Vinegar Coleslaw (No Mayo)


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Vinegar Coleslaw is an excellent no mayo coleslaw recipe for those who love coleslaw but don’t love mayonnaise. This vinegar based coleslaw is tangy, not overly sweet and provides the perfect crunch with its combination of green cabbage, onion and carrots.

I bring this slaw to BBQs and parties as it pairs great with Carne Asada, Honey Mustard Chicken and BBQ ribs. It’s also a delicious side to my BBQ Chicken Sweet Potatoes.

Vinegar based coleslaw in a white bowl.

I love a classic Coleslaw recipe with a creamy, mayo dressing. But I also love this vinegar coleslaw that’s got a stronger bite of flavor (thanks to the apple cider vinegar). It’s always great to have options and you really can’t go wrong with either recipe. So do what I do and alternate them for a little variety!

Vinegar Coleslaw Recipe Video

It’s quick and easy to make this vinegar coleslaw recipe, but it always helps to watch a step-by-step video tutorial. Give it a watch below!

Benefits of Eating Cabbage

One reason you should eat more coleslaw is the amazing health benefits of cabbage! You can boil cabbage, sauté it, ferment it or enjoy it raw, like in this tasty coleslaw recipe. However you eat it, you’ll be absorbing plenty of necessary nutrients from cabbage.

Cabbage comes from the same plant family as kale, cauliflower and broccoli. And like broccoli, cabbage has a similar anti-inflammatory profile. Chronic inflammation over time is associated with heart disease, inflammatory bowel syndrome (IBS), cancer and diabetes. In other words, eat more cabbage and other veggies!

Cabbage has a ton of Vitamin C which is an antioxidant that protects cells from harmful free radicals. In turn, Vitamin C has been linked to lowering high blood pressure and boosting your immunity (and you know I’m all about boosting the immune system).

This crunchy vegetable is also high in Vitamin K. Just one cup of cabbage is 85% of your recommended daily intake of Vitamin K, which is essential to help with blood clotting. So much goodness from one simple vegetable.

Vinegar coleslaw ingredients in a mixing bowl with dressing on the side.

Vinegar Coleslaw Ingredients

One of the things I love about coleslaw recipes are how easy they are to whip up. It’s just a handful of ingredients. Here’s what’s in this oil and vinegar based coleslaw recipe:

  • Green Cabbage
  • Carrot
  • Onion
  • Apple Cider Vinegar
  • Olive Oil
  • Honey
  • Dijon Mustard
  • Celery Seed
  • Salt and Pepper

Vinegar coleslaw in a white bowl.

Why Does Everyone Say Coleslaw is So Bad for You?

There’s a lot of dairy and sugar in store-bought coleslaw and restaurant versions. But this recipe is dairy-free, paleo, low carb and can easily be made vegan by simply swapping the honey for maple syrup.

I’ve also limited the honey to one tablespoon for this big batch of coleslaw. So that’s very little sugar per serving. And trust me, you won’t be missing it in this easy, ultra-flavorful recipe.

Vinegar coleslaw piled on a spoon.

More Healthy Sides for a BBQ or Picnic

Vinegar coleslaw in a white bowl.

Vinegar Coleslaw Recipe (No Mayo Coleslaw)

4.92 from 162 votes
Prep: 20 minutes
Total: 20 minutes
Servings: 12 servings
Author: Lisa Bryan


Vinegar based coleslaw is an excellent no mayo coleslaw recipe for those who love coleslaw but don't love mayonnaise. It's an easy combination of cabbage, carrots and onion mixed with an apple cider vinegar dressing.



  • 1 head of green cabbage, finely shredded
  • 1 large carrot, grated
  • 1/2 yellow or red onion, finely sliced



  • Add the shredded green cabbage, carrot and onion to a large bowl.
  • In a smaller bowl, whisk together the apple cider vinegar, Dijon mustard, honey, olive oil, celery seed, salt and pepper to create the dressing. Taste the dressing and decide if you'd like to add more honey.
  • Add about half of the dressing to the cabbage, onions and carrots and gently toss. Slowly add more dressing until you’ve reached your desired consistency.
  • Serve and enjoy!

Lisa's Tips

  • This recipe makes approximately 12 cups of vinegar coleslaw.
  • You can also store it in the fridge for 3-5 days. 


Calories: 62kcal | Carbohydrates: 7g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 4g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 74mg | Potassium: 156mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 925IU | Vitamin C: 28.3mg | Calcium: 36mg | Iron: 0.5mg
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: American
Keyword: No Mayo Coleslaw, No Mayonnaise Coleslaw, Vinegar Based Coleslaw Recipe, Vinegar Coleslaw
Did you make this recipe?Mention @downshiftology or tag #downshiftology!

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About the author

Lisa Bryan

Lisa is a bestselling cookbook author, recipe developer, and YouTuber (with over 2.5 million subscribers) living in sunny Southern California. She started Downshiftology in 2014, and is passionate about making healthy food with fresh, simple and seasonal ingredients.

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Recipe Rating


  1. This is my absolute favourite coleslaw recipe (I am so not a mayo person)!
    Even the non-cabbage eaters are going back for seconds!
    I follow the directions as written except use 1.5tbps of avocado oil and half a tablespoon of honey, then leave it to chill for at least two to three hours before serving. 
    SOOOOO good! 
    Thank you!!

  2. Terrific! Thank you so much for the cole slaw recipe without the mayonnaise. I was tired of the “kfc” slaw that I made (although I reinvented it healthy”) for my partner. He loved it and went back for seconds! I added cranberries and about 1/8 c finel chopped walnuts,  to give it more crunch. 5 stars

  3. I followed the recipe as it was written and it was very good! This will be great with BBQ! It’s a keeper! 5 stars

  4. Added in a shredded apple and did not  use celery seeds. Just don’t really love them.
    we really enjoyed this slaw!
    Thanks for the recipe.5 stars

  5. I just made this as a side/topping for my smoked, pulled pork. DELICIOUS!! It’s the perfect pairing for the rich, smokyiness of the pork. I’ve never been a fan of traditional coleslaw because of the sweetness and how much mayo is typically used. This dish is perfect though. The apple cider vinegar provides a tangy punch, balanced perfectly by the honey. I used yellow onion, but I think I’ll used red onion next time just to see how it tastes. I’m also considering substituting a little red cabbage to provide some eye popping color. Hopefully the color doesn’t bleed out and make it a big pink mess lol.5 stars

  6. Excellent! I have made other vinegar slaw recipes before but this was super easy and can be used on various types of veggies – i used it for a Kale slaw.5 stars

  7. I am always trying new coleslaw recipes and this is simply the BEST. Just the right amount of tang and flavor. The whole family gave it a huge thumbs-up! Thank you for my new favorite!5 stars

  8. A hotel in Malaysia I love staying at breakfast buffet has a dry slaw to please and they have cos lettuce chopped into it to keep the moisture up in your mouth and crunch , it dilutes the earth tastes of carrots and cabbage if you were just eating it dry . 

  9. I did not have apple cider vinegar so I used red wine vinegar and I did not have celery seeds. It was still delicious and I highly recommend!5 stars

  10. this is a great recipe because it is healthier than the one made with mayo. thanks for sharing . the family liked it immensely    5 stars

    jennie s.5 stars

  11. Delicious slaw! I like a mayonnaise based slaw as well as vinegar based. I enjoy slaw on my chili dogs. But only if it’s vinegar based. On ham sandwiches I prefer mayonnaise based.
    I’m in the process of making a batch of this vinegar based recipe right now!5 stars

  12. I made your coleslaw today as a side for red beans and rice. I chopped up a bag of coleslaw mix and added the complete recipe of dressing, adding a bit more honey and some apple. Tasted great to me, but will see how it tastes in 4-5 hours after refrigeration allowing the flavors to meld. I’ll remove from fridge 30 minutes before serving.  Thanks for the recipe!

  13. My husband does not like mayo, but likes V & O coleslaw. Was trying to find something we both liked and this is definitely a keeper!5 stars

  14. This is the BEST! We many times make it with mayo but were looking to switch it up. The red wine vinegar makes this amazing! I slice my cabbage on a mandolin and julienne the carrot, dice jalapeno for heat and add onion. I sprinkle with salt pepper and celery seed . . .these are all flavors we look for in coleslaw. This is a really good dressing. Thank you5 stars

    1. I added a small bag of broccoli slaw mix to 1 big bag of slaw mix 2lb bag to dressing doubled it it was a big hit at our pig roast every yr.

  15. My new favorite coleslaw. I added more honey and some very thin sliced cucumbers to have with fish. It was all I was hoping for and more.5 stars

  16. Excellent! My son is allergic to mustard and doesn’t like mayonnaise. I subbed some tumeric for the mustard. Everyone loves it!  Thank you!5 stars

  17. Hi Lisa! Thank you for this delicious dressing that is NO MAYO!! We are on an anti-inflammatory diet and this is right up our alley. Plus, it’s summer, and hey, who wants to worry about food poisoning? We are serving a nice big batch at my twins’ 20th birthday party tomorrow and the fun is lining up! This beautiful slaw is going to double as a salad and as the second main ingredient on beef brisket sliders! Thank you so much for having your recipes out there for us! We appreciate you!!5 stars

    1. Happy to hear you loved this vinegar coleslaw Susan! Hope everyone enjoys this at your twins’ birthday party as well :)

  18. Thought I’d add my two cents bc it’s helpful for perspective to not have only the positive reviewers post. I’d agree with some of the other reviews that there was not nearly enough dressing for this (and I usually like much less dressing than most people do). I’m guessing it depends on cabbage size, but I used less than 2/3 of a large cabbage, and the dish basically tasted like raw cabbage. I made another batch of the dressing (thus doubling the original amount) and it was still bland. I won’t be making it again. Thank you for the recipe anyway!

    1. Yes, cabbage sizes can vary greatly. I typically purchase organic cabbages, which are on the smaller side. If you’d like to spice up the dressing a bit more you can increase the amount of Dijon mustard and celery seed. But as everyone has different tastes, I can understand it may not be your favorite. Thanks for giving it a try! In regards to your second comment, about why your comment wasn’t posted within 2 hours, please understand that like most recipe blogs and content creators I’m one person who answers hundreds of comments daily (in addition to juggling new recipe development in the kitchen, filming/editing of videos, and more). That’s why there’s a note before you comment that all comments go through a moderation queue, as it may take me a day or two to get to your comment.

    1. Love your recipe Lisa !
      I add fresh thinly sliced or thick shredded apple to a the slaw as an unexpected treat…the vinegar keeps the apple from turning brown…and your dressing makes the apple flavor pop. Thanks for sharing!5 stars

      1. Love the idea of adding thinly sliced apples to this! I’m sure it makes this ultra fresh.

  19. Hello, I have a 16 Oz bag of coleslaw mix with green and red cabbage, and shredded carrots. Should I adjust the amount of dressing? Thank you.

    1. I might reduce the dressing by half, or you can make the dressing as is and save it in the fridge for later use!

  20. I love the dressing you use for this recipe! I will be making this very often now! I used purple cabbage instead, mixed in some fresh parsley and topped with pumpkin seeds. Thank you so much for sharing! I’m glad I can upon your website and wholesome recipes.5 stars

  21. Tried this recipe. I like green onion and cilantro in mine. The dressing was very good! Thank you..5 stars

  22. I had such high hopes because of the great reviews. I prefer the taste of other non-mayo coleslaws. At the very lease, my recommendation is to double or triple this recipe. I made 1 batch for 1 head of cabbage and the slaw had virtually no taste. I made two more batches of the sauce to add to the remaining cabbage after the first serving.3 stars

  23. Another winner, Lisa! I’m usually a cole slaw with mayo guy but I think you’ve converted me. HAH! I just made this for an early Memorial Day celebration and I already know it will be a hit. I had some Napa cabbage I needed to use and since I didn’t have celery seeds, I used caraway. The dressing is perfect. Thanks, as always, Lisa, for your wonderful recipes. I patiently await your cookbook.5 stars

    1. Happy to hear you enjoyed this vinegar version! It’s great to alternate between the two to switch it up sometimes :)

  24. Hello Lisa,

    I really liked the dressing! so I wanted to ask you how long it can be stored? 

    Thank you so much! 

    From México City

    1. It can be stored for a few days in the fridge. Just make sure to give it a stir before using again the following days.

  25. Love this recipe! So refreshing and fantastic with bbq. Gets better overnight so the leftovers are great. I make 2 small modifications: we don’t love the raw yellow onion and replace it with green onions. Also, boyfriend is allergic to honey so we use maple syrup instead. So good. I made the Mayo coke slaw from Lisa a couple of weeks ago – I like the vinegar best and boyfriend likes the Mayo best, so we’ll be alternating all summer as both won’t disappoint!5 stars

  26. I’ve made this 3 times. I have some people in my family that aren’t fond of mustard so after the 1st time I omit the dijon mustard and it’s great with or without.5 stars

  27. Hi Lisa!! Absolutely love your recipes. We make this version of coleslaw quite often. I use shallots and rice vinegar with sliced almonds for a crunch.5 stars

  28. Lovely tasting coleslaw.  I like vinegar-based coleslaw and make it often during summer bbq season.  I loved the subtle taste of honey in this and the Dijon put it over the top in my book.  Super quick to whip up and then left to mellow in the refrigerator until the grilling is complete.  Thanks for the new twist on an old favorite.  5 stars

  29. This was really good. I just added a tiny bit more honey. I loved that it didn’t have mayo. I like mayo but sometimes it’s nice not to have it in coleslaw.5 stars