Pineapple Coleslaw Recipe photo by Taste of Home
Total Time
Prep/Total Time: 15 min.
It’s rich. It’s juicy. It’s sweet. Pineapple coleslaw is the tropical twist that has been missing from picnics and backyard barbecues.

Updated: Dec. 04, 2023

Let’s be real. Coleslaw isn’t the dish that most of us rave about after leaving a potluck or backyard barbecue. The meaty main dishes (like barbecue picnic chicken or baby back ribs) usually get all the attention. That’s all about to change with this pineapple coleslaw recipe.

Pineapple tidbits burst with tropical flavor, adding a refreshing kick to the crunchy cabbage and creamy coleslaw dressing. It’s a stellar side that complements the other dishes and packs a substantial flavor punch on its own. Don’t be surprised if even the guests who dislike coleslaw come back for seconds!

Ingredients for Pineapple Coleslaw

  • Cabbage: We recommend using green cabbage here. Red cabbage can bleed color into the dressing and make it a little murky, especially if it sits for more than a day. That said, a bag of store-bought coleslaw mix works in a pinch, especially if you don’t have time to shred cabbage by hand. You won’t need the whole bag, so use the leftovers in these coleslaw mix recipes.
  • Pineapple tidbits: Canned pineapple is the way to go when mixing pineapple and dairy. The canning process destroys an enzyme in pineapple called bromelain, which would otherwise curdle the milk in the dressing. (Save the fresh pineapple for fruit salad and pineapple salsa.)
  • Creamy dressing: This simple coleslaw dressing mixes mayonnaise, sugar, cider vinegar and milk. Adding milk gives it a light consistency that perfectly dresses each shred of cabbage. While we haven’t tried it, you could also try nondairy milk alternatives to keep the dish dairy free.
  • Paprika: This ingredient is optional, but a light dusting of paprika creates visual appeal. It also contributes a barely-there spice to the sweet-and-tangy coleslaw.

Directions

Step 1: Make the dressing

In a small bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise, sugar, cider vinegar and milk.

Step 2: Toss the pineapple coleslaw

In a large bowl, combine the shredded cabbage and pineapple tidbits. Pour the dressing over the mixture, and toss to coat.

Editor’s Tip: To keep the coleslaw from getting watery, pat dry the pineapple tidbits with a paper towel before tossing them with the cabbage.

Step 3: Refrigerate

A Bowl of Pineapple Coleslaw With Red and Green SprinklesTMB Studio

Refrigerate the pineapple coleslaw, covered, until serving. If desired, sprinkle the coleslaw with paprika just before serving.

Pineapple Coleslaw Variations

  • Add color: Include additional veggies like shredded carrots, chopped green onions or chopped fresh cilantro.
  • Increase the island vibes: Add freshly grated ginger or ginger powder to the dressing, or whisk in a little coconut cream. Adding unsweetened shredded coconut with the cabbage mixture wouldn’t be a bad idea, either.
  • Adjust the seasonings: Add celery seed (an ingredient typically used in coleslaw dressing) or ground mustard to give the dressing an earthy character. You can also include crushed red pepper flakes or cayenne pepper to add a touch of spice.
  • Include marshmallows: Love vintage marshmallow salad recipes? Channel all that goodness by sprinkling mini marshmallows on top of pineapple coleslaw.

How to Store Pineapple Coleslaw

Store coleslaw in the refrigerator, covered, for up to three days. In fact, letting it sit for even an hour will help the flavors blend together. Keep in mind that the dressing will become a little watery over time, so drain the coleslaw before using if needed. Alternatively, you can whisk in extra mayonnaise just before serving to fluff up the dressing.

Pineapple Coleslaw Tips

 A Pineapple Coleslaw Dish on a Wooden TableTMB Studio

What do you serve with pineapple coleslaw?

Pineapple coleslaw is a fantastic side dish for rich barbecue dishes or grilled meats like grilled Huli Huli chicken or grilled teriyaki salmon. It’s also delicious when packed onto pulled pork sandwiches, pulled chicken sandwiches or Hawaiian beef sliders.

What’s the difference between cabbage slaw and coleslaw?

Technically, coleslaw contains cabbage, while slaw can be made with any vegetable. However, in practice, the terms are often used interchangeably to describe the same dish. The word coleslaw is thought to have originated from the Dutch term koolsla, which means “cabbage salad.”

How do you cut the sweetness in coleslaw?

If pineapple coleslaw is too sweet for your liking, balance the sweetness by adding additional ingredients to the dressing. Increase the mayonnaise or cider vinegar, or whisk in a little lemon juice, olive oil, sour cream or yogurt.

Pineapple Coleslaw

Prep Time 15 min
Yield 8 servings.

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 tablespoons cider vinegar
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons 2% milk
  • 4 cups shredded cabbage
  • 3/4 cup pineapple tidbits
  • Paprika, optional

Directions

  1. For dressing, mix first 4 ingredients. Place cabbage and pineapple in a large bowl. Add dressing; toss to coat.
  2. Refrigerate until serving. If desired, sprinkle with paprika.

Nutrition Facts

3/4 cup: 170 calories, 15g fat (2g saturated fat), 8mg cholesterol, 114mg sodium, 9g carbohydrate (6g sugars, 1g fiber), 1g protein.

When I was a child, my mother often served this salad with multicolored marshmallows sprinkled on top, much to my delight. The marshmallows added a touch of sweetness that really complemented this salad's tangy flavor. —Betty Follas, Morgan Hill, California