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Crunchy Coleslaw Recipe: One of the Best Versions (+ Video)

This special recipe for Crunchy Coleslaw starts with a coleslaw mix. Add toasted almonds and sesame seeds along with crushed Ramen noodles. It’s all covered with a light sweet and sour vinaigrette. Talk about EASY!

Crunchy Coleslaw in a bowl with serving spoon

Recipe Inspiration

How do you like your coleslaw?

The whole subject can be polarizing.  Some like it tart, others sweet. Some prefer it with onions, others not. Some want mayonnaise in the dressing while others prefer a vinaigrette.

My daughter-in-law’s Crunchy Coleslaw recipe is a variation on the traditional recipe. I think you will love it regardless of the aforementioned preferences.


This coleslaw recipe uses a grocery store coleslaw mix for convenience. Add toasted almonds and crushed Ramen noodles. At the last minute, pour a simple sweet-and-sour vinaigrette over the salad. Enjoy the CRUNCH.

  • Cabbage and carrots: A coleslaw mix can be a mixed bag. Nearly all will include shredded cabbage and carrots. The one shown below includes purple cabbage. Some mixes include shredded broccoli. Any of these will work.

    If you prefer the texture of preparing your own cabbage and carrots, go right ahead. I’m sure your salad will be even more delicious.
  • Ramen noodles: The recipe calls for chicken flavor. The spice envelope that comes in the package is included in the recipe so the flavor matters. Buy the spicy chicken flavor for an interesting variation.
  • Sliced almonds: Toasted sliced almonds are the secret to this recipe. You could also use slivered almonds (matchstick-shaped almonds).

    I like to toast the almonds and sesame seeds in the microwave. It takes less than 90 seconds.

    If you don’t have almonds in the pantry and need a quick substitute, try chopped peanuts or sunflower seeds. Both are crunchy and have a similar taste profile.
ingredients needed for Crunchy Coleslaw
  • Sesame seeds: They add a lot of flavor to this recipe. Be sure your seeds are fresh. They can go rancid quickly. Always smell them first. Sesame seeds that smell bad will ruin your salad.
  • Oil: Avocado oil is my first choice. Any light vegetable oil such as canola will work.
  • Vinegar: Instead of white vinegar, try apple cider vinegar or rice vinegar.

Can I make this salad ahead of time?

This cabbage salad is best when you mix it together shortly before serving. Eat it before the noodles absorb moisture from the dressing and lose their crunch.

Because the crunchy parts get soft, this coleslaw doesn’t keep well. Fortunately, that’s not a big deal because I doubt you’ll have much leftover. (My daughter-in-law loves the leftovers, so don’t go by me.)

If you want to make this salad ahead of time, mix the dressing in a shakeable jar (up to three days ahead of time). Keep all ingredients separate until you are ready to serve.

How to make “Crunchy Coleslaw”

Combine sugar, oil, vinegar, and black pepper
Whisk salad dressing together, cover, and put it in the fridge.
Toast sliced almonds and sesame seeds in the microwave for 1 to 1-1/2 minutes on HIGH.
Break up and crush Ramen noodles into pieces.
When ready to eat, combine coleslaw mix, almonds, sesame seeds, and Ramen noodles into a large bowl.
Pour dressing over all and toss to mix.
Serve immediately for maximum crunchiness.

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If you have a question or tip to share, please leave it in the regular comments after the recipe so I can answer back. Or, email me privately: paula at

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bowl of crunchy coleslaw

Crunchy Coleslaw

Yield: 10 servings
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 15 minutes

Try this slightly untraditional coleslaw with a sweet-and-sour dressing, almonds, and Ramen noodles. It's full of flavor and crunch.


  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil (I use avocado oil)
  • 3 tablespoons white vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons sesame seeds
  • 1/2 cup almonds (sliced or slivered)
  • 3-ounce package chicken-flavored Ramen noodles (including the seasoning packet)
  • 1 14 to 16-ounce bag of coleslaw mix


  1. Mix sugar, oil, vinegar, and pepper together to make the dressing. Use a small container you can shake to mix to make it easier to transport later.
  2. Toast sesame seeds and almonds. (I do this in my microwave for 1-1/2 minutes on a paper plate. Stir once.) When cooled, put into a zippered plastic bag if not eating immediately.
  3. Put a whole brick of Ramen noodles with seasoning packet into a quart-size zippered plastic bag. Use a rolling pin to crush. Store in a bag until ready to assemble the salad.
  4. Place coleslaw into a salad bowl. Cover with plastic wrap. Bring salad dressing container, nuts, and crushed Ramen noodles with you to wherever salad will be eaten.
  5. Just before it's time to eat, add nuts, Ramen noodles, and dressing to the bowl of coleslaw. This recipe is best fresh and crunchy.
Nutrition Information:
Yield: 10 servings Serving Size: 1 serving
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 278Total Fat: 23gSaturated Fat: 3gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 19gCholesterol: 11mgSodium: 330mgCarbohydrates: 15gFiber: 2gSugar: 7gProtein: 5g

Did you make this recipe?

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Updated February 2020.

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Saturday 15th of February 2020

Can the seasoning packet be mixed into the dressing?


Saturday 15th of February 2020

I would think so. In fact, I will try it the next time I make this. Can't see why it would make any difference.


Sunday 22nd of June 2014

The sugar is NOT listed in the instruction portion of recipe. I had to look at other recipes to figure out how to mix it in.


Sunday 22nd of June 2014

I'm so sorry, Dona. You were right. I corrected the instructions. Thank-you so much for taking the time to write me about it. Hope it turned out deliciously for you.


Thursday 24th of May 2012

I'll take this variety of coleslaw. I've tried to like the traditional stuff for the last 18 years since we moved to the South but I think I really have to be in the mood for it because sometimes it good while others I can't swallow :). I have tried this type and I do like the crunch factor from the nuts, slaw and noodles!

Kristine More

Tuesday 22nd of May 2012

Crunchy Coleslaw is really perfect for holiday. This sort of recipe has a lot of nutrients since it is made up of a lot of vegetables. Love to try this one.

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Monday 21st of May 2012

I am crazy for coleslaw... but only the kind without mayo! I like the tangy freshness and the crunch. My sister makes one like this with chopped cooked chicken so that it makes a nice main dish salad. Aren't you so happy that Summer is almost here?