Creamy coleslaw pasta salad is full of amazing texture and flavor! It’s the perfect mix of two of our favorite salads at BBQs and family gatherings.
Pasta salad and coleslaw are both regularly on the menu at summer events. This recipe combines them into one fun side dish. It is easy to make and is sure to be a hit.
Like most picnic salads, this is a great make ahead recipe. In fact, it is better if you make it at least a couple of hours ahead of time so the cabbage has a chance to soften, and the flavors can meld.
Rather than reinvent the wheel, I started with our favorite creamy coleslaw recipe. The dressing is really creamy and perfect, so I just made more to account for the pasta.
This pasta salad would be great served at a fish fry, with grilled meat, at a picnic, potluck, or really just about any occasion.
Using a bag of coleslaw mix makes the recipe super simple. The most time-consuming part is waiting for the water to boil!
Alterations and Substitutions
We love this recipe just the way it is written, but there are so many ways you could make it your own. Feel free to experiment and let me know if you stumble upon a new favorite.
Ditalini pasta works great for this recipe because it is small enough to blend in with the slaw. I had some leftover from making a copycat Portillo’s chopped salad.
Any smaller pasta shape would work. Elbow macaroni is a good classic shape for pasta salad, but small shells would be fun as well.
A bag of coleslaw mix makes the recipe easy, but of course, you could shred your own cabbage and carrots.
You can also add more veggies if you would like. Some cucumber would add great crunch and fresh flavor.
Bell peppers, celery, and sweet onion would all be great options as well. Any or all of them would add texture and nutrition to the mix.
Hard-boiled eggs are always great in pasta salad as well. So feel free to chop some up and add them in for added protein.
What happens if there’s not enough dressing?
Sometimes as the pasta salad chills, the pasta soaks up too much of the dressing. If you want a little bit more, you can either just add a couple of extra Tablespoons of mayonnaise with another teaspoon of vinegar. Stir it into the pasta salad, taste then add salt and pepper if needed.
More Potluck Salad Recipes:
Frito salad is always a hit at carry-ins. You can serve it as a side dish or make a meal of it.
Enchilada pasta salad is great if you like southwestern flavors. Enchilada sauce is a great way to work a lot of flavor into the dressing.
Creamy Coleslaw Pasta Salad
- 14 oz. bag coleslaw mix
- 8 oz. ditalini pasta
- 1 cup mayonnaise
- 2 Tablespoons vinegar
- 1 Tablespoon granulated sugar
- 1½ teaspoons celery seed
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- Cook pasta according to the package directions. Drain and rinse. Set aside to cool.
- In a large bowl, mix together everything but the pasta and coleslaw.
- Add the pasta and toss to coat in the dressing. Stir in the coleslaw.
- Cover and refrigerate for at least one hour.
- Stir before serving.