Creamy coleslaw is a classic healthy recipe that is perfect for pulled pork sandwiches, or as a side at your next BBQ this summer.  This easy creamy dressing is made from mayo, milk, sugar, and other spices.  It’s healthy and low carb.  Serve it cold and get rave reviews from your family and friends.

Prep Time: 25 minutes
bowl of creamy coleslaw with hamburger buns, barbecue sauce, and pulled pork

Low Carb Creamy Coleslaw

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Creamy coleslaw is a classic summer staple on tables across the country.  There are so many variations of slaw in the U.S., it would be fun to try them all.  This one is creamy, but still has a bit of vinegar.  Bring on summer!

person holding a white bowl of creamy coleslaw

Can I shred cabbage ahead of time?

Yes, shred it up to 1 or 2 days ahead of when you plan on using it.  Store in an airtight container or zip-top bag in the vegetable drawer of the fridge.

Why does coleslaw become watery?

The pectin in the cell walls of the cabbage holds onto water.   The salt in the dressing breaks down the pectin in the cell walls, releasing the water from the cabbage.

bowl of creamy coleslaw with buns and onions

Can you eat coleslaw on a keto diet?

Certainly!  Cabbage is low in carbs; just add other fatty ingredients like mayo, bacon, or cheese.

What do you serve with coleslaw?

In America, coleslaw is typically served as a side dish in the summer when people are having a cookout or a picnic.  It’s great with grilled meat, on top of pulled pork, or with fried chicken.  It also tastes wonderful on with a grilled sausage on a hot dog bun.  Many families also like to serve potato salad along with coleslaw for a summer BBQ.

holding a spoonful of creamy coleslaw

At room temperature, how long can coleslaw safely be left out?

Since this creamy coleslaw recipe has mayo, it’s best to keep it at room temperature for less than 2 hours.  If you’re at a picnic, cover the coleslaw and place it in a cooler with ice packs to keep it nice and cold until you can place it in a refrigerator.

How long can you keep leftover homemade coleslaw?

Homemade coleslaw can be kept for 3 to 5 days as long as it is refrigerated in an airtight container, but it tastes best when eaten the same day it’s made.

person holding a spoonful of creamy coleslaw

Coleslaw is so good for you, so make sure to make it often during the warmer months.  It’s low in calories, and comes together in less than 30 minutes–a total win-win.  This recipe is perfect to make ahead as it will give it time to let the flavors meld.

This recipe converted my little Artistic Alex 🎨🖌 into a slaw lover, so if you have a picky eater in the house, give this recipe a try.  Who knows–it might convert them too!  Miracles do happen.

How to Make Creamy Coleslaw

Gather all the ingredients.  Chop up the cabbage and onion, and grate the carrot.  Measure out the spices, milk, vinegar, and mayo.

ingredients for creamy coleslaw

To deflame the yellow onion, pour white vinegar on top and let it stand for 10 minutes, and then drain.

deflaming onion by pouring vinegar on top

While the yellow onion is deflaming, mix together the ingredients for the dressing: mayo, sugar, salt, celery seed, and black pepper.

Pour in as much milk as you like to thin out the dressing.  I used 3 tablespoons. 

adding milk to dressing for coleslaw

Whisk the milk in with the dressing to get the desired thickness.

whisking dressing in a small bowl

Place the cabbage, onion and carrot in a large bowl, then pour on the homemade dressing.

pouring dressing on coleslaw

Stir until well combined.  Adjust seasonings, if necessary.  Cover and chill for at least one hour for the best flavor.

bowl of coleslaw with two forks

Enjoy this creamy coleslaw recipe with other summer cookout favorites.  It’s quick to make, low carb, low in calories, and a summer classic.  Why not give it a try?

Pro Tips for Coleslaw

  • Is your coleslaw too watery?  Next time, sprinkle the  shredded cabbage with kosher salt and let it drain in a colander for one hour.  Rinse, dry, and use.
  • Is your coleslaw too bitter?  Don’t use the outer leaves.  Toss shredded cabbage with vinegar and salt and let drain for a few hours.  Rinse, dry, and use.
  • Is your coleslaw not sweet enough?  Adjust the amount of sugar, add more grated carrot, or add grated apple.
  • Did you find a worm or insect in your home grown cabbage?  Soak the cabbage in salt water or vinegar water for 15 to 20 minutes.
  • What other vegetables can I use as add ins?  Try sliced Brussels sprouts, broccoli, and chopped kale.

measuring cup, whisks, knife block, and box grater

Our Go-To Kitchen Tools for Coleslaw

You’ll also love these other delicious recipes with a BBQ or summer picnic.

person holding a serving of pulled pork bowl of broccoli salad with greenery bowl of potato salad with a wooden spoon

  • Slow Cooker Pulled Pork: this super-easy crowd pleasing meat tastes fantastic on a hamburger bun with some coleslaw.
  • Broccoli Salad: a savory version of this healthy salad incorporates juicy grape tomatoes, bacon, and smoked Gouda.
  • Southern Potato Salad: this creamy crowd pleasing salad is the perfect side dish for summer BBQs.

The pleasure of a 5-star review for this coleslaw recipe would be greatly appreciated.

bowl of creamy coleslaw with hamburger buns, barbecue sauce, and pulled pork

Low Carb Creamy Coleslaw

  • Author: Brooke
  • Prep Time: 25 minutes
  • Total Time: 25 minutes
  • Yield: 12 servings 1x


Creamy coleslaw is a classic healthy recipe that is perfect for pulled pork sandwiches, or as a side at your next BBQ this summer.  This easy creamy dressing is made from mayo, milk, sugar, and other spices.  It’s healthy and low carb.  Serve it cold and get rave reviews from your family and friends.



For the Slaw

  • 5 cups green cabbage, shredded
  • 1 cup carrot, shredded
  • 1/2 cup yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons distilled white vinegar

For the Dressing

  • 1/2 cup mayo
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon celery seed
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice (optional)
  • 3 tablespoons whole milk


  1. Using a knife, box grater or food processor, shred the cabbage and carrots, and chop the yellow onion.
  2. Put the onion in a small bowl and stir in two tablespoons of white vinegar.  Let stand for 10 minutes to deflame the onion, giving it less bite.  Drain off the vinegar before adding to the slaw.
  3. Measure out 5 cups of shredded cabbage and save any extra cabbage for soup, casseroles, or more slaw.  In a large bowl, mix together the shredded cabbage and carrot.
  4. In a medium bowl, whisk together the mayo, sugar, celery seed, salt, and pepper.  If you are not using Duke’s mayo, you might want to add 1 tablespoon of lemon juice.  Gradually whisk in the whole milk until it is the desired consistency.  For a thicker dressing, don’t add all the milk.  Adjust the seasonings to taste.
  5. Add the deflamed onion to the cabbage and carrot mixture, then add the dressing.  Stir until well combined, and transfer to a pretty serving bowl.  Eat right away or cover and chill until ready to eat.  This coleslaw tastes best after it has chilled.


The pleasure of a 5 star review for this low carb creamy coleslaw would be greatly appreciated.

  • Category: Lunch
  • Method: Chopped
  • Cuisine: American

Keywords: basic coleslaw recipe, creamy coleslaw recipe

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