Crunchy Coleslaw with Ramen: Our Favorite Holiday Side Dish

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Sneak Preview: This special recipe for Crunchy Coleslaw starts with a coleslaw mix. Add toasted almonds and sesame seeds (toast in your microwave) along with crunchy Ramen noodles. Cover with a light sweet-and-sour vinaigrette.

Crunchy Coleslaw in a serving bowl.Pin

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How do you like your coleslaw? The subject can be polarizing.  Some like it tart, others sweet. Some prefer it with onions, while others do not. Some want mayonnaise in the dressing, while others prefer a vinaigrette.

This Crunchy Coleslaw, or Ramen Noodle Salad as some call it, was given to me by my daughter-in-law. It’s a variation of the traditional recipe—no mayonnaise in sight. It is a side dish that shows up at our family celebrations more often than not.

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

ingredients needed for Crunchy ColeslawPin

Ingredients and Substitutions

  • 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 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).
  • 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: Try apple cider vinegar or rice vinegar instead of white 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 left over. (My daughter-in-law loves the leftovers, so don’t go by me.)

If you want to make this salad, 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”

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

Parting Thoughts: This coleslaw is a tradition at many of our family celebrations. It goes especially well with barbecue or hamburgers. Fill out the menu with these Best Baked Beans with Ground Beef and Sausage, Old-Fashioned Potato Salad, or this Torn Angel Food Cake with Strawberries.

Help at Your Fingertips: For questions or suggestions, email Paula at If you need help, I’m happy to troubleshoot via email (faster than leaving a comment). Attach pictures and as many details as possible for the best advice.

bowl of crunchy coleslawPin
Yield: 10 servings

Crunchy Coleslaw Recipe with Ramen

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

Rate this recipe

(5 stars if you loved it)

5 from 25 votes


Prep time: 15 minutes
Total time: 15 minutes


  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • ½ cup (109 g) vegetable oil I use avocado oil
  • 3 tablespoons (43 g) white vinegar
  • 1 packet seasoning from the noodle package
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons sesame seeds
  • ½ cup (46 g) almonds, sliced or slivered
  • 1 3-ounce package (85 g) chicken-flavored Ramen noodles
  • 1 14 to 16-ounce (425 g) bag of coleslaw mix


  • Mix 2 tablespoons granulated sugar, ½ cup (109 g) vegetable oil, 3 tablespoons (43 g) white vinegar, 1 packet seasoning from the noodle package, and ½ teaspoon black pepper together to make the dressing. Use a small container you can shake to mix to make it easier to transport later.
  • Toast 2 tablespoons sesame seeds and ½ cup (46 g) almonds, sliced or slivered. (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.
  • Put 1 3-ounce package (85 g) chicken-flavored Ramen noodles into a quart-size zippered plastic bag. Use a rolling pin to crush. Store in a bag until ready to assemble the salad.
  • Place 1 14 to 16-ounce (425 g) bag of coleslaw mix 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.
  • Immediately before it’s time to eat, add nuts, Ramen noodles, and dressing to the bowl of coleslaw. This recipe is best fresh and crunchy.


Serving: 1serving | Calories: 205kcal | Carbohydrates: 12g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 17g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 8g | Monounsaturated Fat: 6g | Trans Fat: 1g | Sodium: 181mg | Potassium: 147mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 43IU | Vitamin C: 16mg | Calcium: 55mg | Iron: 1mg

All images and text ©️ Paula Rhodes for Salad in a

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Recipe Rating


  1. 4 stars
    I served this with the pan-fried chicken tender recipe you suggested. While the chicken was a great success, the salad not so much. I enjoyed the crunch of the uncooked ramen noodles, but I was out-voted 2 to 1! You can’t please everyone! Thus, only 4 stars! (I would give it 5)

    1. So true. In my book, the cook trumps all!

    2. 5 stars
      Okay, had the left overs tonight with a barley casserole. Somehow the noodles had softened but the salad still had a crunch. Now two of the three of us enjoyed it. Some people are just hard to please! There was also a “tang” to the salad which was very pleasant. I’ll do this again, but I’m going to try V’s idea of roasting the noodles. Definitely a 5 star recipe.

  2. Have you ever tried toasting the ramen for this salad? Besides taste, it also adds some color.

    1. Hi V,

      No, I haven’t. But I love the idea. Thanks so much for sharing.

  3. Kristine More says:

    5 stars
    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.

  4. Piper@GotItCookIt says:

    5 stars
    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?

  5. 5 stars
    Funny… I just had this exact salad for lunch today! 🙂 When I’m having it for a meal, I add half lettuce and half cabbage and then today, tuna. Equally delicious with chicken or really any protein of your choice. A yummy classic in our house! Thanks for spreading the joy!

  6. 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.

  7. 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!

  8. Kristine More says:

    5 stars
    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.

  9. Piper@GotItCookIt says:

    5 stars
    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?

  10. 5 stars
    Our household needs the nutrition goodies cabbage brings, so I was eager to try this one!

    I left out the sesame seeds and nuts (hubby doesn’t eat them) and added apple and radish instead. It was a big hit (even with my one year-old) and it will become a mealtime staple.

    Thanks for posting it.!

    1. Vanessa,

      Love your substitutions. Don’t you love it when you find something your kids like to eat? Thanks for coming back to tell me about it.

  11. I have a similar recipe from my late mother-in-law. It has soy sauce in addition to the oil and vinegar. I mix the sugar with the soy sauce, oil and vinegar and briefly nuke it so that the sugar dissolves. I also add about 1 tsp. of sesame oil to amp up the Asian flavors.

    If you store the noodle/nut/seed mixture and the dressing separately in the refrigerator, you can just toss this together when the mood strikes. It keeps forever. I have also seen variations where chicken and mandarin oranges are added to make it a main dish.

  12. I do enjoy a bit of slaw every now and again. Love the look of yours, especially with the almonds and noodles mixed in.

  13. Love anything with Ramen noodles! These ingredients are “clean” and not overburdened with a heavy dressing.

  14. The Café Sucré Farine says:

    I’ve had something similar and can almost eat myself silly on this stuff! I love your idea of taking all the ingredients separately and then putting together at the last minute!

  15. I’m hungry for it right now!

  16. Ann Baker says:

    OK – I instantly love this although I’ve never eaten it. And yes, cole slaw for me is always rather uninspired, but it seems like something I feel obligated to serve, especially when I’m doing my pulled pork.