Old Fashioned Coleslaw

A nice crunch with a little tang from a quick homemade coleslaw dressing make this Old Fashioned Coleslaw With Vinegar tastes delicious.

This easy coleslaw recipe can be made in under fifteen minutes!

Close up glass serving bowl of old fashioned coleslaw with apple cider vinegar.

Old Fashioned Coleslaw with Vinegar Recipe

Discover the timeless delight of Old-Fashioned Coleslaw with Vinegar. This classic recipe combines crisp cabbage and carrots with a tangy vinegar dressing for a refreshing and nostalgic side dish.

Finely shredded cabbage with colorful accents of carrots and red bell pepper and a simple homemade vinegar dressing create a classic coleslaw recipe.

The old fashion dressing is made by boiling apple cider vinegar, sugar, celery seed, mustard seed and water for one minute.

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Bowl full of old fashioned coleslaw with a quick homemade dressing on a white napkin with red lines on a wooden counter.

My husband loves eating coleslaw as a side dish with chicken tenders, fish and most sandwiches.  I think it’s his German heritage that has caused him to love pretty much any cabbage recipe I’ve heard of.  

Slicing Your Own Cabbage Is Best

Slicing your own cabbage and making this quick, homemade coleslaw dressing with apple cider vinegar set this recipe apart. We love that it’s easy to make a small batch for a quick meal at home or double the recipe for a party.

From fresh cabbage in our Kielbasa and Cabbage to the fermented version in our Ribs and Sauerkraut.

Our recipe tastes great as a condiment on pulled pork sandwiches and burgers. This coleslaw with vinegar enhances the meat with fresh veggie flavors.

Freshly shredded cabbage, shredded carrots and a light homemade coleslaw dressing with vinegar, celery seed, mustard seed and sugar.

A couple more classic side dishes that our family really enjoys are this Sauerkraut Salad, Farmhouse Potato Salad and Angel Hair Spaghetti Salad.  Cheers to great side dishes like these!

Why This Recipe Works:

  • Great recipe to start with if you’ve never made coleslaw before.
  • Will satisfy cravings for homestyle coleslaw with an old fashion flair of vinegar in the dressing instead of a creamy mayo that is more common in modern coleslaw.
  • This coleslaw salad reminds you of Grandma’s recipe from your child hood.
  • Tastes great as a side dish or served on tacos, sandwiches or in wraps.

Ingredients Needed

  • Head of Cabbage – Freshly shredding cabbage will make the recipe last longer and taste better. A shortcut is buying a bag of shredded cabbage or coleslaw at the grocery store and just adding the vinegar dressing. We always use green cabbage, but you could include up to 1/4 red cabbage.
  • Carrot – Shredding about half of a whole carrot with a grater is an option or buying a bag of shredded carrots.
  • Red Bell Pepper – Adds some natural sweetness and color to coleslaw. Works best when finely chopped to blend best.
  • Apple Cider Vinegar – Tart, tangy and offers an acidic balance to the sugar in the dressing.
  • Celery Seed – Tiny seeds give more of a burst of flavor and don’t have the salty flavor that celery salt (which is ground celery seed).
  • Mustard Seed – Small balls give more pops of flavor as opposed to mustard powder which is finely ground seeds.
  • Sugar – Granulated sugar helps sweeten up the dressing and the entire coleslaw salad.
Ingredients to make old fashion coleslaw are a large bowl of shredded cabbage, sugar, shredded carrots, vinegar, chopped red bell pepper, mustard seed and celery seed on a white counter.

Shredding Your Own Cabbage

We have tested using a knife and mandoline slicer to make shredded lettuce. As untrained amateurs we have found with multiple people that the mandoline is much easier to use to create a consistent product.

Just be careful to use the safety guard and keep your fingers out of the slicer.

Cutting board with finely shredded cabbage next to a mandoline slicer and coarsely sliced cabbage next to a chefs knife on a wood counter.

If you don’t know how to shred or chop vegetables don’t worry about it, just be safe with the knife by always cutting away from yourself and keep your fingers out of the way!  Cut the size of pieces that you think you would enjoy.  

Step By Step Instructions

Remove the outer 2 – 3 layers or leaves on the head of cabbage. Then cut into quarters and remove the white center pieces.

Take remaining chunk and shred.

Put shredded cabbage into a medium sized mixing bowl.

Add shredded carrots.

Shredded carrot poured on top of a small head of shredded cabbage in a medium white mixing bowl.

Then add chopped bell pepper.

Season with salt and pepper.

Salt and pepper sprinkled on red bell pepper, carrots and shredded cabbage in a medium white mixing bowl.

In a sauce pan combine the apple cider vinegar, water, sugar, celery seed and mustard seed.

Boil for 1 minute stirring often.

Sauce pan with vinegar, sugar, celery seed, mustard seed ready to make a simple coleslaw dressing.

Remove from the heat and allow to cool before pouring over the cabbage mixture.

Stir together and store in the refrigerator.

How Many Cups of Shredded Cabbage In A Head?

Using a mandoline slicer to finely shred the cabbage yields about 9 cups from a medium head of cabbage.

Coarsely shredded cabbage yields 7 to 8 cups from a medium head.

Recipe Tips & Tricks

  • A mandoline slicer is great to make your own shredded cabbage. It will taste fresher and of a higher quality. The task only takes 5 minutes and is worth the investment of effort.
  • Allow time for the coleslaw to chill before serving if possible.
  • An economical, large kitchen knife will also work.  
  • Chill coleslaw for a few hours for best results, but it can be served right away if desired.

What to Do With Leftover Cabbage

We like to use the remaining half of a head of cabbage tastes great in our Cabbage Roll Casserole or Kielbasa, Noodle & Cabbage Skillet.

More Easy Side Dish Recipes:

Honey Garlic Rosemary Potatoes are crispy on the outside and tender on the inside with a delightful honey glaze.

Broccoli Cheddar Cornbread is the perfect way to round out a meal any day of the year.

Pineapple Fluff Salad is light, creamy, fluffy and can be made in less than 5 minutes.

Three Corn Casserole uses Jiffy corn muffin mix to make a delicious side dish.

Close up freshly shredded cabbage with shredded carrots interspersed and celery and mustard seed resting on top of the veggies in a light dressing made with apple cider vinegar.

Old Fashioned Coleslaw

Servings 10 servings
Author: Jennifer
A nice crunch with a little tang from a quick homemade coleslaw dressing make this Old Fashioned Coleslaw With Vinegar taste delicious.
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 5 minutes
Cool time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 20 minutes


  • 5 cups cabbage shredded
  • 1 cup carrot shredded
  • 1/2 cup red pepper finely chopped


  • 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1/8 cup water
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon celery seed
  • 1/2 teaspoon mustard seed


  • In a medium mixing bowl combine cabbage, carrot, pepper and salt.  
  • In saucepan combine the remaining ingredients and stir well. Boil together for 1 minute continually stirring.
  • Cool, then pour over cabbage mixture and stir together.  Store in the refrigerator.  


Calories: 97kcalCarbohydrates: 24gProtein: 1gFat: 0.2gSaturated Fat: 0.03gPolyunsaturated Fat: 0.1gMonounsaturated Fat: 0.1gSodium: 17mgPotassium: 128mgFiber: 1gSugar: 22gVitamin A: 2406IUVitamin C: 23mgCalcium: 22mgIron: 0.3mg

Nutritional Disclaimer

“Plowing Through Life” is not a dietitian or nutrition professional. Any nutritional information shared is an estimate and can vary greatly depending on specific products are used. If calorie count and other nutritional values are important to you, we recommend running the ingredients through an online nutritional calculator of your choice.

Tried this recipe?Mention @PlowingThroughLife or tag #PlowingThroughLife!

Originally published June 19, 2018 with pictures updated on June 5, 2023.

This easy coleslaw recipe can be made in fifteen minutes.

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