This coleslaw with celery seed is a unique twist on a classic side. It’s the perfect coleslaw for pulled pork, chicken or ribs!

Shredded cabbage and carrots tossed with easy coleslaw dressing, in a shallow white bowl with a blue rim.

Do you have any strong opinions about coleslaw? I feel like most people do!

Some people like it creamy, others like it vinegary. I’m sure some people will only use green cabbage, whereas others might throw in some red cabbage (or even make a brussels sprout coleslaw).

Honestly, I pretty much like all coleslaw (especially next to a rack of crock pot ribs or root beer ribs), but I like it best when it’s not too creamy and not too vinegary. In my opinion, the best coleslaw dressing recipe is a nice balance between creamy and vinegary.

Sometimes I like my coleslaw with a touch of sweetness to balance out something else on my plate that might be spicy (like my spicy apricot glazed salmon).

This coleslaw with celery seed with an easy coleslaw dressing recipe is my idea of a perfect slaw recipe.

Shallow white bowl filled with coleslaw with celery seed, with smaller bowl of celery seed next to it, and apples in background.

This is the best coleslaw for pulled pork, grilled chicken, ribs, chops or basically anything!

This coleslaw with celery seed is one of those versatile slaw recipes that will work for just about every meal, all through the summer and fall.

It can be used as a topping for a pulled pork sandwich, or simply served alongside. And it’s certified delicious with my buttermilk grilled chicken and orange glazed chicken. Whatever you serve it with, make sure you also have a round of tequila mojitos or strawberry Moscow mules to wash it all down!

The vegetables are flexible. Feel free to use all green or all red cabbage, or simply buy a bag of the pre-shredded mix (seriously, SO easy). All told, you’ll need 4 cups shredded cabbage. Any extra cabbage can be used to sprinkle over lamb tacos or made into cabbage potato soup or corned beef egg rolls.

I got wild and used both red and green cabbage this time, along with some carrots and a bit of green onion. Any extra carrots can be throw into a carrot cake smoothie.

Then, for a unique twist on classic slaw, I grated a Gala apple into the bowl. Galas are also my apple of choice for instant pot apple butter (delicious on a butter board). The snappy, slightly sweet flavor of this apple is great for cooking and baking, and adds a special touch to the slaw.

The apple also gives it an autumn touch, making it perfect to serve with Thanksgiving dinner on the years you’re not serving Thanksgiving salad.

What’s in the easy coleslaw dressing recipe that goes on this coleslaw with celery seed?

This easy coleslaw dressing recipe is a simple mixture of mayonnaise, cider vinegar, sugar, salt and pepper, and celery seeds. If you don’t have cider vinegar on hand, white vinegar works just fine for this best coleslaw dressing recipe.

The key ingredient here is obviously the celery seeds. The seeds are tiny, but they pack a powerful flavor punch of concentrated celery, adding yet another layer of flavor to this slaw.

If you buy a jar of celery seeds to make this coleslaw with celery seed, you’ll surely have a bunch left over. But that’s OK, because they’re more versatile than you’d think!

Celery seeds are commonly used to make pickles and brines, and sometimes show up in bloody marys, too. Also, Simply Recipes has a nice list of celery seed recipes that you can make with the rest of your jar of celery seeds.

Overhead photo of table covered in plates filled with barbecue food like grilled chicken, coleslaw, potato salad and fruit.

This is the best coleslaw dressing recipe, but it’s not JUST for coleslaw!

This is definitely the best coleslaw dressing recipe I’ve ever made, and I actually like it so much that I often keep a jar in the fridge to use on things other than coleslaw.

It’s really great drizzled over roasted vegetables, especially carrots. It’s also good for simply tossing with mixed greens for a side salad. I’ve even used this easy coleslaw dressing recipe as a dip for shrimp, like a creamy shrimp cocktail situation.

This coleslaw with celery seed is part of my Epic Barbecue Party menu!

My Epic Barbecue Party is simply my favorite summer recipes, all in one place. These are the dishes I make on repeat all summer long.

I hope they also become staples of your summer, whether for a backyard party, a picnic, or just a weeknight meal (my country style pork ribs also have an honorary place on this list).

Along with this coleslaw, there’s also:

Overhead photo of table covered in plates filled with barbecue food with overlay that saysEPIC BARBECUE PARTY, and labels near each item that say harissa bbq chicken, triple berry crisp bars, good midwestern potato salad, millionaire's fruit salad, vanilla lemonade, sweet celery seed apple slaw, and grilled antipasto.

Can I make this coleslaw with celery seed in advance?

This coleslaw with celery seed is best eaten the day it is made, because of the shredded apple. However, you can keep it in the fridge for up to 3 days if you need to.

But the best option for making it ahead is to prepare the recipe as written, omitting the apple for now, and storing it in a covered container in the fridge until you’re ready to serve (maybe alongside some steak lettuce wraps or a smoked salmon BLT). Just before serving, shred the apple and fold it in!

Don’t forget the frozen yogurt pie for dessert, which is also a great make-ahead recipe!

More great side dishes for a backyard barbecue:

In my opinion, the more side dishes, the merrier, so I always have lots of options!

Shallow white bowl filled with coleslaw with celery seed, with smaller bowl of celery seed next to it, and apples in background.

Coleslaw with Celery Seed

Yield: 8 servings
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes

This coleslaw with celery seed is a unique twist on a classic side. It's the perfect coleslaw for pulled pork, chicken or ribs!


For the Dressing:

  • 2/3 cup mayonnaise
  • 2 tablespoons cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 3/4 teaspoon celery seed
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

For the Slaw:

  • 1 Gala apple, shredded
  • 1 bunch green onions, thinly sliced
  • 2 cups shredded green cabbage
  • 2 cups shredded red cabbage
  • 1 cup shredded carrots


  1. Make the Dressing: In large bowl, whisk mayonnaise, vinegar, sugar, celery seed, salt and pepper until smooth.
  2. Make the Slaw: Add apple, onions, cabbage and carrots to bowl with dressing and toss until well combined. Slaw is best eaten the day it is made, but will keep in the refrigerator up to 3 days.

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Nutrition Information:
Yield: 8 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 177Total Fat: 14gSaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 11gCholesterol: 8mgSodium: 220mgCarbohydrates: 12gFiber: 3gSugar: 8gProtein: 1g

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Collage of images of bowl of coleslaw, with overlay: COLESLAW W/ CELERY SEED great with pulled pork, chicken or ribs!