Red Cabbage and Dill Slaw

Red Cabbage and Dill Slaw ~ this colorful coleslaw will be your go-to side dish this summer, it goes with anything and everything…I say skip the deli counter and make your own, it’s easy, healthier, and costs just pennies per serving!

Red cabbage and dill slaw in a glass bowl

I can feel it, this red cabbage cole slaw recipe is the beginning of a slaw binge. I don’t know how many of them will wind up on the blog, I don’t want to drown you in slaw, but for me, I’m craving the stuff, and the cool peppery crunch just feels right with everything these days.

Every cuisine has a version of slaw, and that’s because cabbages are the workhorses of the food world ~ they’re healthy, sturdy, and cheap.

This one had roots in Pennsylvania Dutch country, where slaw is serious business. A creamy buttermilk dressing, an entire bunch of fresh dill, chopped pickles, and pickle juice make this red cabbage and dill slaw stand out from the rest.

slicing red cabbage on a mandoline for red cabbage and dill slaw

The best slaw is sliced, not shredded, at precisely 1/8″ ~ any thicker and it will be tough to eat, any thinner and it disintegrates into mush. Trust me on this.

I use a mandoline slicer for slicing my cabbage. This will be the quickest method with least cleanup. You can control the exact thickness of your slices, which is important. For this salad I cut up a small head of cabbage, and about a half of a small sweet onion, I love Vidalias when I can find them.

making red cabbage and dill slaw in a bowl

I add a whole bunch (literally, an entire bunch) of chopped fresh dill, and a couple of finely diced dill pickles.

dressing for cole slaw

The buttermilk mayo dressing is thinned with pickle juice and a touch of vinegar. There are mustard and celery seeds in there as well.

TIP:  Don’t thin your dressing down too much, the cabbage will release moisture as it sits in the refrigerator, and will naturally thin out the dressing, so I like to start with a relatively thick mixture.

pouring dressing on a red cabbage and dill slaw

Red cabbage is so healthy, and that gorgeous purple color signifies so many nutritional benefits ~ it has more vitamin C than oranges, and tons of anti-oxidants.

FOOD STYLING TIP: Save some fresh dill to scatter over the red cabbage cole slaw just before serving, the colors will really pop.

Colorful red cabbage and dill slaw

Make this red cabbage slaw your own!

  • Make it vegan by substituting oil and vinegar for the mayo and buttermilk, try 3 parts oil to 1 part vinegar.
  • Give it a kick ~ try a dab of horseradish or horseradish cream in the dressing.
  • Add shredded carrots for extra color.
  • Use gherkin pickles instead of dills.
  • Sweeten it like the Amish do with a tablespoon of sugar in the dressing.
  • Make it even healthier and reduce fat and calories by substituting Greek yogurt for the mayonnaise.
  • This would make a pretty green slaw with regular, napa, or savoy cabbage.
3.82 from 22 votes

Red Cabbage and Dill Slaw

Red Cabbage and Dill Slaw ~ this colorful coleslaw will be your go-to side dish this summer, it goes with anything and everything...I say skip the deli counter and make your own, it's easy, healthier, and costs just pennies per serving!
Course Side Dish, vegetables
Cuisine American
Prep Time 15 minutes
Yield 8 servings
Calories 130.43kcal
Author Sue Moran


  • l medium head red cabbage about 1 1/2 pounds
  • 1/2 small sweet onion such as Vidalia Maui, or generic sweet
  • 1 bunch fresh dill finely chopped (about 1/3 cup after chopping) Reserve some for garnish
  • 2 dill pickles finely chopped (about 1/2 cup)


  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 4 Tbsp buttermilk
  • 4 Tbsp dill pickle juice strained
  • 3-4 Tbsp apple cider or champagne vinegar to taste
  • 1 tsp yellow mustard seeds
  • 1 tsp celery seeds
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • fresh cracked black pepper to taste


  • fresh chopped dill


  • Cut the cabbage in half, and then into quarters. Slice away the white core. Cut the quarters into 1/8 inch slices, a mandoline slicer works well for this, Put the cabbage in your largest mixing bowl.
  • Slice the onion into 1/8 inch slices, and cut the rounds in half. Separate the strands as you add them to the bowl. Add the chopped dill and pickles and toss well.
  • Whisk together the dressing ingredients and give it a taste to adjust. Toss the slaw with enough dressing to thoroughly moisten, but don't drown it, you may have extra dressing. Cover well and refrigerate for at least an hour before serving.
  • Just before serving toss again, add more dressing if necessary, and garnish with fresh dill.

Cook's notes

There's a sweet spot for serving slaw, and it's somewhere between 1 and 4 hours after it's been made.  Any less time and the flavors won't have a change to sink in and tenderize the cabbage ~ any more time and it slowly starts to break down and loose crunch and color.  That being said, the slaw will be perfectly fine the next day, I'm just being a perfectionist about it 😉
Be sure to taste it before you serve may want to add more salt, more vinegar, or more pepper, etc.


Calories: 130.43kcal | Carbohydrates: 6.5g | Protein: 1.27g | Fat: 11.49g | Saturated Fat: 1.74g | Sodium: 248.28mg | Fiber: 1.43g | Sugar: 3.78g
The nutritional information for recipes on this site is provided as a courtesy and although tries to provide accurate nutritional information, these figures are only estimates.


Thanks for pinning this healthy and delicious Red Cabbage and Dill Slaw!

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    Please rate this recipe!

  • Reply
    April 17, 2020 at 1:56 pm

    5 stars
    This was surprisingly good considering the odd ingredients (dill pickle?). Wasn’t so sure when I first tasted the dressing– but when combined with the cabbage and other ingredients and allowed to sit, it was really refreshing. I bet it would really, really be good with garden fresh dill. Will make again. It was even good the next day.

    • Reply
      April 17, 2020 at 2:17 pm

      Yes, I can’t wait for garden fresh herbs!!

  • Reply
    July 16, 2018 at 1:57 pm

    What a unique version of coleslaw! The dill flavor really helped knock this recipe out of the park! Well done, thanks for sharing!

  • Reply
    June 13, 2018 at 3:30 pm

    Hi Sue,

    This is the BEST!!! I will add this to one of my favorite recipes for sure! I love your recipes and all the ones I’ve tried are winners! The salsa recipe can be used in so many ways and everyone loves it–THANK YOU!

    • Reply
      June 13, 2018 at 3:31 pm

      I’m grinning from ear to ear Susan!

  • Reply
    June 3, 2017 at 12:47 pm

    Made this slaw last night to go with grilled salmon. It is a good looking dish but I found it lacking in flavor I added more apple cider vinegar and chopped pickles but something is missing. Maybe I just like a sweeter slaw dressing. Will try again with bread and butter pickles or maybe pineapple. The long shed didn’t go over so well, so I’ll go smaller next time.

    • Reply
      June 3, 2017 at 12:54 pm

      Hey Cheryl ~ thanks for your feedback. I tend to like my dressings on the simple side, flavor wise, but you can definitely intensify it with more vinegar. You can also try a bit of onion salt, or mustard powder. I love horseradish cream, too. And if you’re looking for that store-bought or ‘deli’ coleslaw flavor, they definitely sweeten theirs, so play around with a little sugar or brown sugar mixed in. Hope this helps!

      • Reply
        June 3, 2017 at 1:46 pm

        And this might be controversial, but you could try Miracle Whip in place of mayo 😉

        • Reply
          June 4, 2017 at 8:42 am

          I’m not a fan if MW but I might try a sprinkle of sugar. I’m also considering a handful golden raisins. Since my leftovers are soft, the texture of raisins might not be as distracting as they would in the fresh-made slaw.

      • Reply
        June 4, 2017 at 8:37 am

        Oh, I like the idea of mustard powder! It’s a level of zing I often prefer over that of vinegar. I’ll experiment and let you know how it goes. 🙂

  • Reply
    June 2, 2017 at 5:58 am

    The red/purple cabbage and bright green dill look so beautiful together! I love slaws of all kinds and they are a perfect side for so many summer entrees. Lovely!

  • Reply
    [email protected] is How I Cook
    June 1, 2017 at 8:39 pm

    We eat a lot of slaw around here. Manservant prefers it over salad! Loving this version!

  • Reply
    Dawn @ Words Of Deliciousness
    June 1, 2017 at 7:20 pm

    I have never had pickles or dill in slaw before, but I am loving it. This is on my list to make. I love cole slaw, I could eat every day of the week. The red cabbage looks great!!

  • Reply
    Cheyanne @ No Spoon Necessary
    June 1, 2017 at 5:54 am

    I actually have a weird obsession with cole slaw… like, I can eat just a vat of it for a meal. 🙂 Naturally I am LOVING this one!! It’s soooo gosh darn pretty! And I love that dill!! Can’t wait to try this! Cheers, friend!

    • Reply
      June 1, 2017 at 7:24 am

      We’re kindred spirits Cheyanne 🙂

  • Reply
    June 1, 2017 at 3:48 am

    I really don’t think I have ever called a slaw recipe “pretty”, but this one certainly is, as a picture! Lovely and sounds so refreshing!

  • Reply
    Marta @ What should I eat for breakfast today
    May 31, 2017 at 11:35 pm

    I really like all the colours, it looks like spring, I’m trying it!

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