Copycat KFC Coleslaw (Better than KFC)

If you’ve ever had KFC Coleslaw you know it’s some of the best coleslaw around. But this copycat recipe is even Better Than KFC Coleslaw! You can recreate this famous recipe in no time at all! This will soon become your favorite coleslaw recipe, and you will think it’s the perfect side dish for your backyard barbecues.

Homemade copycat KFC coleslaw in a small wood bowl.

What makes KFC Coleslaw so good?

Do you love delicious coleslaw? Crunchy cabbage in a tangy dressing is perfect. And when you make it at home, you don’t need to go out to a chicken restaurant! You can make the KFC coleslaw dressing from whole heads of cabbage and more.

Sometimes coleslaw recipes aren’t well balanced, this recipe gives you just the right amount of creamy dressing, the crispy cabbage will not get too waterlogged with too much dressing. This recipe also balances the right amount of sweet and savory, so it’s always perfect. So the next time you make coleslaw, take this handful of ingredients, and you can make KFC copycat coleslaw and take it to your next picnic.

Why this Recipe Works

My recipe is an incredibly easy way to make homemade coleslaw. If you have never made one of my recipes before, never fear – there are no secret ingredients that are hard to find! You are going to love how good this tastes. This recipe quickly replaced my personal homemade coleslaw recipe when everyone gobbled at my summer bbq. This recipe tastes so close to the real thing, you aren’t going to need to run out to the KFC to get this when you have your next family gatherings. This is the most popular recipe at my summer potlucks

  • Please note: There is no bell pepper in the KFC Coleslaw. This is an optional suggestion only to add the bell pepper to my recipe.

What is KFC Coleslaw made of?

America’s favorite coleslaw is made with these ingredients:

  • Head of green cabbage (you could use a package or two of shredded coleslaw mix)
  • White onion
  • Carrots
  • Miracle Whip Light
  • Sugar
  • Vinegar
  • Vegetable oil

Tips & Variations:

  • Please do not use mayonnaise: This Kentucky Fried Chicken coleslaw recipe is made with Miracle Whip This recipe requires Miracle Whip, which has a nice sweetness. If you use mayonnaise, your recipe will taste like every ordinary coleslaw in your grocery store. KFC Coleslaw became famous because it had less of a vinegary taste to it and more sweetness than other coleslaws. If you go changing it around, you can’t expect it to taste the same.
  • Make ahead of time: It’s important to let the slaw sit and steep in its juices for a minimum of one hour before serving. The longer it steeps the better it’s going to taste. I like to make this coleslaw a day or two before I need to serve it because the flavors get the chance to marry and improve.
  • Option to use tarragon vinegar: I am told by former KFC employees that you can use tarragon vinegar for a more authentic taste. However, I have made this more times than I can count with regular white distilled vinegar.
Ingredients for homemade copycat KFC coleslaw recipe.

How to Make this KFC Coleslaw copycat recipe:

My recipe for KFC coleslaw is with Miracle Whip. This recipe starts with the food processor.

  1. Cut up the cabbage and place it in the food processor.
  2. Cut up the green pepper (if you decide to use it), onion, and carrots at this time. Use only 1/4 to 1/2 of the onion and green pepper but use all of the carrots.
  3. Add the chopped vegetables to the food processor.
  4. Pulse to chop the cabbage and vegetables.
  5. In a large bowl, stir the Miracle Whip, vinegar, oil, and sugar until smooth. Give it a taste and see if it’s sweet with just a hint of vinegar – then you know it’s right. If not, you can just add a hint of what you are missing.
  6. Add the dressing to the veggies and mix well.
  7. Let it stand at least one hour for the flavors to come together.

Make Better than KFC Coleslaw at Home

Yum – this is the perfect side dish for many dishes. I believe there used to be an ad saying something like: “Come to Kentucky Fried Chicken for food that is as good as you get at home!”

Now, you can make food at home that is even better than what you get at KFC – Col. Sanders better watch out! I love to bring this coleslaw to a special event; the bowl always comes home empty. And, even if you have a family member who doesn’t like coleslaw, they’ll come back for seconds.

homemade KFC coleslaw in a bowl

How to store leftover coleslaw

Be sure to store the KFC coleslaw in the fridge. It will last for up to five days after you make it. Store your copycat KFC coleslaw in an airtight container in your refrigerator. I do not recommend freezing this Miracle Whip based coleslaw.

Want more great coleslaw recipes? Try these favorites!

What to Serve Coleslaw With

Love KFC? Try these other KFC Copycat Recipes

Find even more copycat restaurant sides and the best salad recipes.

Did you make and love this Recipe? Give your review below! And make sure you share your creations by tagging me on Instagram!

Homemade copycat KFC coleslaw in a small wood bowl.

Better Than KFC Coleslaw

You can make homemade coleslaw that tastes even better than KFC with this easy recipe.
4.97 from 33 votes
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Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Coleslaw Recipe, KFC Recipe
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 15 minutes
Servings: 10
Calories: 177kcal


  • 13 cups chopped cabbage This is about 1 large head of cabbage or 2 medium heads of cabbage
  • 1 green bell pepper (optional, there is no bell pepper in the KFC recipe)
  • 1/2 cup choped onion
  • 1/2 cup chopped carrot 1 medium size carrot
  • 2 cups Miracle Whip Light
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup vinegar
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil


  • If you are lucky enough to have a food processor, get it out of your cupboard. Start to cut up the cabbage and place it in the processor. While cutting up the cabbage, also cut up small slices of green pepper, onion, and carrot and add to the processor. 
  • Mixing up the ingredients this way will help distribute the flavors throughout the slaw. You may want to use a little less of the onion, or green bell pepper, but do use all of the carrot.   
  • If you do not have a food processor, no problem, simply chop the cabbage, onions, and carrots into small pieces.  Add chopped green bell pepper if desired. 
  • Now mix Miracle Whip, vinegar, oil, and sugar until you have a smooth mixture. The taste should be sweet with just a hint of vinegar. 
  • Amount of dressing may be increased or decreased according to the amount of slaw you are making. Add to cut up veggies and mix well. Let stand at least one hour to let flavors mix. 



  • Green bell pepper is optional.
  • The cole slaw tastes better the next day!
  • To save time you can use pre packaged already chopped coleslaw.
  • Tarragon vinegar can give this slaw extra flavor.
This recipe was created by Bill Cosby (Bill Cosby from Missouri, not the actor/comedian) but it doesn’t include bell peppers.  I added a bell pepper for a little added crunch.  But it’s only an optional suggestion to add the bell pepper to this recipe.


Calories: 177kcal | Carbohydrates: 21g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 10g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 7mg | Sodium: 355mg | Potassium: 220mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 15g | Vitamin A: 1185IU | Vitamin C: 43.7mg | Calcium: 44mg | Iron: 0.5mg

About Stephanie Manley

I recreate your favorite restaurant recipes, so you can prepare these dishes at home. I help you cook dinner, and serve up dishes you know your family will love. You can find most of the ingredients for all of the recipes in your local grocery store.

Stephanie is the author of's Dining Out in the Home, and's Dining Out in the Home 2.

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Reader Interactions


  1. Gregg

    My mother purchased a book some 30+ years ago called “Restaurants secret recipes”. KFC Coleslaw was in there and once I tried it, I’ve never looked back. I usually don’t eat coleslaw that would come with a meal when dining out. The wait staff asks “was there something wrong with the coleslaw?” “Mine is better”, I would reply. “But you didn’t try it”…..

    KFC Cole Slaw

    16 oz. Shredded Cabbage (the recipe calls for one head, but I use pre-shredded
    coleslaw mix in a bag, which is 16 oz.)
    1/4 cup Shredded Carrot (1 medium) (I never add this, the cabbage mix has it in there,
    do so to your liking)
    1/3cup Granulated Sugar
    1/2 tsp Salt
    1/8 tsp Pepper
    1/4 cup Milk (1/2 & 1/2 is what I use)
    1/2 cup Mayonnaise (Hellmanns)
    1/4 cup Buttermilk
    1 & 1/2 tsp White vinegar
    2 & 1/2 tbl Fresh Lemon Juice

    Set carrot and cabbage aside, mix remaining ingredients well and add to cabbage and
    carrot. Refrigerate at least 2 hrs. Overnight is perfect.
    There will be alot of juice in the bottom of the bowl, so fold several times and then drain.

    (Don’t throw the juice away! It is the best part. Like the milk at the bottom of the cereal bowl when the chocolate cereal is gone.). As with ALL recipes, tweak to your liking. No recipe is set in stone. Everyone’s taste is different. Some people seem to forget this… Thanks again Stephanie, for all the HARD work that goes into these recipes and sharing the love.

  2. Baltisraul

    The key ingredient is that you use tarragon vinegar. I also use Hellmann’s mayo but the game changer is using tarragon vinegar. Happy new year! I always look forward to your posts.

  3. jack

    Plan on making this in a couple of days. I think you should emphasize that the Miracle Whip and vegetable oil are in the original KFC recipe. Many KFC folks that worked there back in the day will attest to that…

  4. Jim

    I love this recipe for some reason my Mom always soaked her cabbage in milk .. then drained .. I do the same with my slaw recipe . I use the pre chopped mix from the grocery . . I also use Duke’s mayo . not a big fan of onion or green pepper so I leave those out . sugar to taste . and white vinegar round out the recipe . we had a non traditional Christmas Day dinner with bbq . cowboy baked beans .. my slaw . ranch potato salad . and boy did we enjoy it

  5. Reconmarine7

    This is the KFC recipe that I use and it tastes great:

    1 (16 oz.) bag of coleslaw mix with carrots chopped very fine
    1/4 vegetable oil
    2 1/2 teaspoons of lemon juice
    1 1/2 teaspoons of apple cider vinegar
    1/2 cup of Mayonnaise
    1/3 cup of sugar
    1/2 small onion
    salt to taste
    mix all ingredients very well in bowl. cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours
    24 hours is better…..48 hours is incredible.
    (note: there is no pepper in the KFC recipe but you can add it later if you like.)

  6. Marc

    Taken directly from KFC’s website dated Feb 2014. There has never been a green pepper in their recipe. I am seeing egg and oil, which I think is strange, but there it is.

    Cole Slaw
    Vegetables: Chopped Cabbage, Carrots, and Onions. Sauce: Sugar, Soybean Oil, Vinegar (Distilled Vinegar, Corn and Cider Vinegar, Malt Vinegar, And Natural Flavors), Water, Salt, Whole Eggs, Modified Corn Starch, Mustard Flour, Xanthan Gum, Natural and Artificial Flavor, Paprika Extractives, Paprika, And Caramel Color.
    Contains Egg.
    Vegetables: Chopped Cabbage, Carrots, and Onions. Sauce: Sugar, Soybean Oil, Water, Vinegar (Distilled Vinegar, Corn and Cider Vinegar), Contains less than 2% of the following: Salt, Whole Eggs, Food Starch Modified, Mustard Flour, Xanthan Gum, Natural and Artificial Flavor, Paprika Extractives, Paprika, And Caramel Color.
    Contains Egg.
    *Will contain one of the Ingredient statements above, depending upon regional suppliers

      • Lee

        I was reading the KFC ingredients above posted-if you notice, they are saying they have mayo or ‘miracle whip’ they just broke it down to ingredients; soybean oil, eggs, food starch, salt, sugar, vinegar. So you are right on target!

  7. Sal

    My life has come full circle! When I was a kid I remember an advertisement that said, “Come to Kentucky Fried Chicken for food that is as good as you get at home!”
    Now we are excited that we can make food at home that is as good as what we get at KFC!!

  8. kenkassidy

    I worked for KFC for a number of years and can speak to the recipe quality. KFC did not nor will it ever use green bell peppers in it’s original recipe, so you can omit them per your individual tastes. However, you CANNOT substitute mayonnaise in the recipe or it will taste like every ordinary cole slaw in your grocery store. KFC’s coleslaw became famous because it had LESS vinegar taste to it and more sweetness than other coleslaws so you can’t go changing it to a completely different item and expect it to taste the same. I hand mixed the cole slaw daily for 2 years and this is the closest recipe I’ve seen to the original KFC coleslaw out there. It’s also important to remember to let the slaw sit and steep in it’s juices for at least an hour before serving. The longer it steeps and sits the better it’s going to taste. We never did use vegetable oil in our slaws, but it’s certainly not going to hurt.

    • snugscat

      I worked for KFC 42 years ago and we didn’t have Miracle Whip light. I was a Manager for two years in Memphis, TN. I knew there was something different from the one they serve today. I liked the original recipe better than the one today. No green pepper in that recipe.

  9. Nancy

    I worked at kfc for over 10 years and have tried many copy cat recipes. The darker green you see in the picture are just the darker parts of the cabbages. We would mix 3 big bag of cabbages, 1 bag of carrots and a teeny bag of white/yellow onion with a bag of (Secret) dressing. It’s supposed to sit for 48 hours before we can serve it. I think the green pepper might add a little zing, but if people don’t like it then just omit it. I haven’t tried this yet, but will definitely soon!!

    • Krissy Miller

      I worked at KFC when we used to chop our own cabbage. We used 100 lbs of cabbage, 1 lb of carrots and 2 lbs of onions, and just enough of the dark cabbage leaves to color the slaw. The recipe with the oil is right except it is missing the xanth gum (spelling). We had the best slaw in town. Before it all came pre packaged.

  10. Cathy

    Made this tonight and the family loved it. My granddaughter that doesn’t normally like coleslaw went back for seconds.

  11. Anonymous

    I worked at KFC in 1972 and we made the best slaw ever. If I remember correctly, we did not add vinegar so we didn’t have to add as much sugar. As a diabetic, I would use the salad dressing to get the tartness and then add less sugar which would be healther and would still taste great. Don’t use the precut slaw in the grocery store because it has the core in it and that ruins the taste. By the way, in Memphis, TN in 1972, these were the prices: snack $.89, dinner $1.25, thrift box (9 piece) $2.49, bucket 15 pices chicken with dozen rolls and 2 large sides, and $5.25 for a 21 piece barrel. We only had the orginal recipe then but we did a great business.

    • binabug

      the dressing now has vinegar and its 80proof, we make our dressings in the plant and we never have put in onion or peppers, no idea where that came in, there is carrots in the recipe

  12. Lindsbillinger

    Instead of slicing he coleslaw and carrots, etc…i just bought the bagged coleslaw mix. I used 2 1/2 bags to the dressing amount called for here. It was a good thing i added more cabbage, because the tiny bit of onion i put in overpowered everything else. Very strong onion. whew…I thought this was a great recipe, tasted very similar to KFC and I would def make again…thanks!

    • snugscat

      If you have a good food processor, it is so easy and fast to to make the coleslaw mix. Tastes a lot better also. The mix you buy in the store has the core in it which makes the mix hotter and a different taste to it. Do the carrots and a dab of onion in it and you are ready to go. I make my on pickle relish out of bread and butter pickles and they are so much better than the bought ones. Use whatever pickle you like best. My mom canned her own pickles and she used to do this also.

  13. Lola

    I made this for Thanksgiving. It was delicious. I used Miracle Whip Light. It DOES taste very much like KFC coleslaw. Make it the night before and it tastes better the next day.

  14. evvi

    Can you substitute may for miracle whip?

    I would not use Miracle Whip in this recipe, it will not taste the same if you use Miracle Whip if you want it to taste like KFC.

  15. Joy

    5 stars
    This was Excellent ! The only thing I added (being from the Deep South) was a one to two Teaspoons of “Slap Yo Mama” Spice… and Stand Back , Cause it be gone in a Flash !!! Thanks for the Recipe… The Whole Family Loved It !!!!!

4.97 from 33 votes (13 ratings without comment)

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