Lexington-Style Red Coleslaw

Ketchup provides the "red" in this slaw, which has a tangy, sweet, and spicy barbecue flavor. [Photographs: Joshua Bousel]

In the Lexington, NC tradition, this slaw replaces the traditional mayonnaise base with ketchup, which, when mixed with sugar and hot sauce, results in a slaw with a flavor similar to the region's famous vinegary barbecue sauce.

Why this recipe works:

  • A sugar-and-salt mixture purges the cabbage of excess moisture, leaving it tender, but still crunchy and well-seasoned.
  • Using ketchup instead of mayonnaise gives this slaw its red color and Lexington roots.
  • Hot sauce adds a touch of heat that makes this slaw really stand out.

Lexington-Style Red Coleslaw

About This Recipe

Yield:Serves 10-12
Active time:30 minutes
Total time:35 minutes
Special equipment:Mandoline (optional)
This recipe appears in: 5 Delicious Coleslaw Variations


  • For the Dressing:
  • 2/3 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 cup ketchup
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons hot sauce, preferably Texas Pete
  • For the Slaw:
  • 1 large head green cabbage (about 3 1/2 pounds), finely shredded on a mandoline or by hand
  • 1 large carrot, peeled and grated on the large holes of a box grater
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup kosher salt


  1. 1

    For the dressing: Whisk together vinegar, ketchup, sugar, black pepper, and hot sauce in small bowl.

  2. 2

    For the Slaw: Combine cabbage and carrot in a large bowl. Sprinkle with sugar and salt and toss to combine. Let stand five minutes, then transfer to a large colander and rinse thoroughly under cold running water.

  3. 3

    Transfer vegetables to a salad spinner and spin dry. Alternatively, transfer to a large rimmed baking sheet lined with a triple layer of paper towels or a clean kitchen towel and blot mixture dry with more towels. Return to large bowl.

  4. 4

    Pour dressing over vegetables and toss to coat. Adjust seasoning to taste with salt, pepper, and/or sugar.

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