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Cilantro Lime Cole Slaw

This Cilantro Lime Cole Slaw is a spectacular twist on our classic Southern cole slaw. It goes particularly well with Southwestern or Mexican dishes and makes the perfect topping for pulled pork…anything! The freshly prepared vegetables add just the right color and crunch to the homemade dressing and the ingredients combine to turn this kicked-up cole slaw into a side dish to remember.

Cilantro Lime Cole Slaw

Easy Cilantro Lime Cole Slaw Recipe

Cilantro is one of those herbs that people seem to either love or hate. We are definitely in the “love” category at our house and my vegetable bin is rarely without it. Not only is cilantro used in Mexican and Southwestern cuisine, cilantro also makes an appearance in Indian and Asian dishes as well, all of which we enjoy on a regular basis. I whipped up this batch of cilantro lime slaw to top the pulled pork tostadas we were having for dinner, and it was indeed the perfect crowning touch adding just the right balance of crunch and flavor. How to make Cilantro Lime Cole Slaw: (Scroll down for full printable recipe.)

  • Dressing – In a medium size mixing bowl whisk together the mayonnaise, lime juice, pickled jalapenos, sugar, zest, garlic salt and onion powder.
  • Combine with Coleslaw Mix – Add the slaw ingredients and mix well.
  • Refrigerate – Chill for at least 4 hours prior to serving, mixing periodically.
Cilantro Lime Cole Slaw

How to Make the Best Cilantro Lime Cole Slaw Recipe

There are many variations of cole slaw and I’d be the first to say that I pretty much love them all. In North Carolina it’s common to serve a barbecue seasoned slaw called Red Slaw with pulled pork. It doesn’t matter the event, this cilantro lime cole slaw is a side dish winner and expands the flavor making it another easy salad option.

  • Ingredients you’ll need to make homemade Cilantro Lime Cole Slaw: Thinly sliced green cabbage, red cabbage, julienned carrots, green onions and fresh cilantro.
  • For the dressing you’ll need: Mayonnaise, lime juice, lime zest, pickled jalapenos, onion powder, garlic salt.
  • Kitchen tools you’ll need: Medium bowl, whisk, measuring cups and spoons, sharp knife and cutting board.
  • Can you use a shortcut? If you’d like to adapt this recipe using a packaged cole slaw mix you could. You’ll need about 1 1/2 pounds to equal the amount called for in the recipe. You may also need to adapt the seasonings just slightly so taste and make that decision in real time.
  • Make this cole slaw at least four hours in advance to give the ingredients the time they need to marry. Chill in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 days.
  • Serve Cilantro Lime Cole Slaw on on pulled pork sandwiches, fish tacos or as a side dish with grilled or roasted chicken or pork. You can enjoy this cole slaw as a kicked-up side dish with baked beans and corn on the cobb for your next barbecue. It even goes well with a pot of pinto beans and Mexican Cornbread.
  • Store Cilantro Lime Cole Slaw chilled in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
Cilantro Lime Cole Slaw

More Southern Style Salads to Make

  • This retro Grape Salad is filled with toasted pecans and dressed with a slightly sweet homemade dressing.
  • Easy 5 Bean Salad is a refrigerator salad that gets better and better the longer it’s chilled.
  • Italian Spaghetti Salad with spinach can double as a side dish or a meal.
  • Hillbilly Cole Slaw is dressed with a sweet and tangy vinegar dressing.
  • Depending on the entrée you’re serving this Buffalo Ranch Cole Slaw is tasty alongside steak or wings when you’re tailgating.

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Cilantro Lime Cole Slaw

Prep Time10 minutes
Chill time4 hours
Total Time4 hours 10 minutes
Course: Salad, Side Dish
Cuisine: American, Mexican Inspired, Southern
Keyword: cilantro-lime-cole-slaw
Servings: 8 servings
Calories: 87kcal
Author: Melissa Sperka


  • Dressing:
  • 3/4 cup real mayonnaise
  • 1 Tbsp fresh lime juice
  • 1 Tbsp chopped pickled jalapeno plus 1 Tbsp juice
  • 1 Tbsp granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp lime zest
  • 1 tsp garlic salt
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • Slaw:
  • 8 cups thinly sliced green cabbage
  • 1 cup thinly sliced purple cabbage
  • 1 cup julienned carrots
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 4 medium green onions minced


  • In a medium size mixing bowl whisk together the mayonnaise, lime juice, pickled jalapenos, sugar, zest, garlic salt and onion powder.
  • To the bowl add green cabbage, purple cabbage, carrots, cilantro and green onions. Mix well.
  • Chill for at least 4 hours prior to serving, mixing periodically.


Serving: 1serving | Calories: 87kcal | Carbohydrates: 11g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 5g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 3mg | Sodium: 496mg | Potassium: 230mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 6g | Vitamin A: 2996IU | Vitamin C: 35mg | Calcium: 46mg | Iron: 1mg
Tried this recipe?Mention @melissassk or tag #melissassk!



  1. 5 stars
    Safe to say I would rate this 10 stars if I could. Considering my girlfriend ate half of it prior to using it as a topping for our tacos justifies just how good this recipe exactly is. Will definitely be utilizing this in the future!

      1. 5 stars
        Love, love this recipe, and do does my family. I have to remind them to not eat it all cause it’s not a side, but for the fish tacos lol. One question, the nutrition facts are unclear on how big each serving is…? It just says one serving. How many servings does this make in all, how many grams, etc.?

      2. I’m happy to hear your family is enjoying his recipe! It makes 8 servings (You can see this at the top of the recipe card.) Divide the batch by 8.

  2. 5 stars
    Wow! This recipe is one for the books.. we absolutely loved the spice and the freshness.
    I added red and yellow bell peppers for some more crunch.. delicious! This slaw is great for tangy pulled bbq chicken tacos, sweet and sassy, like every good southern girl I know;) xo

      1. Can this recipe be made and saved in the freezer for later????

        Thank you!!!!

  3. 5 stars
    This was really good on pulled pork tacos. I had trouble finding lime zest, so I grated the exterior of a lime. I also could only find “tamed” pickled jalapenos, so it might not have had a much kick as the original recipe. I might a more lime juice and chopped jalapenos next time to make up for what I can’t locate locally.

    Thanks so much for the recipe. It’s a keeper.

  4. Just put it together and it’s amazing! I can’t wait to try after the flavors marry and try it with pork carnitas!

  5. I have a bag of pre-shredded slaw mix to use up, can i use this in place? If so do i need to adjust the dressing for the measurements of freshly shredded veggies?

    1. You can use it. I’m not certain if you’ll need to make other adjustments or not, it depends on how the amount in the bag compares to the amounts in the recipe.

  6. 5 stars
    This is delicious! Love the little bit of heat from the pickled Jalapeno juice. I’m serving with Pork Carnitas Tacos. Can’t wait for dinner!

  7. 5 stars
    Wonderful! So flavorful and although I am a huge mayonnaise fan, this was lighter and so refreshing. Served with carne Asada tacos. Cilantro and lime are the best combination!

  8. 5 stars
    This recipe went over big with my family, really great southwestern take on cole slaw! I’m going to serve again tomorrow for guests with bbq baby back ribs.

  9. 5 stars
    This Cole Slaw is outstanding. It goes together quickly and the lime keeps it from being cloying.
    Really refreshing. Thanks

  10. I made the slaw with grilled shrimp and Mushroom Rice. It was really delicious. My husband loved it.

      1. They’re widely available at any grocery store both in the Hispanic foods section and pickles.

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