Jalapeno coleslaw kicks up a traditional picnic side dish with loads of extra flavor and a little heat. If you like things a little spicy this recipe will be your new favorite way to enjoy this classic!

Spicy Jalapeno Coleslaw on a fork

Jalapeno coleslaw is a vibrant and mouthwatering twist on traditional coleslaw, infusing it with a fiery kick. By incorporating the heat and distinctive flavor of jalapenos, this zesty dish elevates any meal to a whole new level.

The crispness of the cabbage combined with the tanginess of the dressing and the spicy kick of jalapenos create a symphony of flavors that will leave you craving more. Whether you’re a fan of spicy food or looking to add some excitement to your palate, jalapeno coleslaw is sure to deliver a flavor explosion!

While a standard slaw recipe is great, we love playing around with flavors and adding all sorts of extras to it. This spicy version is our newest favorite but you’ll want to give our, Southern Coleslaw, Keto Avocado Coleslaw, and Apple Coleslaw (great with some pulled pork) a try too!

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ingredients for Spicy Jalapeno Coleslaw

Ingredients You’ll Need

  • Cabbage – Use a mix of cabbage for the prettiest results and make sure it is finely sliced.
  • Carrots – Shredded carrot will blend easily with the cabbage and make for a uniform consistency.
  • Bell Pepper – A mix of red and yellow julienned bell peppers will add extra flavor, color and crunch.
  • Jalapeno pepper – Seeded and diced jalapeno adds spice without an overwhelming amount of heat. Feel free to adjust the amount of jalapeno to suit your spice tastes.
  • Ranch dressing – Ranch dressing tempers the heat from the jalapeno and adds more flavor than plain mayo based dressing.
  • Mayonnaise – Full fat mayonnaise not mayonnaise dressing adds the best flavor.
  • Lime juice – Fresh lime juice adds bright tang and acidity.
  • Spices – Dried chili powder and minced fresh cilantro add even more deliciousness to this recipe.
Spicy Jalapeno Coleslaw in a black bowl

How to Make It

Step 1 – Combine the veggies. Add all the thinly sliced veggies to a large bowl and give them a quick stir so they are evenly distributed.

Step 2 – Whisk together the dressing ingredients. In a separate bowl, whisk together the ranch dressing, mayo, lime juice and spices.

Step 3 – Toss the dressing with the veggies. Pour the dressing over the veggies and toss it to incorporate it.

Step 4 – Refrigerate. Let the slaw sit in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes so the flavors have a chance to come together. Enjoy!

How to Adjust the Heat Level of Jalapeno Coleslaw

You have full control over the spiciness of your coleslaw. To reduce the heat, remove the jalapeno seeds and ribs before adding them to the recipe. For an extra kick, include some of the seeds or add a sprinkle of crushed red pepper flakes.

Spicy Jalapeno Coleslaw on a black fork

Frequently Asked Questions

Is Coleslaw Keto?

This one is! Some coleslaws add sugar so they aren’t keto-friendly but this spicy version has only 3 grams net carbs, no added sugar, and it’s packed full of keto vegetables, cabbage, bell peppers, and jalapenos. You will need to make sure you choose a keto ranch dressing! It is a great side to bring to a potluck and everyone will love it whether they are avoiding carbs or not!

What is the best cabbage to use?

Honestly, you can use almost any kind of cabbage you have on hand or can find at the store. I really like to use a mix of red and green cabbage since it makes it so colorful. However, you can use all green cabbage, savoy cabbage or napa cabbage. You can also use a bag of pre-cut coleslaw mix to save time.

Can You Make It Ahead of Time?

Coleslaw is best when it is super crunchy so it’s best to put it together right before you serve it. If you want to make it ahead of time, cut up all of your ingredients and store them in the refrigerator separately in air tight containers. Whisk together the dressing and refrigerate that also. Then, when you’re ready to make it, just toss everything together and serve.

How Long Does Homemade Coleslaw last?

This will last 3-4 days in an airtight container in the fridge. I like it after it sits for a day and all of the flavors kind of meld together, but as I said before, if you like a lot of crunch its best to serve it as soon as it is made.

Spicy Jalapeno Coleslaw in a black bowl with bed pepper and lime juice

What to Serve with Spicy Coleslaw

Whether you’re serving it at a barbecue, picnic, or family dinner, here are some delicious options for what to serve with your spicy jalapeno coleslaw:

  1. Carnitas: Coleslaw is a fantastic accompaniment to this Mexican pulled pork. The crunchy coleslaw provides a refreshing contrast to the rich and savory flavors of the meat.
  2. Cerviche: Coleslaw pairs well seafood and this spicy version is the perfect accompaniment to bright, cirtusy shrimp ceviche. The tangy coleslaw balances the richness of the seafood, creating a delightful harmony.
  3. Pulled Pork: Coleslaw is a classic topping for pulled pork sandwiches. The combination of tender and flavorful pulled pork with the crunchy, creamy coleslaw is a match made in culinary heaven. The coleslaw adds texture and spice that cuts through the richness of the pork.
  4. Grilled Meats: Coleslaw is a fantastic accompaniment to grilled meats. Serve it alongside juicy burgers, smoky ribs, grilled chicken, or flavorful steak. The cool and crunchy coleslaw provides a refreshing contrast to the rich and savory flavors of grilled meats.
  5. Sandwiches and Wraps: Coleslaw is an excellent topping for sandwiches and wraps. Add it to pulled pork sandwiches, BBQ chicken sliders, grilled vegetable wraps, or even a classic deli sandwich. The coleslaw adds a refreshing crunch and a burst of flavor that takes these handheld meals to the next level.
  6. Mexican-inspired Dishes: Coleslaw can also be a delightful addition to Mexican-inspired dishes. Serve it with tacos, enchiladas, or quesadillas for a fresh and vibrant contrast to the spices and flavors of Mexican cuisine.

How to Store It

Proper storage is key to maintaining the freshness and quality of your coleslaw. Whether you have leftovers or want to prepare it in advance, here are some guidelines on how to store coleslaw:

  1. Refrigeration: Coleslaw should always be stored in the refrigerator to keep it fresh and safe to eat. The cold temperature of the refrigerator helps slow down bacterial growth and maintain the quality of the ingredients.
  2. Airtight Container: Transfer your coleslaw to an airtight container with a lid. This helps prevent air exposure and keeps the coleslaw from absorbing odors from other foods in the refrigerator. Glass or plastic containers with tight-fitting lids work well for storing coleslaw.
  3. Separate Dressing (if applicable): If your coleslaw has a separate dressing, store the dressing and the shredded cabbage separately. Keeping them apart helps maintain the crispness of the cabbage and prevents it from becoming overly saturated. Dress the coleslaw just before serving or as needed.
  4. Label and Date: To stay organized and ensure you consume your coleslaw while it’s still fresh, label the container with the date it was prepared. This will help you keep track of its storage time and prevent it from being forgotten in the back of the refrigerator.
  5. Proper Timing: Coleslaw is best consumed within 24-48 hours of preparation for optimal freshness and flavor. While it may still be safe to eat beyond that timeframe, the texture of the cabbage can become softer, and the overall quality may decline.
  6. Avoid Freezing: Due to its high water content, coleslaw does not freeze well. Freezing can cause the cabbage to become mushy and affect the texture and flavor of the dressing. It’s best to consume coleslaw fresh or within the recommended storage timeframe.

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Servings: 10
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 15 minutes

Spicy Jalapeno Coleslaw

Jalapeno coleslaw kicks up a traditional picnic side dish with loads of extra flavor and a little heat. If you like things a little spicy this recipe will be your new favorite way to enjoy this classic!
Spicy Jalapeno Coleslaw on a fork
Print Recipe
5 from 1 vote


  • 8.5 ounces Coleslaw mix
  • 2 ounces Red cabbage, finely sliced
  • ¼ cup Red Bell Pepper, julienned
  • ¼ cup Yellow Bell Pepper, julienned
  • 1 Jalapeno pepper, seeded and finely diced
  • 1/2 cup Ranch dressing
  • ¼ cup Mayonnaise
  • 1 Lime, juiced
  • ½ teaspoon Chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon Cilantro, minced


  • In a large bowl toss together the coleslaw mix, red bell pepper, yellow bell pepper, and jalapeno pepper.
  • In a small bowl whisk together the ranch dressing, mayonnaise, lime juice, chili powder and cilantro.
  • Pour the dressing over the slaw and toss to coat.
  • Refrigerate for 30 minutes before serving.


Serving: 0.25cup, Calories: 109kcal, Carbohydrates: 4g, Protein: 1g, Fat: 10g, Saturated Fat: 2g, Cholesterol: 6mg, Sodium: 175mg, Potassium: 85mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 2g, Vitamin A: 256IU, Vitamin C: 28mg, Calcium: 18mg, Iron: 1mg
Nutrition Disclaimer: We are not certified nutritionists. Nutrition facts are an estimate and are provided as a courtesy. They are generated by an online API which recognizes ingredient names and amounts and makes calculations based on the serving size. Results may vary.
Author: Kat Jeter & Melinda Caldwell
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: American
Keyword: spicy coleslaw
Handwritten signature for Kat & Melinda

This recipe was first published on July 8, 2016. It was republished with an updated recipe and photos on July 13, 2020.