I Tried Our 5 Most Popular Creamy Coleslaw Recipes and the Winner Stole My Heart (2024)

It’s no wonder that creamy coleslaw is a staple in the American kitchen. It’s impossible to eat fried chicken without a side of it. And I can’t imagine a pulled pork sandwich without a palate-cleansing scoop of crisp, tangy slaw on stand-by. That slightly sweet, creamy dressing paired with crunchy cabbage isn’t just satisfying, it’s refreshing and delicious.

And our love affair with the popular side dish is obvious if you visit Allrecipes: We have a whole page dedicated to it! But when it comes to creamy coleslaw, I wanted to know, do the top-ranked versions meet our high standards? I tried our most popular creamy coleslaw recipesto find out.

What Makes the Best Creamy Coleslaw?

The best creamy coleslaws are the ones that follow the same basic principles. They have to taste awesome, meaning they have the best dressing and cabbage, and the ratio of cabbage to dressing has to be just right. Here’s how that breaks down.

  • The dressing: A great creamy coleslaw dressing is the right combination of mayonnaise, vinegar, and seasonings. It should be rich enough to coat the cabbage, but not so thick that it weighs it down. There should be enough acid to make it feel bright and balanced and enough salt and other seasonings to keep things interesting.
  • The cabbage: Store-bought slaw mix is handy. It saves you time and is relatively low cost. But even with these perks, if time allows, I always cut the cabbage myself. This gives me ultimate control, which is important because I believe thinly sliced cabbage is the best for slaw. Those thin slices allow for more surface area for the dressing to adhere to and are just tender enough to make eating it fun and enjoyable.
  • The cabbage-to-dressing ratio: Preferences here vary, but my recommendation is to use about ½ to ¾ cup of dressing per 14-ounce bag of coleslaw mix. I’ll start with ½ cup and add the dressing gradually, tossing it with the slaw mix as I go. That way I get it dressed just how I like it.

Which Creamy Coleslaw Recipes Did I Test?

I tested five of the most popular recipes for Creamy Coleslaw on Allrecipes, all of which had high ratings of 4.7 stars or greater. There was one that was super quick to pull together, one with a secret ingredient, one with a flavor kick, one that tastes like KFC coleslaw, and the one I loved the most. Here’s what I found.

I Tried Our 5 Most Popular Creamy Coleslaw Recipes and the Winner Stole My Heart (1)

Most Classic: Easy Coleslaw Dressing

  • Fast facts: Developed by GarlicQueen, has 1987 reviews with a 4.8-star rating

I took one bite of this coleslaw and knew instantly that I’d had it before. It tasted just like the coleslaw my mom would buy from the deli counter back when I was a kid. And it looked just like it too.

There isn’t anything particularly memorable about this slaw, but that made it endearing. I would place it in the “standard” category of creamy coleslaws. Like, if you need a basic coleslaw, this one is it.

I loved that it was simple to make and didn’t require an exorbitant number of ingredients. The dressing to cabbage ratio was “reasonable,” reported one of my tasters, and I agree. Overall, it’s a good recipe and I’d make it again.

Get the recipe: Easy Coleslaw Dressing

I Tried Our 5 Most Popular Creamy Coleslaw Recipes and the Winner Stole My Heart (2)

Best Flavor Kick: Traditional Creamy Coleslaw

  • Fast facts: Developed by JD. Bailey, has 148 reviews with a 4.8-star rating

After scanning this recipe’s ingredients, I knew I was in for a treat. My eyes spied horseradish and I was excited about that. While I love horseradish, I’d never used it to make coleslaw, so this was a first for me.

The recipe was straightforward and easy to make. The dressing looked ultra-thick, but I added the cabbage and crossed my fingers. After tossing and refrigerating as instructed, my tasters and I sampled. It was indeed thick and everyone felt it was too creamy.

But we liked the flavor and the addition of the horseradish. If I make this again, I’ll slash the mayo by ¼ cup and double the vinegar to make it a bit punchier. I’d even consider throwing in a bit more horseradish for a bigger bite.


Get the recipe: Traditional Creamy Coleslaw

Creamiest: Simple Coleslaw Dressing

  • Fast facts: Developed by kyleruts, has 23 reviews with a 4.8-star rating

I dislike washing dishes, so I love that this recipe utilizes a ball jar for making the dressing. You just combine your ingredients, cover and give a good shake, and then pop it into the refrigerator until slaw-time.

While I love the simplicity of making the dressing, I wasn’t as impressed with the taste or the thickness of it. It was a bit too sweet and felt flat. I was intrigued by the addition of ranch dressing, but to be honest, I couldn’t quite taste it (probably because of the sugar).

I agree with Allrecipes reviewers who said this would be a good slaw for a pulled pork or other pulled protein sandwich, especially one with a vinegar-based sauce. If I make this again, I’d leave out the sugar and cut back on the mayo.

Get the recipe: Simple Coleslaw Dressing

I Tried Our 5 Most Popular Creamy Coleslaw Recipes and the Winner Stole My Heart (4)

Close Second: Southern Coleslaw

  • Fast facts: Developed by Kristina, has 246 reviews with a 4.8-star rating

It was a close call between this one and the winner, ultimately because they’re both delicious. My entire team of taste-testers liked this one, with one yelling out, “yum” after the first bite.

The recipe, which an Allrecipes reviewer said reminded her of KFC’s famous coleslaw, had all of the right things going on for it. But most importantly, it had good flavor and was perfectly balanced. The dressing wasn’t too sweet, had a good amount of acid and it was creamy, but not so much that it felt overly dressed.

If any coleslaw earned its 4.8-star rating, it’s this one. I’ll definitely make it again without any changes.

Get the recipe: Southern Coleslaw

I Tried Our 5 Most Popular Creamy Coleslaw Recipes and the Winner Stole My Heart (5)

Best Overall: Restaurant-Style Coleslaw

  • Fast facts: Developed by mrasdon, has 960 reviews with a 4.7-star rating

This recipe won in all categories. The dressing was tasty and the amount of it relative to the coleslaw mix was just right. All of my tasters liked this one and appreciated the extra hit of tang from the vinegar and buttermilk. It was creamy without being overly wet or saturated and it held up well during its one-hour chill in the refrigerator.

The one point of contention with the recipe was the sugar. As some Allrecipes reviewers noted, this dressing is a bit on the sweet side. The sugar in the recipe could easily be decreased or left out and would taste just as delicious.

Bottom line: This coleslaw absolutely tastes like the kind you get at a certain “popular” restaurant (looking again at you, Colonel) and I’ll be making this one again (but without the sugar).

Get the recipe: Restaurant-Style Coleslaw

I Tried Our 5 Most Popular Creamy Coleslaw Recipes and the Winner Stole My Heart (2024)
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