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

The perfect coleslaw in a bowl

Memphis-Style Coleslaw

This classic coleslaw is the perfect side dish for a barbecue, alongside fried chicken, or on top of a classic pulled pork sandwich.
Prep Time 10 minutes


  • 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
  • 2-2 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.
Course: Side Dishes
Cuisine: BBQ
Keyword: bbq, cabbage salad, coleslaw
Author: Our Best Bites
Did You Make This Recipe?Snap a picture, and hashtag it #ourbestbites. We love to see your creations on our Instagram @ourbestbites!
woman in denim shirt holding a salad bowl
Meet The Author

Sara Wells

Sara Wells co-founded Our Best Bites in 2008. She is the author of three Bestselling Cook Books, Best Bites: 150 Family Favorite RecipesSavoring the Seasons with Our Best Bites, and 400 Calories or Less from Our Best Bites. Sara’s work has been featured in many local and national news outlets and publications such as Parenting MagazineBetter Homes & GardensFine CookingThe Rachel Ray Show and the New York Times.

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Questions & Reviews

  1. I made the Memphis-style coleslaw for a family gathering last month & everyone LOVED it!???? Now, I’m in charge of the coleslaw for EVERY family gathering!! Thank you for sharing… it WAS delicious, if I do say so myself (jk)!!????????

  2. Just finished making a double batch!
    Found this a couple weeks ago and tried it with pulled pork. My husband started out leary, but on our last trip to Sam’s club he grabbed a big bag of coleslaw and came home from work today and asked me to make it again!
    This is very much like the coleslaw I grew up with and couldn’t replicate from my mother. It will be what I take to my next get together with the girls pot luck!
    Thank you very much for this post!!!

  3. Need to revisit this recipe again. I’ve been making this one for almost a DECADE! It is absolutely my favorite. If I’m in the right mood, I can sit with a bowl of this instead of a bowl of ice cream.

    The only correction is I call it “slaw” (southeast US) and it goes on my BBQ (which is pulled pork).

  4. Ladies – Hosted a n’hood party tonight and served this slaw; generously piled high in pulled pork sandwiches w/pickles. Thanks to you, I am a hero in my kitchen, but you ladies deserve all the credit. Bravo to you – keep up the great work!!

  5. Ditto,
    We’ve made this several times now. I have been halving 1/2 the recipe, since the first time made so much. Like others, I am not a big cabbage fan and didn’t grow up eating slaw. My grandmother made me eat hers once, but haven’t got the recipe.

    We have this one added to our book. And again today we made another batch.

    Thumbs up!!!

    P.S. Nothing was altered

  6. I made this tonight exactly and followed the recipe exactly. We ate it with pulled pork sandwiches. My family and I agreed it was the BEST coleslaw we have had! Delicious, and I too… could not stop eating it out of the bowl! Thanks for sharing!

  7. My new go-to slaw dressing!! Tweaked it a bit, probably added a bit more Dijon, 1 1/2 tbs sugar, 1/2 tbs celery seed, no bell pepper, but, wow! Sure was yummy. This is a keeper! Thanks for sharing!

  8. This is seriously the BEST coleslaw recipe – EVER! And I’m not a huge coleslaw fan. 😉 I made it today to go with some BBQ pulled pork sandwiches, and I could not stop eating it right out of the bowl! I thought the celery seed amount was absolutely perfect (for my tastes anyway). This one is DEFINITELY going into my “The Best…” recipe file!!!

  9. Go ahead and consume the regular mayo without remorse. I heard someone say this last week “low fat products are a chemical s*** storm!” Truth. I wouldn’t repeat it, except that I totally agree!

  10. I had some cabbage to use up and decided to make coleslaw for dinner. Found this wonderful recipe on Pinterest! It’s a savory, thicker dressing, not a sweet nor thin one, and it’s delicious! I’m so glad I found you!

  11. Tried this recipe when I realized I did not have any white vinegar (my “regular” recipe). This is now my favorite. Made it 4 times so far. Always great.

  12. Best coleslaw…I always gets TONS of compliments on it. Even my husband, who is not a “creamy salad” kind of guy, loves it!

  13. celery seed is not the same as celery salt. Opps, a bit too salty . . . wish I would have noticed that before I put in the 1/2tsp of table salt.

  14. Beats me why people think this is so good.
    I had to make coleslaw for a family picnic and tried this the day before.
    It is the yuckiest coleslaw that I have ever tasted. Even refrigerated it overnight thinking that it might taste better the next day. Nope. Ran to the grocery store at the last minute and bought their coleslaw which was 10 times better than this.
    Really disappointed.

  15. OMG. I made this for tomorrow. I just tried it after the flavors had time to mingle. It was SOOO good. I shouldn’t be surprised, I’ve never tried a recipe of yours that I didn’t like.