Mustardy Coleslaw Recipe

Yellow mustard adds flavor and balance, making it a perfect side or sandwich topper.

A finished cup of mustardy coleslaw.
Bringing mustard into the fold, this slaw is balanced, deeply flavored, and perfect to pile on a pulled pork sandwich. .

Serious Eats / Joshua Bousel

Why This Recipe Works

  • A sugar-and-salt mixture purges the cabbage of excess moisture, leaving it tender, but still crunchy, and well seasoned.
  • Yellow mustard gives just enough bite, without overwhelming the slaw with the heavy hand of a hotter and more pungent mustard.
  • Sugar, mayo, and vinegar make the dressing creamy, sweet, and tangy, resulting in a slaw that has a lot going on, but with a very balanced flavor.

I didn’t become enchanted with coleslaw until I went big into barbecue and learned how to make it properly. Tangy, sweet, crunchy slaw is the perfect foil for the rich fattiness of barbecued meats, and Kenji’s classic creamy coleslaw recipe includes a technique of ridding the veggies of excess moisture, leaving behind a tender, yet crunchy, well-seasoned slaw. 

Of all the variations I created (zippy vinegar slaw, Lexington-style red slaw, tangy apple slaw, and a spicy jalapeno slaw), this mustard variation is my absolute favorite. I tinkered with the recipe on and off for years before finding the right balance between creamy, sweet, and tangy, with a mellow mustard bite.

My dressing is made of equal amounts of mayo, yellow mustard, vinegar, and sugar. A bit of hot sauce and some celery seeds deepen the flavor without over-complicating things. I love the balance and depth of flavor of this universal crowd-pleaser.

Adding mustard into the dressing for this coleslaw creates an incredible amount of flavor that won't have you reaching for the standard mayo slaw anytime soon.

June 2014

Recipe Details

Mustardy Coleslaw Recipe

Active 30 mins
Total 35 mins
Serves 10 to 12 servings

Yellow mustard adds flavor and balance, making it a perfect side or sandwich topper.


For the Dressing:

  • 1/3 cup mayonnaise

  • 1/3 cup yellow mustard

  • 1/3 cup cider vinegar

  • 1/3 cup sugar

  • 2 tablespoons hot sauce, preferably Texas Pete

  • 1 teaspoon celery seeds

For the Slaw Mix:

  • 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. For the Dressing: In a small bowl, whisk together mayonnaise, mustard, vinegar, sugar, hot sauce, and celery seeds.

    Whisking the mustardy coleslaw dressing.

    Serious Eats / Joshua Bousel

  2. For the Slaw: Combine cabbage and carrot in a large bowl. Sprinkle with sugar and salt and toss to combine. Let stand 5 minutes, then transfer to a large colander and rinse thoroughly under cold running water.

    A bowl of grated veggies for mustardy coleslaw.

    Serious Eats / Joshua Bousel

  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.

    A bowl of grated veggies for mustardy coleslaw in a salad spinner bowl.

    Serious Eats / Joshua Bousel

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

    Tossing together dressing and veggies for mustardy coleslaw.

    Serious Eats / Joshua Bousel

Special Equipment

Mandoline (optional)

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Nutrition Facts (per serving)
101 Calories
5g Fat
14g Carbs
2g Protein
Show Full Nutrition Label Hide Full Nutrition Label
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 10 to 12
Amount per serving
Calories 101
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 5g 6%
Saturated Fat 1g 4%
Cholesterol 3mg 1%
Sodium 233mg 10%
Total Carbohydrate 14g 5%
Dietary Fiber 3g 11%
Total Sugars 10g
Protein 2g
Vitamin C 51mg 253%
Calcium 73mg 6%
Iron 0mg 3%
Potassium 301mg 6%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)