Chinese Coleslaw

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Looking for the perfect potluck recipe? This Chinese Coleslaw with ramen noodles is crunchy, sweet and bursting with irresistible flavor. It’s the perfect pick to feed a crowd.

Ramen cole slaw in a white serving bowl.

Why You’ll Love It

There’s nothing more nostalgic than having a Instant Pot pulled pork sandwich with a side of coleslaw. but sometimes you want something a little different!

Everyone needs a go-to dish for those few times a year when there’s a lot of mouths to feed. I love this recipe for the flavors and the crunch of the cabbage, but those aren’t the only reasons. 

  • If you’re in a rush to prep something for a pot luck or social, it’s always easier to bring a cold dish. It’s easier to travel with, lighter to carry, and doesn’t need a special dish or oven to keep it warm. Easier is better when you’re on the go.
  • I’ve found pot lucks are often loaded up with savory, salty, belly-fillers and not a lot of flavor. Chinese coleslaw bucks that trend. It’s light and crunchy, thanks to the Napa cabbage and ramen noodles. And you get an incredible flavor from the toasted almonds, soy sauce, vinegar and green onions.
  • Did I mention it’s easy?!? It only takes 20 minutes to come together, and then you can be out the door. Or try preparing it a day aheadof time. It will keep in the fridge until you’re ready to eat.

Looking for more potluck dishes? Be sure to add our potato salad, Dorito taco salad, and our easy pistachio fluff to your menu soon.

Ingredient Notes 

Ingredients needed to make chinese coleslaw.
  • Napa cabbage – This cabbage is the perfect mix of tender and crunchy.
  • Ramen noodles – Adds a delicious crunch to the coleslaw. You don’t cook them for this recipe!
  • Sliced almonds – These are toasted for maximum flavor and texture. Learn how to toast nuts with all our tips.
  • Sunflower seeds – Adds even more crunch and a nutrition boost.
  • Green onions – Brings another element of flavor and color to the salad. 
  • Soy sauce – Provides a salty, savory, and delicious flavor. 
  • White vinegar – Gives the dressing a zingy taste and balances out the sweetness.
  • Unsalted butter – Adds flavor to the toasted almonds and ramen noodles.
  • Vegetable oil – Creates the base for the dressing.
  • Sugar – Makes the dressing sweet and long-lasting.
  • Kosher salt – Enhances all the flavors in this coleslaw.

Easy Instructions 

Step by step photos showing how to make chinese coleslaw.

There are a thousand variations you can make to this simple recipe, and it’s easy to experiment. As you can see, the fundamental steps aren’t exactly rocket science:

  1. Toast It! Briefly toast the almonds, ramen and sunflower seeds in a saute pan. This does two things. It makes the ingredients crunchier and enhances their flavor. Move everything to a paper towel to cool.
  2. Shake It! Combine all of the dressing ingredients in a mason jar or deli container. Cap it, and then shake until all of the sugar is dissolved.
  3. Assemble! Assemble the cabbage, onions, and toasted almond mixture into a large serving bowl. Top it with your dressing. Cover and shake so it all combines. 

If you’re looking to mix things up, an easy place to start is with the dressing. Try adding a little ginger, or swapping out for with a peanut sauce dressing instead.

Chinese coleslaw with a spoonful being taken out of dish.

Tips & Tricks

  • This slaw tastes better the longer it sits in the dressing, so feel free to make it a day ahead of time! Just leave out the ramen noodles until it’s ready to serve. 
  • Make the dressing spicier by adding white or black pepper and ginger powder to taste. You could also add a pinch of cayenne powder if you like it hot.
  • Garnish the finished salad with chopped cilantro for extra color and flavor. 
  • To add sesame flavor to the dressing, substitute 1 Tablespoon of the vegetable oil with toasted sesame oil. You can also garnish the finished salad with it. 

Serving Suggestions

Chinese Coleslaw is the perfect side dish for Chinese-inspired meals. Try it with my effortless Instant Pot Beef Broccoli. Make the salad a day ahead for a dinner that tastes like takeout. Then, serve it with easy Slow-Cooker Orange Chicken the next day.

For another takeout-inspired classic, you’ll love my pantry-friendly Sesame Chicken. Finally, If you’re taking this coleslaw to a barbecue, complete the meal with garlicky and gingery Huli-Huli Chicken

Ramen coleslaw with a serving spoon.

Recipe FAQs

Can I substitute the sunflower seeds?

If you don’t have sunflower seeds, feel free to use roasted, unsalted peanuts instead. 

What garnishes would be good to use on this salad?

Garnish Chinese Coleslaw with extra toasted almonds, chopped green onion, cilantro, or toasted sesame seeds. 

Can I substitute white vinegar with another vinegar?

Yes, two good white vinegar substitutes for this recipe are white wine vinegar and rice vinegar. 

I only have regular cabbage. Can I still make this coleslaw?

While Chinese coleslaw is most tender with Napa cabbage, you can use regular cabbage if it’s what you have on hand. You’ll want to slice it as thin as possible so it’s easier to chew. 

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Chinese Coleslaw

4.63 from 8 votes
By: Aimee
Looking for the perfect potluck recipe? This Chinese Coleslaw with ramen noodles is crunchy and sweet and irresistible.
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes
Servings: 16 servings

Ingredients 

For the dressing:

  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • ½ cup white vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon soy sauce
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt

For the salad:

  • ½ cup unsalted butter
  • ¾ cup sliced almonds
  • 2 packages ramen noodles uncooked, no seasoning packet needed, crushed
  • ½ cup sunflower seeds no shells
  • 1 Napa cabbage sliced thin
  • 5 green onions sliced thin (whites and greens)
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Instructions 

  • In a skillet, heat butter over medium high heat. Add in the almonds and cook for one minute. Add in crushed ramen noodles and sunflower seeds. Saute for several minutes. Remove from heat and spread on a couple paper towels to cool.
  • In a mason jar, combine the dressing ingredients. Shake until sugar is dissolved and refrigerate until ready to serve salad.
  • In a large serving bowl, combine cabbage, onions, and noodle mixture. Pour dressing over the salad and let sit 5 minutes. Serve immediately and enjoy!

Notes

  • This slaw tastes better the longer it sits in the dressing, so feel free to make it a day ahead of time! Just leave out the ramen noodles until it’s ready to serve. 
  • Make the dressing spicier by adding white or black pepper and ginger powder to taste. You could also add a pinch of cayenne powder if you like it hot.
  • Garnish the finished salad with chopped cilantro for extra color and flavor. 
  • To add sesame flavor to the dressing, substitute 1 Tbsp of the vegetable oil with toasted sesame oil. You can also garnish the finished salad with it. 
  • See blog post for more recipe tips and tricks.

Nutrition

Calories: 323kcal, Carbohydrates: 21g, Protein: 3g, Fat: 26g, Saturated Fat: 6g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 19g, Cholesterol: 15mg, Sodium: 505mg, Fiber: 2g, Sugar: 13g
Course: Side Dishes
Cuisine: American
Did you make this recipe?Mention @shugarysweets or tag #shugarysweets!
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About Aimee

Aimee is a dessert lover (specifically rice krispie treats), workout enthusiast, self-taught foodie, and recipe creator.

Learn more about Aimee.

Affiliate Disclosure:**There may be affiliate links in this post! By clicking on them, or purchasing recommended items I may receive a small compensation. However, I only recommend products I love! Thank you for supporting Shugary Sweets! See my disclosure policy for more info**

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Posted on June 27, 2023

Comments & Reviews

  1. I am looking for a slaw that would be good with a peanut sauce dressing….think this would be good?

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