We're revealing our secret ingredient for creating the tastiest tacos and sandwiches this summer: the best coleslaw recipe ever! Take your favorite dishes to the next level with this amazing side dish!

Image of a teal bowl filled with cabbage and carrot coleslaw. There is a silver spoon in the bowl, and in the background are tortillas and a bowl of guacamole next to a lime. - Shelf Cooking

Is it possible that cabbage is one of the most under-appreciated vegetables? So mild in flavor, it's easy to overlook. However, chop it up nice and fine, add the right sauces, spices, and other veggie friends, and you have the best coleslaw recipe that will become a summer staple!

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This slaw recipe goes perfectly with sandwiches, fried chicken, tacos, and any other type of bbq that you love. Or, just eat it on its own! Honestly, we would eat this slaw any time of year, but it just feels right in the summer, you know?

What To Eat With Coleslaw

Image of three fish tacos with coleslaw on a white and grey marble countertop, sounded by lime slices. - Shelf Cooking

Um, maybe the list of what NOT to eat with coleslaw would be shorter?

We kid! But seriously, there are so many amazing ways to enjoy this dish. Here are some of our favorites:

  • Piled high on top of a pulled pork or bbq chicken sandwich. A crisp complement to the savory and tender meat!
  • Planning a traditional Southern picnic? You know you'll need some coleslaw with that fried chicken in your picnic basket!
  • Tacos! Any kind of taco you like best, but we are particular fans of slaw on top of these Baja fish tacos.
  • Paired with all of your favorite bbq dishes! We particularly like it with smoked brisket or pork, but also enjoy it with sausage, chicken, shrimp, or fish.
  • Eat it as-is! Coleslaw is a delicious salad on it's own!

Variations On Classic Coleslaw

Classic coleslaw is cool, crunchy, and slightly tangy. It's the perfect way to balance out the richness of the meat found in bbq or tacos. If you're a traditionalist, you'll love the recipe we have below. But, if you're looking to shake things up a little, here are a few things to try:

  • Add some heat – make it spicy by adding some finely diced jalapeños or a few dashes of hot sauce to the sauce mixture.
  • Make it colorful – you can change up both the color and the flavor profile with the addition of ketchup, barbecue sauce, or yellow mustard to the sauce mixture.
  • Sweeten it up – add some finely diced Granny Smith apples to the slaw mix to make your slaw a delicious mix of tangy, sweet, and tart.

There's no one way to enjoy your coleslaw, so feel free to try new combos and discover your favorite!

How To Make The Best Coleslaw Recipe

Sure, you could buy pre-made coleslaw, but why do that when this recipe is so easy?! Plus you can customize it just the way you like it. Pro tip: use a food processor to whiz through chopping the veggies and you'll have this done in no time!

Classic Coleslaw

This slaw will be a favorite topping for tacos, sandwiches, and more!
Prep Time 10 minutes
Chill Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 10 minutes
Course Side Dish
Cuisine American
Servings 6


For The Slaw Mix

  • 1 head green cabbage, shredded
  • 1/2 head purple cabbage, shredded
  • 2 carrots, peeled & shredded

For The Dressing

  • 1/2 cup mayo or Greek yogurt
  • 1 tbsp white vinegar
  • tsp apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tsp sugar or honey
  • 1/2 tsp celery seeds
  • salt and pepper to taste


  • Shred all cabbage and carrots and toss together in a large bowl.
  • In a small bowl, combine all dressing ingredients.
  • Pour dressing over slaw mix and toss to combine.
  • Recommended: refrigerate 1 hour before serving to allow flavors to develop and slaw to soften.
Keyword side dish, vegetables

Storing Coleslaw Leftovers

Overhead image of cabbage and carrot coleslaw in a teal bowl. A silver spoon rests next to the bowl. - Shelf Cooking

Coleslaw is one of those dishes that actually tastes better the next day! Much like soups and chilis, the more the ingredients have to marinate together, the tastier it becomes! Plus, the cabbage gets softer and the whole thing is just delicious.

Unfortunately, coleslaw does not freeze well, so we don't recommend freezing any leftovers. The mayo separates during the freezing process and you end up with a funky texture once it's thawed. Bummer!

But, the great news is that your slaw will keep for 4-5 days in an airtight container in the refrigerator, and you have every reason to polish it off with some of the recipes we suggested above!

Graphic that says "The Best Slaw Recipe For Tacos" next to the image of three fish tacos with cabbage coleslaw on a marble countertop. - Shelf Cooking

Are you craving some amazing bbq with crunchy coleslaw like we are? We can't wait to plan a summer party and whip up a big delicious bowl of tangy goodness.

Are you a fan of coleslaw? What's your favorite way to eat it? Let us know!

If you're craving more fantastic summer recipes, we've got some great ideas:

Slaw you later!