Sweet and Sour Coleslaw

Bring a burst of tangy freshness to your meals with Sweet and Sour Coleslaw! This crisp, vibrant salad is a symphony of finely shredded cabbage, carrot, and other veggies, tossed in a deliciously balanced sweet and sour dressing. Perfect as a side dish or crunchy addition to sandwiches, this homemade slaw guarantees a flavor explosion with every bite. Be ready to enjoy a refreshing change from the usual.

Sweet and sour coleslaw in a bowl.

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Old Fashioned Sweet and Sour Coleslaw

Are you on the lookout for a different type of coleslaw? Well, look no more because this recipe for sweet and sour coleslaw is for you! It’s creamy, crunchy, tangy, sweet, and full of flavor. This is an old Ukrainian recipe made with green cabbage, red cabbage, carrots, green onions, garlic, and celery, all coated in a delicious creamy dressing.

No summer BBQ is complete without a tasty coleslaw on the side. Give your traditional coleslaw a makeover with this easy sweet and sour coleslaw recipe. This old-fashioned sweet and sour coleslaw recipe will be your backyard BBQ’s best friend!

The History of Coleslaw

Dishes from all over the world have inspired the coleslaw we love today. For instance, in ancient Rome, citizens would often enjoy a dish made with cabbage, eggs, vinegar, and spices. In the New World, the Dutch brought with them a shredded cabbage salad that was much like today’s slaw. In fact, the term coleslaw comes from the Dutch koosla, which means cabbage salad.

One of the most pivotal moments in the history of coleslaw was the creation of mayonnaise in the 18th century. It’s a signature feature of a lot of American coleslaw recipes, although many coleslaws are made without mayonnaise.

However it is made, coleslaw is the perfect complement to the smoky flavor of barbecued meats. It’s no wonder coleslaw has become a traditional side dish for a barbecue.

Why You Should Try This Easy Sweet and Sour Coleslaw Recipe

Coleslaw is a wonderful side dish for the summer months. This recipe for sweet and sour coleslaw is simple to make but has a lot of wonderful flavors – what it definitely isn’t is your everyday coleslaw! The dressing is smooth and creamy – sweet and sour flavors mingle together to make this coleslaw unique.

Ingredients You Will Need

The crunchy texture and fresh flavor of garden vegetables star in this tangy and colorful coleslaw. Here’s what you will need to make it:

For the slaw mix:

  • Garlic cloves
  • Green cabbage
  • Red cabbage
  • Carrots
  • Green onions
  • Celery stalks

For the dressing:

  • Miracle Whip
  • Sour cream
  • Lemon juice
  • White wine vinegar or champagne vinegar
  • Sugar
  • Salt
Sweet and sour coleslaw ingredients on a tray.

Ingredient Notes

If you have trouble obtaining white wine vinegar or champagne vinegar, you can use regular white vinegar (it will get you about 90% of the way there).

Do not substitute the Miracle Whip with other mayo.

How to Make Sweet and Sour Coleslaw

This old-fashioned sweet and sour coleslaw recipe is easy to make. Here are the steps:

  1. Rub a salad bowl with the garlic cloves and let it stand in the refrigerator overnight.
  2. Mince the garlic cloves and finely shred the vegetables.
Shredded cabbage and vegetables for sweet and sour coleslaw in a large bowl.
  1. Combine all the dressing ingredients in a bowl.
Sweet and sour coleslaw dressing in a bowl.
  1. Pour the dressing over the vegetables.
  2. Transfer the salad to the garlic-rubbed bowl.
Homemade sweet and sour coleslaw in a bowl.

What to Serve Sweet and Sour Coleslaw With

This easy sweet and sour slaw is the perfect BBQ side. There are many other ways to use it – here are a few ideas:

  • Excellent on top of a pulled pork sandwich.
  • Perfect with a classic sloppy joe.
  • There’s enough zing in this slaw to bring a table of cold cuts to life.

How to Store Old Fashioned Sweet and Sour Coleslaw

Store coleslaw in an airtight container in the refrigerator. This coleslaw will be good in the fridge for a week.

Can You Freeze Cole Slaw?

If your coleslaw is vinegar-based, it will be good in the freezer for up to 6 months. Here’s how to freeze it:

  1. Place your coleslaw in a freezer bag.
  2. Beginning at the bottom of the bag and working up, squeeze out as much air as possible before sealing.
  3. Keep it in the back of the freezer to prevent temperature fluctuations.

Tip: Think about getting a food saver device that will easily remove all the air and perfectly seal your food.

Coleslaw made with mayonnaise doesn’t freeze well. The dressing will tend to break down when thawing.

Overhead view of sweet and sour coleslaw in a bowl.

Love Coleslaw? Check out these recipes!

Favorite Salad Side Dish Recipes

Check out more of my easy salad recipes and the best vegetable side dish recipes on CopyKat!

Sweet and sour coleslaw in a bowl.

Sweet and Sour Coleslaw

This coleslaw has a unique flavor.
4.75 from 4 votes
Print Pin Rate Add to Collection
Course: Salad
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Coleslaw Recipe
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes
Servings: 10
Calories: 103kcal



  • 3 to 4 garlic cloves
  • 1 head green cabbage
  • 1 to 2 leaves red cabbage
  • 3 large carrots
  • 3 to 4 green onions
  • 3 to 4 celery stalks


  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons white wine or champagne vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons Miracle Whip do not substitute
  • 5 ounces sour cream


  • Rub a salad bowl and the inside of the lid with the garlic cloves (do not discard the garlic cloves). Cover the bowl and let it stand in the refrigerator for as long as possible. Overnight is best.
  • Mince the reserved garlic cloves and finely shred all the vegetables. Place the garlic and shredded vegetables in a large bowl (not the garlic-rubbed bowl).
  • Combine all the dressing ingredients and mix well. Pour the dressing over the vegetables and toss until fully coated.
  • Transfer the salad to the garlic-rubbed bowl and stir.
  • Cover and let stand in the refrigerator until cool.


Thanks to rickoh for sharing this salad recipe.


Calories: 103kcal | Carbohydrates: 18g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 3g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 7mg | Sodium: 127mg | Potassium: 249mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 14g | Vitamin A: 3810IU | Vitamin C: 37.1mg | Calcium: 62mg | Iron: 0.6mg

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 CopyKat.com's Dining Out in the Home, and CopyKat.com's Dining Out in the Home 2.

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Reader Interactions


  1. Julia McKinnis

    4 stars
    How important is the white wine champagne vinegar? Can any other vinegar be substituted? I’m having a hard time finding white wine champagne vinegar in my local stores and don’t want to order online for just one recipe. Otherwise, the recipe is awesome!

  2. GeriGreene

    5 stars
    I love Ott’s dressing on cabbage. A STL area bottled dressing. If you freeze this dressing doesn’t it go soggy?

4.75 from 4 votes (2 ratings without comment)

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