Cumin Lime Coleslaw

$3.00 recipe / $0.50 serving
by Beth - Budget Bytes
4.87 from 30 votes
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I used to really hate coleslaw until I made my own homemade coleslaw. It’s so fresh, crunchy, and creamy, and not at all gloppy or heavy like the storebought stuff. AND you can make it different flavors to suit your meal! This Cumin Lime Coleslaw has a bright and sunny dressing made with fresh lime juice, earthy cumin (which has always smelled kind of lemony to me), and a small pinch of cayenne. Green onions and shredded carrots add color and flavor to the crunchy cabbage and round out this easy, breezy coleslaw.

Originally posted 3-25-2015, updated 2-17-2021.

side view of a bowl of cumin lime coleslaw with green onion and limes on the side

How to Serve Cumin Lime Coleslaw

As with any coleslaw, this one makes a great side dish for things like Cilantro Lime Chicken, Hearty Black Bean Quesadillas, or Turkey Taco Skillet. But you can also pile it onto a sandwich, use it to top tacos, or even use it as a base for a bowl meal! And last week, I served it as a side to some tacos made with my Chili Rubbed Pulled Pork and Pickled Red Onions. That combo was to die for!

Take a Short Cut

If you’re short on time, you can skip shredding your own cabbage and carrots and use a bag of coleslaw mix (pre-shredded cabbage and carrots). You’ll want one bag (14-16oz.) for this recipe.

How Long Does it Stay Fresh?

This cumin lime coleslaw stays good in the fridge for about 2-3 days. It does soften a bit as it refrigerates, but it’s still quite tasty. You’ll want to give it a good stir before serving each time to redistribute the dressing.

overhead view of a bowl full of cumin lime coleslaw with green onion and limes on the side


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Cumin Lime Coleslaw

4.87 from 30 votes
Fresh lime juice and earthy cumin give this Cumin Lime Coleslaw a light, fresh, and summery flavor. Perfect for summer BBQ or any southwest inspired meal.
overhead view of a bowl full of cumin lime coleslaw with green onion and limes on the side
Servings 6 3/4 cup each
Prep 30 mins
Total 30 mins


  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise ($0.80)
  • 2 Tbsp fresh lime juice (about 1/2 lime) ($0.50)
  • 1 tsp ground cumin ($0.10)
  • 1/2 tsp salt ($0.02)
  • 1/8 tsp cayenne pepper ($0.01)
  • 1 tsp sugar ($0.02)
  • 1/2 head green cabbage (about 6 cups shredded) ($0.68)
  • 2 carrots ($0.16)
  • 4 green onions ($0.22)


  • Prepare the coleslaw dressing by stirring together the mayonnaise, lime juice, cumin, salt, sugar, and a pinch of cayenne pepper. Refrigerate the dressing until ready to use.
  • Remove the core from the cabbage and then finely shred. Peel the carrots, then use a large holed cheese grater to shred the carrots. Thinly slice the green onions.
  • Combine the shredded cabbage, carrots, and green onions in a large bowl. Pour the dressing over top, then stir until everything is well coated in dressing. Serve immediately or refrigerate until ready to serve. After refrigerating, make sure to stir the slaw well before serving.

See how we calculate recipe costs here.


Serving: 1ServingCalories: 170.48kcalCarbohydrates: 10.65gProtein: 2gFat: 13.97gSodium: 349.73mgFiber: 3.72g
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Closeup of a forkful of cumin lime coleslaw with the bowl in the background

How to Make Cumin Lime Coleslaw – Step by Step Photos

Overhead view of the cumin lime coleslaw dressing in a bowl with a spoon, cut limes on the side

Begin by making the dressing so the flavors have a little time to blend. Combine 1/2 cup mayonnaise, 2 Tbsp fresh lime juice, 1 tsp ground cumin, 1/2 tsp salt, 1 tsp sugar, and a pinch of cayenne pepper.

Shredded cabbage, carrots, and sliced green onion in a bowl

Finely shred 1/2 of a head of cabbage (about 6 cups), shred one carrot using a cheese grater, and slice four green onions. Add the cabbage, carrot, and onions to a large bowl.

coleslaw dressing being poured over the vegetables in the bowl

Pour the dressing over the vegetables and then stir until everything is well coated. Serve the Cumin Lime Coleslaw immediately or refrigerate until ready to serve. As will all slaws, the salt in the dressing will cause the cabbage to slowly soften and let off a little water, so be sure to stir the slaw before serving to redistribute the dressing.

Finished cumin lime coleslaw from above

But if you need to prepare it ahead of time, go ahead and make the dressing and prep the vegetables, but combine the two just before serving for the crunchiest coleslaw possible.

Side view of a bowl full of cumin lime coleslaw

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  1. This was crazy good! Maybe my body needed the nutrients, but I couldn’t seem to get enough of it. Who knew coleslaw could be so good?! I used prepackaged carrots + cabbage and it was so easy.

    1. Hi! Sub with 1/2 cup sour cream with 1/2 tablespoon apple cider vinegar and a pinch of salt mixed in. If you don’t have sour cream, you can put 1/2 cup heavy cream in a mason jar with 1 tablespoon of cider vinegar and a pinch of salt. Close the jar and shake it up until the cream thickens. XOXO -Monti

  2. This is soooo good I’ve made it so many times ❤️ The tangy lime in the sauce makes it different to boring bland coleslaw, so yummy we love this. It’s my favourite coleslaw recipe ever 

  3. Cumin is an unusual ingredient in this, but once it got cold it was very yummy. I added cilantro. 

  4. I made this tonight and it was really good! Very fresh and light tasting with the cumin and lime. I used coleslaw mix already chopped up and it saved on time and wasn’t too expensive. Very easy. I’m not going back to coleslaw dressing from a bottle.

  5. Love this! We substituted canned coconut milk for the mayo due to allergies and it turned out great. :)

  6. My husband smoked a brisket and we chopped up some of the leftovers for brisket tacos. Made this cole slaw to top them off- delicious! 

  7. Just mixed up a batch of this to go with fish tacos tonight. I included the zest from the lime (waste not!), subbed honey for sugar and chipotle for cayenne. My quality control.bite tasted great! Can’t wait to see how the flavors combine after a little fridge time.

  8. Any thoughts on using a vinegar-based dressing rather than mayo? Partner doesn’t care for mayo, and I like the idea of reducing some calories.

    1. I’ve wanted to develop a mayo-free coleslaw recipe for a while, but haven’t had the chance to test it yet.

    2. I always substitute plain greek yogurt for mayo. Or you could try a lime dressing like ones used for apple jicama slaw. Heres a basic of what I usually start with.
      2 T lime juice
      Zest of 1 lime
      2 T seasoned rice wine vinegar
      2T avocado oil ( or of your choice)
      1 T water
      S&P to taste
      I’d add the seasonings listed in the dressing above

  9. I love this. Upped the cayenne for personal preference, swapped green onions for a shallot because it’s what I had on hand. It is delightful!