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"Cole slaw" redirects here. For other uses, see Cole slaw (disambiguation).
Popeyes coleslaw.JPG
Alternative names Slaw
Type Salad
Course Side dish
Place of origin Europe
Region or state Germany
Main ingredients Fine shredded raw cabbage; vinaigrette (acetic acid (vinegar essence) or vinegar, vegetable oil, salt) or mayonnaise and salad cream
Cookbook: Coleslaw  Media: Coleslaw

Coleslaw (also known as Cole slaw) is a salad consisting primarily of finely-shredded raw cabbage[1] and dressed most commonly with a vinaigrette salad dressing. Prepared in this manner, coleslaw can be pickled for up to four weeks if it is stored in an airtight container.[2] Another way to make coleslaw is to use foods that already contain vinaigrette: mayonnaise, for example, is commonly used.

Cabbage salad variations[edit]

There are many variations of the recipe, which include the addition of other ingredients such as red cabbage, pepper, shredded carrots, onion, grated cheese, pineapple, or apple, mixed with a salad dressing such as mayonnaise or cream. A variety of seasonings, such as celery seed, may be added. The cabbage may come in finely minced pieces, shredded strips, or small squares. Other slaw variants include broccoli slaw, which uses shredded raw broccoli in place of the cabbage. Cream, sour cream, or buttermilk are also popular additions. Buttermilk coleslaw is most commonly found in the southern United States.

"Krautsalat" in Munich
"Warmer Speckkrautsalat" is a Tyrolean cabbage and speck salad served warm


Traditional German coleslaw ("Krautsalat") consists of finely shredded cabbage marinated with oil and vinegar[citation needed]. Sometimes onions or apples are added[citation needed].

A Russian and Ukrainian variety dressed with unrefined sunflower oil


Coleslaw with cooked ham and sliced pepper (julienne cut) in Italy is called "Insalata Capricciosa" (capricious salad).[citation needed]


In Sweden, a traditional coleslaw made with a vinaigrette consisting of vinegar or acetic acid (vinegar essence), vegetable oil, salt, and seasonings is classically served with pizza and known as "pizzasallad" (pizza salad).[3] Recipe adds carrots and leeks and is called "veckosallad" (week salad) for its notable durability.

United Kingdom[edit]

In the United Kingdom, coleslaw almost always contains carrot and onion in addition to cabbage[citation needed]. Some variations include nuts such as walnuts and dried fruits such as sultanas or raisins.[citation needed]

United States[edit]

In the United States, coleslaw often contains buttermilk, mayonnaise or mayonnaise substitutes[citation needed], and carrot, although many regional variations exist, and recipes incorporating prepared mustard or vinegar without the dairy and mayonnaise are also common. Barbecue slaw, also known as red slaw, is made using ketchup and vinegar rather than mayonnaise.[4] It is an essential part of "Lexington style" North Carolina barbecue.[5] Vinegar-based coleslaw is commonly served at Barberton chicken restaurants.


Coleslaw is generally eaten as a side dish with foods such as fried chicken and barbecued meats and may be accompanied by French fries or potato salad as another side dish. It also may be used as a sandwich ingredient, being placed on barbecue sandwiches, hamburgers, and hot dogs along with chili and hot mustard. A vinegar-based coleslaw is the signature ingredient to a Primanti Brothers sandwich. Coleslaw also is used on a variant of the Reuben sandwich, with coleslaw substituting for the sauerkraut; the sandwich is commonly called a Rachel to differentiate it from the Reuben.

Health effects[edit]


Vegan coleslaw has an extremely low glycemic index (cabbage 10) and glycemic load (cabbage 0.58) and is rich in fiber.[6]


Eating too much cabbage may lead to increased intestinal gas which causes bloating and flatulence due to the trisaccharide raffinose, which the small intestines cannot break down.[7][8][9] Insoluble fiber in cabbage increases the movement of waste in the digestive tract. Its excessive consumption may cause diarrhea or blockage of intestines.[9]


The 1770 recipe book The Sensible Cook: Dutch Foodways in the Old and New World contains a recipe attributed to the author's Dutch landlady, who mixed thin strips of cabbage with melted butter, vinegar, and oil. The recipe for coleslaw as it is most commonly prepared is fairly young, as mayonnaise was invented during the mid-18th century.

According to The Joy of Cooking (1997), raw cabbage is the only entirely consistent ingredient in coleslaw; the type of cabbage, dressing, and added ingredients vary widely. Vinaigrette, mayonnaise, and sour cream based dressings are all listed; bacon, carrots, bell peppers, pineapple, pickles, onions, and herbs are specifically mentioned as possible added ingredients.[10]

The term "coleslaw" arose in the 18th century as an anglicisation of the Dutch term "koolsla" ("kool" in Dutch sounds somewhat like "cole") or "koolsalade" meaning "cabbage salad".[11][10]

See also[edit]



  1. ^ "Coleslaw – Definition and More from the Free Merriam-Webster Dictionary". Merriam Webster. Retrieved August 2011. 
  2. ^
  3. ^
  4. ^ ABC News, (2009-06-05). "Lexington Red Slaw" WLS-TV/DT Chicago, IL. Accessed 2009-06-24.
  5. ^ Mercuri, Becky (2007-03-05). The Great American Hot Dog Book: Recipes and Side Dishes from Across America. Gibbs Smith. p. 76. ISBN 9781423600220. Retrieved 21 April 2012. 
  6. ^ Glycemic Index: From Research to Nutrition Recommendations?. Copenhagen: Nordic Council of Ministers. 2005. ISBN 92-893-1256-4. TemaNord2005:589. 
  7. ^ "The digestive system and gas". WebMD. Retrieved 24 June 2013. 
  8. ^ St. John, Tina (5 June 2011). "Can You Eat Too Much Sauerkraut?". Retrieved 24 June 2013. 
  9. ^ a b Allen, Suzanne. "Healthy Eating: Negative Effects of Cabbage". Retrieved 7 June 2015. 
  10. ^ a b Rombauer, Irma S.; Becker, Marion Rombauer; Becker, Ethan (1997). Joy of Cooking. New York: Scribner. p. 222. ISBN 0684818701. 
  11. ^ Perelman, Deb. (2007-08-08) "Coleslaw: You Could Be a Star". NPR. Accessed 2009-06-24.

External links[edit]

  • The dictionary definition of coleslaw at Wiktionary