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Buttermilk Coleslaw

There is something about coleslaw that reminds me of spring and summer. Maybe because it goes so well with barbecue dishes such as chicken and pork, which are often served this time of year. Some say this recipe tastes almost like a certain chain restaurant’s slaw.

Buttermilk Coleslaw


Buttermilk Coleslaw

A sweet and tangy coleslaw that tastes great with fried chicken or a BBQ sandwich.
Course Salad, Side Dish
Cuisine American, Dutch
Keyword cabbage
Servings 4


  • Blender


  • 8 cups cabbage, shredded (about 1 head)
  • 3/4 cup carrots, shredded (1-2 carrots)
  • 2 Tablespoons onion, finely chopped
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 3/4 cup buttermilk
  • 2/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 1/2 Tablespoons white vinegar
  • 2 1/2 Tablespoons lemon juice


  • In a large bowl, toss together the cabbage, carrots, and onion.
  • In a blender on low speed, combine the milk, buttermilk, sugar, salt, and pepper.
  • Add the vinegar, lemon juice, and mayonnaise and blend until smooth.
  • Pour over the slaw mix and fold until everything is well coated.

Where the word “coleslaw” came from:

Coleslaw comes from a Dutch word meaning cabbage salad. While in the U.S. traditional coleslaw is a combination of shredded cabbage and a mayonnaise-based dressing, coleslaw can contain any number of ingredients.

How to Shred Cabbage

There are a variety of ways to shred cabbage, as well as a variety of tools you can use to do so. Me, I just buy it pre-shredded. But, in case you want to do this from scratch, here are some options:

Food Processor: Cut the cabbage into small enough wedges that they will fit into your machine and pulse.

Cabbage Shredder: This device is kind of like a special, double-bladed knife made for cutting cabbage.

Cabbage Shredder: This device looks like a giant julienne peeler.

Mandolin Style Cabbage Shredder: You have to cut the cabbage into wedges before shredding. This is a more traditional device.

How to Avoid Pink Cole Slaw

If you use red cabbage, it will naturally dye your coleslaw a light shade of pink. Don’t worry, this does not change the flavor. However, if you prefer not to have pink coleslaw, you have three options:

  1. Rinse and dry your red cabbage after shredding
  2. Start with pre-shredded slaw mix purchased from a store (these have been rinsed and are slightly dry)
  3. Skip using the red cabbage

Creative Cooking Tips Banner

There are lots of ways you can mix up this coleslaw either to make it your own, or just because you want something a little different.

Do you have a spiralizer? Try adding in some spiralized veggies to take the place of some of the cabbage.

Include additional ingredients beyond the cabbage and carrots. Here are some ideas that you can mix in:

  • Raisins
  • Craisins
  • Shredded or chopped apples
  • Almonds
  • Pecans
  • Chopped celery
  • Toasted sesame seeds
  • Chopped pineapple

Add additional flavor to the dressing. Add 1/8 teaspoon of any of the following:

  • Onion powder
  • Dry mustard
  • Celery seed
  • Dill weed
  • Parsley

Swap ingredients out. Here are some suggestions:

  • Substitute yogurt for the mayonnaise
  • Substitute half-and-half or cream for regular milk
  • Use a whole onion and/or substitute red onion for the white one
  • Add some zing with a splash of Tabasco sauce and cilantro
  • Substitute lime juice for the lemon
  • Substitute broccoli for cabbage

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About the author

Carma Spence has been experimenting in the kitchen since she was four years old and loves trying out new recipe ideas. She is the author of Bonkers for Bundt Cakes and Your Perfect Pie, as well as author and contributor to several more non-food-related books. With Carma's Cookery, she is taking her passion for empowering people and blending it with her passion for cooking, gift-giving and entertaining.

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