Memphis-Style Coleslaw

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Memphis Style ColeslawOnce upon a time, I hated coleslaw. That was a long time ago. Now, I still dislike most ‘slaws served in restaurants (as I mentioned before) but I love throwing together different variations at home.

This recipe introduced me to a new type of spice I hadn’t used before, called celery seeds.  We use celery salt for our Chicago-style dogs, but never had I used whole celery seeds.  Don’t omit them.  The inclusion of the celery seeds is what sets the flavor above other coleslaws.  Plus, the speckles they create in the dressing add to the visual appeal.

Memphis Style Coleslaw 2If you are the type that likes to eat coleslaw topped on your sandwiches, as a side to your barbecue, or just for a quick snack, then you have found the perfect recipe.  The flavor of this complements any of these scenarios and will quench your slaw craving at any time.

Memphis-Style Coleslaw

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Total Time: 5 minutes

Yield: 8-10 servings

Serving Size: about 1/4 cup

Calories: 2-3 hours chill time

Memphis-Style Coleslaw

  • 1/2 head of cabbage, sliced (or 1 16-oz. bag shredded cabbage with carrots)
  • 1/2 minced green bell pepper
  • 1 to 2 carrots, peeled and grated
  • 1 cup mayonnaise (not light)
  • 2 Tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 2 Tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 2 Tablespoons sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt (Kosher preferred)
  • 1 Tablespoon grated onion
  • 2 teaspoons celery seed

In a large bowl, combine the cabbage, green bell pepper and carrots; set aside. In a small bowl, mix together the rest of the ingredients and stir until fully incorporated. Pour over the cabbage mix and toss until evenly coated. Chill in the refrigerator for 2 to 3 hours before serving. Will keep for about 3 days in the fridge.

Source: Adapted from Our Best Bites, originally Southern Living Comfort Food

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  1. Oh, I never thought to put celery seed in coleslaw! If you are looking for how else to use it, try it in egg salad and chicken salad for sandwiches – delicious!

  2. Even though I have always seen coleslaw served with BBQ growing up in upstate NY, I never in my life would’ve imagined putting it on the sandwich like they do here in Memphis. Probably because I always disliked it. I recently have come to enjoy certain types though, but I haven’t figured of what in them makes me like them.

  3. Yum! Over a pulled pork BBQ sandwich – Heaven on a plate. I love celery seeds. To me, they’re the star ingredient in Old Bay. Also, they’re wonderful in cold pasta salads. Such a pungent little burst of flavor. They’re great!

  4. I absolutely love celery seed in my cole slaw! So glad you’ve come around to the wonderful world of slaw. 🙂

  5. Sounds and Looks De-lish….I love celery seed in coleslaw too. I’ve had a similar recipe and can’t wait to try this one!!

  6. I had to “grow into” coleslaw, but I love it now!

  7. Jenise Scarborough says:

    This recipe has the same ingredients that I put in my slaw, except I rarely measure anything anymore. I always get compliments on it,and if I say so myself, it is delicious! I started using celery seed several years ago when I never had celery on hand. I even put celery seed in my potato salad instead of chopped celery and also in my tuna, chicken,salmon salads and deviled eggs. It is better to refrigerate your slaw or whatever for a few hours before serving to let the flavors mix.

  8. You never put celery seeds in your coleslaw?? I thought that was standard for the flavor…otherwise it’s just vinegar, sugar, and mayo. Maybe it’s a Jewish thing? I dunno. I grew up with LOTS of kosher staples (Jewish grandmother!) and coleslaw isn’t complete without that celery seed. Next you’ll be telling me you don’t put pickle juice in your potato salad…haha!

  9. Looks delicious! I only have celery salt (and don’t want to run out to buy celery seeds as well). Would you recommend skipping the celery seeds entirely or trying maybe 1/4 or 1/2 tsp of celery salt (and obv cut back on the kosher salt)? Thank you:)

  10. I made my own version tonight as I didn’t think I had apple cider vinegar. I figured a couple tablespoons of apple jelly and regular cider would be fine. After adding the jelly, I found some apple cider vinegar and added it. Also, I substituted Dijon mustard with stone ground as that’s all I had. Maybe they are the same thing. I don’t really know. Regardless, it turned out wonderful and the boys whom normally don’t care for slaw, said they really liked it.

  11. This is the slaw my mother made all the time, but she didn’t use the bell pepper. My dad didn’t like bell pepper. I add a little purple cabbage for the color, and I like more carrot. I’m from Memphis TN, and this is pretty much how we do it, and yes, we put it on our barbecue pork sandwiches. Delicious!

  12. This was SO good! Definitely a keeper. Thanks.

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