Apple Cider Vinegar Coleslaw

Quick and easy apple cider vinegar coleslaw with shredded green cabbage and carrots. Flavorful, healthy and mayo-free.

If you’re anything like me you probably grew up eating creamy, mayo-based coleslaw.

Nowadays I much prefer a vinegar based coleslaw over one with mayo. The vinegar dressing is lighter and really lets the crunchy cabbage and carrots shine.

The version I’m sharing today is a pretty classic recipe seasoned with a simple 6-ingredient vinegar based dressing. To really boost the nutritional content I used apple cider vinegar and instead of white sugar I went with maple syrup. Maple syrup is unrefined and has antioxidants, as well as other vitamins and minerals including a good amount of zinc and manganese.

Light green bowl with coleslaw sitting on neutral towel.

What is Apple Cider Vinegar

First, let’s start with the basics! Apple cider vinegar is a vinegar made from fermented apple juice. The process starts by adding yeast to crushed apples.

The yeast ferments the sugars and turns them into alcohol. At this point, bacteria is added which further ferments the alcohol and turns it into acetic acid… the main active compound found in most vinegars.

Acetic acid gives vinegar its pungent smell and flavor and is also responsible for many of ACV’s health benefits.

Light green bowl with apple cider vinegar coleslaw inside. Linen towel under the bowl.

Ingredients in Apple Cider Vinegar Coleslaw

  • green cabbage – feel free to buy pre-shredded cabbage for a time-saving shortcut! You can also use a mixture of green and red cabbage for added color!
  • carrots – same as above, buy pre-shredded to save some time or look for a coleslaw mix that has both cabbage and carrots included. Just be sure to measure out about 5 cups so you have a good dressing to salad ratio.
  • apple cider vinegar – if you’re interested in learning more about why I love ACV, check out this post about the health benefits of apple cider vinegar.
  • maple syrup – for a natural sweetener.
  • dry mustard – you can substitute 1 teaspoon of dried mustard for 1 tablespoon of prepared mustard.
  • ground celery seed – a must for coleslaw!
  • sea salt and ground pepper – to bring all of the flavors together.

Can I Prep Coleslaw Ahead of Time?

Yes! I actually recommend making this recipe ahead of time so the flavors have time to marinate. I’ve enjoyed it right after making and it’s delicious but the flavors seem to get better with time. After prepping, store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 4-5 days. 

Overhead shot of coleslaw in green bowl on linen towel. Cutting board with cabbage, carrots, and knife in background.

How to Serve Vinegar Based Coleslaw

This salad is pretty low in calories, oil-free and is perfect for serving as a light and refreshing side salad or as a crunchy topping for a variety of dishes. Here’s what I would pair it with:

  • Grilled meat – Instantly level up a basic grilled meal with a side of fresh coleslaw. Can’t wait to have this with grilled chicken.
  • Fish tacos – Mmm the crunchy slaw on top of fish tacos sounds like the perfect combo!
  • Burgers – You can’t go wrong adding slaw to any burger but I’m excited to try it on these black bean burgers.
  • BBQ sandwiches – Top a pulled pork or BBQ chicken sandwich with slaw or try my BBQ jackfruit sandwiches for a vegan option!

How to Store Leftovers

Like I mentioned above, this coleslaw stores really well! Store any leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 4-5 days.

 More BBQ Recipes to Try:

More Apple Cider Vinegar Recipes to Try:

If you try this apple cider vinegar coleslaw please be sure to leave a comment and star rating below letting me know how it turns out. Your feedback is super helpful for the EBF team and other EBF readers!

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Cabbage and carrot slaw in a mint green bowl on a neutral cloth.

Apple Cider Vinegar Coleslaw

  • Author: Brittany Mullins
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Total Time: 10 minutes
  • Yield: 5 cups
  • Diet: Vegan


A quick and easy apple cider vinegar coleslaw with shredded cabbage and carrots. It’s flavorful, mayo-free and packed with nutrients.


  • 4 cups shredded green cabbage
  • 1 cup shredded carrots
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 2 Tablespoons maple syrup
  • 1/4 teaspoon dry mustard
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground celery seed
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground pepper


  1. Toss: In a large bowl toss together shredded cabbage and carrots.
  2. Make dressing: Combine vinegar, maple syrup, dry mustard, celery seed, salt and ground pepper in a small bowl.
  3. Mix ingredients: Pour dressing over cabbage mixture and toss to coat.
  4. Serve: Let mixture sit for at least 10 minutes in the fridge, stir and serve.


Cabbage – I used green cabbage, but feel free to use a mix of green and red. Red is so colorful and pretty!

Meal prep – This recipe can be made ahead of time and will taste better after having a little time to marinate.

  • Category: Salad
  • Method: No Cook
  • Cuisine: American


  • Serving Size: 1 cup
  • Calories: 49
  • Sugar: 8g
  • Sodium: 147mg
  • Fat: 0g
  • Saturated Fat: 0g
  • Unsaturated Fat: 0g
  • Trans Fat: 0g
  • Carbohydrates: 12g
  • Fiber: 2g
  • Protein: 1g
  • Cholesterol: 0mg

Keywords: apple cider vinegar coleslaw, vinegar coleslaw

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Recipe rating

    1. Norma Teresa
      September 18, 2020 AT 5:17 pm

      Yum! While I have to admit I like mayo-based coleslaw, I was looking for something lighter to have with baked fish this week. This recipe is a winner! I followed Greg’s example and added a small apple for a little extra sweetness and color.

      1. Brittany Mullins
        September 18, 2020 AT 6:38 pm

        So glad this recipe was a hit, Norma!! Thanks for trying it and for coming back to leave a comment + star rating. I so appreciate it. <3

    2. Greg
      June 19, 2020 AT 8:09 pm

      Good. I added apples and a bit of red onion to give it sweetness and a bite. Added olive oil to the dressing and reduced maple syrup to 1Tbsp. Otherwise awesome.

      1. Brittany Mullins
        June 20, 2020 AT 1:47 am

        Yay!! So glad you enjoyed this coleslaw recipe, Greg. Thanks for sharing the additions you made and for coming back to leave a comment + star rating. It’s super helpful for other readers, so I appreciate it. 🙂

    3. Dayle
      May 9, 2020 AT 7:06 pm

      Could honey be used in place of maple syrup? Thank you!

      1. Brittany Mullins
        May 11, 2020 AT 2:12 pm

        Yes! Let me know how it turns out for you!

    4. Lynn Keefer
      October 11, 2019 AT 1:49 pm

      This has been one of my go to recipes this summer. My husband loves it too!

      November 16, 2017 AT 6:27 am

      Can you please sing me up for your newsletters

      1. Brittany Mullins
        November 16, 2017 AT 10:57 am

        Sure! Will add you today. 🙂

    6. Carlos Gonzalez
      September 14, 2017 AT 9:42 pm

      I use your recipe but I use 1Tbsp of Palm sugar and add a pinch off pepper flakes.

    7. Larry Harris
      September 3, 2017 AT 7:32 pm

      I added two tbp of sesame oil as well… perfect!

    8. Marianne Jerzyk
      August 7, 2016 AT 6:20 pm


      Looks like a great recipe! I’m from Mass., so using maple syrup sounds good. Can you tell me if it changes the flavor a lot?
      Thanks so much,

    9. Julie @ Willow Bird Baking
      April 28, 2016 AT 11:01 am

      Oh yum! Great idea!

    10. Kate |
      April 28, 2016 AT 9:43 am

      This Caleslaw alternative will definitely help to save loads of calories by not eating them. 😉 One flat tablespoon of mayonnaise contains about 90 kcal and 10 grams of fat! This is crazy!
      I usually go for a compromise with the caleslaw dressing too. I use low fat natural yogurt and add a tablespoon or two of olive oil, a tablespoon of vinegar, a little bit of maple syrup and remaining spices.

    11. Allie R Taylor
      April 28, 2016 AT 9:23 am

      Great salad, perfection! Love using Apple cider vinegar whenever I can, I actually have a book on all the benefits!

    12. shashi at runninsrilankan
      April 28, 2016 AT 8:47 am

      Coleslaw came into my life when I was in college and I never cared for the creamy, mayo-based coleslaw that was infamous then – but this version sounds absolutely delightful – and love the health benefits of it too!

    13. Lynn @ The Actor’s Diet
      April 27, 2016 AT 11:07 pm

      Welcome to the wonderful world of YouTube!

    14. Lauren @ The Bikini Experiment
      April 27, 2016 AT 7:26 pm

      Apple cider vinegar is a superstar. I love this recipe. Perfect time for summer.

    15. Branna
      April 27, 2016 AT 5:10 pm

      I absolutely love cabbage but I’m not a fan of the mayo based coleslaws, so I can’t wait to try this! And you are too cute! Your video is SO FUN! More more more!

    16. Roxana
      April 27, 2016 AT 11:01 am

      This looks amazing! I bet it would be fabulous on fish tacos too!

    17. Paula
      April 27, 2016 AT 10:50 am

      This is perfectly timed! I have a head of cabbage in my refrigerator, and I couldn’t decide what to do with it. Making vinegar-y slaw sounds like a delicious use.

      1. Lei-Leni
        May 12, 2020 AT 10:16 am

        Delicious! I wanted a slaw to go with jackfruit bbq and OMG


        1. Brittany Mullins
          May 12, 2020 AT 4:11 pm

          Ahh yay!! I’m so glad you enjoyed this slaw, Lei-Leni. Thanks for trying my recipe and for coming back to leave a comment + star rating. I really appreciate it!

    18. Danae @ Recipe Runner
      April 27, 2016 AT 10:09 am

      I’m with you I prefer the vinegar based coleslaw now over the mayo, I think it has way more flavor. I love that you used apple cider vinegar and maple syrup. This will be a great side dish or topping for a burger this grilling season!

    19. oatsandrows
      April 27, 2016 AT 9:31 am

      This looks so, soooo tasty! Definitely going to reach for this recipe next time I need some coleslaw 🙂

    20. Melissa Falk
      April 27, 2016 AT 9:03 am

      I love coleslaw. i can use it as a salad base or top off any sandwich with it. The tangy-er the better! This looks great.

    21. amindfullmom
      April 27, 2016 AT 8:12 am

      I love cider slaw–your version looks great!

    22. hwahlen1
      April 27, 2016 AT 7:56 am

      This looks so yummy! My husband loves coleslaw, but I am always hesitant to make it because the mayo dressing is not my favorite. Can’t wait to try this!

    23. Vivian | stayaliveandcooking
      April 27, 2016 AT 7:39 am

      This sounds really nice! I’m a fan of apple cider vinegar… I think this would taste great with chicken, too.

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