A Dozen Crunchy Coleslaw Recipes Perfect For Your Next Cookout

This collection of coleslaw recipes includes a creamy classic version as well as the vinegary and red varieties commonly served with barbecue in the Carolinas. A Tex-Mex jalapeño slaw brings the heat, and two slaws inspired by Asian cuisine add variety to the bunch.

Vinegar coleslaw served inside a small bowl
Serious Eats / Qi Ai

Nothing says summer quite like cookouts, outdoor dining, and refreshing dishes. Whether you're bringing a side to your neighbor's get-together or looking for a side salad to serve on a weeknight, this collection of coleslaw recipes, ranging from a Tex-Mex-inspired jalapeño option to a classic recipe from Kenji, is sure to come in handy. If you're planning on smoking a pork shoulder, we have outstanding recipes for vinegar slaw and red slaw, both of which are suitable sides for barbecue in the Carolinas. Of course, they're just as welcome served alongside grilled sausages, baby back ribs, and other rich grilled foods. What better way to kick of the summer?

Classic Coleslaw

Overhead view of classic coleslaw, served on a marble surface in a shallow, asymmetrical bowl.
Serious Eats / Liz Clayman

Kenji's trick to making the perfect coleslaw: briefly salt and then rinse the cabbage, carrot, and red onion. The salt draws out moisture that would otherwise dilute the dressing, thus keeping the veggies crisp and the dressing thick and creamy.

Vinegar Coleslaw

Vinegar coleslaw served inside a small bowl
Serious Eats / Qi Ai

This sweet and tangy vinegar coleslaw makes a great accompaniment to rich barbecue.

Super-Simple Tangy Buttermilk Coleslaw

A large ceramic bowl piled high with tangy buttermilk coleslaw.
Serious Eats / J. Kenji López-Alt

This back-to-basics slaw uses a combination of buttermilk and mayonnaise, which gives the dressing a fresh tang and enough thickness to coat the vegetables.

Coleslaw With Creamy Chile Vinaigrette

Closeup of Coleslaw With Creamy Chili Vinaigrette
Serious Eats / Vicky Wasik

This unique slaw from Michael Harlan Turkell is dressed with an apple cider vinaigrette seasoned with a puréed Fresno chile and enriched with cream. The result is a spicy slaw that's light and creamy.

Tangy Apple Coleslaw

Tangy apple coleslaw, served in a white bowl on a white background.
Serious Eats / Joshua Bousel

Granny Smith apples add a tart, fruity twist to this classic side. In fact, this slaw has three types of tang: acetic acid from the cider vinegar, lactic acid from sour cream, and citric acid from the grated green apple... perfect for cutting through the richness of barbecued meats, but lightly sweet and creamy to boot.

Spicy Cabbage Slaw

Closeup of spicy cabbage slaw, served on a plate aside tacos and refried beans.
Serious Eats / J. Kenji López-Alt

This spicy cabbage slaw—somewhere between what you'd get at a Mexican taqueria and a Haitian-style pikliz—is flavored with habanero and a hint of allspice. It's essentially a quick-pickle recipe that comes together in minutes, but goes a long way to adding crunch, freshness, and heat to sandwiches, tacos, or burgers.

Lexington-Style Red Coleslaw

Closeup of red coleslaw in a white bowl on a white background.
Serious Eats / Joshua Bousel

Ketchup and hot sauce combine for a tasty (and red) slaw that's perfect with pulled pork.

Mustardy Coleslaw

Closeup of mustard coleslaw, served in a white bowl on a white background.
Serious Eats / Joshua Bousel

Yellow mustard adds flavor and balance to this coleslaw recipe, making it a perfect side or sandwich topper.

Jalapeño Coleslaw

Overhead view of jalapeño coleslaw, served in a white bowl on a white background.
Serious Eats / Joshua Bousel

Lime, chile, cilantro, and cumin give this creamy coleslaw a Tex-Mex kick—a perfect accompaniment to smoked brisket or short ribs.

Quick Curtido (Salvadoran Cabbage Slaw)

Closeup of a bowl of quick curtido, served in a white bowl on a wooden surface.
Serious Eats / Lauren Rothman

This vinegary slaw brings crunch and a hit of acid to a host of rich, long-cooked dishes that call out for brightness and texture.

Coleslaw in Chinese-style Dressing

Closeup of Coleslaw in Chinese-style Dressing, served on a white plate and sprinkled with sesame seeds.
Serious Eats / Chichi Wang

In this recipe, a simple slaw of red cabbage, carrot, and scallions is dressed with soy sauce, sugar, chile oil, sesame oil, Chinkiang vinegar, and minced cilantro.

Asian Slaw with Ginger Peanut Dressing

Closeup of Asian Slaw with Ginger Peanut Dressing.
Serious Eats / Jennifer Segal

Packed with unusual slaw ingredients like red bell pepper and shelled edamame, this colorful slaw is perfect for changing things up at your next cookout.