Virgin Islands Coleslaw (West Indian Coleslaw Recipe)

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This recipe for West Indian coleslaw or Virgin Islands coleslaw with raisins is inspired by my island home of St. Thomas, Virgin Islands and is absolutely delicious. I’ve had people come to my home to eat and say “I don’t like coleslaw”, but, I like this coleslaw.

The only thing is, growing up; I always had to grate the cabbage and carrots by hand using what’s know as a box or hand grater. These days you can just by a bag of cabbage/carrot slaw mix and everything from that point is easy. Although I will say from a flavor stand point, I prefer my Virgin Islands coleslaw made using freshly grated cabbage and carrots.

What can I say? Fresh is best.

What if I Don’t Want to Spend My Time Grating Carrots and Cabbage

C’mon? Seriously? OK, f you’re super busy or want to save time, one 14 oz bag of shredded cabbage and carrots will do the trick.

And no, there is no fancy tropical fruit in this but, if you order or have coleslaw in the Virgin Islands, this is exactly what you’ll get.

From a dietary stand point, this West Indian coleslaw is naturally gluten and dairy free.

So creamy and delicious this coleslaw recipe is a fan favorite. Even though I no longer live in the Virgin Islands, I always smile to myself every April (Carnival time), Thanksgiving and Christmas when there is an uptick in blog visitors looking for this recipe.

Can I make Virgin Islands Coleslaw Ahead?

Absolutely! In fact, I highly recommend it. Prepare the coleslaw one to two days ahead for best flavor and put it in the refrigerator overnight to get the flavors just right. Taste the coleslaw before serving to see if you want to adjust any seasonings.

Ingredients in Virgin Islands Coleslaw with Raisins

  • cabbage
  • carrots
  • white onion
  • white vinegar
  • raisins
  • sugar
  • salt
  • fresh cracked pepper

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Virgin Islands or West Indian Coleslaw with Raisins

Yield: 6-8

Virgin Islands Caribbean Coleslaw with Raisins

Virgin Islands Caribbean Coleslaw with Raisins

Delicious recipe for Virgin Islands Coleslaw with Raisins, a West Indian recipe. 

Prep Time 10 minutes
Inactive Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 10 minutes


  • 2 large carrots (grated)
  • 1/2 cabbage (grated)
  • 1/8 of an onion (finely grated)
  • 2 tbsp white vinegar
  • 1/2 cup mayo
  • 3/4 cup raisins
  • 2 tbsp sugar (or according to taste)
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp fresh cracked black pepper


  1. In large bowl add shredded cabbage, carrots, grated onion, mayonnaise, vinegar, sugar, salt and fresh cracked pepper.
  2. Mix well
  3. Fold in raisins last.
  4. Taste for seasoning.
  5. Refrigerate for at least 1 hours before serving
  6. Serve chilled

Nutrition Information



Serving Size


Amount Per Serving Calories 0Total Fat 0gSaturated Fat 0gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 0gCholesterol 0mgSodium 0mgCarbohydrates 0gFiber 0gSugar 0gProtein 0g

Other Healthy Caribbean Recipes

Caribbean Ginger Beer

Virgin Islands Sweet Potato Recipe with Raisins

Coconut Curry Shrimp

Read these other Virgin Islands posts

Texas Pit Barbecue
Fun Thing to Do in St. Thomas, Virgin Islands
Visit Delly Deck in St. Thomas for Local Breakfast
3 Breathtaking Beaches to See on St. Croix

Did you enjoy this recipe? There are lots more where that came from.

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Original published: May 27, 2013. Latest update 4/2018. Updated for photos 5/4/2021

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  • Comments ( 9 )

  • avatar

    My family goes “nuts” for it.

  • avatar

    Oops! So how about I made a big mistake when I was writing this recipe. Don’t worry. It’s all corrected now. If your tried the recipe before I made the edit, I am so sorry. But basically, the bottom line is…don’t forget the sugar.

  • avatar

    That sounds amazing – pinning it to try! Thank you for sharing with us at the #HomeMattersParty

  • avatar

    This is the perfect summer side dish — love it! Thanks for sharing at Merry Monday!

  • avatar
    Brett Martin

    Raisins, huh? Interesting. But I want!
    Thanks for joining us at Delicious Dishes!!

    • avatar

      Yes Brett. Raisins…you won’t find coleslaw in the Virgin Islands without it. When I first ate coleslaw without raisins, I felt like I was doing something wrong. lol

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