Healthy No Mayo Coleslaw

by Shelley Β· May contain affiliate links

Published β€’ Updated May 9, 2022

~ This Healthy No Mayo Coleslaw recipe is the perfect middle ground between creamy, deli-style coleslaws and tangy vinegar slaws. It features a lightened-up Greek yogurt coleslaw dressing that needs just a few simple ingredients. Even better? It only takes about 5 minutes to toss together! (Originally published as Greek Yogurt Coleslaw on June 19, 2014) ~

This Recipe Is:     Ready in 30 Minutes or Less    Make Ahead    Vegetarian    Gluten Free  

overhead of a serving bowl of coleslaw sitting on a green-striped towel

It’s no secret that I love healthy salads, with lightened-up, homemade salad dressings.

And definitely no secret that I love Greek yogurt.

So you know this was inevitable: a No Mayo Coleslaw recipe that successfully subs Greek yogurt, in place of mayonnaise or those bottled slaw dressings filled with questionable ingredients.

Quick and Easy … Even Without the Mayo!

Think it’s hard to make your own coleslaw, though, without relying on the bottled coleslaw dressing or mayo? Nope, nope, nope. Think again!

We’re talkin’ 5 minutes of prep time and only a few, very simple ingredients, most of which are probably already in your pantry! (Now that’s easy!)

Just take a peek at our video tutorial to see how easy this coleslaw is to make.

Video Tutorial


Looks so easy, so simple and delicious, right? (Hint: it’s ALL of that!)

A Perfect Blend of Coleslaw Styles

This version is the perfect middle ground between German-style, tangy, vinegary slaw and creamy, deli-style coleslaw (you know – the kind that’s pretty much just a big blob of mayo with a few shreds of cabbage swimming in it).

Our version is perfectly creamy, sweet, tangy and vinegary … all at once!

closeup of the completed recipe in serving bowl, being scooped by wooden servers

And with both protein-rich Greek yogurt and superhero cabbage (with all its antioxidant nutrition) – this slaw is delicious, yet also incredibly nutritious. Just the way I like it!

But still, it took quite a bit of tinkering to perfectly balance the ingredients so that this doesn’t taste like Greek yogurt coleslaw, but instead like … well … like just-really-good coleslaw! The secret’s in the dressing. 

A Lighter, Healthy Coleslaw Dressing

My goal in creating this coleslaw dressing was to find a healthier, homemade alternative to processed, bottled dressings. And, like I mentioned earlier, I wanted a sweet-tart flavor profile. Not exactly deli-style, but not a true vinegar-based version either.

small glass bowl of coleslaw dressing with a whisk in it, sitting on a green-striped towel with a bowl of the cabbage waiting in the background

This recipe accomplishes all those things!

Nonfat Greek yogurt handily replaces mayo (or Marzetti’s slaw dressing) with a creamy base that slashes both naughty fats and the calories those fats bring along with them. (Why, hello, swimsuit season!) The vinegar gives it a truly coleslaw vibe, and the sugar keeps the tart Greek yogurt and vinegar from being too … well … too tart.

It’s like a little balancing act!

One note I wanted to mention about the sugar: In the six years since we first published this recipe (back in 2014), we’ve gotten a few questions from readers who wanted to know if they could replace the sugar we call for, with something else.

My family doesn’t typically use sugar substitutes (we just moderate the overall sugar in our diet – but that’s a story for another day). But, a number of readers through the years have suggested various sugar substitutes they’ve successfully used. I can’t personally vouch for any of them, but you can peek through the suggestions in our comments at the end of the post if you’re interested in giving that a try. Take our recipe idea and run with it … and make it your healthy coleslaw recipe, just the way you like it!

Picking Your Cabbage

Of course, you can definitely shred your own cabbage from your garden or the farm market. That would be fabulous, for sure!

overhead photo of a glass mixing bowl with shredded cabbage in it, with a smaller bowl of the dressing nearby, waiting to be poured over top

But, to save time, I often just grab the pre-shredded, bagged stuff. 

As you can see in our photos, my family especially likes to use the coleslaw blends that have some carrots and purple cabbage mixed in. Not only does that offer a little diversity in the veggie nutrition we’re getting, but it’s also just a lot prettier!

Serving Ideas For Our No Mayo Coleslaw

This quick, easy coleslaw is fantastic alongside grilled meats. And it fits perfectly into any picnic buffet, potluck party, or summertime backyard BBQ menu.

But you know what we really love to do with it?

What we really designed this coleslaw to be was the topping for sandwiches. Really!

It’s the perfect tangy-sweet, slightly crunchy counterpoint to even the simplest lunch meat sammies, grilled burgers and dogs, pulled pork … you name it.

little oval bowl of this recipe as a side dish, with plates of BBQ chicken and sweet potatoes fries in the background to complete the meal

Backstory on this craaaaaazy slaw-on-sandwiches concept:

My dear friend Gretchen is from Pittsburgh (you remember Gretchen – she and I originally started this blog together). Well, to Gretchen, the idea of piling coleslaw on a sandwich was completely obvious. Apparently, in Pittsburgh, any and all sandwiches should automatically be topped with coleslaw (and fries!). They consider this completely normal.


Believe it or not, I actually wasn’t. (Even though I’m not from Pittsburgh.)

Actually, back when I wore high heels and a suit and commuted two hours to a windowless dungeon-office in the city, coleslaw was my little ray of sunshine (well, that and the Starbucks across the street). The deli next door to my office served up the indulgent cure for all the your-budget-won’t-balance and your-magazine’s-behind-deadline and your-meeting-just-crashed-and-burned days … a monstrous, mile-high sandwich of shaved turkey breast and a mound of luscious coleslaw. That sandwich could fix anything (more or less).

So, coleslaw ON sandwiches. It’s a thing!

And as killer-good as coleslaw is on top of deli sandwiches, it’s even better on top of BBQ! 

a BBQ pulled chicken sandwich on a white plate, with this coleslaw recipe as a sandwich topping

In fact, I originally created this coleslaw recipe specifically as a topper for our Crock-Pot North Carolina BBQ Pulled Chicken Sandwiches (we have an Instant Pot version, too, if that’s more your style). Oh my goodness .. so, so good! A match made in BBQ heaven.

This vinegar-y yet sweet and creamy coleslaw is perfect with the flavors of NC-style barbecue! 

So really, here’s the bottom line on this slaw … whether you just want a super-quick, easy coleslaw recipe for your next cookout, or you’re specifically looking for a no mayo coleslaw recipe with a lighter, healthier dressing … this coleslaw’s a must try!

overhead of a white serving bowl of this coleslaw, with two wooden servers scooping in to serve some up

And, of course, if you’re looking for the ultimate pile-it-high slaw to top a sandwich (especially a BBQ sandwich!), then this recipe’s definitely the one!

Sorry, mayo.

Overhead photo of a white serving bowl full of coleslaw, with a wooden serving set scooping into it

Healthy No Mayo Coleslaw

Yield: 4 1/2 cups (depending on how long it sits)
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 5 minutes

This Healthy No Mayo Coleslaw recipe is the perfect middle ground between creamy coleslaw and tangy vinegar slaw. Delicious with barbecue!

  Ready in 30 Minutes or Less    Make Ahead    Vegetarian    Gluten Free  


  • 1/2 cup nonfat plain Greek yogurt
  • 3 1/2 tablespoons cider vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon black pepper
  • 16 ounces (about 6 1/4 cups) bagged coleslaw blend or shredded cabbage


  1. In a small bowl, combine Greek yogurt, vinegar, sugar, salt, and pepper, whisking until smooth and thoroughly combined.
  2. Place slaw blend/cabbage in a large bowl and pour Greek yogurt dressing mixture over top. Stir to coat cabbage thoroughly.
  3. Cover and refrigerate until using (preferably at least 30 minutes).


Make-ahead tips: This coleslaw keeps well, covered in the refrigerator, and can easily be made several hours in advance. In fact, we prefer to let it sit for at least half an hour before serving, so that the cabbage softens a bit and the whole salad melds together. We find that it's at its best, though, if eaten within a day or two.

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 9 servings Serving Size: 1/2 cup
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 37Total Fat: 0gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 1mgSodium: 244mgCarbohydrates: 7gFiber: 1gSugar: 6gProtein: 2g

Nutrition information should be considered an estimate only, and may vary depending on your choice of ingredients or preparation. No guarantees are made regarding allergies or dietary needs. Always consult a physician or dietician for specific advice and questions.

Did You Make This Recipe?

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168 thoughts on “Healthy No Mayo Coleslaw”

  1. This is really good! My family loves Cole Slaw and didn’t even care that this doesn’t have mayo in it πŸ˜‰
    Thanks for the great recipe–making it again tonight for the ???th time.

    • Oh Diane, I’m so thrilled to hear it! We make this a lot, too, and it’s so great because everybody likes it and I feel terrific serving a coleslaw that’s more nutritious! Just curious – is there a reason you didn’t give this a higher star rating, but only 2 stars for a recipe you guys really enjoy? ~Shelley

  2. This was delicious. I added a little apple (per one of the comments) and extra black pepper (cause we love pepper.) I am sharing with the hubs tonight, but the leftovers are all mine. πŸ™‚ I make homemade yogurt often, so this will go into rotation. Thanks for the recipe. My husband is from Pittsburgh too. So coleslaw is a condiment. lol

    • I just loved reading your comment, Lynn! Of course, because I’m thrilled you enjoyed my coleslaw recipe, but also because I really like to hear how readers make little adjustments and tweaks to spin a recipe into their own. I keep meaning to try a version with apple in it … thanks for the nudge on that! And about sharing with the hubs … I’m absolutely smirking to myself about you hoarding the leftovers (you go, girl! πŸ˜‰ ) Even though I’m not from Pittsburgh like Gretchen is, I’m a BIG fan of coleslaw as a condiment, too! Have a wonderful week, Lynn! ~Shelley

  3. This was really good. I added a few drops of sesame oil and some sesame seed. I also cut back the sugar and increased the vinegar. It made a great Asian slaw.

    • Oh my goodness, Elana! I love this idea of adding an Asian twist to the coleslaw! That’s fantastic, and I’m sitting here envisioning how I could take that idea and really run with … what fun! I’m so happy you shared your variation, both because I truly adore swapping recipe ideas with readers, and also because I think it’s super-inspiring for other readers to see ideas like yours! Thank you so much for the terrific suggestions! Have a lovely weekend, and I hope you’ll pop back again soon! πŸ˜€ ~Shelley

  4. So Yummy!!! I decreased the ACV to 3 TBSP and the salt to 1/2 tsp. I exchanged 2 packets of Stevia for the sugar. I added an apple. I got (1) an arm workout using my mandolin, (2) additional sweetness, and (3) munch the tip of the apple that was too small for the mandolin. It’s a win-win-win for me.

    • Hi Shannon! I’m really glad you liked the recipe, and I’m so happy you took the time to share all your suggestions and how you adapted it to really make this coleslaw your own! It’s such fun to swap ideas with my readers, and I always feel like it’s also super-helpful for other readers to see what twists and variations have worked well for people who’ve already tried the recipe. And I’ve gotta say – I’m so excited now to try adding some apple (’cause who can say “no” to a bonus arm workout?!?!). Brilliant! My mind is already spinning with the possibilities there … πŸ˜‰ Thanks bunches, Shannon! Hope you’re having a fantastic weekend! ~Shelley

  5. I am so sorry, I forgot to rate the recipe and tell you this is the second time I have made this recipe. The first time was as it is listed. My rating is based on the recipe listed above and not on my alteration. Thank you so much for the fabulous recipe.

    • You’re so sweet, Vicky! Thank you! Makes my day to hear that this coleslaw recipe is becoming a regular on your menu rotations, and I absolutely appreciate your kind comments and that you took a moment to rate the recipe, too – that’s such a help to other visitors on my site, when they’re trying to decide if this is a recipe they want to try. Thanks bunches! Have a terrific rest-of-the-week! πŸ˜€ ~Shelley


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