Red Cabbage Slaw

Coleslaw is a staple and tradition for summertime meals, BBQs and picnics. A convenient way to sneak in those veggies and a splash of color to any meal. Here is my delicious, but easy Red Cabbage Slaw recipe- it uses only 5 ingredients!

overhead shot of bowl of red cabbage slaw with text overlay for facebook


Why You’ll Love This Red Cabbage Slaw

Fresh red cabbage shredded and mixed with a simple dressing with fresh flavor- what’s not to love!

  • Best crunch – Whether serving as a side dish or adding to a sandwich, this red cabbage slaw has the best crunch for texture variation.
  • Simple ingredients – You only need 5 ingredients to make this perfect side dish, and you probably already have most of them on hand.
  • Versatile – One of the great things about this recipe is that you can add just about anything to it to make it to your liking.
red cabbage slaw on pulled pork sandwich

Red Cabbage Slaw

For years I stayed away from coleslaw. Then I realized it wasn’t because I disliked cabbage or any of the other fresh shredded or minced vegetables, I generally didn’t like mayonnaise (at least the jarred kind). 

But when I tried a no mayo coleslaw, I loved it! It was like when Princess Jasmine takes a ride on the flying carpet and belts out “a whole new world!!!” 

PRO TIP: For angel hair slaw (very thinly cut slices) use a mandoline slicer. 

Suddenly I liked the foods that are commonly paired with a side dish of coleslaw too. Pulled pork sandwiches, pulled chicken, fried chicken, fried fish, hot dogs… okay, so I am still not so into hot dogs. But you get the point.

Now that my coleslaw horizons have been opened, I have experimenting with different ways to make it. Some use Greek yogurt as a substitute for mayo, but I’ve found my favorite coleslaw recipe is actually just using vinegar. 

straight on shot of red cabbage on pulled pork sandwich

Vinegar Coleslaw

Almost like a southern style kimchi. A quick pickling of cabbage. But coleslaw doesn’t even have to use cabbage, although it usually does. Generally speaking, slaw is just shredded, julienned or minced vegetables in some sort of a dressing. 

Deciding whether to use green or red cabbage as a base is where I start. From there I add other fresh vegetables like carrots, onion or broccoli.

Others are amped up using fruits and even seeds and nuts for some crunch. Others add green onion, Dijon mustard, celery seed, sesame seeds and lemon juice. 


These simple ingredients can all be easily found at your local grocery store.

  • Red Cabbage– If you know me, you know I love COLOR in my food. What is more vibrant and colorful than red cabbage. Which to be fair is actually purple.
  • Apple Cider Vinegar– Gives it the vinegar zing you are looking for!
  • Olive Oil– I like to lubricate my slaw and give it a vinegarette dressing. Oil is needed for this.
  • Salt & Pepper– Use a nice Kosher salt and lean away from anything iodized, it gives a metallic aftertaste. Freshly ground pepper will give you more punch.
  • Honey- This balances out the acidic flavors and gives just a hint of sweet. It can be omitted if you want.

PRO TIP: Red and cabbage are very similar in taste and texture and can be used interchangeably. Some beleive red cabbage is slightly more peppery, but I’ve never noticed the difference. It does however, have slightly more nutritional value. 

Just one head of cabbage will make a whole batch. If you don’t feel like doing it yourself, feel free to be pre shredded cabbage or even a coleslaw mix. 

close up of red cabbage slaw

How to Shred Cabbage

There are all sorts of do-dads out there to shred vegetables and leafy greens, but I find the easiest for lettuce and cabbage is just a cutting board and large knife. 

  1. Remove outer leaves of the cabbage. Usually just one layer gone is all you need.
  2. Cut off the root up to the base.
  3. Cut into quarters, through the steam.
  4. In a semi-circular motion, remove the rest of the hard root in each quarter.
  5. Thinly slice cabbage. You could also use a food processor.

You can also use a mandoline slicer, but no matter how hard I try, I always hurt myself.

close up of red cabbage slaw in a white bowl

How to Make Red Cabbage

You are going to love how easy it is to make this easy side dish.

  1. Prepare cabbage. Chop, minced or shred cabbage as desired. Place in a large bowl.
  2. Add to vinegar. Toss with apple cider vinegar. (If using honey, whisk with apple cider vinegar before adding to cabbage).
  3. Add seasonings. Toss with Kosher salt, ground black pepper and olive oil.
  4. Chill. Cover, refrigerate and marinate for 1 hour to 24 hours.
  5. Toss and serve. Toss again and drain before serving.
overhead shot of red cabbage in bowl

How to Serve Red Cabbage Slaw

This simple recipe tastes good on so many things! Use it as a great side dish to most any main course, but especially barbecue. 

You can also add it to lots of things. My favorite recipes to add it to are pulled pork sandwiches or fish tacos.

angled shot of red cabbage on pulled pork sandwich


This red cabbage salad recipe is pretty basic, leaving lots of room for putting your own spin on things.

  • Tangy dressing – This dressing is quite simple, but you can certainly change it up. Try using lime juice or red wine vinegar for the tang.
  • Sweetness – We use honey to sweeten this easy recipe, but try using orange juice or maple syrup instead.
  • Extra ingredients – Throw in some shredded green cabbage for a two tone look. Some red onion thrown in will amp up the flavor. Fresh cilantro, fresh parsley or spring onions will add some color and flavor.
close up red cabbage in bowl

Storage and Freezing

Storage: Store any leftovers of this red cabbage slaw recipe in an airtight container. I prefer mine to be stored in the refrigerator, but it does stay good at room temperature. It can be made ahead of time.

Freezing: Because this is not a mayo baked coleslaw, it does freeze well. You can store it in the freezer for up to six moths.

close up of wooden spoon in bowl of red cabbage slaw

Frequently Asked Questions

What’s the difference between cabbage slaw and coleslaw?

There really is no difference, Traditional coleslaw recipes generally use either green cabbage or a blend of green and red. This one just uses red.

How do you keep red cabbage from bleeding in coleslaw?

Because we are only dealing with one color of cabbage here, the bleeding doesn’t affect anything. 

How do you cut red cabbage for coleslaw?

Check the section above for how to shred cabbage to find the full instructions. 

collage of red cabbage slaw for pinterest

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close up of red cabbage slaw with text overlay for pinterest
close up of red cabbage slaw on pulled pork sandwich

Red Cabbage Slaw

4.41 from 25 votes
Red Cabbage Coleslaw is an easy coleslaw recipe that pairs well with any BBQ recipe. A no mayo coleslaw that can be made ahead and stays good at room temperture. 
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 0 minutes
Marinating Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour 10 minutes
Servings: 6



  • Chop, minced or shred cabbage as desired. Place in a large mixing bowl.
  • Toss with apple cider vinegar. (If using honey, whisk with apple cider vinegar before adding to cabbage).
  • Toss with Kosher salt, ground black pepper and olive oil.
  • Cover, refrigerate and marinate for 1 hour to 24 hours.
  • Toss again and drain before serving.
  • If you tried this recipe, come back and let us know how it was!


Calories: 47 kcal, Carbohydrates: 10 g, Protein: 2 g, Sodium: 426 mg, Potassium: 354 mg, Fiber: 2 g, Sugar: 5 g, Vitamin A: 1560 IU, Vitamin C: 79.7 mg, Calcium: 63 mg, Iron: 1.2 mg
Calories: 47
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: American
Keyword: coleslaw recipe, no mayo coleslaw
Did you make this recipe?I’d love to see your recipes – snap a picture and mention @savoryexperiments or tag #savoryexperiments!
Jessica Formicola in her ktichen

About the Author

Chef Jessica Anne Formicola

Jessica the mom, wife and chef behind Savory Experiments. You might see her on the Emmy- nominated TV show Plate It! or on bookshelves as a cookbook author. Jessica is a Le Cordon Bleu certified recipe developer and regularly contributed to Parade, Better Homes & Gardens, The Daily Meal, Mashed and more!

Read More About Jessica

4.41 from 25 votes (19 ratings without comment)

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Questions and Reviews

  1. You mention using honey, if desired. But I don’t see where you mention how much is suggested. Also wondering when to use the honey. Does it make sense to use it with the Apple cider vinegar (when tossing)?

    1. Hi Jason! Thanks for the feedback, I’ll add it to the instructions to make it more clear. You’d just whisk it with the apple cider vinegar before drizzling so it mixes in well.

  2. 5 stars
    It’s interesting how so many delicious dishes are in fact so easy to make! Fantastic slaw that is definitely a good find for a summer menu.

  3. 5 stars
    So simple, so delicious! I love that this recipe is perfect for this time of the year!

  4. 5 stars
    I love the idea of making slaw with red cabbage and without mayo. It sounds it much lighter and flavourful!