Sweet Coleslaw Recipe

This sweet coleslaw recipe is a great dish to bring to your next cookout! It is easy to make and most kids enjoy it. It is the perfect combination of sugar and vinegar so it is not too tangy and just the right sweetness.

Coleslaw in a bowl ready to be served.

Coleslaw is a classic side dish that goes well with so many foods! It is often paired with holiday meals or with grilled dishes in the summer. We love to serve it with a grilled meat and our lentil pasta salad. There is no wrong time to enjoy it, it’s delicious any time!

There are many ways to make it and I like different recipes as well, but this sweet coleslaw recipe is the favorite here in our household along with our sweet broccoli salad. It’s the only way one family member will eat cabbage (at least knowingly – shh.)

Tho it is delicious and a lot of people do like it, it might be a little too sweet for some people.

This is a simple recipe to put together and perfect for get togethers or to go along with dinner. We make it often in the summer and we have it at dinner for a couple nights!

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We keep this sweet coleslaw recipe simple and it only has a few ingredients.

  • Cabbage – Green cabbage, we have never tested this with red cabbage. If you do try it with red cabbage, please let us know!
  • Bell pepper – We use green pepper. You can use red, yellow or orange but take note they will make your coleslaw a little sweeter.
  • Carrot – We use a regular orange carrot, but you can use a rainbow carrot in it’s place. It will change the color of your coleslaw slightly tho.
  • Mayo – Usually we use Hellmann’s or Kraft real mayo here, but you can use your favorite brand. I do not recommend using Miracle Whip for this coleslaw.
  • Red wine vinegar – No substitutions recommended, we have not tried this with any other vinegar.
  • Sugar – You can adjust to taste.
  • Celery seeds – No substitutions recommended but I have made it without them (forgot to add them) and it is still good. I do recommend adding them for flavor.

Making the coleslaw

It is very easy to make and it is recommended you use a food processor for the coleslaw. A food processor just makes it so much easier, but if you do not have one you can still make it (more on that below.)

Prepping the vegetables

First I cut the cabbage into 8 wedges and be sure to remove the core. I then cut the wedges into smaller pieces – usually in thirds. You need to make sure that your cabbage pieces will fit in the food processor. They all have different shapes and size bowls on them.

Cut your carrot into slices about an inch and a half long. The pepper I cut into large chunks. It is softer and will break up much faster in the food processor.

You will have to break this into 2 rounds, depending on the size of your food processor it might be 3 rounds. I do the pepper and the carrots in separate rounds here for the color to be true to coleslaw since carrots take over in the color!

Cabbage pieces and carrot chunks in the food processor.

Add about half (or a third if half will not fit) of your cabbage into the bowl of your food processor. I sometimes have to do 3 rounds when making this sweet coleslaw. Add in the carrot chunks and place the lid on.

Pulse until the carrot and cabbage are chopped nicely. I like the pulse because it allows the cabbage to drop into the blades better in between pulsing. It keeps the food moving and gets a more even chop.

Dump into a large mixing bowl and set aside.

Add the remaining cabbage if it will fit along with the large pepper chunks. Pulse again until the cabbage is chopped nicely. Pour into the bowl with the carrot and cabbage mix. If you need to do another round to get the rest of the cabbage, do so with just the cabbage.

Note all the orange in the mix on the left but the green in the right. This is why I mix them separate. When you stir both rounds together, they get the perfect color as you will see in the second picture.

Carrots and cabbage done first and then cabbage and peppers done second in the food processor.
Cabbage, carrots and peppers in a bowl ready for the dressing.


In a separate bowl mix together mayo, red wine vinegar, sugar and celery seed. Mix together well.

Pour it over the coleslaw mix and stir well. It will appear a little dry in the beginning, but after sitting in the fridge for about 30 minutes – 1 hour, it will have juice settling on the bottom. Give it a good stir as you are about to serve it.

We hope you enjoy this sweet coleslaw recipe as much as we do here!

What goes good with coleslaw?

Sweet coleslaw is something that goes well with a lot of dishes! It can be served with hot foods or cold foods.

We usually have it as a side dish when grilling or around the holidays. It is great when grilling because you make it ahead and it is ready for you when your dinner is ready! Our favorite grilled dishes to serve it with are grilled boneless chicken thighs, baby back ribs and BBQ chicken legs.

For the holidays we often make it with baked ham, lemon rosemary turkey or prime rib. It goes great with just about any meal.

How to make sweet coleslaw without a food processor

It is a lot easier to make the coleslaw with a food processor, but it isn’t required. You do want to freshly chop your vegetables just before making the salad for best results. If you prep them ahead of time you will have a drier salad.

Food chopper – You can use a food chopper to chop the vegetables. It will likely take several rounds since the bowls on choppers are usually much smaller, but it can be used.

Knife and cutting board – Another option if you do not have either is to cut and chop the cabbage and peppers with a very sharp knife. If you are going this route, the carrot can be grated with a cheese/vegetable grater. I would thinly slice the cabbage and then using a heavy kitchen knife chop into small pieces. The pepper just gets cut into small pieces.

Food slicer – You can carefully use a food slicer to slice the cabbage for the sweet coleslaw. If you go this route, you can actually leave the coleslaw in the thin slices if you prefer instead of finely chopping. You may want to cut the slices a little so they are not too long, but that is optional.

If you use the food slicer, you want to only use it for the cabbage. Still cut your pepper with a knife and grate the carrot.

Frequently asked questions

Can I use bagged coleslaw mix?

You can, but we prefer it with fresh. With fresh cabbage you will have a more runny sauce which some people prefer. With bagged you will have a thicker sauce which many people also enjoy. The liquid from the cabbage dries out in the bagged cabbage.

Is coleslaw supposed to be sweet?

This sweet coleslaw recipe is sweet, but not all coleslaw is. It is a preference and it can be made with little to no sugar or made with a lot of sugar. There are many recipes where it is not sweet.

How long does coleslaw last?

It should last about 3-4 days in the fridge if properly stored.

Other great side dishes


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  • Food processor – there are many to choose from but you do not need a super expensive one.
  • Food slicer – If you rather have sliced cabbage instead of chopped. I would only get this if you know you will use it for more then just coleslaw! While they come in handy, I personally do not have one because I don’t think I would use it much.
  • Sharp knife – Either way a sharp knife should be used for this sweet coleslaw recipe. A sharp knife is safter then using a dull one. Never use a dull knife to cut, you are more likely to get hurt. You can use your favorite sharp knife, but a knife like this is the one I use most here.
  • Cutting board – You can use a smaller one if you are using a food processor, but if you are chopping the cabbage with a knife you need a larger cutting board. This is a set of 3 different sizes, perfect for if you are in need of cutting boards.
Coleslaw prepared in a bowl ready to serve.

Easy Sweet Coleslaw

This sweet coleslaw recipe is easy to make with just a few simple ingredients. It has the perfect combination of tangy and sweet, making it a favorite with kids.
5 from 4 votes
Prep Time 20 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Course BBQ, Side Dish
Cuisine American
Servings 10
Calories 286 kcal


  • 3 pounds cabbage
  • ½ green bell pepper
  • 1 carrot
  • cups mayo
  • 2 Tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 4 Tablespoons sugar
  • ½ teaspoon celery seeds


  • Cut up the cabbage into small enough pieces to fit easily into the food processor.
    Peel and slice the carrot into 1½ inch slices
    Cut the pepper into large chunks
    3 pounds cabbage, ½ green bell pepper, 1 carrot
  • Add the carrot to the food processor and add as much cabbage as you can safely fit without overloading.
    Pulse until the cabbage and carrot is chopped evenly. Dump into a large bowl. Mix will be mostly orange. Once you mix all the rounds from the processor, it will be the perfect color.
  • Add the pepper and as much cabbage as you safely can to the food processor.
    Pulse until the cabbage is chopped evenly. Dump into the bowl with the carrot and cabbage mix. If you still have cabbage left, chop that in the processor now and add it to the bowl.
    Mix it all together.
  • In a separate bowl mix together the mayo, sugar, vinegar and celery seed. Stir this into the cabbage mix.
    1½ cups mayo, 2 Tablespoons red wine vinegar, 4 Tablespoons sugar, ½ teaspoon celery seeds
  • You can serve now, but we recommend letting it sit in the fridge for 30 minutes to an hour first for best flavor and texture. Stir well before serving.


These nutrition facts are estimated.  It might be more then 10 servings, but it depends on what else you are serving with it.  
This is a sweet coleslaw.  If you are worried about it being too sweet you can taste the dressing before adding all of the sugar.


Calories: 286kcalCarbohydrates: 14gProtein: 2gFat: 25gSaturated Fat: 4gCholesterol: 14mgSodium: 243mgPotassium: 268mgFiber: 4gSugar: 10gVitamin A: 1195IUVitamin C: 54.9mgCalcium: 61mgIron: 0.8mg
Keyword easy
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

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