Thanksgiving Slaw

updated Oct 29, 2022
Thanksgiving Slaw
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(Image credit: Lauren Volo)

The idea of serving salad at Thanksgiving is, in theory, a good one — you want something light, crunchy, and refreshing to balance out the roast turkey and rich side dishes. The reality, however, is that most salads need to be tossed at the last second and eaten quickly before wilting — not the best choice when there’s a lot going on in the kitchen already and the food might sit out for a few hours.

This easy, colorful slaw is the answer to this dilemma. It won’t wilt like other green salads and can sit out for a while, making it a great addition to the Thanksgiving buffet.

Tips for Making Thanksgiving Slaw

Soak the onions first.

This slaw uses red onions for a bit of crunch and spiciness, but the raw bite of them is best tamed down first. Soaking the onions in the dressing for just 10 minutes does the trick, and the onions, in turn, help flavor the dressing too.

Shred the cabbage by hand.

While the bagged stuff is certainly more convenient, it’s often a bit more expensive than just shredding a whole cabbage yourself. With a sharp knife and few steps, it couldn’t be easier. Plus, when you shred cabbage by hand, you have full control over the thickness and length of each piece.

Assemble ahead of time.

The slaw actually benefits from sitting around for a bit so the flavors meld. After the dressing is made, just toss in shredded cabbage (buy pre-shredded cabbage as a shortcut), crunchy almonds, tart cranberries, and some parsley for freshness. The cabbage will stay crisp for up to two hours, making it the ideal salad to serve for Thanksgiving dinner.

Thanksgiving Slaw

Serves 8

Nutritional Info


For the dressing:

  • 1/3 cup

    vegetable oil

  • 1/4 cup

    apple cider vinegar

  • 2 tablespoons

    maple syrup

  • 4 teaspoons

    Dijon mustard

  • 1/2 teaspoon

    kosher salt

  • 1/2


    red onion, finely chopped

For the salad:

  • 1

    small head green cabbage (about 2 1/2 pounds, or about 10 cups shredded cabbage or coleslaw mix)

  • 3/4 cup

    sliced almonds, toasted

  • 3/4 cup

    dried cranberries

  • 3/4 cup

    fresh Italian parsley leaves, coarsely chopped

  • Kosher salt

  • Freshly ground black pepper


  1. Make the dressing: Whisk the vinegar, oil, maple syrup, Dijon, and salt together in a large bowl. Add the red onion and stir to combine. Let sit at least 10 minutes for the flavors to meld. Meanwhile, prepare the cabbage.

  2. Make the salad: Cut the cabbage into eight wedges through the core, then cut the core from each piece. Thinly slice the cabbage wedges crosswise to shred.

  3. Add the shredded cabbage, almonds, cranberries, and parsley to the dressing and toss to combine. Taste and season with salt and pepper as needed.

Recipe Notes

Make ahead: This slaw can sit out at room temperature for up to 2 hours without wilting, making it a great make-ahead or buffet dish.

Storage: Leftover slaw can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 1 day.

Half recipe: To make half the amount of slaw, use the following amounts:
Dressing: 3 tablespoons vegetable oil, 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar, 1 tablespoon maple syrup, 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard, 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt, 1/4 small red onion, finely chopped
Salad: 1 (about 14 oz) bag shredded green cabbage or coleslaw mix, 1/3 cup EACH toasted sliced almonds, dried cranberries, and coarsely chopped fresh Italian parsley leaves