Copycat KFC coleslaw is one of those rare copycat recipes that really matches the taste of the original! The secret is the creamy KFC coleslaw dressing recipe, which is made with tangy buttermilk, mayonnaise, apple cider vinegar, lemon juice, and sugar to balance out the acid.
Serve it with my air fryer chicken breasts and you’ve got yourself a dinner the whole family will love or make it for your next summer barbecue and everyone will be asking for the recipe!
My Favorite Coleslaw Recipe
Coleslaw may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but this might just be the recipe that changes your mind if you don’t consider yourself a fan. There’s a reason KFC’s coleslaw is so popular—and why everyone wants to know the recipe for KFC coleslaw dressing!
Before I started making this recipe, I usually made coleslaw with a dressing made with mayo, apple cider vinegar, and a bit of sugar. It was good, but definitely not KFC-level good. The addition of buttermilk, which is naturally tangy, and lemon juice really makes a difference here. These acidic ingredients are important because they cut the richness of the dressing; of course, with all that acid, you also need to up the sugar so you get the right balance of sweet-and-tangy.
Here’s what you need to make this KFC coleslaw copycat recipe:
- Buttermilk – Don’t want to buy a carton of buttermilk when you only need 1/4 cup for this recipe? You can make your own by combining a scant 1/4 of whole or 2% milk with 1/4 tablespoon of lemon juice or vinegar. Let it sit for a bit until it curdles.
- Mayonnaise – Whichever brand and variety is your favorite!
- Apple cider vinegar – You could swap in another type of vinegar, but if your goal is copying the KFC recipe, I suggest sticking with ACV.
- Lemon juice – You’ll need 2 tablespoons, which is about one lemon’s worth of juice.
- Sugar – For that sweet-and-tangy creamy dressing.
- Celery seed – Another essential ingredient for nailing that KFC flavor.
- Bagged coleslaw mix – What did we do before bagged coleslaw mix?! Can you imagine shredding all that cabbage yourself?
How to Make Copycat KFC Coleslaw
1. Make the KFC Coleslaw Dressing
Whisk together the buttermilk, mayo, apple cider vinegar, lemon juice, sugar, salt, pepper, and celery seed in a medium bowl.
2. Add the Coleslaw Mix
Open up the bag of coleslaw mix and put it in a large mixing bowl. Pour the dressing over the top and stir until the coleslaw is evenly-coated.
Refrigerate the coleslaw for 6 to 8 hours (or overnight) before serving. This helps all the flavors blend together!
Is KFC coleslaw keto-friendly?
Unfortunately for my keto readers, KFC coleslaw is not keto-friendly, at least if you follow this copycat version of the recipe. The main offender here is the sugar, though, so you might be able to successfully make a keto version of KFC coleslaw by substituting the sugar with Swerve or another granulated low carb sweetener.
Is KFC coleslaw gluten-free?
While I can’t speak for the real deal, the copycat version of KFC coleslaw is gluten-free.
Does KFC coleslaw have egg in it?
Yes, because this recipe contains mayonnaise and mayonnaise is made with egg, it does have egg in it. If you either can’t or don’t eat egg, you can use Just Mayo or another egg-free mayo alternative instead.
More Summer BBQ Sides
I don’t know about you, but coleslaw always makes me think of summer cookouts and family gatherings. Here are some more easy sides that are perfect for your next barbecue:
- Corn, Avocado, and Cilantro Salad
- Macaroni Salad
- Pea Salad
- Instant Pot Corn on the Cob
- The Best Potato Salad
KFC Coleslaw Copycat
- 1/4 cup buttermilk
- 1/2 cup mayonnaise
- 1 1/2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
- 2 tbsp lemon juice
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/8 tsp pepper
- 1/2 tsp celery seed
- 16 oz pre-shredded bagged coleslaw mix
- Whisk together all the ingredients for the coleslaw dressing.
- Add the coleslaw mix to a large bowl and pour the dressing on top, stirring until well combined.
- Allow the coleslaw to chill overnight, 6-8 hours, before serving.