Homemade Creamy Southern Coleslaw is the perfect combination of creamy, sweet, fresh, and tangy. It is quick and easy to make, and has a secret ingredient in the dressing that will make it the best you've ever had!
Creamy Southern Coleslaw
It turns out that the trick to coleslaw is that it's southern.
I've tried making coleslaw in the past, but it just came out blah. Then, as I was flipping through the hubby's southern grandma's cookbook, I found her recipe for coleslaw.
Given my success rate for her other recipes, like this oven fried chicken which would also go amazingly with this creamy southern coleslaw recipe, I decided to try her coleslaw recipe too. And OMG. Perfection.
This Creamy Southern Coleslaw is the perfect combination of creamy, sweet, fresh, and tangy. It is just indescribably good. You have to try it yourself.
It's super easy to make too. After you prep the cabbage and carrots, you just mix everything in the bowl and refrigerate until you're ready to eat!
What is the Best Coleslaw Dressing?
Home dressing is the best coleslaw dressing. Absolutely. Definitely. Hands down.
Making a dressing might sound intimidating, but it's actually super easy.
It uses just a few ingredients that you probably already have around the pantry, such as mayo, sour cream, vinegar, and onion powder.
The secret ingredient in this dressing (and the reason that this recipe is SO MUCH better than every recipe I've tried!) is fresh squeezed lemon juice. It brings the perfect amount of freshness to the dressing to make it perfect.
What Kind of Cabbage Do You Use to Make Coleslaw?
For this southern creamy coleslaw recipe, I almost always use classic green cabbage.
If you're feeling fancy, you can cut up a little bit of red cabbage as well to give it some color. However, I usually just skip it because I know I'll have a lot leftover, and I hate waste.
If you want to make this recipe fast, you can skip the prep work and just use a bag mix. No judging here. But you may need to use 2 bags for the amount of dressing in this recipe.
Try Your Creamy Southern Coleslaw with These Recipes
- Deviled Egg Potato Salad - perfect to complement your coleslaw at a cookout!
- Pizza Pasta Salad - another family favorite!
- Beer Battered Fish - can't eat fried fish without coleslaw!
- Southern Cornmeal Catfish - or tried this southern fried catfish!
- Baked Cajun Catfish - or the baked version, if you prefer!
Creamy Southern Coleslaw
- 5 cups shredded cabbage
- ½ cup shredded carrot
- ¼ cup sour cream
- ¼ cup mayo
- 2 tablespoons vinegar
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 1 tablespoon fresh squeezed lemon juice
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon pepper
- Pinch of onion powder
- In a large bowl, add shredded cabbage and carrots. Toss to combine. Set aside
- In a second bowl, add remaining ingredients to make dressing. Whisk together until smooth.
- Pour dressing mixture over cabbage and carrots. Fold in until dressing is incorporated.
- Cover and refrigerate for at least one hour or overnight.
- Serve cool.
- This coleslaw is naturally gluten free. You can also make it dairy free by subbing the sour cream with more mayo or by using coconut cream or plain unsweetened almond or coconut yogurt.
- Low carb or keto? Just take out the sugar and use 1-2 drops stevia instead. If you'd rather not use sour cream as well, just replace it with extra mayo or heavy cream (the lemon juice and vinegar will turn the cream the consistency of sour cream which will work perfectly!)
- Be sure to chill your coleslaw for at least 1-2 hours before serving to let the flavors marry. This is important! It's so much better this way!
- Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. The closer you make it to when you want to serve it, the crisper the cabbage will be. It may be more soft as you approach the 3 day mark.
- To make ahead: (without the cabbage getting soft!) Prepare cabbage with carrots and store in a freezer bag in the refrigerator. Prepare dressing separately and store in an air tight container in the refrigerator. Two hours before serving, add cabbage mixture and dressing to a large bowl and mix together. Cover and chill before serving.
UPDATES: This recipe was originally published in April 2018, but was republished in May 2019 with updated photos, step-by-step directions, and a how-to video.
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Kate | The Organized Dream says
I love coleslaw and this recipe looks great. I'll have to make this for Memorial Day for sure!
Brittany Poulson says
This looks so simple and delicious!
Marlynn | UrbanBlissLife says
This would be such a hit with my family! This looks so good!
yum! I am such a sucker for coleslaw! If I could I would add it to every meal! I love how simple but delish this recipe is!
Jennifer Maune says
The oven fried chicken definitely sounds really good alongside this cole slaw! I'll have to try out this recipe for sure.
Denay DeGuzman says
What a fabulous recipe for coleslaw! I actually had a side of coleslaw this evening at a restaurant. I'm so happy to have your delicious recipe so I can make it at home in my own kitchen. 🙂
Joan Cajic says
I love coleslaw goes so well with some fried chicken and this looks so good.
Patricia @ Grab a Plate says
How wonderful to have your husband's grandmother's recipes! Family recipes are always something to cherish! This looks like amazing coleslaw! I love it on so many things (or on the side)!
Miz Helen says
Your post is featured on our Top Ten This week at Full Plate Thursday and we are pinning it to our Features Board. Thanks so much for sharing with us and enjoy your new Red Plate.
Tayler Ross says
Creamy coleslaw is my favorite! I can't wait to try this delicious looking recipe!
Mine too! Let me know how it goes!
Diana Reis says
I can't host a barbecue without serving coleslaw. I can't wait to try this and give my barbecue that southern touch.
Us neither! I hope you love it!
Amy | The Cook Report says
Looks like the perfect summer side dish!
Thank you! We love it in the summer, but make it all year long too!
Anita @ Daily Cooking Quest says
Coleslaw is a good standby salad to have since everyone loves it. And it is always a hit when paired with grilled food on any BBQ event.
Yes! We'll be making some more this weekend, and as a side when we go on vacation in a couple weeks!
This is my husband's favorite..I will try out your version 🙂
One of the best coleslaw recipes I've ever tasted!! Thanks for the recipe!
Southern creamy slaw is the best! This recipe is perfect and makes the best coleslaw.
Thanks for such a lovely crunchy and creamy coleslaw recipe. Perfect as a spread on Sandwiches and Burgers or best as a healthy salad option too.
I love a good coleslaw recipe! this one is particularly great because it's so easy
I love coleslaw for the summer months, and I don't know if I would've thought to add the lemon juice. Sounds absolutely fantastic, can't wait to give it a try!
Susan Kazanjian says
looks awesome. would some fresh onion work too?
I would maybe use just a tablespoon or so minced, or you can use a couple thinly sliced green onions, since they're a little milder.
Thanks for the recipe.
Just to let you know that by mixing milk or cream with vinegar MAKES VINEGAR! And when someone doesn't want to use dairy is the main reason most people don't do sour cream.
Actually dairy (milk or cream) mixed with vinegar (or lemon juice) makes a version of buttermilk. It helps to thicken/curdle the dairy like sour cream.
And if you read the recipe notes, I tell you how to make this recipe dairy free.
Beth Sachs says
Such a delicious coleslaw recipe. So creamy and I love the addition of the onion powder. Perfect with burgers.
Ok so I'm not usually a coleslaw person but I thiiiiiiink you might have converted me with this one. It's so bright and crisp and fresh! Love that little pop of vinegar in there - it makes it feel super light and refreshing.
Coleslaw is always a hit at parties. This recipe sounds delicious. It will be a hit with my guests this weekend.
This is our family's favorite coleslaw - hands down!
The sour cream in this recipe takes it over the top!
I hame sandwiches out if this coleslaw recipe and it was so yummy. Love it.
Dana Sandonato says
This coleslaw is such a treat! We usually do a vinegar-based slaw since its my husbands preference and it's become routine but I made this over the weekend and it was a hit!
Such a great coleslaw. The added lemon juice in the dressing adds such a fresh pop of flavour.