Why You Should Make Your Own Cole Slaw

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Cole slaw is one of the easiest summer side dishes to make. It’s a shame folks settle for the soggy mess at the deli counter. No more! Make your own!

Why You Should Make Your Own Cole Slaw More Often | Good Cheap Eats

I’m not sure the first time I made my own cole slaw, but I’m so glad I gave it a shot. You see, FishPapa and I both grew up thinking that cole slaw was this really overly sweet, soggy, drippy stuff that made a mess of your plate at backyard barbecues. For whatever reason, I tried my hand at making it and discovered a crisp and delicious salad that I could make for cheap.

Homemade cole slaw is not difficult to make. Buy a bag of shredded cabbage or shred it yourself, douse it in a quick homemade dressing, add in a few extra crunchy things, and you’re golden.


And you can control the sweetness yourself. Yum! I’ve found that we like spicy and sweet cole slaw, and everyone in the family enjoys it.

Make Your Own Cole Slaw

Cole slaw makes a great side dish to grilled suppers in the summer, but I regularly mix it up in winter when cabbage is cheap and we’re eager to eat something fresh and crunchy. Depending on how you season it, cole slaw goes great on pulled pork sandwiches, in soft tacos, or alongside fried chicken or fish. We’ve served it alongside burgers and hot dogs and sometimes even as the main attraction with some chopped chicken thrown on top.

Cole slaw is forgiving and cheap. Cabbage? Super cheap. Until it becomes the new kale.

Here are some of our favorite cole slaw recipes. They mix up in just a few minutes and since we prefer crisp over soggy, there’s no waiting time.

Why You Should Make Your Own Cole Slaw More Often | Good Cheap Eats

Creamy Coleslaw that Won’t Go Soggy

Why You Should Make Your Own Cole Slaw More Often | Good Cheap Eats

Cumin Scented Cabbage Salad

Why You Should Make Your Own Cole Slaw More Often | Good Cheap Eats

Sunshine Cole Slaw

Why You Should Make Your Own Cole Slaw More Often | Good Cheap Eats

Cabbage Slaw with Apples and Almonds

Have YOU got a favorite cole slaw? I’d love to hear about it!

Why You Should Make Your Own Cole Slaw | Good Cheap Eats

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About Jessica Fisher

I believe anyone can prepare delicious meals—no matter their budget.

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  1. Kirstin says

    Well, this is a shortcut: tri-color cabbage slaw mix, Brianna’s poppy seed dressing, and dried cranberries. : )

  2. Stephanie M. says

    I love cole slaw but my husband doesn’t. Whenever we go to a diner, he always gives me his. So sad because it’s so good. So because of this, I don’t make it. However, I do make something that I learned how to make in Germany; I guess it’s their version of cole slaw. Hubby doesn’t like this either but I make it anyway sometimes; I’m someone too, right? LOL I’ve had it so many times over there; it’s called “Kraut Salat”, meaning cabbage salad.
    It’s just shredded cabbage with cooked bacon torn into small pieces, salt, pepper, oil and vinegar. That’s all. I love that and even though I don’t make traditional cole slaw, I’m not giving this up. Ha Ha.

    • Tiffany R says

      Stephanie, I am in the same boat as you! My husband doesn’t like coleslaw either. He won’t touch cabbage or mayo so I don’t make it at home but when we eat somewhere I always get his. I figure he just doesn’t know what he is missing! My favorite slaw that I ever ate had mandarin oranges in it. Maybe I will try to recreate it for our next bbq.

      • Stephanie M. says

        My husband won’t touch cabbage in any form either; he misses out on so much but he doesn’t look at it that way and I benefit because there’s more for me. 🙂

      • I love the Asian slaw with the oranges and the ramen noodles. Is that the one you’re talking about?

    • My husband didn’t like cole slaw until I started making it myself. I put very little sugar and I serve it crunchy not soggy. He gobbles it down that way. I have hope for Paul!!

  3. Laurie says

    My husband only like KFC coleslaw. Sigh. I make different types of slaw and eat it all over a few days. I keep telling him he needs the roughage!

  4. Molly says

    Grandma’s coleslaw!

    Shave a head of cabbage. Cut it into quarters and really just sliiiiide your knife down each side to get tiny little slivers. Add 1 jar hellman’s mayo per head of cabbage. Add apple cider vinegar, sugar, and 2% milk “until it tastes right.”

    My entire family can agree on “what tastes right”, but my husband blasphemes all that is coleslaw by adding things like relish. That’s not coleslaw, that’s a side dish.

    • What size jar of mayo?! That sounds like a lot….

      • Molly says

        A small jar. It IS a lot, but Grandma grew up in South Carolina, so it’s not surprising.

  5. Joyce Perdue says

    Such truth about cabbage. And so much cheaper than kale, always available at grocery stores and unlike kale it does not make my toe hurt. For some strange reason the green leafy veggies that I love bring on gout. Sounds crazy but it is true. I crave cabbage now and it is probable because I can only have tiny portions of spinach etc. Thanks for the recipes. My toe thanks you too….. 🙂

    • How funny! I’ve never heard of that toe thing.

      • Joyce says

        My doctor calls it Purine and is real and VERY painful. Green leafy veggies can really set it off in some people and the pain is terrible. You can Google it.

  6. M says

    I just made sugar snap pea slaw from Iowa Girl Eats – snap peas sliced vertically, red cabbage and matchstick carrots with an Asian dressing. Yum. I think my kids mostly pick the snap peas and carrots out…

  7. Annemarie says

    My mom always pours a kettle of boiling water over the shredded cabbage, lets it sit a few minutes, and then shocks it with cold water. The process does not render it “cooked”, but gives at a much more beautiful color, and boosts a lot of the nutrients in it. Proceed as normal with whatever recipe!

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