Homemade Coleslaw Dressing

4.78 from 9 votes
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This creamy coleslaw dressing recipe is easy to prepare! Toss with shredded cabbage and carrots for a crisp and refreshing side dish.

A creamy coleslaw dressing recipe to use in a variety of ways.

Instead of purchasing store-bought bottles, make this delicious homemade coleslaw dressing recipe. It’s so simple to whip up and uses eight everyday pantry staples. All you need is mayonnaise, sour cream, and a combination of sweet and tangy seasonings. Whisk and drizzle over the coleslaw mix for a quick, easy side dish.

What’s convenient is you can prepare the creamy dressing a few days ahead. I often make a batch for a crunchy salad and topping for burgers and sandwiches. It’s great for making an easy coleslaw or tasty dip with veggies for parties, picnics, and barbecues!

Key ingredients

Ingredients needed to make this coleslaw dressing recipe.
  • Mayonnaise: Use to create a thick and creamy base for the dressing.
  • Sour Cream: Add a hint of tanginess and extra creaminess.
  • Honey: Adds sweetness to the dressing, balancing the tangy ingredients.
  • Vinegar: Apple cider vinegar adds a mellow vinegar taste and fruity aroma.
  • Lemon Juice: The fresh citrus adds a tart flavor.
  • Seasoning: Kosher salt and pepper to enhance the savory taste. Celery seeds are dried and concentrated in an earthy and slightly bitter flavor for dimension.

How to make coleslaw dressing

Mayonnaise, vinegar, sour cream, honey, and seasonings inside a mixing bowl.

This is one of the easiest sauces to prepare! Whisk together the mayonnaise, sour cream, honey, apple cider vinegar, lemon juice, celery seed, salt, and pepper in a medium bowl.

The mayonnaise is a permanent emulsion, so once you add in the other flavoring agents, it will keep its rich texture. The celery seed is optional, but it enhances the taste of the creamy dressing for depth in flavor.

Flavor variations

It’s easy to customize the recipe for coleslaw dressing. Instead of purchasing new items, try these simple substitutions you may already have in your kitchen.

  • I like to make homemade mayonnaise, but store-bought is a convenient swap. There are vegan options also available.
  • Plain Greek yogurt or homemade buttermilk is a good substitution for sour cream.
  • Use other types of vinegar like distilled white, champagne, white wine, or rice vinegar.
  • Lime juice is a more mild and more fragrant option for lemon juice.
  • Pure maple syrup or granulated white sugar can be used for honey.
  • Freshly chopped or dried dill or dill seeds are a good swap for celery seeds.
  • If you like extra spice, stir in some Dijon mustard.
Creamy coleslaw dressing whisked together in a bowl.

Serving suggestions

To make a classic coleslaw recipe from scratch, cut the cabbage into shreds. I use a mix of green and red cabbage, about six cups total to use with the dressing. Grate one cup of carrots for extra color and crunch.

For a quicker option, stores sell pre-shredded individual vegetables or a bag of coleslaw mix. Just add to a serving bowl and toss some of the dressing right before serving.

Ways to use coleslaw dressing

Homemade coleslaw dressing inside a small glass jar.

Frequently asked questions

What is the dressing made of in coleslaw?

Coleslaw dressing is a combination of mayonnaise, sour cream or buttermilk for tanginess, a sweetener like honey or sugar, apple cider vinegar, lemon juice, celery seeds, salt, and pepper.

Is white vinegar better than apple cider vinegar in coleslaw?

White vinegar has a very clean, neutral taste with a strong pungency. Apple cider vinegar is mild and more fragrant. Use the latter for less of a sharp vinegar taste. A combination of the two is also delicious.

What can I use instead of celery seeds?

Freshly chopped celery, celery salt, fennel, dill, or caraway seeds can be used instead of celery seeds. If using celery salt, reduce the amount of kosher salt added, then adjust to taste.

Colorful coleslaw in a bowl that's been tossed in a creamy dressing.

Recipe Science

Wait to add the coleslaw dressing

The salt in the dressing will draw out the moisture from the shredded cabbage. If the vegetables are coated too soon, it will cause the coleslaw to become watery. It’s best to dress the salad with a small amount of sauce right before serving or within 20 to 30 minutes. Serve more dressing on the side for a thicker coating right before eating.

Homemade Coleslaw Dressing

This easy-to-follow coleslaw dressing recipe will give you a delicious and creamy texture that complements any homemade coleslaw. Give it a try today!
4.78 from 9 votes
Prep Time5 minutes
Cook Time0 minutes
Total Time5 minutes
Servings 12 servings
Course Condiment
Cuisine American


  • ½ cup mayonnaise
  • 2 tablespoons sour cream
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon celery seed, optional


  • Make the Dressing In a medium bowl, whisk together mayonnaise, sour cream, honey, apple cider vinegar, lemon juice, salt, pepper, and celery seeds if using.
  • To Serve – Use immediately with desired salad ingredients, or cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.



  • Recipe Yield: About ¾ cup
  • Serving Size: 1 tablespoon
  • Usage: Toss with 6 to 7 cups of coleslaw (shredded cabbage and carrot mix).
  • Storing: Refrigerate in an airtight container for up to 3 days. 

Nutrition Facts

Serves: 12 servings
Calories 73kcal (4%)Carbohydrates 2g (1%)Protein 0.2gFat 7g (11%)Saturated Fat 1g (5%)Polyunsaturated Fat 4gMonounsaturated Fat 2gTrans Fat 0.02gCholesterol 5mg (2%)Sodium 157mg (7%)Potassium 7mgFiber 0.02gSugar 2g (2%)Vitamin A 19IUVitamin C 0.3mgCalcium 3mgIron 0.04mg

Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000-calorie diet. All nutritional information is based on estimated third-party calculations. Each recipe and nutritional value will vary depending on the brands you use, measuring methods, and portion sizes per household.

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Jessica Gavin

I'm a culinary school graduate, cookbook author, and a mom who loves croissants! My passion is creating recipes and sharing the science behind cooking to help you gain confidence in the kitchen.

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