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Who has the perfect cole slaw recipe?

I've tried a bunch. The only one we've loved uses a combination of water, vinegar, oil & seasonings heated to a boil & poured hot over the grated cabbage, chopped carrots, red & green peppers - it's called Confetti Cole Slaw with good reason. You cool it for several hours, drain off excess liquid and serve. It's very good, but I'd love a good recipe for a creamy slaw - not sweetened, not overly soaked in dressing, just something nice & crisp to serve with anything grilled.

Somebody out there must have a winner.

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    1. re: drewb123

      Drewb posted a very good recipe...I usually add some celery seed OR celery salt to that recipe, just a personal tweak that I love in coleslaw...but you'd be fine making that one...I,too, disdain sweet coleslaw (a LITTLE sweetness is okay but not that gloppy white stuff that you seem to find everywhere...sad sigh)

      1. re: drewb123

        That is a classic cole slaw! There's a local restaurant near my house on the Chesapeake that has cole slaw everyone adores and they won't give out the recipe. I finally got it from a cousin of the owner. It's almost identical to that but no carrot or onion and they use yellow mustard. How's that for plain? I frankly don't think a little of either would hurt but I don't use them. Lazy. I like Val's addition of celery seed, though. I hate sweet, gloppy versions full of all sorts of stuff. This should be a simple straightforward side dish.
        The good thing about this simple version is that I can make it at the last minute and serve it right away.

        1. re: drewb123

          My recipe is identical to epicurious, except that I omit the sugar entirely, include celery seed, and use dry mustard instead of wet. Also, I typically add in a bit more vinegar to taste.

          1. re: drewb123

            I just made it and it's delicious. I used half mayo and half yogurt to lighten things up a bit, and only 1/4 of the sugar called for to accomodate my husband's taste - it's one of the best ever. Thanks for sending this one.

            1. I love this one (which has been handed down by my Mom):

              Mix together 1/2 head of shredded cabbage (~4 cups), a small can of crushed unsweetened pineapple (mostly drained), a spoonful of real mayonaise (or blend of mayo and plain yogurt), I have never measured, start with about a 1/4 cup, and add some more if needed. Thats it, very simple!

              1. I make the Zesty Bell Pepper Slaw from Epicurious all the time. The only substitutions I make are (1) I always use purple cabbage and (2) I don't usually mix yellow and red bell peppers as called for -- I just use red because it's cheaper that way. And I probably put in more cayenne than the recipe calls for. I love it because it tastes good the next day. It is the perfect accompaniment for any grilled food.

                1. Because my coleslaw is kind of a zen thing, I'd have to think harder to reconstruct an actual recipe, but I will make this strong recommendation:

                  Whatever dressing you end up making, add about a half-teaspoon of creamed horseradish.

                  Seriously, it's basically the ultimate coleslaw secret ingredient.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: BarmyFotheringayPhipps

                    YES to horseradish!

                    I've never been a big coleslaw fan--had seldom tasted one I really liked-- until about three months ago when I decided cabbage is so cheap, low-cal, tasty, and keeps so well compared to other salad greens that it was high time I came up with a slaw I liked. This--my own invention-- has made coleslaw lovers of even the young grandkids and now a meal seem sadly lacking if I don't have any.

                    Several hours--sometimes overnight or a day--ahead, I shred a med. head of plain old green cabbage. I sprinkle it w/salt and put in a colander on the drainboard w/a weighted plate on top to leach some of the water out. Leave for a couple of hours, rinse well in cold water, pat dry really well in a big clean towel, put in ziploc baggie you've sqeezed all the air out of, chill. (This isn't necessary if you're just making up some slaw to be eaten immediately.)

                    Whisk together in a bowl:

                    1/2 C. Hellman's mayo
                    1/2 C. sour cream
                    1/3 C. rice vinegar (I sometimes add some cider &/or malt, even a splash of balsamic.)
                    Squeeze in a big fat clove of garlic or several skinny ones
                    Add a heaping TBSP of prepared horseradish. (What's this "half-teaspoon" foolishness, Barmy? :o) I love Gold's "Hot" . It doesn't make the slaw too hot for anyone, in my experience .
                    A pinch or two of sugar or Splenda to taste.
                    Fresh ground pepper & salt if needed (if you did the salt/weighted colander treatment you might not need to add any more here.)

                    Blend it well. If possible let it chill and develop in the fridge for up to a day or so. I don't dress the cabbage until serving time because even with the salt treatment enough moisture is exuded to dilute the dressing.

                    Please let me know if any of you try this, what you think of it, any suggestions for improvement. It's pretty wonderful, IMHO.

                  2. When I make creamy slaw I just mix cabbage and onions, then add celery seed, horseradish, seasoned salt, pepper, a little mayo and plain yogurt to moisten. Then stick it in the refrigerator for an hour or so. sometimes I add a little dill weed, if I'm in the mood.

                    But I prefer the vinegar slaw as you described. Our church ladies make one that has lemon jello in the dressing--which sounds awful but really is pretty good--and you can make it DAYS before you need it and it stays good.

                    1. I buy a bag of Cole Slaw Mix ( just like the bagged salad ) and add a bottle of Hidden Valley Ranch sauce for Coleslaw and Bam !!! Done !! Bring it to a BBQ and everyone loves it. Kinda semi-homemade Sorry ;-)

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: Jimbosox04

                        Good enough is best, after all, and that's the truth.

                      2. cabbage with equal parts buttermilk and mayo, with fresh dill and s & p. needs to be eaten fresh.

                        1. I use half white vinegar (Heinz or better) and half lemon juice. Spoon of mustard powder is also key.

                          and when I have some around, I like to add finely grated radishes.

                          3 Replies
                          1. re: coll

                            I have eaten alot of different cole slaw recipes, but the one I like best is from KFC
                            I have had alot of soul food recipes and I dearly love soul food, but I still go back to

                            1. re: bigjimbray

                              Try the one from drewb123 above - the first posting on this thread. Close to classic Southern cole slaw. like the Colonel's. I use yellow mustard instead of Dijon and leave out the carrot and onion, add them if you like. Someone said they use celery seed. You can add a bit of cider vinegar. All the right flavors. No frou-frou.
                              That recipe is a winner.

                              1. re: bigjimbray

                                Here you go... the KFC Cole Slaw recipe:

                                KFC Cole Slaw

                                8 cups finely chopped cabbage (about 1 head, or one bag of the pre shredded)
                                1/4 cup shredded carrot (1 medium carrot)
                                2 tablespoons minced onion
                                1/3 cup granulated sugar
                                1/2 teaspoon salt
                                1/8 teaspoon pepper
                                1/4 cup milk
                                1/2 cup mayonnaise
                                1/4 cup buttermilk
                                1 1/2 tablespoons white vinegar
                                2 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice

                                1. Be sure cabbage and carrots are chopped up into very fine pieces (about the size of rice). I pulse it in my food processor until it looks right.

                                2. Combine the sugar, salt, pepper, milk, mayonnaise, buttermilk, vinegar, and lemon juice in a large bowl and beat until smooth.

                                3. Add the cabbage, carrots, and onion, and mix well.

                                4. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours before serving.

                                Serves 10-12

                            2. I like this one from The Pantry in downtown LA. . . hey, it NEVER closes!

                              The L.A. Pantry’s Famous Coleslaw

                              ¾ cup MAYONNAISE
                              3 Tbsp SUGAR
                              1½ Tbsp WHITE WINE VINEGAR
                              1/3 cup VEGETABLE OIL
                              1/8 tsp GARLIC POWDER
                              1/8 tsp ONION POWDER
                              1/8 tsp DRY MUSTARD
                              1/8 tsp CELERY SALT
                              dash BLACK PEPPER
                              1 Tbsp LEMON JUICE
                              ½ cup HALF and HALF
                              1 large head CABBAGE, shredded fine or
                              1 16oz bag “slaw” and 1 8oz bag shredded red cabbage

                              Blend together mayonnaise, sugar, vinegar and oil in bowl. Add onion and garlic powders, dry mustard, celery salt, pepper, lemon juice, half and half and the salt. Stir until smooth. Pour over shredded cabbage in large bowl and toss until cabbage is well coated. Adjust flavors with salt and pepper.

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: Steve2 in LA

                                You all are the greatest! I had the Pantry recipe years ago and had lost it. I use way less sugar than they call for - about 1 tsp tops - other than that, it made a very good slaw, but the recipe from Epicurious sounds great and easy. I'll make it tomorrow.

                                Thanks, everyone.

                              2. I was doing a search myself for this and came up with these:
                                Emeril's Confetti Coleslaw
                                Ina's Vegetable Coleslaw
                                lady's Coleslaw (nice photo) from Paula Deen
                                Emeril's Spicy Horseradish Coleslaw

                                I was going to make one each week to test them out. made Emerils' to go with some spicy bbq'd wings - my family didn't think it was spicy enough; I thought it had a good kick.

                                1. this one is simple, but good — I did this for July 4th with pulled pork bbq. (it has a hint of sweetness from the seasoned rice vinegar and the mayo makes it lightly creamy; crisp immediately...I like it better the next day, too)
                                  Toss ingredients together:
                                  finely shredded cabbage
                                  Japanese seasoned rice vinegar

                                  1. I have a delicious non-mayo cole slaw recipe. My grandmother used to call it "health salad." It's more sweet/sour than creamy.

                                    In a small, non-reactive saucepan combine:
                                    1 cup white vinegar
                                    1/2 cup vegetable oil
                                    1/2 cup sugar
                                    1 TB kosher salt
                                    1 tsp. mustard seed
                                    Bring to a boil. Stir to dissolve the sugar. Cool.

                                    In a large bowl or container, fitted with a leakproof cover, combine:
                                    1 head of cabbage, shredded
                                    1 medium sweet onion, thinly sliced
                                    2 stalks of celery, shredded
                                    3 carrots, shredded
                                    Pour dressing over cabbage mixture and toss well. Turn the container a few times to distribute the dressing. Refrigerate for 12-24 hours, turning frequently.

                                    By the way, hold onto any cabbage mixture that doesn't fit into the bowl or container. This slaw will reduce in volume as the water is drawn out of the cabbage and other vegetables, so within a very short time there will be room to add your leftovers to the container.

                                    1. One of the versions I make: homemade mayonaise w/dijon, add a nice amount of lemon zest & juice, some buttermilk & buttermilk powder & freshly ground black pepper. For the slaw I shred green cabbage, carrots, apple & fresh basil chiffonade.

                                      1. I don't think you can have a recipe for coleslaw -- it's a taste thing for me. Mine is shredded cabbage and carrots, a little salt, a lot of apple cider vinegar (I like it tart), some grated onion, and sugar to taste. Let it sit, taste again, adjust as necessary. Sometimes when I'm feeling adventurous I add chopped up Japanese pickled ginger.