The Best Coleslaw

This is truly the best coleslaw recipe out there. Heaven in a bowl and blue ribbon level, this creamy and flavorful side dish and sandwich topping will dazzle at the next cookout.

Miss Millie's Best Coleslaw

First, I gotta say… all coleslaw recipes are not created equal. Some are just okay, some are pretty good, and some are magical. Of course, whichever descriptive the coleslaw merits is purely in the eye of the beholder but in my mind, Miss Millie’s best coleslaw recipe definitely fits into the “magical” category.

So, who is Miss Millie? She was my grandmother’s best friend for most of her life. They were neighbors when Grandmama passed away and Miss Millie who makes the best coleslaw ever now lives just two doors down from my mother. What’s more, her son married my aunt so some of my cousins have both my grandmama and Miss Millie as their grandmothers! I figured that was grounds enough to adopt her myself!

Miss Millie’s creamy coleslaw is loaded with fresh vegetables, like shredded cabbage and carrot (of course), as well as bell pepper and onion. But it’s the flavorful dressing that makes this the best coleslaw. The veggies are coated in a dressing that includes mayonnaise, sugar, cider vinegar, celery seeds, and dijon mustard. All of these ingredients combine to make a delicious homemade coleslaw that’s simultaneously sweet, tangy, and creamy.

Miss Millie’s best coleslaw makes the perfect Southern side dish to any main meal or a scrumptious sandwich topping. I’ve included more serving suggestions below, so let’s make some homemade coleslaw, hey?

Miss Millie's Best Coleslaw Ingredients

Recipe Ingredients

  • Cabbage
  • Carrots
  • Bell pepper
  • Onion
  • Mayo
  • Sugar
  • Apple cider vinegar
  • Celery seeds
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Dijon mustard

I know that seems like a lot of ingredients but trust me, it’s worth it. It’s also incredibly simple to make. 

Helpful Kitchen Tools

How to Make Miss Millie’s Best Coleslaw

Grate and chop veggies and place them in a large bowl.

Chop up your cabbage and bell peppers, grate the carrots and onions, and put it all in a large bowl

The grated onion thing is a little different but it works so well in this. If you’d rather, you can just chop it really fine.

Make sauce and pour over veggies.

Place all remaining ingredients into a separate bowl and stir really well until fully combined and sugar is dissolved.

Pour over veggies.

Cover and refrigerate for at least 3 to 4 hours to allow the flavors to blend. 

Best Coleslaw by Miss Millie

Try not to eat the entire bowl yourself. If you do, just wash the bowl, put it away, and claim you didn’t have time to make any!

Not that I’ve ever done that….. 😆.


Store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days. Because of the mayonnaise dressing, coleslaw doesn’t freeze well.

Recipe Notes

  • To save time, you can definitely use a bagged coleslaw mix or pre-shredded cabbage (I won’t tell anyone). Then add the coleslaw dressing, marinate, and serve!
  • You can substitute the sugar for honey if you like. Start with a tablespoon and add more according to taste.
  • Don’t skip the celery seed! It truly adds to the coleslaw dressing flavor.
  • Add some fun mix-ins, like sliced apples, dried cranberries or raisins, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, or sliced almonds.

Recipe FAQs

What do you serve with classic coleslaw?

There are so many ways to serve this creamy coleslaw. Firstly, it’s the perfect side dish to serve with barbecue meat, like beef brisket, pulled chicken, beef ribs, and pulled pork. Second, do as KFC does and serve it alongside some fried chicken. You can also serve it as a sandwich or burger topping (try it with my meatloaf burgers).

What’s the best cabbage to use in this easy coleslaw recipe?

I love to simply use green cabbage, but you can definitely use a combination of green and red cabbage (or purple cabbage) if you like. Other cabbage varieties that work in a classic coleslaw include savoy cabbage and Napa cabbage. For something different, try broccoli!

Can I make coleslaw in advance?

I’d prepare the vegetables and sauce a couple of days in advance and store them separately in the fridge. Then mix them together and let the dish marinate for at least four hours (up to a day) before serving. The longer the coleslaw marinates in the dressing, the less crunchy it becomes.

You might also enjoy these cabbage and slaw recipes:

Asian Slaw Mix

Mustard Slaw (from the SouthernPlate Mag)

Slow Cooker Cabbage Casserole

Sheet Pan Cabbage and Beef Tips

Vinegar Slaw Recipe

Burger Slaw Recipe

Miss Millie's Best Coleslaw

The best coleslaw recipe out there, this creamy and flavorful side dish and sandwich topping will dazzle at the next cookout.
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Chill Time: 3 hours
Total Time: 3 hours 5 minutes
Course: Appetizer, Side Dish
Cuisine: American
Keyword: coleslaw
Servings: 4
Calories: 240kcal


  • 1 medium head green cabbage cored and shredded
  • 2 medium carrots peeled and grated
  • 1 green bell pepper cored, seeded, and diced
  • 2 tablespoons grated onion
  • 2 cups mayonnaise
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons celery seeds
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/4 cup Dijon mustard


  • Place shredded cabbage, shredded carrot, bell pepper, and onion in large bowl.
    1 medium head green cabbage, 2 medium carrots, 1 green bell pepper, 2 tablespoons grated onion
  • In a separate bowl, mix together all remaining ingredients, stirring well to dissolve sugar. Pour over vegetables and stir well to combine.
    2 cups mayonnaise, 3/4 cup sugar, 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar, 2 tablespoons celery seeds, 1 teaspoon salt, 1/8 teaspoon black pepper, 1/4 cup Dijon mustard
  • Cover and refrigerate for 3 to 4 hours before serving to allow the flavor to marinate and blend.


Calories: 240kcal
Tried this recipe?Mention @southernplate or tag #southernplate!


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  1. This is my grandmother’s recipe or what she threw together minus the celery seeds and dijon mustard. Now I will add those two and see how much it changes her taste. My daughter does the same cole slaw so I’ll share this with her. Love cole slaw.

  2. Can’t wait to make this slaw. What kind of Dijon mustard did you use? It looks different than mine.

  3. Thank you for – Miss Millie’s Best Coleslaw recipe. It is delicious, we will be making this
    coleslaw recipe for the holidays.

    Thank you – Ree

  4. It sounds delightful as I consider a good cole slaw as a chef’s basic. It is great for summer picnics and BBQ’s as well as a winter time treat when fresh produce is scarce. My preference, and this is not a criticism, but just my opinion is that I like my cole slaw grated and I still use a box grater to get that desired texture.

    1. I still use my box grater, too! And, I like the texture of the cole slaw with the grater.

    1. I made this for m bunko group this week and loved it! This is my new, go to, coleslaw. It was great on bbq sandwiches.

    2. I would prefer using celery then celery seeds because people complain about them getting in their dentures. I like the ingredients Mrs. Millie uses because I like seasoned food it doesn’t mean food have to be salty you have a lot of spices that are available to use. You just have to know what spices to use with certain foods to have them taste good or appetizing.
      These recipes remind me of my grandmother and her cooking I also have a southern background.

  5. Personally, I think I would reverse the order on those instructions and mix all the dressing ingredients first in the bowl I plan on storing the slaw in, then add the veggies to that. One less bowl to wash and since it’s heating up around here–that really works for me! Yes, yes, I admit I’m a lazy chef, especially in the summertime. 🙂

      1. I cook for large family gatherings, neighborhood watch, and our local meals to elderly, how much does this recipe serve? If I multiply it, is there some thing(s) I shoud watch out for?

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