Whip up your own creamy Southern-style coleslaw with easy homemade coleslaw dressing. It only takes 5 minutes to make!
Why you’ll love it: You can make this dressing with ingredients you probably already have. It’s inexpensive, easy, and more healthier than store-bought.
How long it takes: 5 minutes
Equipment you’ll need: measuring cup, whisk
Coleslaw seems to appeal to almost everyone. It’s an easy salad and goes with everything from steak to burgers. Creamy southern coleslaw is a pretty much an essential with pulled pork sandwiches , crockpot BBQ chicken, or meatloaf. I love it with my BBQ salmon or air fryer BBQ chicken wings.
Another advantage of coleslaw is that it can be prepared ahead of time; in fact, it’s better if you make it an hour or so ahead of time. How many salads can claim that? Usually salads have to be thrown together at the last minute or they get soggy.
I don’t think my mom ever purchased coleslaw. She ALWAYS makes her own dressing and adds it to a bag of coleslaw mix. I asked her for her recipe and she said (of course!) that she didn’t have one. She just mixes a little mayonnaise, vinegar, sugar, celery seed, salt and pepper in the bottom of a big bowl, adds the cabbage, and stirs it up. (She likes to add a bunch of chopped parsley to it, too; parsley goes in pretty much everything she makes.)
You may be thinking, why not buy coleslaw dressing in a jar or bottle? That’s really easy, right? STOP, don’t do it! Commercial brands are way more expensive, not as healthy (too much sugar!), and it’s so so easy to make your own. Give it a try!
About This Recipe
If you’re at all familiar with my site, you’ll know that I’m always trying to make recipes a bit more healthy. This coleslaw dressing is no exception. I substitute Greek yogurt for half of the mayonnaise.
Why? Greek yogurt is lower in fat and has lots of calcium and protein. It’s barely discernible in the dressing; in fact, Greek yogurt has a nice tangy note that accents the dressing.
You can make this dressing a few days in advance. Simply add it to the cabbage mix an hour or two before you want to serve it.
Look for the recipe card below for specific measurements, instructions, and nutrition information.
What You’ll Need
- Mayonnaise: Choose the brand of mayonnaise you like best. I like the mayonnaise made with olive oil but that’s just a personal preference.
- Greek Yogurt: We tested the dressing with full fat Greek yogurt, and we also tested it with nonfat Greek yogurt. Both worked well which means that 2% Greek yogurt is fine, too. Be sure the yogurt is unflavored plain yogurt.
- White Distilled Vinegar: This is regular inexpensive white vinegar. It’s a bit tart and acidic. It helps soften the shredded cabbage and also adds a tangy flavor.
- Sugar: Many commercial brands of coleslaw dressing have tons of sugar. A popular brand lists high fructose corn syrup as the primary ingredient! A little sugar is necessary but we’re not looking for candy-coated coleslaw.
- Dijon Mustard: We prefer a smooth Dijon here rather than a coarse ground or whole seed mustard.
- Celery Seeds: These tiny brown seeds pack a lot of celery flavor. Most traditional coleslaw recipes include celery seeds.
- Kosher Salt and Black Pepper: Don’t forget these simple but necessary seasonings. If you don’t like the black flecks of pepper, substitute white pepper.
- Coleslaw Mix: For a really easy salad, buy a bag of pre-shredded cabbage for your coleslaw. Coleslaw mixes often contain red (purple) cabbage and carrots. If you prefer a fresher taste, buy a cabbage and shred it yourself. You’ll need about 4 heaping cups.
How to make it
It’s so easy. Simply mix all the ingredients together in a small bowl, measuring cup, or jar.
I often use a 2 cup liquid measuring cup. You could use a 1 cup liquid measuring cup but the larger cup gives you a little more stirring room.
In the cup, measure out a quarter cup of mayonnaise. Next, add the yogurt, so you’ll be at a half cup total. Now, add the vinegar, sugar, mustard, celery seed, salt and pepper.
Stir or whisk it all together.
Cover the cup with plastic wrap if you’re not using it right away, pour it into a clean jar or container before refrigerating.
Save time on clean up. If you’re making the coleslaw right away, mix the dressing ingredients right in the salad bowl, then add the shredded cabbage to the bowl, and stir it up!
Once it’s blended, add the coleslaw mix and stir well until the cabbage is coated.
Cover the bowl and refrigerate until ready to use.
Although they may sound similar, celery seeds are very different from celery salt and should not be used interchangeably. Celery seeds are tiny brown seeds from the celery plant. They have an intense celery flavor. Celery salt is predominantly salt, lightly flavored with ground celery seed.
Greek yogurt is regular yogurt that has been strained to remove some of the watery whey, resulting in a thicker, creamier product. Greek yogurt is higher in protein and lower in carbs than regular yogurt.
Make It Your Own
- If you’re not a fan of Greek yogurt, make the dressing with all mayonnaise. You can use regular plain yogurt, too, although the dressing will be a bit thinner in consistency. You can also use sour cream instead of the yogurt.
- Another option is to make the dressing without mayo. Substitute Greek yogurt for the mayo (use ½ cup yogurt, no mayo). Another option is my vinegar coleslaw, a different style of coleslaw with no mayonnaise or yogurt at all.
- Add extras to your coleslaw. Try finely chopped green or red bell pepper, celery, onion, parsley, green onions, etc.
You can make the dressing a few days in advance. Put it in a tightly covered container and store it in the fridge. Give it a stir before adding it to the coleslaw mix.
It’s great if you want to make small batches of coleslaw, even one serving. Simply use as much of the dressing as you need and keep the remainder refrigerated.
- ¼ cup mayonnaise
- ¼ cup plain Greek yogurt (full-fat, 2%, or nonfat)
- 2 tablespoons white distilled vinegar
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- ½ teaspoon celery seeds
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- 12 oz. bag coleslaw mix (4 heaping cups)
- Combine dressing ingredients in measuring cup or small bowl; whisk until smooth. Refrigerate until ready to use.
- To make coleslaw: In large bowl, combine coleslaw mix with dressing until coated. Cover and refrigerate for at least one hour before serving.
- Make dressing up to 3 days in advance. Store it in a covered container or small jar and refrigerate.
- If you prefer, use a half cup mayonnaise and omit the yogurt. Or, use a half cup yogurt and omit the mayonnaise.
- Add Ins: If you want to jazz up your coleslaw, add finely chopped green or red bell peppers, onions, green onions, parsley, or celery.
This website provides approximate nutrition information for convenience and as a courtesy only. Nutrition data is gathered primarily from the USDA Food Composition Database, whenever available, or otherwise other online calculators.