The Easiest-Ever No Mayo Coleslaw

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No Mayo Coleslaw is quick and easy to make and is a versatile side dish for any BBQ or summer gathering. This mayo free coleslaw has a vinegar base instead of the traditional mayonnaise base.

Easy No Mayo Coleslaw in a silver bowl
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Where does your allegiance lie when it comes to coleslaw? Are you a mayo fan or mayo-free?

Most mayo-haters don’t like it in a coleslaw or other summer salads because of fear of food born issues that may happen from the dish sitting out all day. I don’t know what it is but I just cannot stomach mayo, period. At all. It just leaves my stomach feeling oily and uneasy. For some bizarre reason, I’m okay with homemade aioli sauces (which are similar to mayo), but most store-bought mayonnaise doesn’t do it for me.

And when it comes to coleslaw, those recipes that require heavy amounts of mayo are so rich and oily that they can easily overpower the dishes they are meant to highlight.

No Mayo Coleslaw

This no mayo coleslaw is a perfect solution. It’s light, fresh, crunchy, and tasty (from its two secret ingredients, more on that later). And it’s so stinking simple. And it’s my favorite coleslaw to pair with dishes like pulled pork sandwiches, like these here…

Smoked Pulled Pork Sandwiches topped with no mayo coleslaw
A touch of the no mayo coleslaw to a slider is perfect.

Vinegar Based Coleslaw — A Great Vegetarian Side Dish

This no mayo coleslaw recipe also happens to be vegetarian AND the perfect side dish.

This slaw is crisp, light and fresh, with nice acidity. This is meant to be a simple and light side dish. Something to accompany your favorite summertime barbecued and grilled dishes.

Easy Mayo Free Coleslaw with grilled Chicken
Have as a lite side.

How to Make Coleslaw with No Mayo

This is really the easiest recipe ever. It’s just shredded cabbage and carrots, mixed with some onion, salt and pepper, and our little secret additions — cumin and apple cider vinegar.

Key Tip

If you’re just making a small amount feel free to buy a pre-packaged coleslaw mix to keep things simple. BUT if you’re cooking for a crowd you get so much more bang for your buck by buying a head of cabbage.

purple and green cabbage
Savoy cabbage is a great alternative to green cabbage.
  • Start by shredding the cabbage using a mandolin slicer or thin sharp knife.
  • *** BUT WORD OF CAUTION!*** Watch those precious fingers when using a sharp device like a mandolin slicer. I learned that the hard way the very first time I used mine (suuuuuch a painful rookie mistake!). Slice carefully, and with caution. That is if you appreciate your fingertips. 😉
  • Next mix up the shredded cabbage with some grated carrots and sliced onions.
  • Toss together with some apple cider vinegar, salt and pepper, and cumin. (Cumin is a pretty strong flavor, so start small and add more as you taste).

Every single time we make this coleslaw we always have someone look up at us with delight saying, “Wow, I love this slaw. What’s that unique flavor in it?”

It’s cumin, my friend. And that fresh zesty tang you get from the apple cider vinegar. No mayo needed for this coleslaw.

Easy Mayo-Free Coleslaw in a bowl with a glass of wine
A great lightly acidic dish that pairs with wines well.

This mayo free coleslaw is truly an awesome side dish for barbecues, parties, and it’s fantastic on top of pulled pork sandwiches or even these amazing pulled lamb sliders.

Other Coleslaw Recipes

You can go with the classic coleslaw with mustard and mayo or pick from one of the following.

Also a great recipe to add to pulled pork tacos.

About Vindulge

Mary (a certified sommelier and recipe developer) and Sean (backyard pitmaster) are co-authors of the critically acclaimed cookbook, Fire + Wine, and have been creating content for the IACP nominated website Vindulge since 2009. They live in Oregon on a farm just outside Portland.

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Now on 2nd edition

Fire + Wine Cookbook

“This book is a one-stop guide for anyone truly interested in elevating their BBQ experience into a culinary work of art.”
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Easy No Mayo Coleslaw

A super simple mayo free coleslaw made with shredded cabbage, sliced carrots and onions, salt and pepper, cumin and apple cider vinegar. Easy and delicious, with no mayo.
Prep: 5 minutes
Total: 5 minutes
Servings: 6 cups
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  • 3 cups green cabbage, shredded thin, Savoy cabbage works well too
  • 1 cup red cabbage, shredded thin
  • 1 cup red onion, very thinly sliced
  • cup carrots, shredded
  • ¼ cup apple cider vinegar
  • ½ tablespoon kosher salt
  • ½ tablespoon cumin
  • ¼ teaspoon fresh ground pepper


  • Using a mandolin or box grater, carefully shred the cabbage and carrots.
  • If you don't have a mandolin, then slice the red onion very thinly.
  • In a large bowl, combine cabbage, onions, and carrots. Add apple cider vinegar, salt, cumin and pepper. If you do not like cumin or are concerned with the intensity, add small portions of it and adjust to taste.
  • With tongs, stir up to incorporate the ingredients.
  • Add as a side dish, or as a topping for your favorite sandwiches.


This amount is great for a party of around 10-12 people. Or if you are just using it to top a pulled pork sandwich you’ll just need a touch (a couple tablespoons). Adjust portion sizes for the size of your gathering, small to large.


Calories: 34kcal | Carbohydrates: 7g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 0.2g | Saturated Fat: 0.04g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 0.1g | Sodium: 604mg | Potassium: 197mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 2583IU | Vitamin C: 24mg | Calcium: 38mg | Iron: 1mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Additional Info

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 5 minutes
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: barbecue, bbq, coleslaw, side dishes
Servings: 6 cups
Calories: 34
Keyword: mayo free coleslaw, no mayo coleslaw, vinegar coleslaw
Like this recipe? Leave a comment below!

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About Mary

I'm Mary, a wine/food/travel writer, Certified Sommelier, mom of twins, former vegetarian turned BBQ fanatic, runner, founder of Vindulge, and author of Fire + Wine cookbook. Thanks for stopping by!

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  1. We don’t use mayo in our house my wife is allergic to eggs. Typically I use a vinegar and oil based dressing on coleslaw, so I’m looking forward to trying this one!! After all, the perfect pulled pork sandwich demands coleslaw.

    1. It goes without saying pulled pork and slaw is like Sonny and Cher. And really, add fun flavors using things like pickled smoked onions!! Don’t need the mayo to make it delish.