KFC Coleslaw Recipe with Buttermilk Dressing
This easy KFC Coleslaw Recipe with Buttermilk Dressing tastes just like the restaurant version. Plus it’s the ultimate picnic or barbecue side dish! You’ll find an excuse to make it again and again!
You’ll go crazy for this light, creamy, sweet, and tangy coleslaw dressing which is a simple mixture of buttermilk, mayonnaise, cider vinegar, sugar, and a few seasonings. Whisked and added to shredded cabbage makes for the Cabbage Slaw.
Why You Must Make
- This recipe is easy to make and it’s perfect for summer picnics and potlucks!
- It reminds me of the classic KFC coleslaw!
- It’s a tasty side dish any time of year!
This is the best coleslaw recipe of all I’ve tested. It reminds me of that childhood cole slaw, whether carryout or homemade! I could eat a whole batch in one sitting, but I paced myself and enjoyed it over pulled pork and more!
Cabbage and dressing are the two main components of slaw, but with additional ingredients and flavorings, the options are endless. Here are some suggestions on how to shake up your coleslaw recipe:
- Buy preshredded cabbage or shred your own. Add some purple cabbage to the green, and carrots also add some great color.
- Add some mustard or herbs like thyme or dill to the dressing.
- If you’ve never added celery seed to your slaw before, give it a try!
- Add some julienned fruit (cut into thin strips) like apples, pears, and even mangoes
- Toss in crumbled blue cheese to add a salty creaminess
- Nuts or sunflower seeds provide a nice crunch
- Crisp, homemade bacon bits also add salty umami.
- Dried fruit like raisins, dried cherries, dried cranberries, or dried apricots balance the crunchy with some chewiness.
- A Southwest (add some peppers for heat) or Asian twist (add snow peas) is as easy as tweaking the dressing. Even a bottled Asian dressing will work in a pinch.
- You can make this creamy coleslaw recipe with a couple of packages of coleslaw mix from the grocery store or shred your own cabbage. I like adding some shredded carrots and/or purple cabbage to the mixture to provide some color.
- Combining buttermilk and mayonnaise makes for a lovely, creamy coleslaw dressing. PRO-Tip: If you don’t have any buttermilk on hand, you can make your own. Place one tablespoon of either vinegar or lemon juice into a one-cup liquid measuring cup. Fill to the one-cup mark with milk and let rest for a minute or two. The mixture will curdle slightly and work well as a buttermilk substitution. Use what you need for the recipe, then refrigerate the leftovers.
- PRO-Tip: If you’re not a fan of raw onions, soak them in ice water for about 15 minutes. Drain, or with grated onions, squeeze dry in a paper towel, then add to the recipe. This process removes a bit of the sharpness, but still adds the flavor needed for a classic coleslaw recipe.
- Season to taste with salt and pepper. Celery seed adds another lovely flavor component, though this is my addition, not in KFC’s coleslaw recipe. I recommend adding it.
How to Make
- Shred your vegetables and measure out the seasonings and dressing ingredients.
- Whisk together the coleslaw dressing.
- Toss the dressing with the shredded vegetables to allow the flavors to meld.
- Cover the salad with plastic wrap and chill for at least an hour before serving. Toss again and serve.
Frequently Asked Questions
Most of us have heard of coleslaw or slaw recipes, but have you ever thought where the name came from? It actually has a Roman origin, as the ancient Romans served a dish with vinegar, cabbage, and eggs.
But the name comes from the Dutch who settled near the Hudson River in New York state according to NPR. The Dutch word koosla translates to cabbage salad and sounds very much like today’s dish, coleslaw (sometimes spelled cole slaw). Since mayonnaise hadn’t been invented in the late 1700s, the dressing was made of melted butter, oil, and vinegar.
There are health benefits to coleslaw. There is plenty of fiber in the cabbage, plus vitamins and minerals from the vegetables. Either a mayonnaise or vinegar-based salad dressing will add fat and calories.
“Cole” refers to cabbage, so coleslaw must contain cabbage. Other slaws may be made with any shredded vegetables.
You May Also Like:
- Creamy Apple Slaw from Spend with Pennies
- Spicy Mexican Slaw with Lime and Cilantro from Kalyn’s Kitchen
- Spicy Mango Slaw from Foodie with Family
- Serve this coleslaw over a Pulled Pork Sandwich
- Asian Cabbage Slaw
- Easy Coleslaw Recipe
- Asian Coleslaw
- More Salad Recipes
Classic Coleslaw Recipe
Classic Buttermilk Coleslaw that tastes like the KFC version!
- 8 cups finely chopped cabbage, about one head (may use bagged coleslaw mix, too)
- ¼ cup shredded carrot (1 medium carrot)
- 2 tablespoons grated or minced onion
- ⅓ cup granulated sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- ⅛ teaspoon pepper
- ½ cup mayonnaise
- ¼ cup buttermilk
- ¼ cup cider vinegar
- 1 teaspoon celery seed, optional, but I highly recommend it!
- Shred carrots and cabbage to the size of your choice (KFC's version is finely shredded). Alternatively, you can buy a bag or two of the coleslaw veggies ready to go.
- Combine the sugar, salt, pepper, mayonnaise, buttermilk, vinegar, and celery seed in a large bowl and whisk until smooth.
- Add the cabbage, carrots, and onion, and mix well. Cover and refrigerate at least 1 hour before serving.
Recipe courtesy of my friend, Mile High Baker.
Use a bag or two of coleslaw mix instead of shredding your own cabbage and carrot for a shortcut.
As an Amazon Associate and member of other affiliate programs, I earn from qualifying purchases.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 169Total Fat: 11gSaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 9gCholesterol: 6mgSodium: 249mgCarbohydrates: 18gFiber: 3gSugar: 13gProtein: 2g
39 Comments on “KFC Coleslaw Recipe with Buttermilk Dressing”
My family never went out to eat at restaurants… we ate at Chez Mom almost every night. I only got into McDonald’s and KFC in high school when my friends showed me the light LOL! Funny thing is I am doing the same thing to my kids… but we have let them try KFC or Popeye’s a few times. Those small side dishes they give for my cole slaw is never enough…. so making it at home like this sounds like a winner because I can eat more slaw. 🙂
Our favourite everyday salad! Yours looks fantastic, Liz.
Yummy yummy yummy! One of the American salads we really love. Since buttermilk isn’t sold here in Greece Liz, can we make it ourselves adding vinegar to milk as we read some time ago? Should we skip it and add something else like Greek yogurt instead?
Thank you for sharing!
Yes, you can definitely make your own buttermilk. Just add a tablespoon of vinegar to a cup of milk and let it sit for a few minutes till it starts to thicken/curdle a bit. It will work perfectly!
Thank you Liz! Now we know what we are having tomorrow with our grilled chicken breasts (time to start losing some Holidays weight) :):)
My mother cooked everything from scratch except bread. It was delivered every day from the bakery. My father made bread when he felt crafty.
We did have KFC once and it was a huge thing. I remember telling my friends about it. LOL
I’m going to make your mother’s cole slaw. 🙂
Hi Lizzy, Happy New Year to you and yours:) I am not a fan of coleslaw but would eat it if it is placed in front of me..Kentucky Fried Chicken is my favorite fast food though, just love it!
Funny thing about picky eaters…they don’t fully understand how happy we foodies are when we get to eat more of a delicious dish and don’t have to share!
I have been craving coleslaw lately and look forward to giving this one a try!
Always great to have a classic coleslaw recipe!
My childhood was quite similar to yours! I remember when I wantedto try the Swanson t.v. dinner, with the dessert and the little compartments of food. It was a real treat when my mom said o.k..
She was such a good cook and she would try to recreate dishes too.
These are fond memories as I know yours are too.
I know what you mean when picky eaters don’t even want to try something and it is all to yourself.
I love coleslaw and it is healthy.
Blessings dear. Catherine xo
We adored the KFC coleslaw growing up too, our parents would usually get the family bucket whenever we had outdoor picnics at the park. Your classic coleslaw looks wonderful, thanks for sharing Liz 🙂
It took me a long time to like cole slaw but now i love it! this looks like a great recipe and a recipe is what I’ve never had. I always just wing it, so it is always a surprise. No one seems to mind though!
I really like your recipe for cole slaw. All your recipes are always refreshing.
Just how much will it date me if I tell you there WAS no fast food when I was a kid?! Good sounding slaw recipe for my next pulled pork endeavor and I love the celery seed addition. They’re great tossed into potato salad, as well. Thanks to you and MHB!
Oh mine…I miss cole slaw. Plenty of cabbage around here. Thanks for a classic recipe, definitely on my to-do list. Happy New Year 🙂 ela
KFC was always a special treat for a family picnic – rarely ever went “out” to eat at a restaurant. We lived on a farm with huge gardens, chickens, cows, and pigs. Coleslaw is always a salad we love – especially with chicken and pork meals. Your slaw looks wonderful!
I love coleslaw on a hot sandwich- like a Turkey “Rachel” instead of a Rueben! So good at diner restaurants when they fry it up on the flat top with the turkey, it’s making me hungry just thinking about it! And i love that you added celery seed, it’s always such a refreshing spice to use.
We hardly ever ate at fast food joints either. I remember when our McDonalds only had ‘10,000 hamburgers served’ on their marquee. We would be so excited that we’d go and make it 10,006. I love, love, love cole slaw … either creamy or vinaigretty. I’d probably eat that entire bowl.
It’s funny how we think we were deprived of growing up. We lived in the country away from any town big enough for fast food anything. We even had friends whose dad was so in love with Pizza Hut that he would buy a huge stack of them whenever he went to the city and bring them home to freeze. (That was a little OCD if you ask me.) A good cole slaw is hard to beat. This sounds great!
Thanks for sharing about your mom. I haven’t been able to make a great cole slaw, but this recipe looks great. I can’t wait to try 🙂
Cole slaw is a family favorite here! This one sounds good with the buttermilk and onion:@)
Don’t all kids want junk food growing up? I was dying for bought stuff instead of the same (few) recipes on my mom’s calendar! No wonder I ended up cooking and baking myself..lol. I adore coleslaw, and the traditional one is still a winner. Gorgeous recipe Liz! And a way to use a jar of celery seeds languishing in my pantry