Vinegar Coleslaw Recipe (No Mayo Coleslaw) | Downshiftology (2024)

Home Recipes Courses Appetizers and Snacks Vinegar Coleslaw (No Mayo)

by Lisa Bryan


Updated Jan 25, 2023

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Vinegar Coleslaw is an excellent no mayo coleslaw recipe for those who love coleslaw but don’t love mayonnaise. This vinegar based coleslaw is tangy, not overly sweet and provides the perfect crunch with its combination of green cabbage, onion and carrots.

I bring this slaw to BBQs and parties as it pairs great with Carne Asada, Honey Mustard Chicken andBBQ ribs. It’s also a delicious side to my BBQ Chicken Sweet Potatoes.

Vinegar Coleslaw Recipe (No Mayo Coleslaw) | Downshiftology (2)

I love a classic Coleslaw recipe with a creamy, mayo dressing. But I also love this vinegar coleslaw that’s got a stronger bite of flavor (thanks to the apple cider vinegar). It’s always great to have options and you really can’t go wrong with either recipe. So do what I do and alternate them for a little variety!

Vinegar Coleslaw Recipe Video

It’s quick and easy to make this vinegar coleslaw recipe, but it always helps to watch a step-by-step video tutorial. Give it a watch below!

Benefits of Eating Cabbage

One reason you should eat more coleslaw is the amazing health benefits of cabbage! You can boil cabbage, sauté it, ferment it or enjoy it raw, like in this tasty coleslaw recipe. However you eat it, you’ll be absorbing plenty of necessary nutrients from cabbage.

Cabbage comes from the same plant family as kale, cauliflower and broccoli. And like broccoli, cabbage has a similar anti-inflammatory profile.Chronic inflammation over time is associated with heart disease, inflammatory bowel syndrome (IBS), cancer and diabetes. In other words, eat more cabbage and other veggies!

Cabbage has a ton of Vitamin C which is an antioxidant that protects cells from harmful free radicals. In turn, Vitamin C has been linked to lowering high blood pressure and boosting your immunity (and you know I’m all about boosting the immune system).

This crunchy vegetable is also high in Vitamin K. Just one cup of cabbage is 85% of your recommended daily intake of Vitamin K, which is essential to help with blood clotting. So much goodness from one simple vegetable.

Vinegar Coleslaw Recipe (No Mayo Coleslaw) | Downshiftology (3)

Vinegar Coleslaw Ingredients

One of the things I love about coleslaw recipes are how easy they are to whip up. It’s just a handful of ingredients. Here’s what’s in this oil and vinegar based coleslaw recipe:

  • Green Cabbage
  • Carrot
  • Onion
  • Apple Cider Vinegar
  • Olive Oil
  • Honey
  • Dijon Mustard
  • Celery Seed
  • Salt and Pepper

Vinegar Coleslaw Recipe (No Mayo Coleslaw) | Downshiftology (4)

Why Does Everyone Say Coleslaw is So Bad for You?

There’s a lot of dairy and sugar in store-bought coleslaw and restaurant versions. But this recipe is dairy-free, paleo, low carb and can easily be made vegan by simply swapping the honey for maple syrup.

I’ve also limited the honey to one tablespoon for this big batch of coleslaw. So that’s very little sugar per serving. And trust me, you won’t be missing it in this easy, ultra-flavorful recipe.

Vinegar Coleslaw Recipe (No Mayo Coleslaw) | Downshiftology (5)

More Healthy Sides for a BBQ or Picnic

  • Potato Salad
  • Avocado Egg Salad
  • Pico De Gallo
  • Guacamole
  • Baked Sweet Potato

Vinegar Coleslaw Recipe (No Mayo Coleslaw) | Downshiftology (6)

Vinegar Coleslaw Recipe (No Mayo Coleslaw)

4.92 from 162 votes

Prep: 20 minutes mins

Total: 20 minutes mins

Servings: 12 servings

Author: Lisa Bryan



Vinegar based coleslaw is an excellent no mayo coleslaw recipe for those who love coleslaw but don't love mayonnaise. It's an easy combination of cabbage, carrots and onion mixed with an apple cider vinegar dressing.



  • 1 head of green cabbage, finely shredded
  • 1 large carrot, grated
  • 1/2 yellow or red onion, finely sliced



  • Add the shredded green cabbage, carrot and onion to a large bowl.

  • In a smaller bowl, whisk together the apple cider vinegar, Dijon mustard, honey, olive oil, celery seed, salt and pepper to create the dressing. Taste the dressing and decide if you'd like to add more honey.

  • Add about half of the dressing to the cabbage, onions and carrots and gently toss. Slowly add more dressing until you’ve reached your desired consistency.

  • Serve and enjoy!

Lisa's Tips

  • This recipe makes approximately 12 cups of vinegar coleslaw.
  • You can also store it in the fridge for 3-5 days.


Calories: 62kcal | Carbohydrates: 7g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 4g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 74mg | Potassium: 156mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 925IU | Vitamin C: 28.3mg | Calcium: 36mg | Iron: 0.5mg

Course: Side Dish

Cuisine: American

Keyword: No Mayo Coleslaw, No Mayonnaise Coleslaw, Vinegar Based Coleslaw Recipe, Vinegar Coleslaw

©Downshiftology. Content and photographs are copyright protected. Sharing of this recipe is both encouraged and appreciated. Copying and/or pasting full recipes to any social media is strictly prohibited.

Did you make this recipe?Mention @downshiftology or tag #downshiftology!

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About the author

Lisa Bryan

Lisa is a bestselling cookbook author, recipe developer, and YouTuber (with over 2.5 million subscribers) living in sunny Southern California. She started Downshiftology in 2014, and is passionate about making healthy food with fresh, simple and seasonal ingredients.

Read More About Me

Vinegar Coleslaw Recipe (No Mayo Coleslaw) | Downshiftology (2024)


Should I use white vinegar or apple cider vinegar for coleslaw? ›

Distilled white vinegar is a great substitute for apple cider vinegar. Lemon Juice. I don't recommend making a substitution for the lemon juice.

How many calories are in coleslaw without mayonnaise? ›

Calories. Due to the lack of mayonnaise in vinegar cole slaw, the side dish is relatively low in calories. One cup of vinegar cole slaw contains 50 calories, an amount that comprises just 2.5 percent of your total calories, based on a 2,000-calorie diet.

What is traditional coleslaw made of? ›

What is traditional coleslaw made of? Traditional coleslaw is little more than shredded cabbage and a creamy dressing. This recipe adds a bit more flavor with shredded carrots and onion. The creamy dressing is made with mayonnaise, sugar, cider vinegar, salt, and pepper, for a just right tangy-sweet flavor.

Why does my homemade coleslaw go watery? ›

Cabbage contains lots of water. Alton Brown suggests salting the cabbage and letting the water drain for two hours, then rinsing the cabbage and spinning it dry before dressing it. That purges the excess water out of the cabbage before it is dressed, so it doesn't get watery.

What happens if you use white vinegar instead of apple cider vinegar? ›

According to Burdeos, if you're going to be using it for cooking, white vinegar can be successfully substituted for apple cider vinegar. Just note that it will taste slightly different and obviously won't have that hint of apple flavor if that's also what you're after.

Why do you put apple cider vinegar in coleslaw? ›

(It's supposed to improve scalp health too.) But wellness aside, it's an essential ingredient when making coleslaw. My go-to brand is Bragg's Apple Cider. It has a sweet-sour flavor that adds a little brightness to coleslaw dressings with and without mayo.

Can you eat Coleslaw when trying to lose weight? ›

Yes. Coleslaw can absolutely be part of a healthy eating plan as long as you choose your dressing carefully. Toby Amidor, MS, RD, CDN, is a registered dietitian and consultant who specializes in food safety and culinary nutrition.

Which is healthier salad or Coleslaw? ›

Classic coleslaw is full of shredded cabbage and carrots. The dressing, however, is made with mayonnaise and sugar. There is usually about ½ a cup of mayonnaise and usually a couple tablespoons of sugar. That adds up to more calories and more fat than you're probably looking for in a salad.

Is Coleslaw healthier than potato salad? ›

Both typically harbor a ton of mayo, but coleslaw is nearly always the smarter choice, thanks mainly to its primary ingredient. “Cabbage is going to be a lot lower in calories than potatoes are,” says Amy Goodson, R.D., a Dallas-based sports dietitian.

Why is KFC coleslaw so good? ›

Mayonnaise/Miracle Whip

Considering that most coleslaw recipes use mayonnaise, it's safe to assume that KFC does it as well. With its fat, its salt, and its slightly acidic taste, mayo is exactly what's needed to balance and enhance the vinegar, salt, and sugar found in coleslaw.

What is Amish coleslaw made of? ›

Amish Vinegar Slaw or Old Fashioned Coleslaw is lighter and tangier than a classic mayo based slaw. Made with shredded cabbage, onion, apple cider vinegar, and dry mustard. This is the perfect quick Side Dish that you can bring along to BBQs, potlucks, and family gatherings.

What's the difference between coleslaw and slaw? ›

The real difference is that the raw, chopped vegetables in coleslaw are primarily cabbage: Napa, red, savoy, or bok choy. Slaw without the cole can feature any crunchy veggie in place of cabbage, including chopped or shredded broccoli, carrots, snow peas, jicama, and more.

Is it better to make coleslaw the day before? ›

Yes, you can make coleslaw in advance. Making it a day before your event is a good idea, as the flavors will continue to meld and develop as it sits. That makes it perfect as a make-ahead potluck recipe.

Why does my homemade coleslaw taste bitter? ›

Cabbage Core:Issue: The core of the cabbage can be bitter, especially if it's not removed before shredding. Solution: Ensure that you remove the core of the cabbage before shredding it. Cut the cabbage in half, then cut out the triangular core from each half. Old Cabbage:Issue: Older cabbage may develop a bitter taste.

When should you not eat coleslaw? ›

- A foul or sour smell is a clear indicator that the coleslaw has spoiled. Fresh coleslaw should have a crisp and slightly tangy aroma. - Visible mold or mildew on the surface of the coleslaw is a definite sign of spoilage. Mold can appear as fuzzy patches and may have different colors, such as white, green, or black.

Is white vinegar or apple cider vinegar better for pickling? ›

Because apple cider vinegar is made from apples rather than barley, corn rice or wine, it gives pickles a mellower taste. Using a white distilled vinegar, for example, will create a harsher flavour. But as well as being gentler on your palate, using apple cider vinegar also adds health benefits to pickles.

Can I use apple cider vinegar instead of white vinegar for salad? ›

Apple cider vinegar makes a great 1:1 substitution for white wine vinegar in any dish that might benefit from sour apple notes. Try it in German potato salad or warm farro salad, or use it in the pickling liquid for giardiniera or the marinade for sheet pan honey-Dijon chicken and vegetables.

Is it better to use white vinegar or apple cider vinegar? ›

White vinegar excels in cleaning and is more versatile for cooking due to its high acetic acid content, neutral flavor, and clear appearance. In contrast, raw, non-GMO, unfiltered apple cider vinegar is an ideal choice for medicinal purposes as it contains health-promoting antioxidants, probiotics, and enzymes.

Can I use white vinegar instead of apple cider vinegar for salad dressing? ›

White wine vinegar offers a relatively neutral flavor that lacks the subtle fruitiness of apple cider vinegar. Add ¼ teaspoon of citrus fruit juice for every tablespoon of white wine vinegar used to mimic the fruitiness for vinaigrettes and salad dressings. Use a 1:1 ratio of white wine vinegar to apple cider vinegar.

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