Make Ahead Coleslaw that keeps is a coleslaw recipe that stays fresh in your refrigerator for a couple of weeks. This vinegar-based dressing just tastes better and better.
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You might think that coleslaw is just a rather mundane side affair that you just take for granted and wouldn’t miss much if it wasn’t there. But, it wasn’t always this way.
In fact, going far back in time to the Roman Empire, the ancient Romans served up what must have been a tasty dish of cabbage, eggs, vinegar, and spices. You can read more about the history of coleslaw.
The Name Coleslaw Comes from the Dutch
The Dutch, who formed settlements up and down the Hudson River and founded New York State, grew a lot of cabbage and had to find something to do with it. They shredded the cabbage and made a salad out of it which was called koosla. Kool is the Dutch word for cabbage and sla means salad.
A recipe in The Sensible Cook: Dutch Foodways in the Old and New World, made by the Dutch landlady of the author in 1770, uses thin slivers of cabbage combined with melted butter, oil, and vinegar.
You can actually buy this fascinating book from Amazon and make some traditional Dutch recipes.
By my own tastings — and hoo boy, have I eaten a lot of coleslaw this summer — there are a lot of ways where modern-day coleslaw goes wrong.
Often, it is soggy with such a heavy helping of dressing that the cabbage is just swimming in the sauce rather than being allowed to absorb it and mellow into a cohesively-flavored dish.
The bottom line is that coleslaw made with too much mayonnaise dressing does not keep and definitely does not get better with age.
Play with Your Cabbage
The average supermarket has several varieties of cabbage besides the classic green, which is a dense cabbage and actually white inside. They include the rounded Savoy, the featherweight Napa, and the red varieties.
When you’re looking to step up your next slaw, try a different type of cabbage, or mix a couple of varieties.
Here’s a list of what you need:
- Red or green bell pepper
- White vinegar
- Salad oil
- Dry mustard
- Celery seed
How to Make Refrigerator Coleslaw
- Shred or chop cabbage, onions, and peppers.
- Sprinkle sugar on top.
- Combine vinegar, sugar, salt, oil, dry mustard, and celery seed in a saucepan. Bring to boil.
- Toss dressing with cabbage mixture.
- Cover and refrigerate for at least 6 hours.
Coleslaw that Keeps – It Will Stay Fresh
Coleslaw made without mayonnaise, like my easy-to-prepare recipe below, will give you a coleslaw that is crunchy and bright with flavors. You can refrigerate it and it will stay fresh for a couple of weeks.
What’s more, with its vinegar-based dressing, the longer it sits, it just tastes better and better. You no longer have to settle for boring coleslaw that doesn’t last.
More Coleslaw Recipes
- KFC Coleslaw Recipe
- Chipotle Coleslaw
- Homemade Cole Slaw
- Freezer Slaw
- Oriental Coleslaw Recipe
- Sweet and Sour Coleslaw
- Pineapple Marshmallow Coleslaw
Favorite Cabbage Recipes
Be sure to check out more of my easy salad recipes and the best side dish recipes here on CopyKat.com!
Cole Slaw that Keeps
- 2 pounds cabbage shredded
- 1/2 cup chopped red or green bell pepper
- 1 cup chopped onion
- 3/4 cup sugar
Cole Slaw Dressing
- 1 cup white vinegar
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 3/4 cup salad oil
- 1 teaspoon dry mustard
- 1 teaspoon celery seed
- Shred or chop cabbage, onions, and peppers. Sprinkle sugar on top. Combine dressing ingredients and bring to boil. Toss dressing with cabbage mixture. Cover and refrigerate for at least 6 hours. Slaw will keep for weeks without losing its freshness.
I make this with sauerkraut. I rinse it really good, drain & make with green peppers, onion, celery, oil & vinegar, sugar & salt & pepper.
I would think that the warm dressing would make the cabbage soft. Does the cabbage stay crispy? I am looking for a vinegary recipe that I remember from the 50s. It was a great deal like pickled cucumbers, but with cabbage instead of cucumbers, it was made with cabbage. The cabbage was always crisp. Thanks for answering.
This cabbage does not get soft in this recipe. I am sorry I don’t know of the recipe you mention here.
Made this for tonight’s supper. Made many times over the years. Great for pot luck. I add Celery, red Cabbage, greated carrot and 1 can of drained can corn. Pour dressing over and eat warm first time. Love this.
RE: CALORIES PER SERVING. I followed this recipe precisely weighing each ingredient and calculating its caloric value from standard nutritional tables. I ended up with 56.8 ounces of slaw (3-1/2 pounds) having a caloric value of 2419. The recipe is said to make 6 servings. Each would be over 1/2 pound; and, yes, each would have a caloric value well in the 400 range. But who in the world eats that much coleslaw at one meal? My wife and I eat side servings that are less than half that, about 3 ounces each and never as much as 4. For us that comes out to about 150 calories a serving, never as much as 200. These figures are consistent with standard ones for slaw found in most nutritional tables. INCIDENTALLY THIS IS THE BEST SLAW WE HAVE EVER EATEN. WE ARE ALMOST NEVER WITHOUT IT. For the two of us a batch lasts about two weeks and is always deliciously crisp..
Thanks, I will dial up the serving size.
Why do you boil the dressing?
It helps marry the flavors and it helps to dissolve the sugar.
Absolutely delicious, I made it with red and white cabbage, just because, like the addition of pepper to replace carrot. I live alone so this works beautifully for me, thank you.
Can I use frozen bell pepper?
Can you tell me if that is 406 calories for 1 serving or 6, pleSe and thanks
It is per serving.
Thank you so much for sharing the recipe. It’s very good and stays crispy forever. Being the only one in the family who loves coleslaw in the house I’ve not made it in years because I hate the waste but this last long enough for me to finish it. Yeah!! I too would like to use less oil but worry it will reduce shelf life. Has anyone tried? Next batch I’ll try half the oil and I’ll post results.
I haven’t tried halving the oil, if you try this, let me know how it goes.
Hi, thank you for sharing this recipe. I made it as described and it’s great. I was wondering about the oil. Can it be reduced and maintain the “shelf” life of the slaw? If so, how little oil do you think I could get away with?
To be honest, I have always made the recipe this way, it was my grandmother’s recipe. I haven’t tried to reduce the oil.
I’m going to make this for a Jack & Jill. Since it’s winter here in Canada, our cabbages are small to med. How many will I need to make 2lbs of shredded cabbage?
Approx how many pl would you serve with your recipe?
I am on a diet and can’t have sugar. Can I make this with just vinegar and oil and some spices without the sugar and have it still keep for a week or so?
I think sugar is important in keeping everything fresh. I don’t think this will work out as well.
I want this recipe for my store to resale
I will be making 50 pounds at a time
Could you help me with the recipe
To make 50 pounds as far as ingredients
For the sauce. Thank you
You could easily multiply everything by 10 and I think you would have what you needed.
I have a houseguest coming the 31st and surgery (on me) on the 29th, so I’m making some
yummy enchiladas that I can freeze and this cole slaw, plus a birthday cake for my son.
Should be a yummy dinner! I’m posting 5 stars even tho’ I haven’t made it yet as I love it that
it will last a couple weeks, as it goes with so many things I like. THANKS
This coleslaw will be perfect for you!
Do you let the dressing cool before adding to cabbage?
Stephanie, Nice Video. But may I suggest not using an aluminum pot to heat the dressing? The acid in the dressing corrodes aluminum cookware.
Thank you, I will keep that in mind.
The KFC copycat coleslaw keeps at least a week.