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Classic Vinegar and Oil Coleslaw Recipe

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Here’s a tangy and crunchy vinegar and oil coleslaw recipe that’s perfect for those who prefer a coleslaw without mayo. This version uses a simple dressing with apple cider vinegar, resulting in a flavorful and refreshing slaw. It pairs wonderfully with pulled pork, barbecue ribs, grilled chicken, and fried fish.

This side dish is the perfect summer recipe. Make this ahead of time and bring it to your next potluck, serve at backyard BBQs, and Sunday dinners. Using simple ingredients, it combines freshly shredded cabbage, shredded carrot, and onion, all delicately tossed in a zesty and vibrant dressing.

When you have an abundant crop in your vegetable garden, recipes like this are perfect for creating nutritious and delicious dishes. Make this a day ahead. When you are ready to serve the next day, just give it a stir.


Ingredients in this Vinegar-Based Coleslaw

This recipe is quite easy as it uses fresh ingredients that you can grow in your own backyard garden or purchase at your local farmers market or grocery store.

Cabbage: Today, I used green cabbage for this recipe. However, red cabbage or even nappa cabbage would work well.

Onion: All onion varieties will work, yellow onion, red onion, shallot, or even Vidalia sweet onion. Just mince them up fine and don’t use too much of the flavor will overpower the cabbage.

Carrot: You don’t have to purchase the pre-shredded carrots.  It’s easy to make your own. Just wash and peel the carrots. Then I just use a box grater and shred them by hand. If you are making a lot of coleslaw, you can use the shredding disc on your food processor.

Vinegar and Oil Salad Dressing

Vinegar: This recipe uses apple cider vinegar. Other options are red wine vinegar, champagne vinegar, or distilled white vinegar. However, you can play with other vinegar flavors or maybe you have one you really like, then use that instead.  

Olive Oil: Olive oil adds a nice subtle flavor. However, any neural flavor oil such as vegetable oil works.  

Dijon Mustard: Adds just the right amount of tangy flavor and helps emulsify the dressing.

Honey: Just the right amount of sweetness to offset the tart vinegar flavor. You can substitute sugar or maple syrup if you wish.

Seasonings: We keep it simple using salt and black pepper to taste.  

Vinegar Coleslaw Recipe Variations

Add the juice of half a lemon. It will brighten up the dressing for an even tangier flavor.

Celery seeds. Some recipes use this seasoning to add an earthy, savory, and slightly bitter taste to enhance the overall flavors.

Add other fresh vegetables. Nice additions are bell peppers and green onions. Experiment with different combinations to create your own unique coleslaw recipe. Make sure to adjust the vinegar dressing if you add any shredded vegetables.


How to Store Leftover Coleslaw

After preparing the coleslaw, cover it tightly with plastic wrap or transfer it to an airtight container. Store in the refrigerator. This helps preserve its crispness.

Eat within 3-5 days for optimal freshness and flavor. Before serving leftovers, give the coleslaw a gentle stir to redistribute the dressing and ensure that all the ingredients are coated evenly.

Vinegar and Oil Coleslaw Recipe

Prep time
20 minutes
Serves 12


1 small head of cabbage, thinly sliced
1 large carrot, peeled and grated
1 tablespoon onion, minced

Vinegar dressing

1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons honey
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon black pepper

In a large bowl, add the shredded cabbage, carrot, and minced onion.

In a small bowl, whisk together the apple cider vinegar, olive oil, honey, Dijon mustard, salt, and pepper.


Pour the vinegar mixture over the cabbage mixture. Stir to combine.


This can be served right away, or you can make this up to 1 day ahead, refrigerate, and serve the next day. Just give it a stir before serving.

Serving Ideas for This Vinegar and Oil Coleslaw

Vinegar-based coleslaw pairs well with a variety of dishes, especially those with bold or savory flavors. Here are some delicious options:

Barbecue: Serve vinegar coleslaw alongside grilled or smoked meats such as ribs, pulled pork, brisket, or barbecue chicken. The tanginess of the coleslaw complements the rich, smoky flavors of the barbecue.

Burgers and sandwiches: Use vinegar coleslaw as a topping for burgers, sandwiches, or sliders. It adds a refreshing crunch and acidity that balances the savory flavors of the meat.

Fish tacos: Top fish tacos with vinegar coleslaw for a fresh and zesty contrast to the crispy or grilled fish. The acidity of the coleslaw cuts through the richness of the fish and adds a burst of flavor.

Fried chicken: Serve vinegar coleslaw alongside crispy fried chicken for a classic Southern-inspired meal. The tangy coleslaw helps cut through the richness of the chicken and provides a refreshing contrast.

Pulled pork sandwiches: Pair vinegar coleslaw with pulled pork sandwiches for a delicious combination of flavors and textures. The acidity of the coleslaw balances the richness of the pork and adds a crunchy element to the sandwich.

Grilled seafood: Serve vinegar coleslaw alongside grilled seafood such as shrimp skewers, grilled salmon, or seafood kebabs. The bright flavors of the coleslaw complement the delicate flavors of the seafood.


Vinegar coleslaw is a perfect side dish for picnics, barbecues, and potlucks. It can accompany a wide range of dishes and is easy to transport and serve outdoors. Serve this cabbage salad at your next cookout.