Taste Test: McDonald’s Coleslaw Vs Subway’s Schnitzel & Slaw Sub

Taste Test: McDonald’s Coleslaw Vs Subway’s Schnitzel & Slaw Sub

McDonald’s and Subway are in the midst of a slaw face-off. In one corner, we have the limited-edition side of coleslaw from Maccas; in the other, Subway’s new Schnitzel & Slaw Sub. We decided to pitch both variants against each other to see which franchise makes the best tossed salad.

Have you ever noticed how Australia’s takeaway chains tend to release similar-themed products at around the same time? Is it a coincidence? An inside mole? Or do they conduct secret cartel meetings where the lattest fatty drugs are developed and tested? Whatever the reason, it’s not uncommon to find nigh-on identical foodstuffs in multiple restaurants.

The latest takeaway doppelganger is coleslaw, which is currently available as a limited-edition menu item from Subway and McDonald’s. The McDonald’s version comes in the form of a side in a bowl, while the Subway version is an optional salad that can added to any sub. It’s also the chief ingredient in Subway’s new Schnitzel & Slaw Sub, which we ordered for this experiment.

The McDonald’s version costs $4.45 per serve and contains 1060kJ of energy. It can be added to any meal in place of fries. The Subway Schnitzel & Slaw Sub, meanwhile, packs in 2070kJ. A standard Schnitzel sub contains 1650kJ, so it’s safe to assume that the Subway coleslaw is healthier. This is supported by the slaw’s appearance: the McDonald’s version is saturated in creamy dressing while the Subway version just looks like shredded veggies.

So how did it taste?

Confession: I hate coleslaw. Absolutely abhor it. Cabbage is a rubbish vegetable and the taste of mayonnaise literally makes me gag. I’d honestly rather eat stinky tofu than this stuff. Fortunately, I had my wife in tow who graciously agreed to sample both (even though this meant brazenly eating Subway in a McDonald’s restaurant.) Here is her verdict:

I just want to point out that despite having eaten bugs, raw meat and placenta, my husband hates coleslaw. Ridiculous. Even his Dutch heritage can’t sway him. (Pointless factoid: Coleslaw in Dutch is “kool + sla” meaning “cabbage salad”.) Unlike Chris, I’m quite partial to coleslaw. Cabbage on its own I don’t often eat but when fancied up with a dressing, it’s yummy.
I was asked to taste test the McDonald’s coleslaw and the one offered at Subway which was packed in a sub with other ingredients. Coleslaw is generally eaten as a side dish so it wasn’t really the same thing (this meant the other Subway ingredients detracted from the taste somewhat, but it was still a tasty addition.) Interestingly, the slaw was offered naked with no dressing or mayonnaise to speak of. This makes it a good choice if you’re trying to be a bit healthier.
The McDonald’s coleslaw was creamy and fresh. It was served as it should in a nice little bowl. The cabbage and carrot were thick long pieces and had a great crunch. I want to eat it again! While it was definitely worse for me, I preferred the McDonald’s version by a big margin.

So there you have it. If you’re looking for a moreish flavour hit, plump for McDonald’s coleslaw. If you want a leaner condiment that’s light on dressing, Subway’s the place to go. Or you could be like me and not eat coleslaw under any circumstances.

Winner: McDonald’s Coleslaw


  • Isn’t the Schnitzel & Slaw sub one of the highest Kilojoule rated subs on the menu?
    The footlong being over 4000kj, maybe not the best choice if your trying to be healthy, but as an addition to a healthier sub it could be the go.

  • The coleslaw at McDonald’s is surprisingly tasty. It’s worth picking over the fries on taste alone, which kinda blows my mind.

  • I get red cabbage, white cabbage, and green kale – chopping it all up nice and small and grate the carrots into it. I then add a little aioli, either home made or store bought.

    so good, get so much out of it, lasts a week in the fridge when you make a batch for lunches.

  • Hey Chris, protip: replace that rubbish vegetable with celeriac, your Oma will approve.

  • I think Subway’s “slaw” is a very loose definition of coleslaw. It’s just shredded cabbage and carrot. No other ingredients. They’d achieve the exact same thing by just having separate shredded cabbage on the menu (they already have shredded carrot). Coleslaw to me contains other ingredients than that.

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