Featuring crispy jalapeno carrot slaw
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Creamy Jalapeno Carrot Slaw

Try this autumn spin with a little spice. Creamy Jalapeno Carrot Slaw is crunchy and fresh, adding a zingy heat to your delicious barbecue.

Creamy jalapeno carrot slaw is full of crunch and tang.

Not only is this slaw simple to make, but it adds a very delicious bright crunch as you’re chomping into your Smoked Pulled Turkey Sandwich. Maybe you’re serving it as a side dish, which works well with Smoked Brat Burgers or Coffee-Crusted Ribeye.

Why This Recipe Works

Crispy crunch. Matchsticks of carrots, apples, and red onion make up the base of this recipe. Each bite has a crispy contrast of earthy, sweet, and spice.

Add balance to your BBQ. Most food off the smoker and grill is fatty, heavy and full of spices. This fresh carrow slaw helps to balance it out, and also adds a little fat if you need it for your smoked poultry.

Creamy tang. Combining Dijon and mayo with lemon juice keeps the sauce very simple and full of flavor. The sauce is just enough to evenly coat the crunchy cuts without taking over.

Simple ingredients. Chances are, you’ve got most of everything in your house. There are no exotic ingredients, just a unique combination of flavors.

Smoked pulled turkey sandwich with spicy carrot slaw and cranberry honey mustard.

Key Ingredients

Here’s a breakdown of some of the main ingredients we’ll use in the salad, with some suggestions on swapping for variety:

  • Carrots – Shown are the orange, but please use any color you can get your hands on. Rainbow carrots add a lot of fun color to the barbecue. Cut them into matchsticks or use a food processor to shred them for a finer texture.
  • Granny Smith Apples – Anything tart works here, but these are my favorite to compliment the dish. For a slightly stronger flavor, Red Delicious (the apple no one really buys) is actually a very tasty option.
  • Red Onion – A sharp bite of pungent onion balances out the flavors and adds a nice crisp. If you find that raw onions are a bit strong, soak them in cold water for about 10 minutes after they are sliced. That will mellow them out.
  • Jalapenos – Dice them fine (like the photos) for a milder flavor throughout the slaw. Most of the heat is in the seeds and the membrane. For a spicier version, slice them into very thin rounds like the recipe for Creamy Southwestern Coleslaw.
  • Lemon Juice – Please use fresh lemon juice, not bottled. Lime juice is a great substitute
  • Mayonnaise – My favorite full-fat traditional mayo, preferably Duke’s mayo. Use any brand you enjoy.
  • Dijon Mustard – Combined with mustard, this is a core ingredient to add zing to the dressing.
  • Cilantro – The herb to compliment the jalapeno, but feel free to swap it for other herbs. Basil works incredibly well, or parsley for a more neutral flavor.
Prepping everything is the hardest part. Slicing up the apples and veggies won't take too long.

Step 1: Prep Everything

The hardest part of this salad is the prep, which should take you less than 10 minutes.

Cut the apples and carrots into matchsticks. For a finer texture, you can use a food processor to dice the carrots, just be aware of how thin it may cut them.

To cheat, I like to use a mandoline slicer to cut the apples and carrots initially, then I can hit them with my knife to cut them into matchsticks. Cuts down on the time by more than half!

Pour in your creamy dressing after whisking it together and tasting it.

Step 2: Mix and Season the Dressing

Next up, make the dressing. Mix the mayonnaise, Dijon, fresh lemon juice, and lemon zest together. Whisk everything and season with salt and pepper to taste.

Remember that the dressing will need to cover all of the vegetables, so you may need a little more salt.

Pour in the dressing and stir everything gently. Allow the jalapeno carrot slaw to rest for at least 2 hours in the fridge before use. This gives the flavors a chance to penetrate into the food.

Allow the jalapeno carrot slaw to rest for a couple of hours before serving.

See? That wasn’t so bad.

Two steps and you’re basically there. Now you just have to wait. Most of the time we are prepping the jalapeno carrot slaw while food is being grilled or smoked, and it’s ready when you’re done!

Serve up this coleslaw with your favorite smoked pulled meats.

What to Serve with Jalapeno Carrot Slaw

I highly recommend serving this coleslaw with any smoked pulled meat you can think of. Of course, it will taste delicious alongside big cuts as well.

Here are some more specific suggestions:

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Featuring crispy jalapeno carrot slaw

Creamy Jalapeno Carrot Slaw

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Try this autumn spin with a little spice. Creamy Jalapeno Carrot Slaw is crunchy and fresh, adding a zingy heat to your delicious barbecue.

  • Total Time: 10
  • Yield: Serves about 6


  • 12 ounces carrots, peeled, julienned (about 4 cups)
  • 1 Granny Smith apple, cut into matchsticks (1½ cups)
  • 1/2 cup thinly sliced red onion
  • 2 jalapeños, stemmed, seeded, minced
  • 1/2 cup fresh cilantro leaves
  • 2 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon lemon zest
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Kosher salt to taste


  1. Shred and dice the carrots, apples, red onion, and jalapenos to your preferred sizes. Place them in a large bowl.
  2. Mix the mayonnaise, Dijon mustard, lemon juice, and lemon zest in a bowl. Season with black pepper and salt to taste.
  3. Pour the dressing into the slaw and gently mix to combine. Taste and adjust. Allow the slaw to rest in the fridge for at least 2 hours before serving.


  • Jalapenos – If you want them spicier, slice them into thin rounds instead of finely dicing them. Most of the heat is in the membrane and seeds, which are typically removed when dicing.
  • Onions – Soak the onions in cool water for about 10 minutes to mild out their pungent flavor if you find it overwhelming.
  • Author: Brad Prose
  • Prep Time: 10
  • Category: Side Dish
  • Method: Chopping
  • Cuisine: Side Dish
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