All-American Cole Slaw Recipe - The Perfect Side Dish from the USA

All-American Cole Slaw

All-American Cole Slaw Recipe - The Perfect Side Dish from the USA
Region / culture: USA | Preparation time: 15 minutes | Cooking time: 0 minutes | Servings: 6


All-American Cole Slaw
All-American Cole Slaw

All-American Cole Slaw is a classic side dish that has graced picnic tables and family gatherings for generations. This simple yet delicious recipe combines the crispness of fresh cabbage and carrots with the tangy creaminess of mayonnaise and vinegar, creating a perfect balance of flavors and textures. Whether it's served alongside barbecue, sandwiches, or as a refreshing snack on its own, this cole slaw is sure to be a crowd-pleaser.


The origins of cole slaw date back to the ancient Roman Empire, where a simple cabbage salad was dressed with vinegar. However, the version we know today, with its creamy mayonnaise base, has its roots in the 18th century when mayonnaise was invented. The term "cole slaw" comes from the Dutch word "koolsla," meaning "cabbage salad." It was brought to America by Dutch settlers in the 1700s and has since become an integral part of American cuisine, especially in the South.


How to prepare

  1. In a large mixing bowl, combine the cabbage, vinegar, and salt.
  2. Grate the carrot and optional onion directly into the bowl.
  3. Add the mayonnaise and mix well.
  4. For a more tender slaw, refrigerate for several hours or overnight.


  • There are countless ways to customize this cole slaw recipe. For a sweeter version, add a tablespoon of honey or sugar to the dressing. For a tangier slaw, increase the amount of vinegar. You can also add other vegetables, such as red cabbage, bell peppers, or even apples for a fruity twist. For a bit of heat, include a dash of hot sauce or some diced jalapeƱos.

Cooking Tips & Tricks

For the best texture, use a sharp knife or a mandoline to thinly shred the cabbage. This ensures that the cabbage is crisp and absorbs the dressing evenly. If you prefer a creamier slaw, let it sit in the refrigerator for a few hours before serving. This allows the flavors to meld together and the cabbage to soften slightly. For a lighter version, you can substitute Greek yogurt for some of the mayonnaise.

Serving Suggestions

All-American Cole Slaw is incredibly versatile and can be served in numerous ways. It pairs beautifully with grilled meats, such as chicken, pork, or beef, making it a staple at barbecues. It also complements sandwiches and burgers, adding a crunchy texture and refreshing taste. For a lighter meal, serve it alongside a vegetable soup or a grilled fish dish.

Cooking Techniques

The key to a great cole slaw is in the preparation of the vegetables. Shredding the cabbage and carrots thinly and evenly ensures that each bite is crisp and flavorful. Mixing the dressing thoroughly with the vegetables is also crucial for an even coating and taste.

Ingredient Substitutions

If you're out of malt vinegar, apple cider vinegar makes a great substitute. Greek yogurt can replace part or all of the mayonnaise for a lighter version. For those avoiding sugar, a sugar substitute can be used in place of honey or sugar in variations of the recipe.

Make Ahead Tips

Cole slaw is an excellent make-ahead dish. In fact, it often tastes better after it has been refrigerated for a few hours, as this allows the flavors to meld together. Simply prepare the cole slaw as directed, cover, and refrigerate. It can be made up to 24 hours in advance.

Presentation Ideas

Serve the cole slaw in a large, colorful bowl to make the dish pop. Garnish with a sprinkle of freshly chopped parsley or chives for a touch of color and flavor. For individual servings, consider using small mason jars for a unique and rustic presentation.

Pairing Recommendations

All-American Cole Slaw pairs well with a wide range of dishes. For a classic barbecue spread, serve it alongside pulled pork, grilled chicken, or ribs. It also goes well with fish tacos, veggie burgers, and hot dogs. For drinks, lemonade, iced tea, or light beers complement the flavors of the slaw perfectly.

Storage and Reheating Instructions

Cole slaw should be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator and is best consumed within 3-4 days. As this dish is served cold, there is no need for reheating. If the slaw becomes watery after storage, simply drain off the excess liquid before serving.

Nutrition Information

Calories per serving

A serving of All-American Cole Slaw contains approximately 180 calories. This makes it a relatively low-calorie side dish that can fit into various dietary plans.


A serving of All-American Cole Slaw contains approximately 10 grams of carbohydrates. The majority of these carbs come from the vegetables, making it a healthy source of energy. The sugar content is relatively low, making this dish a suitable option for those monitoring their sugar intake.


This cole slaw recipe contains about 15 grams of fat per serving, primarily from the mayonnaise. For a healthier option, you can use a reduced-fat mayonnaise or substitute part of the mayonnaise with Greek yogurt, which will significantly lower the fat content without compromising the creamy texture.


Each serving of cole slaw has about 2 grams of protein, mainly from the cabbage and carrots. While not a high-protein dish on its own, it complements protein-rich main courses well.

Vitamins and minerals

Cole slaw is an excellent source of vitamins A and C, thanks to the cabbage and carrots. These vitamins are crucial for maintaining healthy vision, skin, and immune system. The dish also provides a modest amount of potassium and calcium.


The primary allergen in this recipe is eggs, found in the mayonnaise. Individuals with egg allergies can opt for egg-free mayonnaise alternatives. This recipe is gluten-free, nut-free, and dairy-free, making it suitable for people with these common allergies.


Overall, All-American Cole Slaw is a nutritious side dish that offers a good balance of vitamins and minerals. By making simple substitutions, it can be adapted to fit various dietary needs and preferences.


All-American Cole Slaw is a versatile and beloved side dish that complements a wide range of meals. With its crisp vegetables and creamy dressing, it offers a refreshing balance of flavors and textures. Whether you're hosting a barbecue, packing a picnic, or simply looking for a tasty side, this cole slaw recipe is sure to satisfy.

How did I get this recipe?

I can't forget the first time I saw this recipe for All-American Cole Slaw. It was back in the summer of 1965, when I was just a young girl visiting my Aunt Betty in the small town of Bakersfield, California. Aunt Betty was a fantastic cook, and she had a reputation in the family for making the best cole slaw around.

I remember walking into Aunt Betty's kitchen and seeing her busy at work, chopping cabbage and carrots with a big smile on her face. She looked up at me and said, "Honey, you want to learn how to make the best cole slaw in town?" I eagerly nodded my head, excited to learn from the master herself.

Aunt Betty began to show me how to shred the cabbage just right, making sure to keep the pieces nice and thin. She explained to me that the key to a good cole slaw is in the dressing, a perfect balance of creamy and tangy flavors. She mixed together mayonnaise, vinegar, sugar, and a few secret spices that she whispered in my ear. I watched in awe as she poured the dressing over the cabbage and carrots, gently tossing everything together until it was perfectly coated.

As we sat down to enjoy our meal, Aunt Betty told me the story of how she learned to make this recipe. It all started with a neighbor who had brought over a big bowl of cole slaw to a neighborhood block party. Aunt Betty had taken one bite and knew she had to have the recipe. She begged the neighbor for it, and after much persuasion, she finally relented and shared her secret.

From that day on, Aunt Betty perfected the recipe, tweaking it here and there until it was just right. She made it for every family gathering, every picnic, and every potluck. And now, she was passing it down to me.

After that summer in Bakersfield, I returned home and couldn't wait to make Aunt Betty's All-American Cole Slaw for my own family. I followed her recipe to a tee, careful to shred the cabbage just right and mix the dressing with love and care. When I served it at our next family dinner, everyone raved about how delicious it was. I felt a sense of pride knowing that I had learned this recipe from the best.

Over the years, I continued to make Aunt Betty's All-American Cole Slaw for my family and friends, always getting compliments and requests for the recipe. I even entered it into a few local cooking contests and won first place every time. I knew that I had Aunt Betty to thank for teaching me this cherished recipe.

As the years went by, I added my own twist to the recipe, experimenting with different seasonings and ingredients. I found that adding a touch of honey gave the cole slaw a sweet and savory flavor that everyone loved. I also started using a mix of red and green cabbage for added color and crunch.

Now, whenever I make Aunt Betty's All-American Cole Slaw, it brings back memories of that summer in Bakersfield and the special bond I shared with my dear aunt. I love sharing this recipe with others, passing down the tradition of good food and family gatherings. Aunt Betty's legacy lives on in every bite of this delicious cole slaw, and I am grateful for the memories and moments that this recipe has brought into my life.


| American Recipes | American Salads | Carrot Recipes | Cold Slaw Recipes | Green Cabbage Recipes |

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