My Oma's Southern Cider Vinegar Coleslaw (No Mayo)


There are reasons Southerners prefer vinegar slaw. Mayonnaise slaw is usually too sweet. It’s gloppy and drippy. And the chunks of cabbage in store-made slaw are always white and hard as bark nuggets. I grew up eating this cider vinegar coleslaw, my grandmother's recipe, and it's everything I love in a coleslaw. The grated cabbage is perfectly al dente, and it's a blend of tangy and sweet. Try this and you'll never go back to that gloppy white mess!

Southern Cider Vinegar Cole Slaw

Make this recipe a few hours ahead of time to let the coleslaw marinate in the cider vinegar. It can be made the day before, and the coleslaw will keep refrigerated for several days. It is best, however, when eaten within a day or two. This coleslaw recipe will serve an entire cookout or picnic.


3 pounds grated green cabbage (one medium head)

1 large onion, chopped

2-3 carrots, grated

1 bell pepper, chopped

1/2 cup canola or other mild oil

1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons cider vinegar

1/2 cup sugar

2 teaspoons salt

2 teaspoons mustard seed

1 1/2 tablespoon celery seed


In a very large bowl, mix the cabbage, onion, carrot and bell pepper to create the coleslaw. Combine the oil, cider vinegar, sugar and spices in a microwave safe measuring cup or a small saucepan. Cook on high for a few minutes until the sugar is melted and the dressing is slightly reduced (the kitchen will smell like vinegar!).

Pour the hot dressing over the coleslaw and mix well. Refrigerate until cold, then serve. It will keep for 4-5 days refrigerated.

To serve

This is the best coleslaw ever to put on top of Southern pulled pork BBQ sandwiches. Cider vinegar coleslaw is also a great dish to take to picnics or cookouts, and works well as a side dish for any grilled summer dinner.

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