Sweet and Tangy Cranberry Apple Coleslaw

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Sweet apples and cranberries are combined with crunchy cabbage and then tossed together in a tangy lemon dressing to make this Apple Coleslaw.

We make this salad through the year, but even more often as the weather begins to warm up.

Apple Coleslaw

I shot the video for this recipe last week when I was making this salad yet again.

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(And because so many of you have asked, the bowls in the video are no longer manufactured, but this set of mixing bowls is a close match in style to the bowls I used in the video. I love the lids!)

We are definitely in the season for side salads. We’ve been grilling chicken, burgers, or hot dogs several times a week for a month now and I’m craving all kinds of simple salads for side dishes.

I’ve made this Cranberry Apple Coleslaw a couple of times over the past month and I’m still loving it.

Apple Coleslaw

Apple Coleslaw

Crisp sweet apple slices are a natural addition to a cabbage coleslaw. The dried cranberries in this recipe add a tartness and pop of flavor that everyone in my family loved.

While other coleslaw recipes use mustard or vinegar, this recipe calls for lemon juice. The lemon pairs well with the cranberry adding a bright citrusy note to the slaw.

Not to mention how nice these colors all look together in the bowl. Okay, no one eats coleslaw for its looks but the combo of green cabbage, white dressing, and red apples and cranberries is just about as pretty as a coleslaw can get.

Apple Coleslaw Ingredients

I think you’ll find that this apple coleslaw is just the right blend of tangy and creamy. I love the way the creamy mayo dressing and chopped cabbage provide a simple backdrop for the sweetness of the apples and cranberries. 

If you live somewhere (like Phoenix) where summer grilling weather lasts well into the fall, the fall flavors in this coleslaw are a great way to celebrate the season even without chilly temperatures and falling leaves.

Even my kids who aren’t usually big fans of coleslaw ate this with enthusiasm.

I served the coleslaw with Hawaiian Grilled Chicken Sandwiches and Roasted Potato Salad last time I made it. The whole meal disappeared in minutes and my youngest son (typically a non-coleslaw-loving kid) even requested a second serving of the apple coleslaw.

Cranberry Apple Slaw

Apple Colelsaw Recipe

Cranberry Apple Coleslaw is one of the easiest side dishes ever. It’s a fantastic option for last-minute cooking or whenever you’re pressed for time. Since it doesn’t require any time on the stove or in the oven, I never have to worry about timing everything to be done all at the same time.

When I’m prepping a main dish to grill, bake, or roast, I love being able to just toss the side dish together and let it rest while I cook dinner.

Even if you choose to slice your own cabbage instead of buying a prepared coleslaw mix, you’re still looking at just 15 minutes top to make this slaw.

I use this set of mixing bowls to make and store this salad. (Those are the bowls you see in the video.)

I’ve used a variety of different types of apples to make apple coleslaw and they’ve all worked just fine. A sweeter apple is usually better than the tarter varieties for this recipe, in my opinion, but whatever apples you have on hand will work just fine.

This coleslaw is delicious when served right away or after chilling in the fridge for a bit. So, feel free to make it ahead of time too.

Any leftovers will keep in the refrigerator for a couple of days. To keep the apples at their crispest, wait to add them to the coleslaw until just before serving.

Apple Slaw

Coleslaw Recipes

Love apple coleslaw? Try Sweet and Spicy Apple Coleslaw for another take on apple coleslaw that you are sure to love.

For more great coleslaws and salads, check out Southern-Style Memphis Coleslaw (you’ll want this one with your pulled pork sandwiches).

These spicier slaws, Jalapeno Corn Coleslaw and Sriracha Coleslaw, are two more easy side dishes that always get rave reviews.

When we grill for dinner, everyone looks forward to the main dish, of course, but I find myself getting just as excited about the sides. Coleslaw is always a favorite, but we also love all kinds of  Pasta Salads and Potato Salads, too.

My friend Sandy’s potato salad with fresh corn, bacon, peas, and chives is on my meal plan for next week. You might also enjoy our Sweet and Tangy Broccoli Slaw or this Cucumber Tomato Salad with your next picnic or barbecue.

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Apple Slaw

Cranberry Apple Coleslaw

5 from 9 votes
Tangy, sweet, crunchy and absolutely perfect, this Apple Coleslaw is an instant favorite!
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 15 minutes
Servings: 8 servings


  • 1 16 ounce bag coleslaw mix or 1 small head of green cabbage sliced very thin
  • 2 medium apples sliced very thin
  • 1/2 cup dried sweet cranberries or Craisins
  • 1/3 cup mayonnaise
  • juice of 1 large lemon about 3 tablespoons
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt


  • Whisk together the mayonnaise, lemon juice, sugar, and salt in a large mixing bowl.
  • Add the coleslaw and toss with tongs to coat, add the apple slices and cranberries. Toss once more to combine.
  • Serve immediately or refrigerate until ready to serve. Enjoy!


Calories: 131kcal · Carbohydrates: 18g · Protein: 1g · Fat: 7g · Saturated Fat: 1g · Polyunsaturated Fat: 4g · Monounsaturated Fat: 2g · Trans Fat: 1g · Cholesterol: 4mg · Sodium: 216mg · Potassium: 157mg · Fiber: 3g · Sugar: 14g · Vitamin A: 90IU · Vitamin C: 24mg · Calcium: 28mg · Iron: 1mg
Tried this recipe?Mention @barefeetkitchen or tag #barefeetkitchen!

{originally published 5-23-2015 – recipe notes and photos updated 5/17/22}

Apple Coleslaw
Sweet apples and cranberries are combined with crunchy cabbage and then tossed together in a tangy lemon dressing to make this Cranberry Apple Coleslaw. - get the recipe at barefeetinthekitchen.com

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Mary Younkin

Mary Younkin

Hi, I’m Mary. I’m the author, cook, photographer, and travel lover behind the scenes here at Barefeet In The Kitchen. I'm also the author of three cookbooks dedicated to making cooking from scratch as simple as possible.

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  1. Carol says

    This is our favorite coleslaw! The ingredients are simple, so I kept my expectations low. It is so good! I’ve tried similar recipes, but keep going back to this one. My cabbage hating husband always has seconds!5 stars