Southern-Style Coleslaw

A sweet and tangy Southern Style Coleslaw, this crunchy slaw is one of the easiest dishes to make.  It’s the perfect accompaniment to burgers, barbecue, or fried foods.  

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Walk away from the premade deli coleslaw.  You don’t need that soggy, watery slaw any longer.  If you can stir ingredients together, you can literally make this recipe.  Using a bag of coleslaw mix makes it even simpler. No excuses now.

Bowl of creamy, sweet, and tangy Southern Style Coleslaw.


I think every region of the country, or maybe every state, has its own variation on coleslaw.  Texas and Alabama both serve a vinegar-based coleslaw.  

Growing up in the North East, we made mayonnaise-based slaw.  I have fond memories of my mom in the kitchen with an old-fashioned box grater, grating heads upon heads of cabbage and carrots for slaw for big family picnics.  I’m pretty sure she had a bit of her knuckle skin in there as well, but it was something the whole family looked forward to eating.

But most of the Deep South make a slaw that is sweeter, mayo-based, but also adds in buttermilk, which makes it so tangy.  It’s my favorite. Sorry, Mom!


  • Cabbage and carrots.  I like using a bagged mix.  It’s a matter of taste as to what kind you use.  There is a tri-color that includes purple cabbage, one that is just cabbage that is cut into ‘angel-hair’ shreds, and a standard shredded cabbage and carrots.  If you’re so inclined, you can also grate your own head of cabbage and carrots. Keep in mind that you may need to adjust the amount of sauce.
  • Mayonnaise – I like Helmann’s, but Duke’s is big in the South.  It’s your call on what type you use.
  • Buttermilk – full fat.  This is what makes this slaw so creamy and tangy.
  • Vinegar.  I like the tang of apple cider vinegar, but any kind will do.
  • Pickle juice.  This is optional, but it adds a ton of flavor.  You save your pickle juice, right?
  • Sugar, Dijon mustard, celery salt, and onion powder.

Bowl of creamy, sweet, and tangy Southern Style Coleslaw.


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Bowl of creamy, sweet, and tangy Southern Style Coleslaw.



This Southern Style Coleslaw is creamy, sweet, and tangy.  So easy, it will have you walking away from store-bought deli coleslaw.



¾ cup mayonnaise

¼ cup buttermilk

2 tablespoons sugar

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar

1 tablespoon pickle juice

¾ teaspoon celery salt

1 teaspoon onion powder

1 16-ounce coleslaw mix


In a large bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise, buttermilk, and sugar until the sugar dissolves.  

Whisk in the mustard, vinegar, pickle juice, celery salt, and onion powder until fully combined.

Use a large spoon to fold in the coleslaw mix until all the slaw is coated with the sauce.

Cover tightly and refrigerate at least 1 hour or until needed.

  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Category: Side Dish
  • Method: Stir
  • Cuisine: Southern

Keywords: Southern Style Coleslaw, side dish recipes, cabbage recipes, picnic food, barbecue side dish

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