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Classic coleslaw

Carlton Boyce / 21 September 2016

An easy recipe for a classic creamy coleslaw that can be served with just about anything.

Classic coleslaw
Classic coleslaw

Preparation time

20 minutes


  • Half a white cabbage
  • 2 x large eating apples
  • 3 x large carrots
  • Mayonnaise to taste
  • 1tbs salt
  • 1tbs white sugar


Coleslaw is one of our favourite summer dishes as it goes with everything! Beth makes a huge bowl, and then stores any leftovers in the fridge where it sits for the next couple of days as we plough our way through it in sandwiches and as a side salad.

The recipe below is the one we use all the time and we’ve found that the secret to great coleslaw is to get rid of some of the water from the cabbage with the salt and sugar trick. You can skip that stage if you are pushed for time and it will taste fine but if you take the extra time you’ll find that it lasts a bit longer in the fridge as the excess water doesn’t leach out into the bottom of the bowl after a day or so.

1. Finely shred the white cabbage. We use the grating attachment on the food processor but it can be done almost as quickly by hand using a sharp knife and a chopping board. You want to shred or chop the cabbage as finely as you can.

2. Place the shredded cabbage in a large bowl and sprinkle over the salt and sugar. Mix carefully through and leave for exactly five minutes.

3. After five minutes, place the cabbage in a colander and rinse it thoroughly under cold running water. Shake dry and place in a salad spinner and whizz around to dry it. If you don’t have a salad spinner then you can spread it out on a paper towel and then carefully pat it dry by hand.

4. Coarsely grate the peeled carrots. If you hold the carrot at an angle you will get longer shreds, which is what you are looking for.

5. Now grate the unpeeled apple.

6. Mix all the ingredients together and add the mayonnaise until it is as creamy as you like it.


You can jazz the basic recipe up with a dash of sweet hot chilli sauce for a hotter, sweeter version; a handful of finely chopped coriander for an Eastern twist; or even a tablespoon of Dijon mustard and the same of honey for a deliciously complex version that has a little hidden heat in the aftertaste. The trick, as always, is to experiment.

Similarly, you could swap some or all of the cabbage for celeriac and some or all of the mayonnaise for sour cream if you want something lighter.

Classic coleslaw with burger and chips

Visit our salad recipe section for more delicious recipes


The opinions expressed are those of the author and are not held by Saga unless specifically stated. The material is for general information only and does not constitute investment, tax, legal, medical or other form of advice. You should not rely on this information to make (or refrain from making) any decisions. Always obtain independent, professional advice for your own particular situation.