Coleslaw Pasta Salad

Coleslaw Pasta Salad has all the crunch and flavor of coleslaw in a delicious pasta salad perfect for a potluck or summer barbecue. This macaroni salad with coleslaw dressing has celery, green bell pepper, and cucumber for a substantial side dish that makes enough to feed a crowd.

This macaroni coleslaw salad is so easy to make and ready in just minutes. I love that this recipe can be made hours in advance, and then I just throw it in a big plastic container to take with me. Assemble the ingredients while the pasta is cooking to keep prep time down to just 15 minutes.

coleslaw pasta salad in white bowl, side view

Why this recipe works

Coleslaw Pasta Salad works for two reasons: it’s easy and tasty. For just how easy it is, we literally throw the ingredients together while the pasta is cooking, then add the pasta and we are done. Serve right away, or refrigerate until ready to serve.

For the taste, picture a delicious crunchy coleslaw, amped up with celery, cucumber, and green bell pepper. The pasta bulks up the amount so this recipe is perfect for serving a crowd, but the flavor comes from the coleslaw dressing, fresh herbs, and the veggies. Absolutely totally delicious!

coleslaw pasta salad in white bowl, side view on wood table

What ingredients you need

The ingredients list may look a bit long, but it really isn’t once we break it down.

  • Veggies: a bag of coleslaw, cucumber, green bell pepper, and celery.
  • Pasta. I like ditalini pasta for this salad, but macaroni or small shells work as well.
  • Coleslaw dressing: mayonnaise, sour cream, Dijon mustard, sugar, and cider vinegar. I highly recommend using full fat mayonnaise (I prefer Duke’s) and sour cream.
  • Herbs: parsley, basil, and chives. Be sure to use flat-leaf (aka Italian) parsley and not curly.
  • Seasoning: kosher salt and fresh cracked pepper. Taste for seasoning once the salad is assembled as I often find I need to add more salt.
prepared recipe in white bowl on weathered wood background

How to make coleslaw pasta salad

One, cook pasta. Just follow the directions on the box, but once the pasta is done, drain and rinse with cold water. Rinsing pasta with cold water is only done when cooking pasta for cold dishes like macaroni salad because it stops the cooking process. This also keeps the pasta from sticking all together.

Two, throw all the ingredients together. Yes, it really is this stinking easy.

Lastly, taste for seasoning. I usually end up adding more salt, but I am heavy handed with salt in general so add according to your taste.

macaroni coleslaw salad in white bowl, angle view


Can this salad be prepared a day in advance?

I recommend not making this salad too far in advance because with time, the pasta can absorb the dressing and make the whole salad less creamy. So, I would keep the pasta separate until closer to serving, but the pasta can be cooked and rinsed in advance and the remaining ingredients can be assembled in advance as well.

How long will coleslaw pasta salad keep?

Veggies, especially cucumber, will give off water over time which can affect recipes like this, so I find it is good for up to 3 days.

Can a protein be added to make this more of a main course?

Absolutely! Diced ham or sliced hard-boiled eggs are lovely additions to this salad to make it even more substantial.

Can the pasta be omitted to keep this a coleslaw?

Yes. If gluten is an issue or if you just don’t want the pasta, leave it out and you will have a delicious coleslaw salad.

What are other sides that work with this salad?

If making a whole meal and feeding a bunch of people, I recommend my Cornbread Salad, Deviled Eggs, and Lemon Delight recipes with this pasta salad. All can be made in advance and make substantial amounts. Then grill up some meat or burgers and you are all set.

This salad goes SO WELL with my Smoked Jalapeno Stuffed Chicken Bombs.

prepared salad in white bowl on weathered wood background

Coleslaw Pasta Salad

Coleslaw Pasta Salad has all the crunch and flavor of coleslaw in a delicious macaroni salad perfect for a potluck or summer barbecue.
5 from 3 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Salad, Side Dish
Cuisine: American
Keyword: coleslaw pasta salad, macaroni coleslaw salad
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes
Authur: Erica
Servings: 8 people
Calories: 324kcal



  • Cook the pasta to al dente according to package directions. Drain and rinse with cold water immediately. Drain well.
  • While pasta is cooking, combine the remaining ingredients in a large bowl.
  • Add the drained and rinsed (now cool) pasta to the remaining ingredients and toss to combine.
  • Taste for seasoning. Refrigerate until ready to serve.


Calories: 324kcal | Carbohydrates: 30g | Protein: 5g | Fat: 21g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 122g | Monounsaturated Fat: 5g | Cholesterol: 12mg | Sodium: 226mg | Potassium: 111mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 7g

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