South Carolina Slaw

This South Carolina slaw is made with cabbage and carrots and a tangy vinegar-based dressing based on apple cider vinegar and mustard is a summer must. No mayo required, so it’s safe for those with egg allergies.

A wooden bowl filled with South Carolina slaw with a spoon beside it.

This South Carolina slaw may not be recognizable as coleslaw to those who’ve never experienced slaw minus the mayo. Instead, it boasts a sweet vinegary tanginess that we consider a must alongside any sort of ‘cue.–David Leite

South Carolina Slaw FAQs

What is the best way to make carrot ribbons?

First, peel your full-size carrots with a standard vegetable peeler. Then, still using the same peeler, place the carrot on your cutting board and peel the length of the carrot making ribbons. Turn the carrot and keep peeling until you have nothing left to peel. If you want your carrot ribbons to be crunchy and curly, stick them into a bowl of ice water and put them in the fridge for a couple of hours.

When you’re ready to add them to the slaw, pull them from their ice bath and dry them on paper towels. If that still sounds like too much work, it’s totally ok to just use a bag of shredded carrots. This slaw is so delicious that no one’s going to complain about your choice of carrot cut.

How long will vinegar-based coleslaw last in the fridge?

If your slaw is dressed, you can expect it to last 3 to 5 days in the fridge. (Note: if you use some red cabbage, the color may bleed after a day or so). If you store your slaw and dressing in separate air-tight containers, your cabbage will last a few days, but your dressing should be good for up to two weeks.

South Carolina Slaw

A wooden bowl filled with South Carolina slaw with a spoon beside it.
This South Carolina slaw is made with cabbage and carrots and a sweetly tangy dressing based on apple cider vinegar and mustard is a summer must. No mayo required, so it’s safe for those with egg allergies.

Prep 15 mins
Total 15 mins
6 to 8 servings
133 kcal
4.80 / 5 votes
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  • 1/2 head (about 1 lb) cabbage, thinly sliced
  • 1 cup shaved carrot (from 2 to 3 carrots; just grab a veggie peeler and run it lengthwise along the carrot to form long, lovely ribbons)
  • 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup mild olive oil or vegetable oil
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 2 teaspoons dry mustard
  • 1 teaspoon celery seeds
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper


  • Place the cabbage and carrots in a large bowl.
  • In a small saucepan off the heat, whisk together the vinegar, sugar, oil, Dijon mustard, dry mustard, celery seeds, kosher salt, and pepper until the sugar dissolves. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Immediately remove from the heat and either pour it over the cabbage mixture right away if you prefer slightly wilted coleslaw or let it stand for anywhere from 10 minutes to an hour to cool before pouring it over the cabbage mixture if you prefer a crunchy coleslaw. Toss to coat. Serve immediately. (If you want to make the slaw ahead of time, refrigerate the cabbage and carrots separate from the boiled dressing and toss just before serving.)
Print RecipeBuy the The Southern Vegetable Book cookbook

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Quicker South Carolina Slaw Variation

Instead of creating those gorgeous carrot ribbons simply julienne or shred the carrots and toss them with the cabbage.

Show Nutrition

Serving: 1portionCalories: 133kcal (7%)Carbohydrates: 11g (4%)Protein: 1g (2%)Fat: 10g (15%)Saturated Fat: 1g (6%)Polyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 7gSodium: 461mg (20%)Potassium: 102mg (3%)Fiber: 1g (4%)Sugar: 10g (11%)Vitamin A: 3569IU (71%)Vitamin C: 1mg (1%)Calcium: 20mg (2%)Iron: 1mg (6%)

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Recipe Testers’ Reviews

This South Carolina slaw was fantastic! We could not stop eating it until it was completely gone. The salad was crunchy and the dressing light and tangy. This will be my go-to salad for potlucks and summer barbecues. I did cool the dressing to room temperature before adding it to the salad. We just kept eating it until it was gone.

The slaw was nice and tangy and crisp. The vinegar-based dressing was just enough to coat the slaw so that it was not too soggy. I did let the liquid cool for 10 minutes before tossing everything so as to not wilt the cabbage. The next time I make this I will add another teaspoon sugar.

My fiancée is a fanatic when it comes to coleslaw so anytime a new recipe comes my way I make sure he tries it first. This had a lovely tang to it and perfectly accompanied the pulled pork I had made with it. Perfection! The vinegar-based Carolina slaw recipe was quick and easy to put together though I would warn people that making long carrot ribbons isn’t as easy as it seems. I would try combining green and red cabbage next time.

This South Carolina slaw recipe won me over! I had my doubts whether I would like this coleslaw because I’m a diehard mayo-based “cold” coleslaw fan. One bite and all I could think was, “That’s lovely!” I liked it served both cold and warm, but I must confess my preference was warm. My recipe came very close to the picture, but my carrot ribbons did not curl at all (it must be in the wrist technique). However, I did have some nice carrot snacks as I attempted to make the curl.

I really like this slaw! We have two kinds of slaw in this house: regular, which has a mayonnaise base; and BBQ slaw, which is vinegar-based. The mustard in this BBQ slaw is outstanding and really drives home the theme of South Carolina slaw. I love South Carolina mustard BBQ sauce, and this gives the same flavor in slaw form. I did prepare the slaw mix and dressing separately and let it chill in the refrigerator, combining them about an hour before serving. Slaw was crisp and delicious. It was still great the next day—the slaw remained crisp without being watery. Just toss lightly to redistribute the dressing before serving. A very unique flavor to liven up an old favorite!

This South Carolina slaw is a nice alternative to a mayonnaise-based slaw. The long strands of carrot make for a very attractive dish. The dressing on its own is delicious and I’m hoping to find other uses for it. My carrots really looked beautiful.

Generally I’m not a fan of heavily-mayonnaised coleslaw, so this vinegar-based slaw recipe fit the bill. It was a bit sour for my taste, so next time I’ll bump the apple cider vinegar down to 1/3 cup. To make the recipe even easier I’ll just grate the carrots in the future. At first I debated scaling down the mustard as it seemed like a lot, but in the end I used the written amount and I’m glad I did. I followed the recipe exactly, which involved pouring the piping hot dressing over the cabbage. This way the cabbage wilted a bit, and I actually preferred the taste compared to completely raw cabbage. I will be making it again as an accompaniment to summer barbecues.

This was a huge hit at our friend’s bbq last night, where (as it turns out) everyone hates mayo-based coleslaw. The mustard to vinegar balance was great. The most time-consuming part of this was attempting to get the carrot to look right. I spent like 25 minutes making log strips of carrot with my potato peeler. I should have just used the pyramid shaped cheese grater and called it a day. I made the dressing, chilled it, and then we added the dressing when all the BBQ meats were ready—so it was fresh. No idea how it would have kept, because it was all ravenously devoured.

Originally published May 26, 2018



  1. 5 stars
    This slaw had some delicious magic properties. First, the volume seemed immense. The cabbage and carrot strands then became light and noodle-y while still retaining a bit of crunch. Then, before our eyes and several helpings, it was gone. But not to worry, this one will be coming back!

  2. 5 stars
    This South Carolina slaw was the perfect companion to my pulled pork made with Vinegar Barbecue Sauce. As opposed to traditional mayo-based slaws that often fall short on flavor pop, this slaw is fresh, crunchy, and tangy. I love the way the dressing almost acts like a pickling agent within minutes of dressing the slaw. This may be a personal preference, but I found it even better on the second day once all the dressing was absorbed by the cabbage. My only tip is that I think there is enough dressing to do a full head of cabbage; when I did only half, I felt there was a bit too much dressing pooling at the bottom of the bowl.

  3. 5 stars
    This is very similar to my mother’s recipe but hers used double the amount of sugar. I always reduced it. But you don’t have to wait to toss together as this dressing keeps the cabbage crispy for days. I am always amazed at how long this lasts in the refrigerator.

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