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Add this healthy homemade coleslaw to your menu for tastier sandwiches, potlucks, and picnics galore. It’s crunchy, fresh, and vibrant, with colorful cabbage, carrots, and a sweet and tangy dressing. Easy to make to your taste from scratch and way better than anything store-bought!

Clear serving bowl full of a healthy homemade coleslaw ready to eat.

The Best Healthy Coleslaw Recipe

This healthy coleslaw recipe is a must-have for summer BBQs, potlucks, or any casual gathering. Coleslaw is a classic salad and sandwich topper that is typically made with cabbage, carrots, and a lot of thick dressing loaded with mayonnaise and sugar. I’m not personally a huge fan of mayo, which led me to shy away from making or eating coleslaw for the longest time. This modern coleslaw, however, has a much a lighter dressing that gives you all the flavor without any of the glop. Now we’re talking. This is the perfect side for all of your fresh and easy summer eats!

Serve this coleslaw with honey chipotle or dry rub chicken off the grill, or crockpot BBQ chicken for an easy make-ahead meal.

Ingredients & Substitutions

Prep bowls holding shredded cabbage and carrots, green onions, mayo, honey, apple cider vinegar, Dijon mustard, celery seed, salt, and pepper.

Here are a few notes and shopping tips about what you’ll need, as well as possible substitutions. Full amounts are noted in the print-friendly recipe card below.

  • Coleslaw mix. You can often buy this pre-shredded and packaged to save time, but it’s essentially a mix of shredded white cabbage, red cabbage, and carrots, so you can also buy those items separately and combine them according to your own preference.
  • Green onions. For a little color and added vegetable action.

Best Light Dressing for Coleslaw

You can absolutely make a delicious, flavorful dressing with all the taste you’d expect on traditional coleslaw — and a lot lighter, with less fat and refined sugar.

  • Mayonnaise. The trick to making a healthier coleslaw is that a little mayo goes a long way!
  • Honey. This adds a touch of sweetness to the dressing but is sure a lot healthier than spoonfuls of granulated sugar.
  • Apple cider vinegar and Dijon mustard. Give the dressing a little tang and more flavor. You can substitute lemon juice or white wine vinegar in place of the apple cider variety.
  • Celery seed. A spice that consists of dried, wild celery seeds, this is a signature flavor in most traditional coleslaw recipes. The seeds are tiny, brown, and potent. A little of this spice goes a long way!
  • Salt & black pepper. Highly recommend using kosher salt and fresh-cracked black pepper.

What can I use instead of mayo?

If you want to make it healthier still, substitute a full fat plain Greek yogurt and skip the mayo entirely.

How To Make Your Own Coleslaw

This is pretty straightforward, but just to summarize:

  1. Whisk together the dressing ingredients in a large bowl.
  2. Add slaw mix and green onions. Toss well to combine.

Make Ahead Tips

If you want to make homemade coleslaw ahead of time, you have a few options. For one, you can prep it entirely and store in the refrigerator for a few hours. Many people actually enjoy coleslaw more after the cabbage has a bit of time to soak up the dressing.

Alternatively, you can whisk together the dressing in a small bowl, jar, or liquid measuring cup, and store it in the refrigerator until ready to pour over the veggies and serve. I like my cabbage extra crunchy, so this is usually what I do. Experiment and see what works best for you.

Shredded white cabbage, red cabbage, and carrots in a clear bowl.

Recipe FAQs and Expert Tips

How long does coleslaw keep?

This healthy coleslaw can be kept safely for 3-4 days in the fridge, just keep it in mind that the cabbage and carrots will become more limp the longer it sits. Coleslaw actually tastes better to many people after it spends a bit of time in the refrigerator, because the flavors meld and the cabbage soaks up a bit of dressing and becomes more tender. That said, you don’t want to overdo it.

What’s the best way to store coleslaw?

Any airtight container in the fridge is good for storing coleslaw. I like to put smaller portions in our favorite meal prep boxes or a larger portion in a tightly-sealed Stasher bag.

Can I make this coleslaw vegan?

Yes! Just choose a vegan mayo, which is usually made with sunflower oil or avocado oil, and you will have a vegan coleslaw.

What goes well with coleslaw?

Our favorite ways to enjoy coleslaw are with BBQ pulled chicken, BBQ pulled pork, or on top of fish tacos! It’s also a crowd-pleasing side to a simple meal of hot dogs and hamburgers, or grilled lemon chicken thighs.

Close up of homemade healthy coleslaw with red and white cabbage, carrots, green onions, and a light dressing in a clear serving bowl.

More Tasty Sides

If you try this healthy coleslaw recipe, don’t forget to rate it and leave a comment below. I love hearing how recipes turn out in your kitchen, and it helps other readers, too.

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5 from 1 vote

Healthy Homemade Coleslaw Recipe

Add this healthy homemade coleslaw to your menu for tastier sandwiches, potlucks, and picnics galore. It’s crunchy, fresh, and vibrant, with colorful cabbage, carrots, and a sweet and tangy dressing.

Ingredients

  • 2 Tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 1 Tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1 Tablespoon honey
  • 1/2 teaspoon celery seed
  • 1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • pinch kosher or sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 cups shredded coleslaw mix see note
  • 1/4 cup sliced green onion

Instructions

  • In a large bowl, combine the mayonnaise, apple cider vinegar, honey, celery seed, Dijon mustard, salt, and pepper. Whisk until smooth.
  • Add shredded coleslaw mix and green onion to the bowl. Toss well to coat with the dressing. Sample and add more salt as desired. Enjoy right away, or store in the refrigerator for up to 4 hours.

Notes

  • Coleslaw Mix: You can often buy this pre-shredded and packaged to save time, but it’s essentially a mix of shredded white cabbage, red cabbage, and carrots, so you can also buy those items separately and combine them according to your own preference.
  • Make Ahead Tips: You can make this salad as-is and keep it for up to 4 hours in the fridge. To work further ahead, make the dressing and store it in the fridge for up to one week, then pour dressing over the vegetables and toss when ready to serve.
  • More Substitutions: 
    • If you want to make it healthier still, substitute a full fat plain Greek yogurt and skip the mayo entirely.
    • You can use lemon juice, white wine vinegar, or another light vinegar to replace the apple cider vinegar. They all provide a similar tangy effect.

Nutrition Estimate

Calories: 50 kcal, Carbohydrates: 4 g, Protein: 0.4 g, Fat: 4 g, Saturated Fat: 1 g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 2 g, Monounsaturated Fat: 1 g, Trans Fat: 0.01 g, Cholesterol: 2 mg, Sodium: 39 mg, Potassium: 48 mg, Fiber: 1 g, Sugar: 4 g, Vitamin A: 27 IU, Vitamin C: 9 mg, Calcium: 14 mg, Iron: 0.2 mg
Did you make this recipe?Leave a review below, then snap a quick picture and tag @nourishandfete on Instagram so I can see it!