Enjoy coleslaw on a whole new level when you make apple cranberry coleslaw! This recipe combines sweet, tangy & tart flavors along with incredible textures to create the very best coleslaw!
Take a moment to think about classic summer side dishes. What comes to mind?
I think of all four of those dishes. Well, I think of them all and then usually dismiss coleslaw.
I'm very texture-oriented, and when I think of traditional coleslaw, I think of overly creamy, mushy cabbage salad. In all honesty, as much as I love creamy foods, that kind of coleslaw makes me gag.
So I usually write off coleslaw as a possible side dish (or avoid it at potlucks) because of…you guessed it…the mushy texture.
But I like the taste of coleslaw! And I do like creamy foods!
So I needed to figure out how to make coleslaw that would be just creamy enough without being too much and have a great texture.
Creating the Best Apple Coleslaw Recipe
Tons of people love coleslaw, and I understand why! It’s crunchy, creamy, slightly sweet, and it goes with just about anything.
We used to occasionally pick up dinner from a local restaurant that had amazing food, including the only coleslaw I'm every really loved. While I'm not generally a fan of coleslaw, when you add apples and cranberries to it, apparently I am a huge fan!
That restaurant's coleslaw is the inspiration for the recipe I'm sharing with you today!
What Makes This Coleslaw The Best
I love easy recipes that don’t skimp on flavor. And by easy, I mean ready in 10 minutes (or less). For busy parents, ‘quick' and ‘easy' are necessities!
This is a mayo-based coleslaw recipe with a kick of lemon juice (instead of vinegar) to add some tang. A couple of years ago, I switched our mayo to Avocado Oil Mayo – it's healthier and by far my favorite in taste tests!
As it is, this easy coleslaw recipe has a wonderful mild tangy flavor. However, if you want a stronger flavor, I think adding a tablespoon or so of dijon mustard to the recipe would do nicely.
It’s perfect for dinner at home, potlucks, picnics, parties, cookouts, tailgates and more. Just make it ahead of time and bring it to any summer get together.
Or you can make it any time and serve at home with just about anything!
Easy, fast, and super versatile? In my mind, that makes it pretty darn close to the perfect side dish.
I just made pulled pork sandwiches last night for dinner, and I made this Creamy Apple Cranberry Coleslaw to put on the sandwiches. The entire family loved it – even the kids!
This Cranberry Apple Coleslaw recipe will have you making a beeline back to the serving dish and heaping an extra generous helping onto your plate (you can feel good about it – it's cabbage, afterall)!
The sweetness of the craisins and the crunch from the apple are definitely the perfect blend of flavors to add some depth to coleslaw.
Add a few chopped walnuts or slivered almonds for an unexpected twist that everyone will love.
So if you are grilling out, going to a barbecue, or just making chicken skewers or pork chops at home; this homemade coleslaw will be a hit!
How to Make Apple Cranberry Coleslaw
- Coleslaw starts with just a base of shredded cabbage. Then it is all about what you want to add to it.
- Pick your coleslaw dressing – do you want a mayo based like this or no mayo
- Mix the dressing in a bowl and then add your cabbage and other ingredients to that bowl.
- Toss the cabbage with the dressing until everything is coated
- It is best to make a couple hours before serving so everything comes together. You want the flavors and the dressing to really blend with the cabbage, not just sit on top of it.
Tips For Making the Best Coleslaw:
- Save time by using a bag of pre-shredded coleslaw mix (some people may feel that it isn't authentic coleslaw if you use shortcuts, but this useful shortcut works for me!)
- Finely dice the apples
- Make this coleslaw ahead of time and let the flavors marinate in the fridge for at least an hour
- Eat the leftovers within 2-3 days – the coleslaw gets watery and less crisp after that.
What to Serve with Apple Coleslaw
This cranberry apple coleslaw, with its creamy coleslaw dressing, pairs well with most meats, which is why I think it's a perfect side dish for summer potlucks and get togethers.
A few of my favorite foods to pair with this easy coleslaw are:
- Pulled Pork
- Grilled chicken or fish
- Roast meats
- Slow Cooker Zesty Shredded BBQ Chicken
- Your favorite mayo – I love this Avocado Mayo because it's healthier and tastes ah-mazing!
- Lemon juice – I prefer this lemon juice to the cheaper, more processed versions.
- Mixing Bowls – skip the plastic and grab a set like mine with their own lids!