Grandma’s Coleslaw

Published April 23, 2013 by jenmatteson

When I was young, I didn’t like coleslaw.  Of course you think you don’t like a lot of things until you actually try them.  Well, when I finally did try it, it was my grandma’s coleslaw.  After that, I really didn’t like any coleslaw other than my grandma’s.  I suppose I’ll still eat it, but I definitely think that her coleslaw was the absolute best.  Unfortunately, she literally took her recipe to the grave with her.  No one in my family had it written down.  I remember making it with her several times, and her ordering me to do this and add that, but the last time we made it was probably over 10 years ago.  This is now the second time I’ve attempted it, and I think it definitely compares to hers (of course, hers is still the best 😉 ).

Grandma's Coleslaw

While it looks like a pretty regular coleslaw, actually kind of plain with just cabbage and mayonnaise, it’s so much more.  The secret is the grated onions in the sauce.  Do not skip this step.  Chopped onions simply will not do.  Also, Miracle Whip is necessary, not mayonnaise.  The result is a creamy, slightly sweet, crunchy fresh coleslaw, perfect as a side or even a topper on some good barbecue.  We paired this with Nate’s smoked ribs, as well as topped pulled pork sandwiches with it at our St. Patrick’s Day party. However you eat it, just remember to thank Grandma M while you’re enjoying. XOXO Grams!

Grandma's Coleslaw

Grandma’s Coleslaw

Source: Slightly adapted from Grandma M’s Original
Servings: 8


1 1/2 cups Miracle Whip
1/4 cup milk
3-4 tbsp sugar
1/2 onion, grated
salt and pepper
1/2 head cabbage,  sliced thin


1. In in small bowl, combine Miracle Whip, milk and sugar.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.  Remember, this is grandma’s recipe, so you may need to adjust the amount of milk and sugar to get the right combination.  The dressing should be thick, but still pourable; consistency similar to yogurt.  Add grated onion.

2. Add 1/2 of the cabbage to a large bowl, and pour in a small amount of dressing.  Stir to combine and evenly coat the cabbage.  Add more cabbage and dressing a little at a time.  Be sure not to drench the cabbage, just lightly dress it.  Reserve any remaining dressing in an airtight container for up to one week.

2 comments on “Grandma’s Coleslaw

  • Thank you! This looks like what I remember my Grandmother making also. Nothing fancy! Just good eating! My Grandmother, who lived with us, died when I was a senior in high school after a very long illness. I am now looking for recipes to recreate her cooking. BTW,, I am now in my 50s.

    • I hope you love it! I’m still tweaking the measurements as my family always says it isn’t exactly right, but the closest anyone has come. I think it’s just missing Grammie’s love, and that’s why it’s not the same. And yes, nothing fancy! Just good eats. You hit the nail on the head!!

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