Creamy Coleslaw: How to Make the Perfect BBQ Side

Use this creamy sweet slaw to add a refreshing touch to hot and spicy BBQ dishes.
Creamy Sweet Slaw

SmokedBBQSource is supported by its readers. We may earn an affiliate commission at no extra cost to you if you buy through a link on this page. Learn more

I use coleslaw or slaw in so many different ways, in burgers, sandwiches, wraps, and as stand-alone sides. At times I’ll even bulk up the ingredients to make them close to being the main dish.

The thing is, I got really tired of the overdone cabbage, carrot, and mayo slaw. I actually don’t like it anymore.

So I started playing around with flavors and decided to bring it back to the simple method. Let the ingredients speak for themselves.

Learn how you can create a creamy sweet slaw that makes the perfect side for any barbecue.

The perfect creamy slaw

The first time I made this slaw it was at a family BBQ. It was no different to any other I had hosted but once I started prepping the food and laying it out, once everyone started plating up, there was a distinct murmur happening and someone finally asked me, what had I done to the coleslaw?

My first thought was they didn’t like it and I tried to justify what I had put in it, until I was cut short and they all started telling me it was a refreshing change from the normal and how much they loved it. I think it comes down to a good balance but the added sweetness of some maple syrup in my recipe really added another depth of flavor that everyone seemed to love.

creamy sweet slaw ingredients
Maple syrup gives this slaw a little sweetness and an extra depth of flavor

Now it is a BBQ and I do like getting compliments about the meat I’ve either smoked or grilled but no BBQ is complete without some knock out sides, so it is always a welcome pat on the back when everyone likes everything on the table.

Read more: Nashville hot chicken sandwich using this creamy slaw.

Balance is the key  

Balance is the key, which says it all really. When you add heat, you need sweet, and when you add crunchy, you need smooth.

I know a lot of my BBQ has some heat in it and this creamy sweet balance cuts through the heat and gives a perfect balance to the palate. It has a cooling effect on the palate and the sweetness is a nice added touch that makes it stand out from the crowd, without being overbearing.

So give it a try at your next BBQ, it has been a hit at mine since I first used it.

creamy sweet slaw in a bowl
Minor changes to the recipe can make this slaw stand out even more

Now it can be changed up a little, I normally add this version to burgers but with a little tweaking we can make it stand out even more as a side dish.

Here are a few other tips:

  • Fry up 1/3 of a cup of chopped streaky bacon, allow it to cool and this to the mix, as we all know bacon makes everything better.
  • Add a cup of shredded roasted chicken and two cups of cooked and cooled spiral pasta. This really takes it to another level.

How long will coleslaw last? 

As the standard version, it comes down more to how long will the ingredients last refrigerated?

Mayonnaise will last for as long as the use by date on the jar, it’s the added vegetables that we need to look at, although they are covered by the mayonnaise mix, they will start losing their crunch and freshness pretty quickly.

creamy sweet slaw on a wooden spoon
Fresh is always best, but if you have leftovers don’t leave the slaw in the fridge for more than 2 days

I personally wouldn’t leave it longer than three days in the fridge, in saying that I normally don’t have any leftover to go in the fridge.

If you make the versions with the bacon of chicken, I wouldn’t leave this any longer than two days in the fridge.

Since it is a pretty quick recipe to put together, I wouldn’t be making it too far ahead of your next BBQ. The morning of the BBQ is recommended, all the ingredients will retain their crunchy crispy freshness, just remember to give it a good stir before serving.

Serve with literally any barbecue dish. I especially recommend it with hot grilled Nashville chicken.

Creamy Sweet Slaw

Creamy Sweet Slaw

Use this creamy sweet slaw to add a refreshing touch to hot and spicy BBQ dishes.
5 from 1 vote
Print Pin Rate
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 15 minutes
Servings: 4
Calories: 357kcal
Author: Dean “Schuey” Schumann


  • ¾ cup whole egg mayonnaise
  • 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tsp salt flakes
  • ½ tsp black pepper finely ground
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup
  • ½ head of white cabbage diced
  • 4 dill pickles diced
  • 6 scallions thinly sliced


  • Add the mayonnaise, vinegar, salt, pepper and maple syrup to a bowl and mix to combine.
  • Add the diced cabbage, pickles and scallions to the bowl and mix to coat.
  • Refrigerate until needed.


Calories: 357kcal | Carbohydrates: 17g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 32g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 18mg | Sodium: 1441mg | Potassium: 342mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 12g | Vitamin A: 438IU | Vitamin C: 45mg | Calcium: 102mg | Iron: 1mg
Did you make this recipe?Tag @smokedbbqsource on Instagram so we can admire your work!

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Rate this recipe!