Best. Cole Slaw. Ever


Okay, so maybe t”the best cole slaw ever” is just a little too emphatic, but this recipe is one that I have been making for decades, and it always is greeted with acclamation and requests for the recipe. Now that I have a stockpile of cabbages from the St Patrick’s Day sales, I have made a huge batch for a couple of dinners for others this week.

First, the original from a Midwestern church cookbook my mother had in her large collection. Unfortunately I didn’t write down the specific title when I completed the now stained and faded recipe card. Since this makes such a large batch, I am also providing an adjusted version that is the
amount I usually use. However, you may want to go ahead and make a large batch while you have the processor or cutting board out, since this keeps in the refrigerator for as long as two weeks.

This can also be frozen. Be aware that, after thawing, the frozen slaw will have a slightly softer texture, almost reminiscent of good quality sauerkraut. Still a very refreshing, and slightly crunchy, salad with fish or lots of other meats.  (The photo at the top was taken after the slaw had been frozen.)

Overnight Cabbage Salad

1 large head cabbage
1 large or two medium bell peppers
1 large Bermuda onion

Grate together and cover with 3/4 c sugar and set aside.

Meanwhile, mix together in pan and bring to a boil:

  • 1 c vinegar–I usually use cider vinegar
  • 2 T sugar
  • 1 t celery seed
  • 3/4 c oil
  • 1 T salt
  • 1 t dry mustard

Pour over cabbage while still hot. Refrigerate at least 4 hours, but best after being refrigerated overnight.
Serves 10 to 12.
(If you are looking for more specific amounts, use 4 to 4 1/2 pounds of cabbage, and a total of about 1 1/4 pounds of onions and peppers.)

Refrigerator Cole Slaw

6 to 7 cups finely shredded cabbage
2 c diced bell pepper–use a mixture of colors or 1 whole pepper of your choice
1 c finely chopped onion
1/3 to 1/2 c sugar, to taste
1/2 c cider or wine vinegar
1 T sugar
1/2 t celery seed
1/3 c olive or canola oil
1 1/2 t salt
1/2 t dry mustard OR 1 T prepared yellow mustard

1.  Combine the cabbage, bell pepper, and onion in a large bowl. Sprinkle the sugar over the vegetables and set aside.

2.  Combine the vinegar, tablespoon of sugar, celery seeds, oil, salt, and mustard in a small saucepan. Bring to a full rolling boil and immediately pour over the cabbage mixture.

3. Refrigerate for several hours or overnight.


  • Add in 1 to 2 cups shredded carrots and/or diced celery.
  • Substitute dill seed for celery seed. If desired, a few sprigs of fresh dill can also be added.
  • While red cabbage may add lots of color, do NOT add to this mixture, as the dressing will cause its color to bleed into the entire recipe. If you want to use red cabbage for color, finely shred a small amount and stir it in just before serving

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