Homemade “KFC” Coleslaw – The Same Only Better!

Contrary to popular belief, I do love junk food and fast food. Wendy’s, McDonald’s, and Burger King have all gotten wealthy from my “donations” over the years. Some days a bag of potato chips is the only thing I have the energy to “make” for dinner. While I prefer to cook from scratch and do so much more since I have been married, when I am on my own I am just as likely to hit Taco Bell or KFC as anyone else.

When I was a young adult, we would often go out for cocktails after work for a few hours. We didn’t have a lot of money so going out to dinner was not an option. I would say good night to my friends and head home, stopping to pick up something to eat on the way. I have no idea how many burgers, fries, tacos and buckets of chicken I pounded down at 10pm just before falling into bed for a shortened nights sleep. No matter how old I get, when I am short of time or just want to indulge in something purely self-satisfying, I will no doubt be doing a drive by at the drive thru!

Monday was our regularly scheduled reveal day for the Secret Recipe Club (created by the wonderful Amanda). This month someone had to withdraw at the last moment leaving one of our group without a reveal. It is never fun to be left out, whether it is when choosing teams in school or not being asked to a party, so a few of us volunteered to highlight Raina Connor’s delightful blog, Connor’s Cooking.

As I browsed through her recipes I stumbled across this recipe for a make-it-yourself version of Kentucky Fried Chicken’s infamous coleslaw. Even those who don’t normally like coleslaw often love KFCs version. It is the one side dish that I always order whenever I go there. Nice and crunchy with a little sweetness, it seems to be the perfect counterpoint for the chicken. I have been known to polish off the entire container of slaw all by myself when no one was watching, LOL.

Cabbage in the field before it is cleaned up for the grocery store

The use of buttermilk, fresh lemon juice and white vinegar creates the perfect balance to the fat of the mayonnaise and the sugar. Ordinary recipes have some combination of these ingredients but seldom all of them together. What a wonderful blend of flavors! For a beautiful presentation, save some of the outer leaves and use them as a “bowl” for the slaw – but be sure to drain it extremely well so it doesn’t leak all over your table! I would place the leaves in a large bowl just to be on the safe side. The Artist loves red cabbage in his slaw so I usually include it for him, but don’t add it until just before serving. It has a tendency to stain the dressing pink which is less appetizing. I would rather add some red bell pepper, but that choice is entirely up to you.

When you are frying (or baking) chicken for your family or a party, make this slaw as a side dish and everyone will think you stopped at KFC on the way home, except this version tastes a lot better!

Have a wonderful day!

Jane’s Tips and Hints:

If you are only cooking for a couple of people on a regular basis, a food processor is probably overkill. But if you host the annual family reunion or Thanksgiving dinner, it can save you plenty of prep time. I use mine for all sorts of tasks, but the one that is by far my favorite is chopping onions. They are done in a flash without the tears I get when cutting them by hand.

The other thing they are fantastic for is making doughs. Pies, tarts, quiche, and even pizza are simple and fast to prepare when you whip up the dough in the food processor. The only thing you absolutely do not want to make in a food processor is mashed potatoes. If you do they will turn into a gluey mess, not appetizing at all. Stick with your electric mixer for that job.

Kitchen Skill: How to Remove the Core from Cabbage

Rinse the cabbage really well. If it is organic, put it in a bowl of cold water and weight it down. If any bugs have crawled between the leaves they will usually try to escape and float to the surface. Drain well.

Transfer to a cutting board and using a long, very sharp knife, cut the head in half lengthwise, cutting through the stem end. Using a smaller knife, such as a paring knife, cut out the core. Don’t be cautious when you are cutting out the core, it is better to cut out too much than not enough. The core is tough and bitter.

Once the core is removed turn the cabbage so that you are cutting crosswise and slice thinly. You can leave the strips long or chop into small pieces. Make sure the carrots, cabbage and onions are all chopped the same size making the slaw much easier to eat.

Homemade “KFC” Coleslaw
Yields 10
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  1. Slaw
  2. 3 medium carrots, trimmed
  3. 1 head of green cabbage, cored and cut into chunks
  4. 1/2 small head of red cabbage, cored, optional
  5. 2 tbsp minced onion
  6. Dressing
  7. 1/2 cup light mayonnaise (preferably Best Foods or Hellman’s brand)
  8. 1/3 cup sugar
  9. 1/4 cup milk
  10. 1/4 cup low fat buttermilk
  11. 2-1/2 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
  12. 1-1/2 tbsp white vinegar
  13. 1/2 tsp salt
  14. 1/8 tsp pepper
  1. Place the carrots in the food processor and pulse several times to get them to a medium chop. Add the onions and pulse a couple more times. Then add the cabbage to the carrots and onions. Pulse until everything is the same size and texture. Alternately, you can use a sharp knife and chop all of this by hand. Transfer to a large bowl.
  2. Combine all the dressing ingredients in a medium bowl, whisking well to thoroughly blend. Pour dressing over the slaw and toss to coat well.
  3. Cover and refrigerate for at least 4 hours to overnight before serving to allow the cabbage to soak up the marinade. Use a slotted spoon when serving, leaving the excess dressing in the bowl.
  1. Yield: about 8 to 10 servings
Adapted from Connor’s Cooking
The Heritage Cook ® http://theheritagecook.com/
Unauthorized use, distribution, and/or duplication of proprietary material without prior approval is prohibited. If you have any questions or would like permission, I can be contacted via email at: heritagecook (at) comcast (dot) net. Feel free to quote me, just give credit where credit is due, link to the recipe, and please send people to my website, www.theheritagecook.com.

Thank You!

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  1. Jill Lipsey says

    Just made the coleslaw for tomorrow. I tweaked it and used Splenda sugar blend in place of the sugar; it tastes delightful and should go very well as a side to the Irish Shepard’s Pie from Simon Pearse. Thanks for the inspiration.

  2. says

    Thanks for taking the time to make something from my blog! Loved this coleslaw recipe and glad you enjoyed it too!


  3. Karen Palmer says

    OMG! I just gave the kid the car otherwise I would be on the way to the store for cabbage! I wonder if i can text her? Not while driving I suppose :( Must make coleslaw! I would always order two at KFC because I would ALWAYS eat one container myself! Thanks for another favorite, dear friend!

      • Karen Palmer says

        Okay! I finally got my ingredients and made the coleslaw! It was incredibly authentic and more delicious and EASY! Unfortunately, I ate the whole thing – in two sittings. The recipe is spot on! Thanks again for a great favorite!

  4. says

    We love coleslaw and always have it whenever we make sloppy joes or pulled pork, it just isn’t a sandwich without it!

  5. says

    Oh wow.. i saw these while browsing around and I am sooo going to make this. I am smitten with their coleslaw and despite having made my own over the years, this is still the best. I couldn’t get enough of it, even working as a cashier at KFC… thanks so much for the recipe and I hope you don’t mind if I share on my blog at wordpress. :)


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