Spicy Cabbage Slaw Recipe

This spicy cabbage slaw, somewhere between what you'd get at a Mexican taqueria and a Haitian-style pikliz, is flavored with habanero chili and a hint of allspice. It's essentially a quick-pickle recipe that comes together in minutes, but goes a long way to adding crunch, freshness, and heat to sandwiches, tacos, or burgers.

Photographs: J. Kenji Lopez-Alt

A spicy cabbage slaw somewhere in between what you'd get at a Mexican taqueria and a Haitian-style pikliz, with flavors of habanero (or Scotch Bonnet) and allspice. Great for sandwiches, tacos, topping burgers, etc.

Note: For a spicier version, use a habanero pepper. For a milder version, use the jalapeño, or no chili at all.

Recipe Facts

Active: 15 mins
Total: 60 mins
Serves: 8 to 10 servings
Makes: 2 quarts

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  • 2 quarts finely shredded white or Savoy cabbage (about 1 small head)

  • 1 cup finely grated carrot (about 1 medium)

  • 1 cup thinly sliced red onion (about 1 small)

  • Kosher salt

  • 3 cups white vinegar

  • 1/4 cup sugar

  • 2 allspice berries

  • 1 habanero (or Scotch bonnet) pepper or jalapeño pepper, split in half (see note)


  1. Combine cabbage, carrot, red onion, and 2 tablespoons kosher salt in a large bowl. Massage salt into vegetables. Set aside. Combine vinegar, sugar, allspice, pepper, and 1 cup water in a saucepan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Pour boiling liquid over cabbage mixture, then place a paper towel directly on top of surface, pressing down until it is saturated to keep the cabbage submerged. Let rest at room temperature until cool. Transfer to a sealed container and refrigerate until ready to use. Slaw will keep for about 2 weeks.

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Nutrition Facts (per serving)
72 Calories
0g Fat
14g Carbs
2g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 8 to 10
Amount per serving
Calories 72
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 0g 0%
Saturated Fat 0g 0%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 793mg 34%
Total Carbohydrate 14g 5%
Dietary Fiber 4g 14%
Total Sugars 6g
Protein 2g
Vitamin C 27mg 137%
Calcium 48mg 4%
Iron 1mg 3%
Potassium 288mg 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.)