The original recipe from Schrage was dubbed Cousin Shari’s Coleslaw. With all due respect—and gratitude—to Cousin Shari, we thought we needed to be a little more descriptive. But we still think of her—and offer up a thank you to her—each time we make it. The original recipe also called for 1 cup sugar. Yep. An entire cup. Even though some of us have a definite sweet tooth, this was just a touch too much for us. So we scaled it waaaaaaay back. We suggest you try it as we’ve rewritten it below, and then if you want it sweeter, you can always stir in some more sugar.–Renee Schettler


Once made, coleslaw is only good for about 3 days even if it’s kept in the fridge, tightly covered. If you want to make this ahead, it’s possible to make it so it’s fresh when you need it. Fix the recipe up to the end of step 2, then mix the dressing and cabbage together 15 minutes prior to serving.

A glass bowl filled with creamy coleslaw.

Creamy Coleslaw

4.84 / 6 votes
This sweetly creamy coleslaw recipe differs in some ways from the old-fashioned slaw Cousin Shari used to make though the amount of sugar is adjustable. As for other descriptions of this tangy dressing, well, it isn't quite a vinaigrette, yet it isn't really a sauce, either. It really can't be classified as anything else than dressing for slaw.
David Leite
Servings6 servings
Calories329 kcal
Prep Time15 minutes
Total Time35 minutes


  • 1/2 medium yellow onion, finely diced
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/3 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 large head (at least 2 1/2 pounds) green cabbage, shredded


  • Combine the onion and 1/4 cup sugar in a large bowl and let sit for 30 minutes.
  • Add the oil, mayonnaise, vinegar, salt, and pepper to the onion and sugar and stir well to combine. Taste and, if desired, add some or all of the remaining 1/4 cup sugar and stir until it dissolves. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.
  • About 15 to 30 minutes before serving, add the cabbage to the dressing and toss well. Refrigerate the coleslaw until serving time.
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Serving: 1 servingCalories: 329 kcalCarbohydrates: 20 gProtein: 3 gFat: 28 gSaturated Fat: 4 gMonounsaturated Fat: 15 gTrans Fat: 1 gCholesterol: 5 mgSodium: 308 mgFiber: 5 gSugar: 15 g

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

Tried this recipe?Mention @leitesculinaria or tag #leitesculinaria!
Recipe © 2010 Lee Schrager. Photo © 2010 Jess Smith. All rights reserved.

Recipe Testers’ Reviews

Cousin Shari’s coleslaw was sweet, tangy, and delicious. I finely diced the yellow onions and added 1 tablespoon chives from my herb garden for color.

This coleslaw is sweet and tangy. It’s a keeper.

Cousin Shari’s coleslaw was quite delicious, but my husband and I both found it a bit on the sweet side. I’ll make it again, but cut back on the sugar by at least a quarter, and perhaps grate in some carrot.

Cousin Shari’s coleslaw recipe turns out a great, crisp cabbage slaw. The tart-sweet dressing has just the right balance without overshadowing the fresh flavor of the cabbage. This is the perfect accompaniment to burger and hot dogs, or as a picnic side in general. The recipe isn’t kidding when it says “large bowl.” You may find you have enough for double the listed servings! You could easily cut this in half top serve fewer people. Even a half recipe is plenty for four, in my opinion.

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.

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4.84 from 6 votes (3 ratings without comment)

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  1. The recipe ingredients says 1/4 cup sugar but the directions call for 3/4 c and later 1/4 cup?

    1. Karen, many thanks, you caught a glitch that happened when we tweaked the recipe to call for less sugar than the original version. We’ve fixed it now. Love to hear what you think of the coleslaw!

  2. Absolutely delicious! Loved it. Not as “heavy” as a traditional cole slaw, perfect.

    1. So glad, Mom24-4evermon. This is the perfect time of the year for coleslaw. Such a wonderful side for grilled meats and BBQ. Enjoy!

  3. Hi- I’m actually Cousin Shari- thought it was funny to find this when I did a search. Enjoy-and yes, think of me!

    1. Shari! What an unspeakably lovely delight to hear from you. You realize, your coleslaw is just like my grandma’s coleslaw recipe, rest her soul, but better. And I never say that about her cooking. Many, many thanks for sharing it. And seriously, we do think of you! If you have any other recipes up your sleeve–and I’m guessing that you do–please be in touch…