Red Onion Coleslaw

Recipe Info

Difficulty: Easy
Mess Level: Low
Yield: 6 Servings
Prep Time: 20 min
Cook Time: None


  • ½ Large, Green Cabbage
  • ½ Small, Red Onion
  • 3 Tablespoons Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 1 Tablespoon Sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon Kosher Salt
  • ¾ -1 ½ Cups Mayonnaise



  1. Using a very sharp knife, thinly slice the red onion. It should be so thin you can almost see through it.
  2. Put the red onion in a large mixing bowl and add the vinegar, salt, and sugar. Stir to coat and then let the mixture sit for 15 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, thinly slice the cabbage.
  4. When the onions have sat, add the cabbage and stir to coat in the vinegar and sugar mixture. Then begin by adding ¾ Cup mayonnaise and stir to coat. Add additional mayonnaise until the mixture is coated to your liking.
  5. Taste and add more sugar, salt or vinegar as needed. Enjoy!

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Savannah Says...

  1. What is the purpose of letting the onions sit in the vinegar?

    1. Something magical is about to happen!
      You are starting the process of pickling them. Just barely, so they’ll still have some crunch, but you are bringing out their flavor through this process.
  2. Why do the onions need to be thin?

    1. There is such a thing as "too much of a good thing"....
      If you have thick onion pieces, not only will it be unpleasant to bite into, but they will not begin to pickle in 15 minutes. A sharp knife is pretty integral to this as it’s really hard to slice anything thinly with a dull knife.
  3. Can I make this ahead of time?

    1. Wait for it...
      Technically yes, but I advise waiting to add the mayonnaise until right before you serve it.

Ramblings of a Line Cook

There are two types of coleslaw:

  1. The soggy kind that has sat too long and tastes like watered-down cabbage.
  2. The AMAZING kind where you have vinegar and sugar aplenty and just a light coating of mayo over crisp, cabbage leaves.
Earlier this year I was making dinner and I just had a hankering for coleslaw. I had half a green cabbage left in the fridge from making Gyoza Mushroom Soup, but I had no carrots anywhere to be found. I did, however, have half a red onion hanging out and an idea was born… Red onion coleslaw.

I slivered the onions into paper-thin slices and then tossed them with apple cider vinegar, sugar, and a pinch of salt. I let that sit while I sliced the cabbage and got the rest of dinner together and then tossed the cabbage to coat it with the vinegar-sugar mixture, and stirred mayo into the whole thing just until it was lightly coated.

Tony and I sat down to eat it and my god, it was good. I’ve never been so eager to eat a quarter of a cabbage in my life. Possibly one of the simplest ways to make a coleslaw, and yet, the red onions barely beginning to pickle in the vinegar, salt and sugar make this mixture sing.

I’ve since served it to groups of people and I have yet to meet anyone who doesn’t say it’s the best coleslaw they’ve ever had. Give it a whirl! Try it with BBQ, on tacos, next to a piece of chicken or fish, but be careful, this may become your favorite, summer side for the rest of the year!

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