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Apple Cider Vinegar Coleslaw

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5 from 3 votes

Easy and delicious, this vinegar coleslaw is tossed in an apple cider vinaigrette that’s smoky and tangy, without a drop of mayo! It’s the perfect side dish for cookouts and barbeques.

This vinegar coleslaw is as light and bright as you want your summer to be! I love this coleslaw because it’s not weighed down by mayo and instead, is made with a light vinaigrette that’s refreshing and pairs so well with all your other BBQ staples.

Tossed in a slightly smoky apple cider vinegar and Dijon mustard vinaigrette, this vinegar coleslaw changes up the traditional store-bought coleslaw with mayonnaise. It’ll absolutely recharge your palate before your next bite into that burger, Lobster Roll, grilled chicken kebab, Oven Brisket, or any other of your picnic favorites. Dig in and enjoy!

Why You’ll Love This Vinegar Coleslaw Recipe

Vinegar coleslaw provides a fresh contrast to barbecued meats or even fried foods common at cookouts and BBQs. I love how it’s a healthier substitute for mayonnaise-based coleslaw, offering a lighter option that tastes even better than the classic! The cabbage also maintains its crispness and crunch for a longer duration, avoiding quick sogginess when using this vinegar-based dressing compared to a mayonnaise dressing.  You’ll want to bring this coleslaw to every BBQ this summer with its incredible versatility as a side dish or topping for sandwiches, tacos, or even Pulled Pork or Ham and Cheese Sliders!

Vinegar Coleslaw Ingredients

  • Coleslaw cabbage mix – you can typically find a coleslaw mix in the grocery store.
  • Red onion – thinly sliced red onions provide a slightly sharp, sweet and tangy flavor while also providing a great pop of color to the dish!
  • Extra virgin olive oil – extra virgin olive oil is the base of our dressing. 
  • Apple cider vinegar – here’s the vinegar in vinegar coleslaw! Apple cider vinegar is tart and fruity. 
  • Dijon mustard – Dijon mustard is known for its distinct, sharp and tangy flavor. 
  • Real maple syrup – maple syrup adds sweetness and smoky, vanilla-like complexity. Use honey instead of real maple syrup if preferred. 
  • Liquid smoke (optional) – liquid smoke provides a strong, smoky flavor without the need for traditional smoking methods. A little goes a long way. You can usually find it right in the grocery store, often with the spices!

How To Make Vinegar Coleslaw

Learn how to make vinegar coleslaw. Full instructions in the recipe card; this is just an outline!

  1. Add.

    Add the coleslaw mix and red onion to a bowl.

  2. Whisk.

    Whisk together apple cider vinegar, Dijon mustard, maple syrup, olive oil, liquid smoke (optional), and salt and pepper in a separate bowl.

  3. Toss.

    Toss until combined.

  4. Marinate (optional).

    Marinate for 30 minutes if time allows. Serve same-day!

Tips and Tricks

  • Using a coleslaw mix from the grocery store saves time!
  • Let the coleslaw marinate for at least 30 minutes before serving. It is even more delicious after allowing a bit of time for the flavors to meld together. 
  • Store any leftover coleslaw in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days (although vinegar coleslaw is best enjoyed the same day!). 
  • Make ahead by slicing the vegetables, whisking together the dressing and storing separately in airtight containers in the refrigerator for up to 2 days. It is best to store the coleslaw undressed until ready to serve. 

Other Side Dish Recipes You’ll Love!

Apple Cider Vinegar Coleslaw

Easy and delicious, this vinegar coleslaw is tossed in an apple cider vinaigrette that’s smoky and tangy, without a drop of mayo! It’s the perfect side dish for cookouts and barbeques.
5 from 3 votes
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 15 minutes
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: American
Keyword: spring, summer
Servings: 6 servings
Calories: 104kcal
Author: Tastefully Grace


  • Mandolin (optional)


  • 12 ounces coleslaw cabbage mix
  • ½ medium red onion cut into paper thin slices using a mandolin or sharp knife
  • ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon grainy Dijon mustard
  • ½ tablespoon real maple syrup or substitute with honey
  • ¼ teaspoon liquid smoke optional but recommended
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  • Add slaw mix and red onion to a large bowl.
  • In a separate bowl, whisk together apple cider vinegar, mustard, maple syrup, olive oil, liquid smoke, and salt & pepper.
  • Pour vinaigrette over slaw. Toss until combined.
  • If time allows, let marinate for 30 minutes before serving. Best enjoyed same-day!



  • You can make your own cabbage mix with 12 ounces of thinly sliced cabbage (purple, green or both) and shredded carrots!
  • Liquid smoke is pretty commonly found in grocery stores. Check in the Spices section!


Serving: 1serving | Calories: 104kcal | Carbohydrates: 5g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 9g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 7g | Sodium: 39mg | Potassium: 121mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 58IU | Vitamin C: 21mg | Calcium: 29mg | Iron: 0.4mg
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  1. June 11, 2022 / 5:37 pm

    Can you freeze Dijion Cider Coleslaw?

    • TastefullyGrace
      June 13, 2022 / 12:55 pm

      Hi Vicky,

      The coleslaw should freeze well! I have never tried to freeze it but typically coleslaw made with mustard, not mayo freezes well!

      I hope this helps.

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