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A lighter recipe that’s perfect for picnics and potlucks!

This no mayo coleslaw comes together in just minutes for an easy cookout side. Enjoy a refreshing combination of crunchy veggies and tangy dressing!

no mayo coleslaw in a bowl on a table with a napkin and a slotted spoon.

Every good Southern cook needs a solid cole slaw recipe to go along with pulled pork barbecue or fried catfish and hushpuppies.

Instead of having a creamy dressing, this no mayo coleslaw is made with a tangy combination of oil and vinegar. Dry mustard and celery seed add plenty of flavor, and a bit of sugar adds just the right amount of sweetness.

Pour it over shredded green cabbage, onion, and carrot to create a simple dish that will have everyone begging for the recipe! I, myself, got it from a coworker years ago, and it’s still one of my favorites.

Key ingredients & substitutions for No Mayo Coleslaw

  • Veggies — You will need a large head of green cabbage, plus one medium onion and one medium carrot, for this no mayo coleslaw recipe. I think this creates just the right balance of flavor, but get creative with the amounts to suit your tastes!
  • Sugar — This helps to balance the sharp taste of the vinegar dressing and enhance the natural sweetness of the vegetables. You can reduce the amount or omit if you find that it makes your slaw too sweet. Or, use a drizzle of maple syrup as a substitute.
  • Dressing — Gather white vinegar, canola oil, celery seed, dry mustard, and kosher salt to make this tangy no mayo coleslaw dressing. Apple cider vinegar can also be used if you prefer a milder, slightly sweeter flavor.

How to make coleslaw without mayo

cutting a cabbage in half; removing the core by cutting a v-shape.

STEP 1 | Prep the cabbage

Give it a good rinse and remove any damaged outer leaves. Slice in half through the base, then cut an an angle to remove the thick stem.

grating cabbage; sugar sprinkled on top of a bowl of grated cabbage, onion, and carrot.

STEP 2 | Shred the veggies

Using the largest hole on a box grater, shred the cabbage and grate the carrot and onion. Toss them together in a large bowl and sprinkle sugar over the top.

pouring oil and vinegar dressing over a bowl of grated cabbage for coleslaw.

STEP 3 | Make the no mayo coleslaw dressing

Add the vinegar, kosher salt, celery seed, and dry mustard to a small saucepan. Bring the mixture to a boil, then stir in the canola oil. This will lower the temperature, so cook another few minutes until it comes to a boil again.

STEP 4 | Combine and chill

Pour the dressing evenly over the veggies. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate until you are ready to serve.

tips

  • When the dressing is added to shredded cabbage, the coleslaw may seem dry. As the coleslaw chills, however, the cabbage absorbs the dressing and wilts. Then there will be excess dressing in the bottom of the bowl so you’ll want to use a slotted spoon for serving!
  • Make quick work of shredding your vegetables by using a food processor instead of doing it all by hand!
  • I like to make this coleslaw at least a day in advance to allow the flavors to meld.

no mayo coleslaw in a bowl on a table with a napkin.

Frequently asked questions

How do you shred cabbage in a food processor?

You will need a larger-sized appliance with a shredding disc attachment – a flat, round attachment with holes similar to those on a box grater. Follow your manual for getting it all set up, then press your cabbage through the shoot.

Obviously, you can’t shove a whole head of cabbage through a food processor. Instead, slice it in half through the stem and again to make quartered wedges. If you only have a smaller appliance, it will be fast to simply shred the cabbage by hand instead of working in batches.

Can I make no mayo coleslaw dressing ahead of time?

Yes and no. You can certainly prepare it and store it in the refrigerator a day or two ahead of time. However, you would need to heat it again before pouring over the vegetables, so you might as well make it fresh.

Why is my coleslaw watery?

Cabbage has a high water content, and when combined with dressing, that water can seep out into your bowl! Be sure to dress your slaw with just enough time to chill and drain off any liquid that has pooled at the bottom of the bowl before serving.

You can also use this handy trick to prevent soggy coleslaw: place the shredded cabbage in a colander over a bowl or sink and toss with a little bit of salt. Let it sit for an hour while the salt draws out some of that water. Then, rinse and pat dry before making your slaw!

no mayo coleslaw in a bowl on a table with a napkin and slotted spoon.

Serving suggestions

Because this no mayo coleslaw is so light and refreshing, it’s a perfect addition to just about any entree! Smoked chicken thighs, crispy coconut shrimp, and even sandwiches — anything that could use some tang on your plate.

If you’re hosting a cookout, don’t forget to make my easy baked beans and herb potato salad. Both recipes are always a hit and can easily be doubled or tripled for a crowd.

Please share!

Your shares are how this site grows and I appreciate each one. Do you know someone who would enjoy this recipe? I’d love it if you would share it on Facebook or on your favorite Pinterest board!

no mayo coleslaw in a bowl on a table with a napkin and slotted spoon.

Tangy NO MAYO Coleslaw

A lighter recipe that’s perfect for picnics and potlucks! This no mayo coleslaw comes together in just minutes for an easy cookout side. Enjoy a refreshing combination of crunchy veggies and tangy dressing!
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 20 mins
Total Time 20 mins
Course Salad
Cuisine American
Servings 12 servings
Calories 150 kcal

Ingredients
  

  • 1 large cabbage shredded
  • 1 medium onion grated
  • 1 medium carrot grated
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon celery seed
  • 1 teaspoon dry mustard
  • 1/2 cup canola oil

Instructions
 

  • Combine veggies in a large bowl and sprinkle with the sugar.
  • Add the vinegar, salt, celery seed, and dry mustard to a small saucepan over medium high heat and bring to a boil. Immediately add the canola oil and heat until the mixture begins to boil.
  • Pour the vinegar mixture over the coleslaw and stir until coated. Cover tightly and refrigerate until ready to serve.

Notes

  • When the dressing is added to shredded cabbage, the coleslaw may seem dry. As the coleslaw chills, however, the cabbage absorbs the dressing and wilts. Then there will be excess dressing in the bottom of the bowl so you’ll want to use a slotted spoon for serving!
  • Make quick work of shredding your vegetables by using a food processor instead of doing it all by hand!
  • I like to make this coleslaw at least a day in advance to allow the flavors to meld.

Nutrition

Serving: 1gCalories: 150kcalCarbohydrates: 16gProtein: 2gFat: 10gSaturated Fat: 1gPolyunsaturated Fat: 3gMonounsaturated Fat: 6gTrans Fat: 1gSodium: 411mgPotassium: 210mgFiber: 3gSugar: 12gVitamin A: 951IUVitamin C: 39mgCalcium: 50mgIron: 1mg
Keyword cole slaw, picnic
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was.
sheila thigpen in her kitchen

About Sheila Thigpen

Recipe Developer, Food Photographer, Food Writer

Sheila Thigpen is the publisher of Life, Love, and Good Food — a Southern food blog — and the author of Easy Chicken Cookbook and The 5-Ingredient Fresh and Easy Cookbook. After 20+ years in the publishing industry, she retired in 2018 to focus on her own creative endeavors full time. She and her husband live near the beautiful Smoky Mountains and have a precious little granddaughter who has stolen their hearts. As an influencer, Sheila has collaborated with brands like Creamette, Kroger, HERSHEY’S, Hamilton Beach, Garafalo Pasta, OXO, Smithfield, Valley Fig Growers, and more.

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