Creamy & Spicy Chipotle Coleslaw

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Angela Morris

This post was originally published on A Food Lover’s Kitchen.

This Chipotle Coleslaw incorporates chipotles peppers and adobo sauce to add smoky heat to a summer side dish favorite. Kick your coleslaw up a notch with this creamy, spicy dressing.

»Looking for a few main dish recipes to go along with great coleslaw? Try these BBQ Beef Brisket Buns.

Chipotle coleslaw

Coleslaw is a great summer side dish. It’s bright and colorful, has a great crunch, and goes with just about any summer main dish – whether it’s for an outdoor picnic or cookout. However, sometimes you just want to mix things up a bit and add some heat. This recipe turns up both the heat and the flavor by adding chipotle peppers in adobo sauce.

If you’ve ever cooked with chipotle in adobo, you know that those peppers pack some serious heat! If you’re not careful with how much you add, it can turn from good spicy to blow your face off spicy. But the flavor in the sauce is incredibly smoky and delicious. It’s a fantastic addition to this cole slaw, in good measure.

Ingredients You’ll Need

  • Cabbage – 4 cups of green, purple or a mixture of both.
  • Carrot – Finely shredded
  • Green onion – Green onions are a nice addition to this coleslaw. If you don’t have them on hand you could use red or yellow onion, sliced very thinly.
  • Cilantro
  • Dressing ingredients – Mayonnaise, chipotle in adobo, rice vinegar, sugar, and salt.

How to Make Chipotle Coleslaw

This cole slaw is really simple to make. During the summer, I keep these ingredients in my kitchen all the time so I can whip it up for a side dish or to take to an impromptu barbecue.

What Chipotles to Use

In this recipe, we use a 7 oz can of chipotle in adobo. The two brands I use most often are La Costena and La Morena. You can find these at most grocery stores in the U.S. or at a Mexican grocery store.

Chipotles in adobo

For maximum flavor, it’s important to use the actual peppers in sauce, but if you can’t find this, you can use chipotle seasoning.

No matter which one you use, you have to be quite light-handed with it, because these peppers are really spicy. I use just one pepper from the jar, chopped, plus 2 tbsp of the sauce. I’d suggest starting there and adding more if you want it spicier.

In a small bowl combine the mayonnaise, chipotle pepper, adobo sauce, rice vinegar, sugar and salt. Stir until the sugar is dissolved. You can taste the sauce and see if it suits you for spiciness. Add more peppers if you want it spicier. Remember that mixing it into the cabbage will subdue the heat a little bit.

Chipotle coleslaw dressing

What Cabbage to Use

For the cabbage, I use a mix of white and red cabbage, depending on what I have on hand. You can use either. Just be sure to finely shred it. I prefer to use a mandolin to shred the cabbage and the carrot. You can also shred the carrot using a large slot cheese grater or a peeler. Before incorporating the carrot, it’s a good idea to pat it dry with a paper towel to remove any excess water, so it doesn’t water down the cole slaw.

If you want to make this process easier, you can purchase a bag of cole slaw mix. You’ll need about 14 ounce bag, which is equal to about 4 1/2 cups of shredded cabbage. Generally these come with white and red cabbage plus carrot.

Coleslaw mix

In a large mixing bowl, add the shredded cabbage, carrot, chopped green onion, cilantro, and dressing. Stir to incorporate the sauce.

This salad is best served chilled, so cover and refrigerate for 15 minutes before serving.

Can I Make It Ahead of Time

Yes, you can make this coleslaw ahead of time, but keep in mind that the coleslaw will become more watery the longer it sits. To combat this, I like to store the dressing separate from the salad until an hour or so before serving it.

If you want to store a large batch in the fridge to eat over several sittings, you can just add the dressing each time you take a serving. This will keep it at its freshest.

If you’re taking the coleslaw to a party, you can add the dressing before transporting. It will stay crisp for 3-4 hours, especially if refrigerated.

Chipotle coleslaw

What are Chipotle Peppers

Chipotles in adobo are dried and smoked jalapeño peppers that are rehydrated and canned in a sweet and tangy sauce made with tomato, vinegar, garlic, and other spices.

Since Chipotle peppers are just smoked jalapeno peppers, they have the same heat rating on the Scoville scale, ranging from 2,500 to 8,000, which is in the medium to hot range. Treat them like you would a jalapeno, keeping in mind that the seeds are all left in.

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Chipotle coleslaw

Creamy & Spicy Chipotle Coleslaw

This creamy & spicy Chipotle Coleslaw will add some heat to your favorite summer side dish.
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Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes
Calories: 228kcal
Author: Angela Morris


  • 4 cups shredded cabbage green or purple, or both
  • 1 medium carrot finely shredded
  • 2 tablespoons green onion chopped
  • 2 tablespoons cilantro chopped
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/2 7oz can chipotle in adobo 1 pepper finely chopped + 2 tbsp sauce
  • 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt


  • In a small bowl combine mayonnaise, chipotle pepper, adobo sauce, rice vinegar, sugar and salt. Stir well.
  • In a large mixing bowl, add shredded cabbage, carrot, chopped green onion, cilantro, and dressing. Stir to incorporate the sauce.
  • Cover and refrigerate for 15 minutes before serving.


  • Chipotle peppers are hot so adjust the amount of peppers you use to your desired heat preference. We’ve used 1 pepper from the can, plus 2 tbsp of the sauce.
  • You can use a bag of cole slaw mix (14 oz) instead of shredding your own cabbage, if preferred.


Calories: 228kcal | Carbohydrates: 9g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 21g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 13g | Monounsaturated Fat: 5g | Trans Fat: 0.1g | Cholesterol: 12mg | Sodium: 492mg | Potassium: 183mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 6g | Vitamin A: 2678IU | Vitamin C: 27mg | Calcium: 38mg | Iron: 0.5mg

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Creamy coleslaw

6 thoughts on “Creamy & Spicy Chipotle Coleslaw

  1. Maria says:

    5 stars
    This looks so good! I think this will be a hit for this weekends family gathering. Thank you so much for sharing this!

  2. Anjali says:

    5 stars
    Yum! This coleslaw was super refreshing and I love the spicy kick it had! The perfect side dish for our picnic this weekend!

  3. Beth says:

    5 stars
    Yum! We love everything about this coleslaw. The spicy heat and the crunch of the cabbage. I’ll be making it like this from now on.

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