Vinegar Coleslaw

This vinegar coleslaw recipe will be a hit at your next cookout! It's sweet and tangy, crunchy and refreshing, and super easy to make.

Vinegar coleslaw

There are two types of people in this world: those who like vinegar coleslaw and those who like creamy coleslaw. I usually count myself in the creamy coleslaw group (if you do too, find my recipe here!), but lately, this vinegar coleslaw recipe has really been hitting the spot.

I toss it in a 7-ingredient apple cider vinegar dressing and sprinkle in toasted sunflower seeds for extra crunch. It’s sweet and tangy, light and refreshing, and so darn fun and colorful. If you need an easy side dish for a cookout or picnic in the next few weeks, I highly recommend you try it. It’s guaranteed to be a hit!

Vinegar coleslaw recipe ingredients

Vinegar Coleslaw Recipe Ingredients

This vinegar coleslaw recipe starts with lots of crunchy veggies: red cabbage, green cabbage, and carrots. I shred the veggies myself because I think they have the best texture and flavor that way, but if you’re pressed for time, I totally get it! For an easy shortcut, replace the cabbages and carrots with 6 cups of store bought coleslaw mix.

I round out the recipe with these simple ingredients:

  • Scallions – For oniony depth of flavor.
  • Apple cider vinegar dressing – If you ask me, a good vinegar coleslaw should be a little sweet, so for this recipe, I balance the tangy dressing with a teaspoon of extra honey.
  • Sunflower seeds – Toast them in a small, dry skillet over low heat to bring out their nutty flavor.
  • Sea salt – To make all the flavors pop.
  • And parsley – For a fresh finishing touch!

Find the complete recipe with measurements below.

Hand whisking apple cider vinegar dressing in a large bowl

How to Make Vinegar Coleslaw

This vinegar coleslaw recipe is super simple to make! Here’s what you need to do:

First, make the dressing. Instead of whisking together the dressing in a separate small bowl, I make it right at the bottom of the bowl I’m going to use to make the coleslaw. Fewer dishes = easier cleanup!

Hands tossing cabbage and carrots in a large bowl

Then, add the shredded vegetables, scallions, and salt. Toss to combine.

Hands using wooden spoons to toss vinegar coleslaw in a salad bowl

Next, it’s time to chill. This vinegar coleslaw recipe is best after the veggies have a chance to marinate in the dressing. Cover the bowl and chill for at least 20 minutes (and up to 2 days!) before you serve it.

Finally, season to taste. After the coleslaw chills, taste and adjust the seasoning. Right before serving, sprinkle it with the parsley and sunflower seeds and toss. Enjoy!

Apple cider vinegar coleslaw in a bowl and on a plate

Vinegar Coleslaw Serving Suggestions

Like my mayo-based coleslaw, this vinegar coleslaw is a delicious cookout side dish. We love it with classic cookout fare like fruit salad and corn on the cob, with one of these recipes as a main dish:

If you have leftovers, save them for lunch the next day. They’d pair well with almost any sandwich – this Caprese Sandwich, this Avocado Sandwich, or even this Grilled Cheese! You really can’t go wrong.

Vinegar coleslaw recipe

More Favorite Salads and Slaws

If you love this vinegar-based coleslaw recipe, try one of these tasty salads next:

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Vinegar Coleslaw

rate this recipe:
5 from 11 votes
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Chilling Time: 20 minutes
Serves 4 to 6
This sweet and tangy vinegar coleslaw is a perfect side dish for cookouts and picnics. You can prepare it up to 2 days in advance - just wait to add the sunflower seeds and parsley until the last minute.


  • ½ recipe Apple Cider Vinegar Dressing
  • 1 additional teaspoon honey
  • 4 cups shredded green cabbage
  • 2 cups shredded red cabbage
  • 2 medium carrots, sliced into thin peels
  • 2 scallions, chopped
  • Heaping ¼ teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 tablespoon chopped parsley
  • ¼ cup toasted sunflower seeds


  • Prepare the Apple Cider Vinegar Dressing and place in a large bowl with 1 additional teaspoon of honey. Add the cabbage, carrots, scallions, and salt and toss to combine.
  • Chill for at least 20 minutes, season to taste, and sprinkle with the parsley and sunflower seeds before serving.


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Rate this recipe (after making it)

  1. Melissa Sywensky

    How much sugar would you substitute instead of the honey. Unfortunately we can’t use the honey due to an allergy.

    • Jeanine Donofrio

      Hi Melissa, I would do pure maple syrup instead, in the same amount, or you could do sugar in the same amount.

    • Carli

      5 stars
      It’s such a tasty alternative to a creamy coleslaw.. you are my go to for salad dressings😁😁

A food blog with fresh, zesty recipes.
Photograph of Jeanine Donofrio and Jack Mathews in their kitchen

Hello, we're Jeanine and Jack.

We love to eat, travel, cook, and eat some more! We create & photograph vegetarian recipes from our home in Chicago, while our shiba pups eat the kale stems that fall on the kitchen floor.