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Easy Gluten-Free Coleslaw (Classic + Creamy!)

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Your next summer barbecue needs a batch of this easy gluten-free coleslaw recipe! Cool, creamy, and classic, it’s perfect with pulled pork, ribs, burgers, and more!

creamy gluten-free coleslaw in a white bowl

Love it or hate it, coleslaw is one of those classic summer side dish recipes you’re bound to see this summer! So why not do it right?

Like a good potato salad or some amazing baked beans, a good batch of coleslaw is the perfect easy side dish to bring to summer bbqs, potlucks, and picnics all season long! Whether you scoop some onto a BBQ Chicken or Pulled Pork Sandwich, or spoon some on a plate next to some ribs, burgers, or chicken, this classic summer side dish has never looked better!

Say goodbye to sad, soggy, flavorless slaw, and say hello to fresh veggies, a light, creamy dressing, and an extra layer of flavor in our homemade gluten-free coleslaw recipe!

The ingredients are simple and classic–done just right!

Here’s what you need to make our easy gluten-free coleslaw recipe…

Ingredients for gluten-free coleslaw

Start With Simple Ingredients

First, let me say you can ABSOLUTELY make this coleslaw recipe using bagged coleslaw mix veggies! If you have the extra few minutes, making it with fresh veggies is a great way to instantly level up the texture and flavor.

  • Green & Purple Cabbage. I love to use a mix of green and purple cabbage (sometimes called red cabbage). It’s more colorful and keeps this summer side dish from looking too bland. Shredding the cabbage yourself gives you the best crunch and freshness!
  • Shredded Carrots. Grated carrots add a little sweetness and more color. I highly recommend grating your own carrots when possible as pre-shredded carrots tend to be dry and thick.
  • Mayonnaise. Next up, the dressing starts with mayo. It gives the dressing a creamy texture for the classic coleslaw vibes we’re channeling here. Also: despite the fact that it’s creamy, mayonnaise is dairy-free, so this coleslaw recipe is gluten-free and dairy-free!
  • Cider Vinegar. I prefer apple cider vinegar or rice vinegar for making coleslaw. It’s more nuanced than white vinegar and adds a nice subtle flavor.
  • Celery Seed. Our only unusual ingredient! I love what celery seed adds to coleslaw! (Our favorite local barbecue place uses it, and it’s my favorite!) It’s worth buying a small container for this!
  • Salt, Pepper & Sugar. These three provide a simple balance of flavors. I don’t like my coleslaw dressing too sweet, so I use just a touch of sugar to cut the bitterness from the cabbage, and then some salt and pepper to round out the flavors. (You can absolutely use honey instead of sugar if you prefer)

A Few Variations To Try:

When you’re looking for a change of pace, you can dress up this homemade coleslaw recipe with one of these tasty twists:

  • BBQ Sauce. Sounds crazy, but adding just 1/2 Tablespoon (or less!) of barbecue sauce gives this slaw a smoky, savory flavor that’s really yummy paired with pulled pork or chicken.
  • Cajun Seasoning. I love adding a bit of kick with a pinch or two of Cajun seasoning. This is extra yummy paired with grilled chicken!
  • Old Bay Seasoning. Or, you can swap out the celery seed for a generous pinch of Old Bay. This blend has a bit of kick and still brings that subtle celery flavor to the table.
  • Mustard. If you like a more vinegary kick, you can add a tiny squeeze of dijon mustard. It’ll definitely add some zing, but it’s great with sweet-glazed ribs.
making gluten-free coleslaw step by step
gluten-free coleslaw in a white bowl with creamy dressing

How To MAke This Easy Coleslaw, Step By Step:

  1. Shred The Vegetables. If you haven’t already, shred the cabbage and carrots. I use a food processor with a shredding blade for the cabbage, and the grating blade for the carrots. A food processor can do the job in under 2 minutes!
  2. Build Your Slaw. Add shredded cabbage, purple cabbage, and carrots to a large bowl. Set aside while you make the dressing.
  3. Mix Up The Dressing. In a small mixing bowl or a jar, combine mayo, vinegar, sugar (if using), celery seed, salt, and pepper. Whisk to combine. (At this point you can store the dressing up to 4-5 days in the fridge)
  4. Dress The Slaw. About an hour before you’re ready to serve the slaw, pour the dressing over the vegetables and toss to combine and coat the veggies well. Cover the salad and chill until you serve it. Taste and adjust the seasonings right before serving (adding more sugar, salt, or pepper, as needed).The slaw will soften with time.
slow cooker ribs with gluten-free coleslaw, baked beans, watermelon, and potato salad

Serving Ideas!

  • BBQ CHICKEN OR PULLED PORK SANDWICHES. Add a scoop of this gluten-free coleslaw to a BBQ chicken or pulled pork sandwich! (Try adding a little Dijon mustard to the slaw for some extra kick!)
  • SLOPPY JOES. Or, spoon it onto our Chicken Sloppy joes! (One of my daughter’s favorite dinners!)
  • NEXT TO RIBS. We love it next to our Slow Cooker Ribs. The cold, creamy slaw is lovely next to the sticky-sweet ribs.
  • AS A SUMMER SIDE! Pair it with grilled chicken, burgers, sausages, steaks, and more. (Anything you toss on the grill!)
creamy gluten-free coleslaw in a white bowl

FAQ + Tips And Tricks For The Best Gluten-Free coleslaw:

Is Coleslaw Gluten-Free? Most coleslaw is naturally gluten-free since most of the ingredients are gluten-free, but if you’re ordering it from a restaurant or buying it pre-made, it’s important to double-check the ingredients list. Cabbage, carrots, sugar, salt, pepper, and celery seed are all gluten-free. You just need to double-check the type of vinegar used (watch out for malt vinegar), and the mayonnaise (most mayo is gluten-free).

Make-Ahead Tips For Coleslaw. Want to make your coleslaw in advance? Coleslaw is at its ideal texture within about 2 hours, so I recommend mixing up the veggies in a bowl or bag and mixing up the dressing separately. Then, you can combine them shortly before serving.

Food Safety Tip! Since this coleslaw has a mayo-based dressing, it’s extra important to keep an eye on it. This salad should only stay at room temperature up to 2 hours (more like 1.5 hours if it’s in the hot sun!). Keep it cool when possible, and return it to the fridge after serving for best results.

Vegan & Paleo Notes. This gluten-free coleslaw is easily paleo and vegan friendly. For a vegan version, use vegenaise or vegan mayo and vegan sugar. For Paleo, omit the sugar and use a paleo-approved mayonnaise. Easy!

Can I Make Coleslaw Without Mayo? You bet! There are lots of great vinaigrette coleslaw recipes out there, but our favorite is this Cilantro Lime Slaw.

⭐ Don’t forget to leave a star review and comment below when you make our Gluten-Free Coleslaw recipe. I can’t wait to hear how it goes!

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creamy gluten-free coleslaw in a white bowl

Gluten-Free Coleslaw


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  • Author: Emily Dixon, One Lovely Life
  • Total Time: 10 minutes
  • Yield: 6 servings 1x
  • Diet: Gluten Free

Description

Classic creamy coleslaw made gluten-free! This yummy side dish is perfect next to ribs, piled on a pulled pork sandwich, or with all your BBQ faves!


Ingredients

Scale

For The Slaw:

  • 45 cups shredded green cabbage
  • 2 cups shredded purple cabbage
  • 1/21 cup shredded carrots
  • Optional garnish: sliced chives, green onions or chopped fresh parsley

For The Coleslaw Dressing:

  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 1/2 Tablespoons cider vinegar
  • 1/21 teaspoon sugar (more or less, to taste)
  • 1/2 teaspoon celery seeds
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt (more or less, to taste)
  • 1/8 teaspoon black pepper (more or less, to taste)

Instructions

  1. Shred The Vegetables. If you haven’t already, shred the cabbage and carrots. I use a food processor with a shredding blade for the cabbage, and the grating blade for the carrots. A food processor can do the job in under 2 minutes!
  2. Build Your Slaw. Add shredded cabbage, purple cabbage, and carrots to a large mixing bowl. Set aside while you make the dressing.
  3. Mix Up The Dressing. In a small mixing bowl or a jar, combine mayo, vinegar, sugar (if using), celery seed, salt, and pepper. Whisk to combine. (At this point you can store the dressing up to 4-5 days in the fridge)
  4. Dress The Slaw. About an hour before you’re ready to serve the slaw, pour the dressing over the vegetables and toss to combine and coat the veggies well. Cover the salad and chill until you serve it. Taste and adjust the seasonings right before serving (adding more sugar, salt, or pepper, as needed). (The slaw will soften with time.)

  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 0 minutes
  • Category: Side Dish
  • Method: No-Cook
  • Cuisine: American

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