Memphis-Style Coleslaw


This is THE best classic, Coleslaw recipe.  It’s perfectly flavorful and tangy, with lots of crunch, and easy to throw together thanks to a combination of bagged coleslaw plus some extra fresh ingredients. It’s the perfect side dish for any BBQ as it goes perfectly with smoked and grilled meats, and stuffed onto sandwiches like BBQ Pork or Corned Beef.

coleslaw recipe

1. Start with a bagged coleslaw mix.

This is NOT a mix with a pre-made dressing pack inside.  Just the bag of shredded cabbage with carrots.  Make sure to not get the extra thin shreds, as those will get soggy in the dressing.

Bagged Coleslaw

2. Add some freshly chopped green bell pepper and shredded carrots.

Just a little bit of fresh veggies added to the bagged mix elevates everything and adds a lot of extra crunch.

coleslaw ingredients in a bowl

3. Whisk together dressing ingredients

Super simple. Mayo, apple cider vinegar, sugar, salt, grated onion, coarse grain mustard, and celery seed.

coleslaw sauce recipe

4.  Toss Coleslaw together

That’s it!  Just toss it all together and for best results, let it chill in the fridge for a bit to let all those flavors sink in before serving.

coleslaw recipe

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The perfect coleslaw in a bowl

Memphis-Style Coleslaw

  • Author: Our Best Bites
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Chill Time: 2-3 hours
  • Total Time: 2-3 hours
  • Yield: serves 6
  • Category: Side Dishes
  • Method: No Cook
  • Cuisine: BBQ


This classic coleslaw is the perfect side dish for a barbecue, alongside fried chicken, or on top of a classic pulled pork sandwich.


1 cup mayonnaise
2 tablespoons Dijon or whole-grain mustard
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 heaping tsp. Kosher salt (or an even 1/2 tsp. of table salt)
1 tablespoons grated onion
22 1/2 teaspoons celery seed
1 16-ounce bag shredded cabbage with carrots
1/2 minced green bell pepper
1 carrot, peeled and grated


In a small mixing bowl combine mayo, mustard, vinegar, sugar, salt, onion, and celery seed.

In a large mixing bowl, combine shredded cabbage, carrots, and green pepper.  Toss with dressing and for best results refrigerate for 2-3 hours before using.

Keywords: BBQ, Coleslaw, cabbage salad


  1. Interesting comment about the celery seed. I had the opposite experience. We had a cookout Saturday and the coleslaw was almost gone before the BBQ. It was great on the pulled pork BBQ. However, the quantity of cabbage I used was more so it may have effectively cut the amount of celery seed per serving.

    Instead of a bag of pre-shredded cabbage/carrots, I bought a head of cabbage (so cheap) and ran it through the food processor. I threw the carrots, bell pepper, and an onion through the processor too since it was already dirty. The cabbage came out to about 3 lbs so I doubled the ‘sauce’ recipe (5 tsp celery seed). Since the original recipe called for a 16oz (1 lb) bag of cabbage, technically I should have tripled the sauce recipe, but I didn’t want the cabbage swimming in liquid. Doubling it worked out just right. If you like math, I tripled the cabbage but only doubled the celery seed, so I really used 2/3 the amount of celery seed the recipe called for.

    I also added 1 tsp cayenne (in my doubled sauce) and it was just right. I threw away my old coleslaw recipe and replaced it with this one 🙂 Thanks Kate and Sara.

  2. I made this coleslaw to compliment a pulled pork sandwich. However, it did not go over very well. My guests found that it had way too much celery seed. If I were to make it again, I would cut back the celery seed by half.

  3. About how many do would you say this serves. I want to make it for my son and daughters cowboy/cowgirl birthday party this weekend and we have 45-50 people coming. P.S. I love you girls, you have THE BEST recipes. Ever. Can't wait to get my hands on your cookbook!!

  4. I never like coleslaw… until now – Sooo good!! I always stop at your blog first when looking for a recipe!

  5. So, I think I may have said this before — but, you're blog is awesome! I love to cook and tweak recipes, but I seem to find myself not messing with yours because you've already tweaked them to perfection. Totally making this recipe to go with BBQ beef sandwiches and baked beans this week.

  6. I'm really not a big coleslaw fan, but my husband is and I thought I'd try this to go with our pulled pork sandwiches. I couldn't believe how much I loved it. Like, it was my favourite part of the meal! Now I'll be making coleslaw all the time and poor hubby will have to share. Thanks!

  7. So guess what? I didn't know I liked coleslaw! I guess I've only had it at cheap-o restaurants and school cafeterias so after a few bad experiences I don't have a very good opinion of it. But I gave this one a shot today and it was SO good. I loved that it wasn't overly sweet like a lot of them are. It was so good in fact that I rushed out and bought some pre-made pork so I could make the pork sandwiches! I'm pretty sure it's my new favorite meal. YUM!

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