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Mom’s Best Coleslaw Recipe uses vinegar and mayonnaise for a classic homemade side dish or sandwich topper that’s easy, creamy and delicious — just like Mom used to make! Once you make coleslaw from scratch, you’ll never go back to storebought again!

bowl of coleslaw from scratch on the table

This easy coleslaw recipe is just like my mom and grandma used to make. It’s super simple and takes just minutes to make. Plus, it’s creamy, crunchy and so dang good!

You can serve this cabbage slaw as a quick summer side dish. Or, you can use it to top pulled pork sandwiches or BBQ chicken sandwiches all year long. Personally, we think it’s the BEST coleslaw recipe out there!

Only 4 Ingredients

Even though Mom’s coleslaw recipe is simple, I’ve made it even easier by using a bag of coleslaw mix from the store. So, you only need 4 main ingredients to make this coleslaw:

  • Coleslaw mix — Look for one with purple cabbage and carrots for color
  • Mayonnaise — or Miracle Whip if you prefer
  • Vinegar — regular white or rice vinegar
  • Milk
  • Salt and pepper to taste, if needed

How to Make Coleslaw from Scratch

This is seriously one of the easiest recipes on the planet. If you’re ever asked to bring a side dish to a potluck, make coleslaw!

First, dump the bag of coleslaw mix into a medium or large mixing bowl. Then, spoon in your mayo, vinegar and milk.

coleslaw mix with mayonnaise in mixing bowl

Next, mix everything together until it’s nice and creamy. You may think it’s a little dry at first, but don’t add more mayo yet. It gets even creamier as it sits.

Taste the mixture first. Then, add salt and a little black pepper, to taste. I’ve been making this so long, so I just eyeball it and add more seasoning later, if needed.

mix coleslaw ingredients together in mixing bowl

Cover the coleslaw, and refrigerate until ready to serve. The flavors get stronger the longer this sits. If you feel it needs more mayo, add some right before serving.

Make Ahead and Storage

Can you make coleslaw recipe ahead of time? Yes you can prepare the coleslaw a day in advance. It does tend to get watery the longer it sits, so I don’t recommend making it too far in advance.

If it seems too watery, you can drain out the liquid and add a little more mayo to thicken it up. Store leftover coleslaw in a tightly covered container. It keeps for about 2 days – if you have any leftover!

spoon in a bowl of coleslaw
5 from 8 votes

Mom’s Best Coleslaw Recipe

By: Dee
Mom's Best Coleslaw Recipe uses vinegar and mayonnaise for a classic homemade side dish or sandwich topper that's easy, creamy and delicious — just like Mom used to make! Once you make coleslaw from scratch, you'll never go back to storebought again!
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 0 minutes
Total Time: 5 minutes
Servings: 8


  • 1 bag coleslaw mix
  • ½ cup mayonnaise
  • 1 tablespoon milk
  • 1 teaspoon white vinegar or rice vinegar
  • salt and pepper, to taste if needed
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  • Empty bag of coleslaw mix into a medium mixing bowl
  • Stir in mayo, milk and vinegar until well blended
  • Add salt and pepper, to taste
  • Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve. Add more mayo if needed


Coleslaw might seem dry at first, but it gets creamier the longer it sits. Add more mayo before serving, if desired.


Calories: 110kcal, Carbohydrates: 3g, Protein: 1g, Fat: 11g, Saturated Fat: 2g, Trans Fat: 1g, Cholesterol: 6mg, Sodium: 100mg, Potassium: 101mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 2g, Vitamin A: 66IU, Vitamin C: 21mg, Calcium: 26mg, Iron: 1mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Additional Info

Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: American
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Recipe Rating


  1. Libby says:

    I love this recipe. I started using red wine vinegar instead of white & I love it even better!!

    1. Dee says:

      Thanks, Libby. So glad you like the coleslaw!

  2. Tisha says:

    Such a simple recipe idea for a backyard bbq5 stars

  3. Jim says:

    Yummy! Could eat this everyday. Great for summer and BBQs5 stars

    1. Dee says:

      So glad you liked the coleslaw. Thanks, Jim!

  4. Beti | easyweeknightrecipes says:

    This Coleslaw looks amazing! I can’t wait to try it!5 stars

    1. Dee says:

      Hope you like it! Thanks so much!

  5. katerina @ says:

    I love a good Coleslaw!! This looks incredibly delicious!5 stars

  6. Beth says:

    Wow! This coleslaw was absolutely delicious and very yummy! My hubby and I loved it with our burgers the other night! Perfect side and so quick!5 stars

    1. Dee says:

      Thank you so much, Beth! I’m glad you liked it!

  7. Toni says:

    I love how easy and delicious this is!! A new favorite way for me to make coleslaw!5 stars

    1. Dee says:

      I’m so glad to hear this, Toni. Thanks!

  8. Catalina says:

    I am looking for a good coleslaw recipe! This one sounds good!5 stars

  9. Erin | Dinners,Dishes and Dessert says:

    I’m drooling! This coleslaw is everything I love! Definitely a must try!5 stars