Thank goodness coleslaw has come a long way from the bags and bottles in the produce section. I like to slice all my vegetables and keep them in the fridge, covered with a damp paper towel. I make the dressing ahead and then add it all together right before the doorbell rings.–Rebecca Lang

Creamy Coleslaw with Cilantro FAQs

What is the flavor difference between regular yellow mustard and whole grain mustard?

Regular yellow mustard is the one we all know and love (or hate?). It’s the one that drips off of our hot dogs and corndogs and stains T-shirts in the summertime. It’s made from yellow mustard seeds and is the mildest of all mustards. Turmeric is added for color, and vinegar and water make it a crisp, slightly tangy squeezable sauce.

Whole grain mustard contains both yellow and brown mustard seeds, some crushed or partially crushed (enough to make a paste) and some whole. Brown mustard seeds are spicier than yellow, so your whole grain mustard is going to have a bit more of a kick than regular yellow mustard. Whole grain mustard usually contains apple cider vinegar and a bit of brown sugar, making it deliciously tangy with a bit of sweetness.

Can I prepare this creamy coleslaw recipe ahead of time?

You can prepare most of this recipe ahead of time. Make your dressing and set it aside, and then prepare your veggies. Store them separately in the fridge. Add the dressing and give your slaw a good mix just before serving.

What should I serve with creamy coleslaw with cilantro?

This easy coleslaw recipe is a great side dish for picnics, BBQs, and any summer gathering. It will always be welcome alongside your favorite ribs, burgers, or fried chicken, and our testers loved how well it paired with broiled fish fillets.

A colorful serving platter filled with coleslaw with cilantro with wooden serving utensils on the side.

Creamy Coleslaw with Cilantro

5 / 3 votes
This easy-peasy creamy coleslaw combines cabbage, red onion, carrot, and cilantro in a tangy mayonnaise-based orange dressing. It can be mostly prepared ahead of time and tossed with dressing just before serving. No wonder people are calling it the best creamy coleslaw they've ever tried.
David Leite
Servings8 servings
Calories114 kcal
Prep Time20 minutes
Total Time20 minutes


  • 1/3 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/4 cup white wine vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons store-bought or homemade whole-grain mustard
  • Zest of 1 orange (about 1 tablespoon), preferably organic
  • 1/4 cup fresh orange juice
  • 3/4 teaspoon table salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 6 cups (15 oz) thinly sliced savoy or napa cabbage
  • 1/2 medium (about 4 ounces) red onion, sliced into thin strips
  • 3 medium (about 7 oz) carrots, cut into strips using a peeler
  • 1 cup (2 oz) chopped fresh cilantro


  • In a large bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise, vinegar, mustard, orange zest and juice, salt, and pepper.
  • Add the cabbage, onion, carrot, and cilantro and toss to coat with the dressing. Serve immediately.
Y'all Come Over Cookbook

Adapted From

Y’all Come Over

Buy On Amazon


Serving: 1 portionCalories: 114 kcalCarbohydrates: 10 gProtein: 3 gFat: 8 gSaturated Fat: 1 gMonounsaturated Fat: 2 gTrans Fat: 1 gCholesterol: 4 mgSodium: 373 mgFiber: 3 gSugar: 5 g

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Tried this recipe?Mention @leitesculinaria or tag #leitesculinaria!
Recipe © 2021 Rebecca Lang. Photo © 2021 Kathryn McCrary. All rights reserved.

Recipe Testers’ Reviews

If you are looking for a quick, flavorful side dish, this creamy coleslaw with cilantro is it! It is a step above ordinary homemade coleslaw. The red onions and cilantro elevate the flavor with a little “zing,” but I think the orange dressing is the star. It’s light and the orange juice makes it so fresh. I feel like it could use a little more of the dressing. This would definitely be a great summer side dish, but can be served with so many things. It makes a fairly large amount so it would be great for entertaining.

I served it with ginger-scallion fish fillets and lemon couscous. It remained pretty crisp and the flavor was even better the next day when I served it with grilled burgers.

Bright, fresh and citrusy, this is one of the best creamy coleslaws I’ve ever had! The combination of orange juice, zest and white wine vinegar gives this slaw some serious pep. Napa cabbage is one of my favorites and blends harmoniously with the rest of the vegetables.

This slaw would be fantastic with burgers, pulled pork or chicken sandwiches, fish and chips, and just about any picnic food. I anticipate this creamy coleslaw with cilantro will be in heavy rotation in my kitchen; I especially love that you can prep earlier in the day and toss the vegetables with the dressing right before serving. I served this with broiled salmon and garlic rice; it could not have been more perfect.

This creamy coleslaw with cilantro was an easy-to-prepare dish that paired nicely with some spicy chicken tacos. The directions were easy to follow. The introduction to the creamy coleslaw recipe suggested chopping the vegetables and preparing the dressing ahead of time and tossing it together right before serving. I followed this suggestion and the slaw came together quickly.

The slaw was very tasty and fit into my ‘healthy eating’ plan. My teen son usually does not eat slaw because he despises mayonnaise. I was surprised when he had a large portion and seconds! He praised this coleslaw with cilantro and requested that I make it again.

About David Leite

I count myself lucky to have received three James Beard Awards for my writing as well as for Leite’s Culinaria. My work has also appeared in The New York Times, Martha Stewart Living, Saveur, Bon Appétit, Gourmet, Food & Wine, Yankee, Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, The Washington Post, and more.

Hungry For More?

Garlic Butter Steak Bites

These juicy bites of sirloin, smothered in garlic and herb butter, will satisfy any steakhouse craving for a fraction of the price.

25 mins

5 from 3 votes (3 ratings without comment)

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating


  1. The whole grain mustard and OJ make this slaw a standout to test. We are not fans of cilantro. I realize subbing basil will make it something different but would a cup of basil be too strong, would a better approach be half basil half parsley or some other herb. Thank you for your thoughts.

    1. Den M, when it comes to fresh herbs you have a lot of latitude. Both of your suggestions sound worth a try. Another herb that comes to mind is dill. Let us know how it turns out!