6 Ways To Spice Up Your Bland Coleslaw, Even If It’s Not Your Favorite Side Dish

how to fix bland coleslaw

Coleslaw is one of the most popular side dishes at barbecues, but it can also be bland.

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If you’re looking for ways to spice up your coleslaw, check out these tips in this blog post.

Why is my coleslaw bland?

Bland coleslaw is often a result of an unseasoned dressing.

A good coleslaw dressing should have a good balance of sweetness, acidity, saltiness, and oiliness.

If you’re unsure how to make your dressing or if the one you’re using isn’t flavorful enough, try combining equal parts mayonnaise and sour cream (or Greek yogurt), plus two tablespoons vinegar and one teaspoon each salt and sugar.

It’s important to note that this ratio will vary by preference—some people prefer vinegar more, so adjust based on taste.

If you don’t like mayonnaise, try another dressing instead!

What are some common mistakes when making coleslaw?

When making coleslaw, there are some common mistakes that people make.

Here are a few things you can do to avoid these blunders:

  • It will be bland and flat if you’re not salting your vegetables before making coleslaw.

Make sure you salt the cabbage or other vegetables like carrots just before mixing them with the dressing ingredients.

This will give them a nice crispness and flavor boost!

  • Adding too much sweetener to your dressing can also cause problems.

If you add too much sugar or honey, then this may bring down the flavors of your slaw in an unpleasant way.

  • Adding the dressing too early: Coleslaw can be prepared in advance, but it should only be dressed right before serving.

If you add the dressing too early, your salad will end up watery when served on the table.

How to spice up bland coleslaw?

Suppose your coleslaw is bland; there is no need to worry! You can spice it up with the following tips:

Add wasabi

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This Japanese condiment is made from the root of the wasabi plant and has a very sharp, spicy flavor that’s used to flavor sushi.

You can also use it in other dishes, including coleslaw.

Add some to your dressing, or mix it with your cabbage for an added zing!

Add freshly-squeezed lemon/lime juice

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Add some freshly-squeezed lemon or lime juice to make your coleslaw taste better.

The acidity will help balance out the sweetness of the mayonnaise and sugar in your dressing.

Use a lemon or lime that isn’t too sour.

You can use the juice of half a citrus fruit or even squeeze 1/4 cup of fresh lemon or lime juice into your coleslaw mix.

Add Dijon mustard

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As with many things in life, the answer is simple: Dijon mustard!

Dijon adds a lot of flavor and texture to coleslaw and is a great way to jazz up boring old cabbage.

You can use Dijon in two ways: as part of your coleslaw dressing or as an ingredient on top.

You can add it directly to the cabbage for extra flavor and texture.

Add ground capers

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The simplest way to spice up your coleslaw is by adding ground capers.

You can add them to the dressing or mix them into the coleslaw itself, and you can also add a few whole capers on top for extra deliciousness!

Ground capers are a great way to get that salty, tangy flavor without making things too salty or tasting like straight vinegar.

Capers have a slightly sharp taste that makes food seem more flavorful and fresh rather than bland.

Add more mayo

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If you want to make your coleslaw more filling, add more mayonnaise!

The creamy texture of the dressing will help fill you up without adding a lot of calories or fat.

If you’re worried about eating too much fat, low-fat or even no-fat mayo can give you that satisfying mouthfeel without adding as many calories.

Just remember that while sour cream is delicious, it’s also really rich and creamy.

So if you’re choosing between sour cream or mayonnaise for this recipe (or any other), use whichever one tastes better to you.

Add bacon

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The salty, smoky flavor of bacon is a great way to spice up a coleslaw.

Adding an extra layer of umami adds a nice crunch and ups the flavor profile of this cabbage salad.

If you’re not a vegetarian, consider adding some crispy cooked bacon at the end as well (along with your vinegar).

You can use it on top or throw it in with all the other ingredients for extra flavor.


You can spice up your coleslaw with many ingredients available in your kitchen or at a local grocery store.

The best part?

You don’t need fancy ingredients or equipment to create this tasty side dish.

Just use what you have at home and experiment with different flavors until you find a combination that works for your taste buds!