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What Is Coleslaw?

Coleslaw is a salad or side dish that consists almost entirely of raw, shredded cabbage. There are many variations of this salad which include regional variations or variations that include additional or unique ingredients. The cabbage and its accompanying ingredients are generally mixed with an oil based or vinaigrette dressing. However, the United States version typically contains mayonnaise or a reasonable substitute. Combining cabbage with mustard is also a common preparation.

Coleslaw is a side dish that is a staple at any American barbeques, but new recipes are showing innovative ways that you can add coleslaw to your meals during any season.

Coleslaw Preparation Tips

How you serve your coleslaw is entirely a personal choice. Your cabbage can be shredded into fine pieces, strips, or even squares.

You can use either red or white cabbage, or even both to provide textured coloring to your side dish.

If you are using apples or pears in your coleslaw, sprinkle or squeeze lemon juice on them prior to adding them in the salad. This will ensure they don't get the aged brown effect when exposed to oxygen.

When preparing coleslaw, allow the dressing to settle on your selected ingredients for several hours prior to serving.

Ideas for Additional Coleslaw Ingredients

  • Carrots shredded carrots blend very well with shredded coleslaw. The color adds a nice variation, and the texture is very appealing. You can cut them or shred them to your personal preference.

  • Celery celery should be chopped finely for coleslaw and is not only a kitchen staple, but it blends taste-wise with almost everything.

  • Bell Pepper use any color, these add a unique flavor and a pretty color palette to your coleslaw.

  • Nuts Use nuts like cashews or pecans if you are taking your coleslaw out, as this will dress it up and give it an elegant flavor.

  • Apples Apples blend nicely with cabbage and will spice up any coleslaw.

  • Raisins This will add some sweetness to your coleslaw, as well as texture. Sultana is a popular choice for this.

  • Sesame Seeds These add a very subtle flavor, and blend well with the additional textures you may have in your salad.

  • Green Onions a salad is not complete without green onions, and again, you are working with a nice bright color that adds a pungent flavor.

  • Chow Mein Noodles ensure these are already prepared before you add then. They add to the crunchy appeal of coleslaw and add a distinct flavor. These combine well with sesame seeds as well.
While this list of additional ingredients is probably enough to create your own recipe from, we have added a few more popular recipes you will enjoy trying with your family.

Easy Freezey Coleslaw -- Freezer Recipe

This recipe can be served without freezing, but it does work well if you make it ahead of time and freeze it until you need it. A perfect make-ahead dish if you have a big gathering coming up.


  • 1 head of cabbage, or you can purchase a few (3) packages of the shredded variety
  • 3 chopped celery sticks
  • 1tsp celery seed
  • 1/2 chopped green pepper
  • 1/2 cup white vinegar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt


  • Put the last 4 ingredients in a pot and heat until boiling. Ensure they boil for at least one full minute.
  • While you are doing that, prepare the remaining ingredients in a bowl or freezer safe dish.
  • Once the pot has boiled, pour the mixture over the salad mixture. If it appears a little soupy, add more shredded cabbage.
  • If FREEZING -- ensure the entire coleslaw is covered in the liquid and freeze for as long as you need it. If serving same day, allow it to sit in the refrigerator either overnight, or for at least 3 hours before serving. This will keep in the refrigerator for at least 2 weeks.
All-American Favorite -- Kentucky Fried Chicken Coleslaw


  • 1 head of cabbage, or 8 cups finely chopped cabbage
  • 1/4 cup carrot shredded
  • 2 tbsp. minced onion
  • 1 1/2 tbsp. lemon juice
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 tbsp. white vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/8 tsp. pepper
  • 1/4 cup buttermilk
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise


  • Chop the carrots and cabbage until they are fine enough to be similar to the size of rice.
  • Combine the first three ingredients in one bowl.
  • In another bowl, combine all other ingredients and beat them until smooth.
  • Add the wet to the dry ingredients and mix thoroughly.
  • Keep in the refrigerator either overnight or at least 2 hrs. prior to serving.

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