WHY THIS RECIPE WORKS: Order barbecue down South, and you won’t just get coleslaw on the side, you’ll get buttermilk coleslaw. Unlike all-mayonnaise coleslaw, buttermilk coleslaw is coated in a light, creamy, and refreshingly tart dressing. We wanted a recipe that showcased its best attributes: a pickle-crisp texture and a tangy dressing.
To prevent watery coleslaw, we salted, rinsed, and dried our shredded cabbage. This also gave us the texture we wanted—as the salted cabbage sat, moisture was pulled out of it, wilting it to the right crispy texture. For a tangy dressing that clung to the cabbage and didn’t pool at the bottom of the bowl, we supplemented the buttermilk with mayonnaise and sour cream. For finishing touches, we added shredded carrot, which contributed both color and sweetness. The mild flavor of shallot was a welcome addition, and sugar, mustard, and cider vinegar amped up the slaw’s tanginess.
Creamy Buttermilk Coleslaw
To serve the coleslaw immediately, rinse the salted cabbage in a large bowl of ice water, drain it in a colander, pick out any ice cubes, then pat the cabbage dry before dressing.
1. Toss the cabbage with 1 teaspoon salt in a colander set over a medium bowl. Let stand until the cabbage wilts, at least 1 hour or up to 4 hours. Rinse the cabbage under cold running water (or in a large bowl of ice water if serving immediately). Press, but do not squeeze, to drain; pat dry with paper towels. Transfer the cabbage to a large bowl; add the carrot.
2. Combine the remaining ingredients with ¼ teaspoon salt in a small bowl. Pour the buttermilk dressing over the cabbage and carrot and toss to coat. Serve chilled or at room temperature. (The coleslaw can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 2 days.)