KFC’s Coleslaw Recipe Revealed

From The Blog

If you’re a fan of KFC’s deliciously creamy and tangy coleslaw, you’re in for a treat. We’ve uncovered the secrets behind this iconic side dish, and now you can make it at home with just a few simple ingredients. Our copycat recipe is spot-on, capturing the authentic flavor and texture that pairs perfectly with your favorite fried chicken or barbecue dishes.

The Perfect Blend of Cabbage, Carrots, and Onions

The key to achieving the signature KFC coleslaw taste lies in the combination of finely chopped vegetables. Start with fresh, crisp green cabbage, sweet carrots, and a hint of pungent onion. These three ingredients form the base of the slaw, providing a delightful crunch and a vibrant mix of colors.

To ensure the perfect texture, shred the cabbage and carrots into thin, rice-sized pieces. This can be done easily using a sharp knife or a food processor fitted with a shredding attachment. Mince the onion finely, so it distributes evenly throughout the slaw without overpowering the other flavors.

Once your vegetables are prepped, it’s time to create the dressing that will bring everything together. In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together mayonnaise, milk, buttermilk, apple cider vinegar, lemon juice, sugar, salt, and black pepper. The combination of tangy buttermilk, zesty lemon juice, and a touch of sweetness from the sugar creates a perfectly balanced flavor profile.

Tip: If you don’t have buttermilk on hand, you can easily make a substitute by mixing 1 tablespoon of lemon juice or white vinegar with 1 cup of milk. Let the mixture sit for 5-10 minutes before using it in the recipe.

Pour the dressing over the shredded vegetables and mix thoroughly, ensuring that every piece is coated evenly. The cabbage will soften slightly as it absorbs the flavors of the dressing.

The Secret to Authentic KFC Flavor

One of the secrets to replicating the authentic KFC coleslaw taste is the addition of sugar and onion to the dressing. These two ingredients work together to balance the acidity of the vinegar and lemon juice, while adding a subtle sweetness and depth of flavor.

Another crucial step in achieving the perfect flavor is allowing the coleslaw to chill in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours, preferably overnight. This resting time allows the flavors to meld and develop, resulting in a more cohesive and delicious slaw.

As the coleslaw sits, the vegetables will release some liquid, which can accumulate at the bottom of the bowl. To ensure the best texture and flavor, give the slaw a good stir before serving, redistributing the dressing evenly.

Tip: If you prefer a drier coleslaw, you can drain off some of the excess liquid before stirring and serving.

When it’s time to serve, you’ll be amazed at how closely this copycat recipe resembles the original KFC coleslaw. The creamy, tangy dressing coats each strand of cabbage and carrot, creating a harmonious blend of flavors and textures that will have your taste buds singing.

Versatile and Delicious

While KFC coleslaw is an iconic side dish for fried chicken, it’s incredibly versatile and pairs well with a variety of meals. Serve it alongside grilled meats, use it as a topping for pulled pork sandwiches, or enjoy it as a refreshing addition to your summer picnic spread.

This copycat recipe makes a generous batch, perfect for feeding a crowd or enjoying leftovers throughout the week. Store any remaining coleslaw in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Keep in mind that the longer it sits, the more liquid will accumulate, so be sure to give it a good stir before serving.

If you’re looking to add a touch of elegance to your coleslaw presentation, consider serving it in individual glass serving bowls or on a bed of crisp lettuce leaves. A sprinkle of fresh herbs, such as chopped parsley or dill, can add a pop of color and an extra layer of flavor.

Tip: For a healthier twist on the classic recipe, try using a light or reduced-fat mayonnaise in the dressing. You can also add additional vegetables, such as red cabbage or bell peppers, for extra color and nutrition.

In conclusion, this copycat KFC coleslaw recipe is a must-try for anyone who loves the iconic side dish. With its creamy, tangy dressing and perfectly balanced flavors, it’s sure to become a staple in your kitchen. So, the next time you’re craving that authentic KFC taste, skip the drive-thru and whip up a batch of this delicious slaw at home. Your taste buds will thank you!

Copycat KFC Coleslaw

Course: Side DishCuisine: American


Prep time


Cooking time





Recreate the iconic taste of KFC’s creamy, tangy coleslaw at home with this spot-on copycat recipe. Finely shredded cabbage, carrots, and onion are tossed in a sweet and zesty dressing for a side dish that pairs perfectly with crispy fried chicken.


  • 1/2 head green cabbage, finely shredded

  • 1 large carrot, finely shredded

  • 1/4 cup finely minced onion

  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise

  • 1/4 cup milk

  • 1/4 cup buttermilk

  • 2 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice

  • 1 1/2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar

  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar1/2 teaspoon salt1/8 teaspoon black pepper


  • In a large bowl, combine the shredded cabbage, carrots, and minced onion. Toss well to mix.
  • In a separate medium bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise, milk, buttermilk, lemon juice, apple cider vinegar, sugar, salt, and pepper until smooth and well combined.
  • Pour the dressing over the cabbage mixture and stir well, making sure all the vegetables are evenly coated in the dressing.
  • Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 4 hours, or preferably overnight. This allows the flavors to meld and develop.
  • Just before serving, give the coleslaw a good stir to redistribute the dressing evenly. If there is excess liquid at the bottom of the bowl, you can drain it off if desired.
  • Taste and adjust the seasoning if needed, adding more salt, pepper, or sugar to suit your preferences.
  • Transfer the coleslaw to a serving bowl and enjoy alongside your favorite fried chicken, barbecue dishes, or as a refreshing side at picnics and potlucks.
  • Store any leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Give it a stir before serving again.


  • For best results, shred the cabbage and carrots very finely, akin to the size of rice grains. You can use a food processor or sharp knife for this.
  • If you don’t have buttermilk, you can make a quick substitute by mixing 1 cup milk with 1 tablespoon lemon juice or vinegar. Let it sit for 5 minutes before using.
  • Letting the coleslaw rest in the fridge for several hours is crucial to achieving the right flavor and texture, so plan accordingly.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: How long does this copycat KFC coleslaw last?
A: Stored in an airtight container in the fridge, the coleslaw will keep well for up to 3 days. The texture may become a bit watery over time, so be sure to give it a good stir before serving leftovers.

Q: Can I make this coleslaw ahead of time?
A: Absolutely! In fact, it’s recommended to make the coleslaw at least 4 hours ahead, or preferably overnight, to allow the flavors to meld and develop. The coleslaw will taste even better the next day.

Q: Is it necessary to use both mayonnaise and buttermilk?
A: The combination of mayonnaise and buttermilk helps achieve the signature creamy, tangy flavor of KFC’s coleslaw. However, if you don’t have buttermilk on hand, you can substitute an equal amount of regular milk mixed with a squeeze of lemon juice.

Q: Can I add other vegetables to this coleslaw recipe?
A: While this recipe aims to recreate the specific taste of KFC’s coleslaw, you can certainly experiment with adding other vegetables like red cabbage, bell peppers, or even apples for a twist. Just keep in mind that it will change the flavor profile of the dish.

Jamie Anderson
Jamie Anderson
Hey there! I'm Jamie Anderson. Born and raised in the heart of New York City, I've always had this crazy love for food and the stories behind it. I like to share everything from those "Aha!" cooking moments to deeper dives into what's really happening in the food world. Whether you're here for a trip down culinary memory lane, some kitchen hacks, or just curious about your favorite eateries, I hope you find something delightful!

Latest Articles

More Articles Like This