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The Best Basic Creamy Southern Coleslaw Ever

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grated carrot and cabbage make coleslaw

Just say no to bland store bought coleslaw and hello to this delicious homemade recipe

Coleslaw is one of the most underrated BBQ and grilling side dishes, most likely because it is often store bought, poorly made, or is simply lacking in personality. 

Here’s a mayonnaise based creamy cole slaw that’s not too sweet and a few little tweaks to make it really special. Hash it and heap it on top of a pulled pork sandwich as they do in Memphis or the Carolinas. It would be a great choice for a West Virginia Slawdog (shown with the recipe). Prepare this simple, yet classic, homemade coleslaw for your next cookout and your guests will certainly notice the difference.

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Simple Creamy Southern Coleslaw Recipe


cole slaw on a hot dog
Tried this recipe?Tell others what you thought of it and give it a star rating below.
4.37 from 238 votes
Just say no to bland store bought coleslaw and hello to this delicious homemade recipe. This classic simple creamy coleslaw recipe is not only the perfect side dish for your next BBQ and grilling cookout but is also amazing on a Memphis and South Carolina style pulled pork sandwich or on a West Virginia style hot dog.

Course:
Dinner
,
Lunch
,
Salad
,
Side Dish
,
Vegetable
Cuisine:
American
,
Southern

Makes:

Servings: 8 servings

Takes:

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Chilling Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour 15 minutes

Ingredients

Slaw

  • 1 pound green cabbage (about half a medium cabbage)
  • 1 large carrot, peeled
  • ½ small white onion
  • 2 tablespoons Morton Coarse Kosher Salt

Dressing

  • 1 tablespoon distilled vinegar
  • ½ cup mayonnaise
  • ¼ cup sour cream
  • 1 tablespoon white sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • ½ teaspoon celery seeds (not celery salt)
Notes:
About the vinegar. Switch to cider vinegar at your own risk. I think plain white distilled works better.
About the salt. Remember, kosher salt is half the concentration of table salt so if you use table salt, use half as much. Click here to read more about salt and how it works. 
My favorite add-in. I first tasted this in Charleston South Carolina, and I loved it. Add 1 tablespoon of sweet pickle relish or chipped sweet pickles.
Optional. Add 1/2 red or green bell pepper, sliced thin or hashed.
Optional. Add 3 radishes, red or white, hot if you like, sliced thin or hashed.
Optional. Add 1 small minced jalapeño if you like it hot. Chipotle powder is another way to amp it up. Horseradish, just a tablespoon in the background, is a surprising addition.
Metric conversion:

These recipes were created in US Customary measurements and the conversion to metric is being done by calculations. They should be accurate, but it is possible there could be an error. If you find one, please let us know in the comments at the bottom of the page

Method

  • Prep. First, read my article on The Science of Slawsome Slaw. Then decide how you want to cut the cabbage, carrot, and onion: Chopped, grated, or hashed and have at it. I prefer this recipe shredded or chopped.
  • Salt. In a large strainer or colander, mix the cabbage, carrot, and onion with the salt and put it in the sink or over a bowl for an hour. The salt will draw out a lot of water that will otherwise dilute the dressing. Then rinse the mix with cold water to get rid of excess salt and pat dry. You can now hold it in the fridge for a day if you want.
  • Dress. Whisk together the dressing in a large bowl. Add the cabbage, carrot, and onion mix. Taste, adjust seasonings, cover and chill for at least 1 hour if possible before serving.

Nutrition per Serving

Calories: 122kcal | Carbohydrates: 6g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 11g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 6mg | Sodium: 178mg | Potassium: 136mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 1339IU | Vitamin C: 22mg | Calcium: 31mg | Iron: 1mg

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Published On: 2/1/2014 Last Modified: 3/13/2022

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  • Meathead - Founder and publisher of AmazingRibs.com, Meathead is known as the site's Hedonism Evangelist and BBQ Whisperer. He is also the author of the New York Times Best Seller "Meathead, The Science of Great Barbecue and Grilling", named one of the "100 Best Cookbooks of All Time" by Southern Living.

 

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