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The Best Creamy Jalapeño BBQ Coleslaw

In this recipe for Creamy Jalapeño BBQ Coleslaw, your typical BBQ Coleslaw gets a makeover with the addition of jalapeño for just a bit of heat for your tastebuds! This spicy jalapeño coleslaw recipe is the perfect potluck side dish recipe for all your favorite summer cookouts – Memorial Day, Father’s Day, 4th of July, Labor Day, or just because!

photo of Creamy Jalapeño BBQ Coleslaw recipe in a bowl with a jar of coleslaw dressing behind it

Creating this Jalapeño Coleslaw

It’s a little funny to me that I’ve been writing on Good Life Eats for so many years and I haven’t ever posted a classic coleslaw recipe.

I’ve posted Cilantro Lime Broccoli Slaw, a Cilantro-Lime Slaw with Red Peppers, and a Cilantro Lime Kale Slaw, but never a creamy, classic-style BBQ coleslaw.

Of course, I couldn’t keep it totally simple when experimenting with recipes. I added in a bit of finely minced jalapeño (seeds removed and discarded) for just a touch of heat.

I think the creaminess pairs so well with the spice of the pepper, but it is just basic enough that it goes with all your favorite summertime BBQ foods, like ribs, burgers, hot dogs, brats, or brisket.

This is our favorite coleslaw recipe to make for summer! Coleslaw is totally a must-have when it comes to summertime entertaining, because almost everyone usually likes it and it is easy to prepare.

In fact, with this recipe, you can make it the night before and allow it to chill in the fridge to free up your to-do list on the day of your BBQ.

Ingredients in Jalapeño Coleslaw

You’ll need the following simple ingredients to prepare this recipe for coleslaw with jalapeño:

For the Veggies:

  • Green Cabbage
  • Red Cabbage
  • Carrot
  • Fresh Jalapeños

For the Coleslaw Dressing:

  • Mayonnaise
  • Milk
  • Buttermilk
  • Apple Cider Vinegar
  • Lemon Juice
  • White Sugar
  • Salt
  • Black Pepper

For the complete ingredient list and detailed instructions, scroll to the bottom of this post for the FREE printable recipe card.

How to Make this Recipe For Jalapeño Coleslaw

First, shred the cabbages and the carrots, chop the jalapeños. Then, combine cabbage with carrots and jalapeño peppers in a large mixing bowl.

Then, in another bowl, whisk together the milk, buttermilk, apple cider vinegar, lemon juice, sugar, salt, and pepper to make the dressing mixture.

Pour the coleslaw dressing over the cabbage mixture in the large bowl. Stir until all of the veggies are coated.

The above is simply a quick summary of this recipe. Check out the full recipe in the free printable recipe card at the bottom of this post for all the detailed instructions.

Can this Recipe for Spicy Coleslaw Be Made in Advacnce?

If you like to meal prep or just have a busy day and need to get started on preparing this jalapeño coleslaw recipe, here are my time saving suggestions:

  • Prep the veggies for the coleslaw mix ahead of time and store them in a large bowl or zip top bag. Keep refrigerated.
  • The dressing for this simple coleslaw recipe can also be prepared a day in advance. Store it in a jar in the refrigerator.
  • You can also make the entire recipe ahead of time, but I don’t recommend making it more than 24 hours in advance.

How to Store Leftover Jalapeño Coleslaw

Didn’t finish the whole recipe? No worries! You can store the leftovers of this summer side dish in an airtight container in the refrigerator. It will stay fresh for about 3 days.

For best results, transfer leftover coleslaw to the refrigerator as soon as possible. The chances of food born bacteria developing increase the longer food is left out at room temperature.

Tips for Making this Spicy Jalapeño Coleslaw Recipe

After you shred and wash the cabbage, dry it in a salad spinner to remove excess water. If you don’t have one, a paper towel will work well, too.

Customize the heat level. Add the whole jalapeño, seeds and all, if you like things extra spicy. Prefer mild heat? Remove the seeds before mincing the jalapeño pepper.

Bagged coleslaw slaw mix found in grocery stores can be used instead of shredding fresh heads of cabbage. It can be a great time saver and makes this a super easy recipe!

Don’t have buttermilk? Try using one of these Buttermilk Substitutes instead. Have leftover buttermilk? Do you know How to Freeze Buttermilk? Great for recipes like this that only use a small amount.

For a lighter version of this coleslaw recipe: You can prepare the lime vinaigrette dressing in this slaw recipe.

A great way to make a vegan creamy dressing by substituting your favorite vegan buttermilk for conventional buttermilk in the dressing ingredients. For the milk and buttermilk use oat milk and add an extra teaspoon of lemon juice.

overhead photo of jalapeno coleslaw in a bowl with a spoon

What to Serve with this Creamy Jalapeño BBQ Coleslaw

Here are some of our favorite recipes to serve alongside this yummy coleslaw recipe:

Pulled pork sandwiches made with our favorite Smoked Pork Shoulder is a classic summertime BBQ recipe and goes great with this coleslaw. Some of us like serving it on the side, but I love it on top of my pulled pork inside the bun!

Summer Potlucks and BBQs don’t seem complete without this Classic Potato Salad. Creamy mayo, celery, onion, hard-boiled eggs, and of course plenty of potatoes make up this recipe. 

What is a summer barbecue without baked beans? This recipe for Slow Cooker Baked Bean Trio with Bacon and Peppers is loaded with flavor thanks to three types of beans, bell peppers, poblano peppers, and bacon.

Zucchini Tomato Basil Salad with Lemon Basil Vinaigrette is a light and refreshing summertime salad and perfect when your garden is exploding with tomatoes, basil, and zucchini in the later summer months.

Macaroni Salad is always a hit at a summer BBQ. This recipe has sugar snaps peas and radishes to round it out, and add a pop of color.

Don’t see what you’re looking for here? You can always head over to check out the recipe index to look for more recipes.

Try this Jalapeño Coleslaw Recipe!

Looking for a great side for your next BBQ? Give this simple recipe for coleslaw a try! Is it your new favorite coleslaw recipe? Leave a comment below and give it a review for others to see what you thought of it.

On Instagram? Share your photo and tag me with @goodlifeeats and #goodlifeeatsrecipes. I’d love to see your photo of this summer side dish!

More Summer BBQ Recipes

Looking for some more ideas to serve for a summer BBQ? Here are some of my favorite, seasonal recipe ideas:

If burgers are on your menu, try these Blue Cheese Turkey Burgers with Caramelized Onions for something a little different.

Macaroni Salad is always a hit at a summer BBQ. This recipe has sugar snaps peas and radishes to round it out, and add a pop of color.

Another delicious, crowd-pleasing side to try is  Smokey Grilled Sweet Potato Wedges.

If tomatoes are your think, you can’t go wrong with Roasted Tomato Caprese Salad.

Sparkling Rhubarb Raspberry Lemonade is a refreshing drink to pair with a BBQ picnic.

For dessert, these Red, White, and Blue Berry Dessert Bites are both easy, delicious, and festive.

What are your favorite summer BBQ side dishes?

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Creamy Jalapeño BBQ Coleslaw recipe

Creamy Jalapeño BBQ Coleslaw

Yield: serves 10
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Chill Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour 15 minutes

In this recipe for Creamy Jalapeño BBQ Coleslaw, your typical BBQ Coleslaw gets a makeover with the addition of jalapeño for just a bit of heat for your tastebuds! This spicy jalapeño coleslaw recipe is the perfect potluck side dish recipe for all your favorite summer cookouts - Memorial Day, Father's Day, 4th of July, Labor Day, or just because!

Ingredients

Coleslaw Veggies

  • 12 ounces Shredded Green Cabbage
  • 4 ounces Shredded Red Cabbage
  • 1/3 cup shredded Carrots
  • 1 small deseeded Jalapeño, finely minced

Coleslaw Dressing

  • 1/2 cup Mayonnaise
  • 2 1/4 tablespoons Milk
  • 2 1/4 tablespoons Buttermilk
  • 1 1/4 tablespoons Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 1 3/4 tablespoons Lemon Juice
  • 2 - 4 tablespoons White Sugar, to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon Salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon Black Pepper

Instructions

  1. For the Coleslaw Veggies
  2. In a large plastic or glass mixing bowl, combine the green cabbage, red cabbage, shredded carrots, and jalapeño.
  3. Set aside while you prepare the coleslaw dressing.

For the Coleslaw Dressing

  1. In a 2 cup glass measuring cup, combine the mayonnaise, milk, buttermilk, apple cider vinegar, and lemon juice.
  2. Whisk until smooth.
  3. Add the sugar, starting with 2 tablespoons, and adding more to taste if desired.
  4. Then, add the salt and black pepper to the liquid mixture.
  5. Whisk until well combined.

Assembling the Jalapeño Coleslaw

  1. Pour the prepared liquid mixture over the cabbage mixture.
  2. Stir, using a wooden spoon or a spatula, until well coated.
  3. Taste for seasonings and add additional salt and pepper if desired.
  4. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for an hour or up to overnight.

Notes

How to Store Leftover Jalapeño Coleslaw

Didn't finish the whole recipe? No worries! You can store the leftovers of this summer side dish in an airtight container in the refrigerator. It will stay fresh for about 3 days.

For best results, transfer leftover coleslaw to the refrigerator as soon as possible. The chances of food born bacteria developing increase the longer food is left out at room temperature.

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Nutrition Information
Yield 10 Serving Size 1
Amount Per Serving Calories 202Total Fat 15gTrans Fat 0gCarbohydrates 15gFiber 1gSugar 10gProtein 3g

Did you make this recipe?

I’d love it if you let me know what you think! Snap a photo and tag me on Instagram at @goodlifeeats with the hashtag #goodlifeeatsrecipes so I can see what you’re cooking up in YOUR kitchen!

Kathy

Tuesday 26th of April 2022

I made this last night - it was great!

Katie

Tuesday 26th of April 2022

So glad to hear it!

Gregory Mitchell

Friday 6th of December 2019

First off this sounds great,I'll be trying it soon! Lol second I'm just wondering do I have to have the buttermilk the only reason I ask is I don't use buttermilk often and don't want it to go to waste. If there is a substitute or if I can leave it out and use more regular milk please let me know. Thank you. Respectfully Greg

Katie

Friday 6th of December 2019

I wouldn't leave it out because buttermilk has a distinct taste and regular milk won't taste the same. Good news is there are some substitutes! Here you go: 6 Easy Buttermilk Substitutes https://www.goodlifeeats.com/kitchen-tip-homemade-buttermilk-substitute/

Enjoy!

Amanda Hill

Saturday 19th of October 2019

Is the lemon juice tablespoons?

Katie

Sunday 20th of October 2019

yes, so sorry for the issue in formatting. I've fixed it now.

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