This old-fashioned coleslaw with vinegar is the perfect summer side dish. It's made with a blend of freshly shredded cabbage, shredded carrot, and onion tossed in a tangy and flavorful, mayo-free dressing!
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This is quite possibly the best homemade coleslaw recipe of all time. It's a 15-minute simple recipe that's made the old-fashioned way without any mayo...but trust me when I say, you won't miss it! The flavor is perfect and the texture of the veggies is amazing.
This is sure to be your go-to summer side dish for potlucks, BBQs, or an easy dinner at home! I love pairing it with grilled BBQ chicken thighs or smoked baby back ribs for the quintessential summertime dinner.
📖Why This Recipe Works
- Simple Ingredients. Just three veggies and a dressing made with ingredients you probably already have around. It doesn't get easier than that!
- Not Overly Sweet. This simple recipe has just the right amount of flavor. Not too rich, not too sweet...just completely delicious!
- Warm Dressing. The homemade vinegar dressing is poured over the veggies warm which creates the best texture. Then the coleslaw is chilled.
This recipe is gluten-free and dairy-free as written.
This classic coleslaw recipe is made with just a few ingredients. Veggies and a delicious, 7-ingredient, tangy vinegar dressing! Here's what you'll need:
Cabbage - I use thinly sliced green cabbage, but red cabbage will work as well. This recipe uses one small head of cabbage, maybe a little less.
Carrots - Shredded carrots are another classic addition to traditional coleslaw. You can easily shred your carrots using the shredding disc on your food processor.
Onion - I use thinly sliced yellow onion, but other varieties of onion will work too. A white onion will be sweeter while red onion will be tangier in flavor.
Vinegar - I use distilled white vinegar, but you can play with flavors and use other types of vinegar if preferred. Try red wine vinegar or apple cider vinegar for a sweeter flavor.
Olive Oil - I love the flavor of olive oil in this recipe, but if you prefer a more neutral flavor, vegetable oil will work too.
Dijon Mustard - Adds a subtle hint of spice and ties in the tangy vinegar perfectly.
Sugar - You need just a little bit of sweetness to offset the flavor of the vinegar.
Seasonings - We're seasoning with a simple combination of celery seed, salt, and pepper.
See the recipe card for exact quantities.
- Make it spicy. Love a kick of heat? Try adding a sprinkle of red pepper flakes, cayenne pepper, or even hot sauce. Or simply try our spicy coleslaw with avocado dressing.
- Use other veggies. Boost the nutrition and add thinly sliced green pepper or chopped green onion. Keep in mind that more veggies may require more dressing.
- Make a creamy coleslaw. If you want to make it creamier, feel free to make a mayo-based coleslaw by adding a spoonful of your favorite mayo to the dressing.
- Brighten it up. Try adding a splash of lemon juice to the dressing for an even tangier flavor.
⏲️How to Make Vinegar Coleslaw
This delicious vinegar coleslaw recipe is so simple but packed with so many delicious flavors. It requires just 15 minutes of hands-on time!
STEP 1 - Prep the Veggies
The first step is to thinly slice the cabbage and onion and shred the carrots. Make sure everything is uniform in size so all the veggies incorporate well together!
Once all the veggies are prepped and ready to go, toss them together in a bowl until evenly distributed.
STEP 2 - Make the Dressing
In a saucepan, whisk together sugar, celery seed, dijon mustard, salt, pepper, and vinegar. Bring the mixture to a low simmer. Once the sugar dissolves, slowly whisk in the olive oil. Keep the dressing on the heat and bring it to a boil. Allow it to cook for one minute.
STEP 3 - Combine and Serve
While the dressing is still warm, pour it over the veggies. Toss until fully coated, then cover the bowl and place it in the fridge for at least 2 hours or overnight. The hot dressing will not wilt the fresh vegetables, just slightly tenderize them.
🥗What to Serve with Old Fashioned Coleslaw
This easy coleslaw recipe makes the perfect side dish for your next cookout!
Vinegar-based coleslaws are often used as a topping on pulled pork sandwiches. I like to serve it with BBQ pulled beef sammie or on top of pollo asado tacos. This classic side dish pairs with just about any summer recipe.
👩🏻🍳 Expert Tips
- If you want to cut down on prep time, you can use a bag of coleslaw mix which includes cabbage and carrots. You will just need to add the onion yourself!
- Give the coleslaw a minimum of 2 hours to marinate in the fridge. The longer it sits, the more the dressing will soak into the veggies for the best flavor and the ideal texture.
Store any leftover coleslaw in an airtight container in the fridge for 3-5 days. I don't recommend freezing it because the texture of the veggies will be affected.
More Summer Side Dishes
💬Frequently Asked Questions
While pre-packaged coleslaw mixes can vary, a classic coleslaw mix is made up of a mix of shredded green cabbage, red cabbage, and carrots. If you want to use a coleslaw mix for this recipe, feel free. Simply slice up your onion and add it to the mix!
Vinegar slaw is served chilled. The vinegar mixture is heated to dissolve the sugar and to help soften the tough cabbage leaves and reduce the bite of the sliced onions. It is then thoroughly chilled before serving.
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Old Fashioned Coleslaw with Vinegar
- 5 cups green cabbage thinly sliced
- 1 cup carrots shredded
- ½ yellow onion thinly sliced
- In a large bowl toss together the shredded cabbage, carrots, and onion.5 cups green cabbage, 1 cup carrots, ½ yellow onion
- In a small saucepan whisk together all the dressing ingredients except the oil. Bring the mixture to a low simmer. Slowly whisk in the olive oil. Bring to a boil and cook for one minute.⅓ cup sugar, 1 teaspoon celery seed, 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard, 1 teaspoon kosher salt, ¼ teaspoon black pepper, ⅓ cup distilled vinegar, ⅓ cup olive oil
- Pour the hot dressing over the vegetables, toss to coat. Cover and refrigerate for 2 hours or overnight.
- You can use any vinegar you like including white wine vinegar, rice vinegar, or apple cider vinegar.
- Leftover slaw should be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for 3 to 5 days.