged coleslaw mix to make preparing this recipe super easy. You can shred your own green cabbage, red cabbage and carrots if you prefer.

Or try using other veggies to make the slaw. Our grocer store carries a broccoli slaw that is really tasty too.

pulled pork sandwich topped with coleslaw

Creamy Coleslaw Dressing Recipe:

MiMi likes to combine the mayonnaise, vinegar, sugar and spices in a mason jar. Then all you have to do is shake them up and stick the dressing in the refrigerator until you are ready to use it.

I think the coleslaw tastes best if it is dressed about an hour before you serve it. Just pour the dressing over the shredded veggies and stir.

You will want to give it another stir before you serve it, as the extra dressing will sink to the bottom. You can dress your slaw several hours in advance without any issues. Though after too long, it may start to get soggy.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is coleslaw better fresh or made the day ahead of time?

Coleslaw is best made an hour in two in advance so the cabbage has a chance to soften a bit. While creamy coleslaw is still good the next day, it looses some of its crunch and the dressing can get a little bit watery.

What kind of vinegar should I use in coleslaw dressing?

Apple cider vinegar or white vinegar work great for coleslaw. You can use any light colored vinegar that you like.

More Great Recipes

We love eating ours as a side to so many dishes, but we also love it as a topping on  our pulled pork sandwiches! It is also a must at a fish fry! 

Looking down on a bowl of shredded cabbage with homemade coleslaw dressing, ready to eat.

If you prefer a vinegar dressing, don’t despair. I have a recipe for tangy vinegar coleslaw as well!

Or for a fun fall twist, try my apple coleslaw.  It is great on its own or paired with apple cider pulled pork.

Love this recipe? Give it a ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ review in the recipe card below!

Close up of bowl filled with creamy coleslaw.

Creamy Coleslaw Dressing

Servings: 8 Servings
Author: Carlee
There is just something about a good traditional coleslaw recipe. It is a great make ahead salad and creamy homemade coleslaw dressing is so easy to make. Serve it as a side with any grilled or fried meat or bring it to a potluck.
4.84 from 31 ratings
Prep Time 15 minutes
Additional Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 15 minutes


  • 16 oz. package of coleslaw mix*
  • ½ cup mayonnaise
  • 1 Tablespoon vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoons celery seed
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper


  • Stir together the mayonnaise, vinegar, sugar, celery seed, salt and pepper. Or put the dressing ingredients in a pint sized jar with lid and just shake it up. Store it in the refrigerator until ready to stir into the cabbage mixture.
    ½ cup mayonnaise, 1 Tablespoon vinegar, 2 teaspoons granulated sugar, 1 teaspoons celery seed, ¼ teaspoon salt, ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • In a large bowl, stir together the coleslaw and the dressing. Cover and refrigerate for at least an hour, but up to several hours.
    16 oz. package of coleslaw mix*
  • Stir before serving.
  • Store any leftovers in the refrigerator for 3-5 days. If it is a little bit watery, drain off the excess water and stir in a bit more mayonnaise if needed.


You can use 4 cups shredded cabbage and 1/2 cup shredded carrots in place of the coleslaw mix or try using other varieties of slaw mix if you would like, you don't have to use cabbage.



Serving: 1ServingCalories: 209kcalCarbohydrates: 13gProtein: 2gFat: 17gSaturated Fat: 3gPolyunsaturated Fat: 14gCholesterol: 10mgSodium: 290mgFiber: 3gSugar: 9g

Nutritional Disclaimer

“Cooking With Carlee” is not a dietitian or nutritionist, and any nutritional information shared is an estimate. If calorie count and other nutritional values are important to you, we recommend running the ingredients through whichever online nutritional calculator you prefer. Calories and other nutritional values can vary quite a bit depending on which brands were used.

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There is just something about a good traditional coleslaw recipe. It is a great make ahead salad and creamy homemade coleslaw dressing is so easy to make. Serve it as a side with any grilled or fried meat or bring it to a potluck.

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4.84 from 31 votes (31 ratings without comment)
Recipe Rating


Saturday 18th of March 2023

Good recipe. Need to add a tablespoon of prepared horseradish. Makes everything pop. Add more to taste if you want.


Sunday 19th of March 2023

That does sound delicious, thanks for the tip!


Sunday 10th of April 2016

What a sweet gift to give a new bride. LOVE cookbooks! This coleslaw sounds amazing! I don't really have a good coleslaw recipe. I'm totally tucking this recipe away for safe keeping!


Sunday 10th of April 2016

My mom actually just read that I wish I had her version instead of my new version, so she found one that was the exact same release as hers and gave it to me. I can't wait to go through it!


Saturday 9th of April 2016

Oh this sounds so delicious!


Sunday 10th of April 2016

Thank you!

Julie's Lifestyle

Wednesday 6th of April 2016

Hi Carlee, I too love a good coleslaw and I see that this does not have too much mayo in it. Thanks for sharing this recipe with us at Cooking and Crafting with J & J. Enjoy the week. Julie xo


Thursday 7th of April 2016

It doesn't seem like it will be enough dressing when you first mix it in, but as the cabbage softens it really ends up being the perfect amount!

Big Rigs 'n Lil' Cookies

Tuesday 5th of April 2016

This recipe sounds great. The perfect balance of flavors!


Tuesday 5th of April 2016

Thank you!