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Sour Cream Coleslaw (No Mayo)

My brother, Rich, gave me the inspiration for this sour cream coleslaw recipe. Now my sons generally tag team to make it. Youngest son chops the cabbage and onion, while oldest son mixes up the creamy coleslaw dressing and shreds carrots. (It’s nice to have family members that cook!)

sour cream coleslaw

This makes a great side dish for BBQ chicken or hamburgers. It’s gluten free and keto friendly. You can make it ahead (helpful if you’re chopping all your own veggies), or cut the prep time with with a bagged mix.

Making Sour Cream Coleslaw

Usually we grab garden onions, cabbage, and carrots in season, but you’re welcome to use a coleslaw mix if you’re in a hurry.

In a large bowl, combine finely chopped or shredded cabbage and carrots. Add in about a tablespoon of finely chopped onion, if desired. You can also mix in some shredded apple and/or minced parsley for extra color and flavor.

To make you creamy coleslaw dressing (sans mayo), whisk together a container of sour cream with two tablespoons apple cider vinegar in a small bowl. Add a pinch each of black pepper and granulated sugar, one half teaspoon celery seed, and a tablespoon of Lawry’s seasoned salt.

Pour the dressing over the cabbage mixture and stir to coat. Serve immediately or store in the refrigerator. We like to make this ahead and chill for a couple of hours so the flavors blend. Your sour cream cole slaw will keep for several days in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

Keep in mind that some liquid will come out of the shredded vegetables as they sit. If your homemade coleslaw looks just a little bit dry when you first mix it up, it’ll probably be just right the next day.

close up of homemade creamy coleslaw


Like most salad recipes, this recipe is very forgiving. Feel free to adjust the ingredients to match your family’s tastes.

If you don’t have Lawry’s seasoned salt, you can use your preferred brand, or just salt and pepper to taste. (Be careful, because some brands of seasoning salt are much saltier than Lawry’s. My brother invited us over for fried fish one evening, and he used a different brand he’d picked up on sale. The fish was so salty it was inedible.)

If you don’t have apple cider vinegar, you can use any type of vinegar you have on hand, or even lemon juice. Some people like mixing sour cream and mayonnaise instead of just sour cream in their cole slaw. Some like a spoonful of mustard or horseradish sauce for extra zip.

Not so sure about raw onion in your salad? Go ahead and substitute some onion powder instead.

You can use green cabbage or red cabbage (or both), classic coleslaw mix, or even shredded Brussels sprouts. Try some bell pepper, different color carrots, or other veggies to brighten up the recipe. Use a food processor or mandoline to speed up shredding.

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Would you like a sweeter homemade coleslaw? Increase to one tablespoon sugar, or use a spoonful of honey and toss in some craisins. If you’re avoiding sugar, use a pinch of Swerve or other non-caloric sweetener for sweetness.

homemade coleslaw with dried cranberries
Add more carrots and some sweet fruit like apples and dried cranberries for a sweeter coleslaw.

How do you cut carrots for coleslaw?

My guys usually use a box grater to shred the carrots for our creamy coleslaw recipe, but a food processor or mandoline will also work. (My friend, Julie, got me this OXO box grater, and it’s been going strong for years. She usually buys me kitchen gear as gifts, and then we make yummy things when she visits.)

Carrots are chewier than your shredded cabbage, so grating the helps to give your homemade coleslaw a more uniform texture than chopping.

Is coleslaw better made a day ahead?

I think it’s better to make your sour cream coleslaw ahead, if you have time. Making your coleslaw a day ahead gives time for all the flavors to come together. It mellows out the onion and vinegar, and gives the veggies time to soak in the creamy dressing.

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Sour Cream Coleslaw (No Mayo)

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This easy to make creamy coleslaw recipe uses sour cream instead of mayonnaise.

  • Author: Laurie Neverman
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Chill Time: 30 minutes
  • Total Time: 40 minutes
  • Yield: 10 servings 1x
  • Category: side dish


Units Scale
  • 1 medium cabbage (about 2 pounds), finely shredded or chopped
  • 3 medium carrots (about 1 cup shredded)
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped onion, or 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 1-pound container sour cream
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1/8 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon granulated sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon celery seed
  • 1 tablespoon Lawry’s seasoning salt (or to taste)


Finely chop or shred the cabbage and carrots using a knife, box grater, mandoline, or food processor. Mince the onion, if you’re using fresh onion. Place the vegetables in a large bowl and mix the dressing.

Coleslaw Dressing with Sour Cream

In a small bowl, whisk together sour cream and apple cider vinegar. Add in pepper, sugar, celery seed, (onion powder, if using) and Lawry’s seasoned salt, and stir until combined.

Pour the dressing over the cabbage mixture and stir to coat. Serve immediately or refrigerate in a tightly sealed container. The flavor is better if it’s made ahead. Store for up to three days in the refrigerator.


Keep in mind that some liquid will come out of the shredded vegetables as they sit. If your homemade coleslaw looks just a little bit dry when you first mix it up, it’ll probably be just right the next day.

Share a photo and tag us — we can’t wait to see what you’ve made!

Sour Cream Coleslaw (No Mayo)

More Easy Cabbage Recipes

We grow and use a lot of cabbage, from crisp, small early heads to big, dense storage heads in fall. These are some more of our favorite cabbage recipes.

Haluski – Hot Cabbage and Noodles – it may sound a little odd, but it’s a great “comfort food” side dish

How to Make Sauerkraut in a Crock – everyone should know how to make basic sauerkraut

Clean the Garden Kimchi – works best with Napa cabbage

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  1. I grew up eating coconut often and sometimes drop some crumbled coconut shavings into my cabbage slaw to give it a satisfying rich twist. I also once tried adding some canned coconut milk to cabbage slaw, with a good pinch of ground sumac berry to put a little extra tang into it. Got rave reviews from my guests, who were eager to know what the mystery ingredient was. I guess some people have not yet heard how healthful coconut fat is. Since then, I have found that most canned coconut milk is preserved with mercuric bisulfite. I have switched to organic coconut cream powder with a small amount of organic malto-dextrin when sour cream is not available. And bless all those who love a little food adventure in their lives!

    1. That reminds me, I need to pick up some more coconut shavings when I’m in town next. It’s so frustrating to try and find clean ingredients at times. We tried some bottled hard cider that we liked the flavor of, but had to stop getting it because it was preserved with sulfites and did not sit well.

      I haven’t eaten sumac berries yet. We tried to make lemonade once, but the berries I chose were occupied and the “lemonade” ended up filled with little worms. I may be inspired to try them again – checking them more closely for occupants.