Mexican Coleslaw with Chicken

5 from 1 vote

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This Mexican Coleslaw is crunchy, creamy, and bursting with loads of bright, bold flavors. This easy-to-make recipe comes together in just 15 minutes and requires only a handful of simple ingredients.

overhead: a red ceramic plate with Mexican coleslaw with chicken and a fork

If you’re looking for a fresh, feisty, and flavorful side dish to add to your rotation, you definitely don’t want to miss today’s Mexican coleslaw recipe. This creamy, satisfying slaw features fire-roasted corn, fresh jalapeño, pickled red onions, and vibrant cilantro. And that’s all in addition to the crunchy green cabbage and tender shredded chicken (which is optional)! 

Make this Mexican coleslaw to spruce up your next family barbecue or potluck. Lately, I like to throw together a batch to simply enjoy throughout the week. No matter the occasion, your friends and family are sure to love this Mexican-inspired masterpiece. 

For more hearty, healthy summertime salads with chicken, check out my Southwest Chicken Salad, Chicken Salad Recipe, and this Spiced Citrus Roasted Chicken Salad.

extreme closeup: a plate of Mexican coleslaw with chicken

Ingredient Notes and Substitutions

  • Cabbage – Adds a clean, peppery, slightly sweet flavor along with a dynamite crunch factor. I chose green cabbage for this recipe, but you can substitute red cabbage if needed. 
  • Fire-Roasted Corn – Delivers a smoky, sweet flavor, popping texture, and a dazzling dash of bright color. Feel free to use regular plain corn if preferred.
  • Green Onions – Add a pop of freshness with a mildly pungent, peppery flavor. 
  • Quick Pickled Red Onions Brightens up the coleslaw with a blast of zingy, vinegar, and sweet pungency. You can also use this spicier Escabeche Rojo recipe.
  • Jalapeno – Spices up the Mexican coleslaw with a concentrated pop of peppery heat. 
  • Cilantro – Adds a citrus flavor, intense freshness, and lovely deep green color. 
  • Pumpkin Seeds – Top off the slaw with a crunchy texture and mild, nutty taste. 
  • Dressing – A simple, scrumptious combination of mayonnaise, dijon mustard, sesame oil, and lime juice sweetened with a touch of sugar and seasoned with cumin, salt, and pepper. It is bright, citrusy, creamy, and cool with a touch of spiciness.
  • Chicken – This is an OPTIONAL add. You’ll need around 1 pound of shredded chicken. I like to use rotisserie chicken for convenience, but feel free to use any boneless, skinless chicken meat. It’s a great way to use up leftovers too.

How to Make Mexican Coleslaw

  1. Combine Salad Ingredients. Use a large bowl to combine the shredded chicken, shredded green cabbage, fire-roasted corn, green onions, pickled onions, jalapenos, and cilantro. 
  2. Make the Dressing. Use a separate bowl to combine all the ingredients for the dressing. Mix well by hand or use an immersion blender to puree the mixture. 
  3. Dress the Salad. Pour the dressing over the salad and toss thoroughly, making sure to completely coat. Cover and place in the refrigerator to chill for at least 15 minutes. 
  4. Toss & Serve. Once ready to serve, toss one more time and sprinkle with pumpkin seeds.

Tip From Kevin

Make Your Own Fire-Roasted Corn

I use 2 cans of fire-roasted corn for this recipe to make it easy. If you are feeling ambitious and want to roast your own corn, 2-4 ears should be enough. Follow the instructions from my Street Corn Recipe — just leave off the toppings!

overhead: a red ceramic plate with Mexican coleslaw and a fork

Frequently Asked Questions

What is Mexican coleslaw made of?

My Mexican coleslaw recipe is a sassy, scrumptious combination of shredded cabbage, shredded chicken, fire-roasted corn, jalapenos, cilantro, and pickled red onions. This zesty combination is then drenched in a creamy, spicy lime dressing and topped off with pumpkin seeds.

What pairs well with Mexican coleslaw?

Filled with loads of crunchy vegetables, irresistible flavor, and protein-packed chicken, this Mexican coleslaw recipe is as versatile as it is delicious. It works beautifully as a snack, appetizer, condiment, or even a light, on-the-go lunch option. Check out these suggestions for inspiration: 

– Pair Mexican coleslaw with your favorite tacos like Honey Chipotle Shrimp Tacos, Chicken Tinga, or Tacos Al Pastor.
– Serve with tortilla chips and other Mexican condiments like Authentic Guacamole, Classic Refried Beans, Classic Fire Roasted Salsa, and Queso Blanco Cheese Dip.
– Dress up your next Taco Salad with a scoop and enjoy it alongside a bowl of Chicken Tortilla Soup (Sopa Azteca)
– Add some to your next helping of Cilantro Lime Rice or Arroz Rojo (Mexican Red Rice).
– Enjoy with barbecued meats like Smoked Pork Shoulder or Grilled Spatchcock Chicken.

What’s the difference between coleslaw and slaw?

While these two terms are almost always used interchangeably, they are technically different. All coleslaw is slaw, but not all slaw is coleslaw. Let me explain!

Did you know that coleslaw is actually Dutch in origin? The term coleslaw comes from the Dutch word koolsla. Kool is the Dutch word for cabbage and sla is a shortened form of salad. And there you have it — cabbage salad. 

Any coleslaw, including this Mexican coleslaw recipe, will always contain shredded or chopped cabbage as the main ingredient. It can be green, red, or Napa, but know that it will be the star of the show. Coleslaw can be creamy, vinegary, spicy, or sweet and can host countless other ingredients, all centered around the cabbage. 

Slaw, on the other hand, does not necessarily contain cabbage — but it certainly can. There are slaws made from broccoli, carrots, radishes, or any other veggie you want to shred, season, and turn into a crunchy salad. The possibilities are endless!

closeup: a plate of Mexican coleslaw with chicken

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Mexican Coleslaw with Chicken

5 from 1 vote
Mexican Coleslaw with Chicken is a mouthwatering blend of fresh veggies, zesty herbs, and shredded chicken in a creamy cumin-lime dressing.
Servings: 6
Prep: 15 minutes
Total: 15 minutes


Salad Dressing


  • Place all of the chicken, cabbage, corn, onion (both), jalapeno and cilantro in a bowl.
  • In another container mix together the salad dressing or use an immersion blender to puree.
  • Pour dressing over salad and toss to coat completely. Chill for 15 minutes, covered.
  • Sprinkle pumpkin seeds on top at serving (optional).


Calories: 347kcal | Carbohydrates: 14g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 24g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 14g | Monounsaturated Fat: 6g | Trans Fat: 0.1g | Cholesterol: 16mg | Sodium: 489mg | Potassium: 372mg | Fiber: 5g | Sugar: 7g | Vitamin A: 384IU | Vitamin C: 68mg | Calcium: 85mg | Iron: 1mg

The information shown is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.

Course: salads
Cuisine: Mexican
Have You Made This Recipe? Let Me Know on InstagramTag @keviniscooking or tag me #keviniscooking!
titled image (and shown): Mexican coleslaw with chicken


Whether in the kitchen or on the grill, you’ll find me cooking American favorites with a love for BBQ, Mexican and Tex Mex. I’m passionate about making tasty food because life’s too short to be bland!

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  1. This looks really good. We eat all kinds of slaw, so I am always looking for new recipes. I’m not sure I understand the inclusion of Sesame seed oil or mustard. But all the rest make great sense. I would increase the cumin, but Ir really like that flavor. Thanks so much for another great inspiration.

  2. Cannot wait to try this. It is such a nice alternative from basic coleslaw. So perfect for summer! Plus, my Dutch husband will love the language lesson on the origin of the word. I always learn so much from you. Every recipe I have tried turns out delicious. Thank you for expanding my palate.