This tangy apple slaw recipe pairs cabbage with carrots, apples, and a creamy poppyseed dressing. The perfect fresh, easy side dish!

Here’s a fun, fresh side dish to add to your repertoire: this apple slaw recipe! Cabbage, apples and carrots partner up to form the basis of a tangy slaw. They’re doused in a creamy poppyseed dressing that you’ll want to pour on just about everything. It’s a slaw spin that’s unique in flavor but simple enough that you’ll want to keep making it all season long. In fact, it works just as well in fall and winter as for summer picnics!

Ingredients in this apple slaw

Coleslaw is one side dish we never tire of, and this variation with fruity apples gives it even more intrigue than the standard variety. The best part is the homemade poppyseed dressing, a creamy spin on our classic recipe. The seeds bring a fun texture contrast and it’s flavored with apple cider vinegar for a bold, zingy flavor. Here’s what you’ll need for this recipe:

  1. Green cabbage
  2. Red cabbage (optional, but it’s worth it for color!)
  3. Crisp tart apples
  4. Carrots
  5. Green onion
  6. Apple cider vinegar
  7. Dijon mustard
  8. Sugar (or honey)
  9. Mayonnaise
  10. Poppy seeds
  11. Salt

Best apples for slaw

In our opinion, the best type of apples for slaw is the same as the best apples for baking: use a firm, crisp tart apple. A crisp texture is essential for a slaw, where the apple needs to stand out against cabbage and carrots. The sweet tart flavor allows the apple to shine through and contrast the savory vegetables. Here are some of the best crisp tart apple varieties:

  1. Pink Lady (our favorite)
  2. Jonathon or Jonagold
  3. Granny Smith
  4. Honeycrisp
  5. Fuji

Some notes on cabbage and coleslaw mix

This recipe calls for both green cabbage and red cabbage. We like to add red cabbage for color, but it’s not necessary for flavor.

  • Skip the red cabbage if you prefer. It looks nice color-wise, but swap in green cabbage if you prefer. It can be hard to use up leftovers of two cabbages (though here are leftover cabbage recipes).
  • To speed up the recipe, use bagged coleslaw. Buy at 14 or 16 ounce bag and measure out 6 cups of the mixture (to account for the cabbage and carrot quantities).

Serving apple slaw

This apple is the ideal side dish for any protein or main. Because it features apples it feels appropriate in the fall, but it also works any time of year! It’s great in summer at potlucks and pitch-ins. Here are a few ideas for serving apple slaw:

  • Side for chicken, like creamy garlic chicken, chicken enchiladas, baked chicken thighs, grilled chicken thighs or grilled chicken
  • Side for fish, like these top miso salmon, seared salmon, salmon recipes, or easy baked fish
  • Side for shrimp, like sauteed shrimp, grilled shrimp, or these shrimp recipes
  • Side for vegetarian dinners and vegan dishes like vegetarian chili, crispy tofu, eggplant lasagna, tomato bisque, lentil soup, vegan shepherd’s pie, and more.
  • Picnic food idea
  • Side for a barbecue or pitch in
  • Thanksgiving side dish or fall salad

Dietary notes

As written in the recipe below, this apple slaw is vegetarian, dairy-free. and gluten-free. To make it vegan, use vegan mayonnaise or cashew cream in place of the mayo.

We haven’t been able to find a great vegan mayo brand (tell us in the comments if you have one you like!). So we’d lean towards making a batch of cashew cream. Keep in mind you need to soak the cashews, so it’s best to plan in advance.

This apple slaw recipe is…

Vegetarian, dairy-free, and gluten-free. For vegan, use vegan mayo or cashew cream.


Apple Slaw Recipe

This tangy apple slaw recipe pairs cabbage with carrots, apples, and a creamy poppyseed dressing. The perfect fresh, easy side dish!
Servings 1 people
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 0 minutes


  • 4 cups shredded green cabbage
  • 1 cup shredded red cabbage
  • 2 tart apples thinly sliced
  • 1 cup carrots shredded (2 medium carrots)
  • 2 green onions thinly sliced
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt divided
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar or honey
  • ½ cup mayonnaise*
  • 1 tablespoon poppy seeds


  • Shred the cabbage, thinly slice the apples, shred the carrots, and thinly slice the green onions. Place them in a large bowl, sprinkle with ¼ teaspoon kosher salt, and stir.
  • In a medium bowl, whisk the apple cider vinegar, Dijon mustard, granulated sugar, mayonnaise, poppy seeds, and ¼ teaspoon salt until smooth. Pour the dressing onto the vegetables and stir to combine. Stores up to 4 days refrigerated.


*For vegan, use vegan mayo or cashew cream.
Author: Kit Food
Course: Recipes, Side Dishes & Salad Recipes
Keyword: Apple, Apples, Easy, Fall, Gluten-Free, Healthy, Side, Side Dish, Slaw

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