The Best Coleslaw Recipe

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Best coleslaw recipe

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Coleslaw is one of those dishes that seems to be on every summer potluck menu. And since I have a knack for growing big, beautiful heads of cabbage, I’m usually the one bringing coleslaw to my summer soirees. (Seriously, with cabbages weighing in at well over five pounds, who’s to blame me?)


A typical head of cabbage from my garden.

The Great Coleslaw Debate

There are about as many recipes for coleslaw as there are tube tops at the Iowa State Fair, and people tend to be resolute in their belief about the right way to make it. Should the dressing be creamy and mayonnaise-based, or should it be sweet-tart and vinegar-based? Is it okay to use fancy ingredients like nuts, grapes, bacon, or even cheese (oh, the horror), or should you stick with the basics – cabbage and maybe some other veg like peppers, carrots, or onion?

I’ve tried a lot of different coleslaw recipes in my day and finally landed on my favorite, declared to be “the best” at a recent neighborhood potluck. It’s super easy to make. Start with your basic shredded green cabbage, add a little carrot for color and onion for bite, and then dress the whole thing with a creamy homemade dressing. My secret ingredient is buttermilk, which adds a unique tang to the usual mayonnaise-based dressing.

Plan ahead and let the coleslaw sit at least a couple of hours for the flavors to develop before serving. It will be a delicious addition to any summer potluck.

Coleslaw Fun Fact:

Coleslaw comes from the Dutch term “cool sla” (“cool” is Dutch for cabbage, and “sla” means salad). At some point, people started confusing the dish with “cold slaw,” which gave rise to its unfortunate culinary counterpoint, “warm slaw.”

More fun facts about cabbage.

Kitchen Hack:

Use a rotary grater to save time shredding cabbage. I like the Westmark multipurpose, heavy duty grater, which comes with three interchangeable stainless steel blades and non-slip suction pads. (I use the coarse grate disk to make coleslaw.) Click on the image for more information or to purchase from