I’ve updated our classic homemade Caesar salad dressing recipe with all new photos, new formatting and printable recipe – and I’m even including my super easy homemade crouton ‘recipe’ which I’m pretty sure once you try you will not go back to store-bought!
We love Caesar salad at our house- I think it may be Brian and the kid’s favorite salad (mine? probably chef’s salads or this roasted beet salad…). There are lots of Caesar salad dressing recipes out there and I feel like I’ve tried most of them over the years when I was trying to find the “perfect” Caesar. There was always something about them that just wasn’t “right.” Too oily, too sweet (store-bought bottles, I’m looking at you…), too creamy, or just not enough “Caesar” flavor.
I keep coming back to the one I came up with that seems close to the original (or what’s thought to be the original). In doing my research, I found that there are two issues with creating a Caesar dressing that mimics the original recipe:
- The original used a coddled egg (an egg submersed in boiling water for 1 minute) which most people, including me, don’t want to deal with. Some recipes use sour cream or yogurt to try and recreate the creaminess from the eggs, which is why the flavor always seemed “off” to me – those don’t taste like egg. I chose to use our homemade mayonnaise, which is egg-based so seemed closer to the original idea, without needing to coddle an egg.
- The issue of anchovies vs. Worcestershire.
A reading of the history of the dressing and salad’s origins reveals that Caesar Cardini used Worcestershire sauce for a hint of anchovy flavor when he developed the recipe, but that his brother expanded the recipe a few years later to include actual anchovies.
I don’t particularly like all the other ingredients in Worcestershire sauce flavoring the dressing, one of which is often HFCS (2016 edited to add: the main companies that make Worcestershire use plain sugar now), so I simply add real anchovies to the dressing. I also like to buy a tube of anchovy paste so I can add the amount I want and not have to worry about leftovers from a can.
This is personal preference, though, and the recipe I’ve come up with allows for either– just in case we’re in the mood for Caesar Salad and I don’t have anchovies in the house.
How to Make Classic Caesar Salad Dressing
I’ve talked about how simple salad dressings are, and this is Caesar salad dressing no exception. You simply put all the ingredients into a blender or food processor and pulse until the garlic is minced and everything blended.
Then add the oil in a slow stream as the motor is running to emulsify the dressing together.
Bottle and use. Yep. That’s it.
Now, you probably can guess I use homemade croutons, right? But do you want to know why? It’s not because it’s cheaper (though it is), or because I want to control the ingredients (though I do) – it’s simply because they TASTE AMAZING.
Seriously, homemade croutons are nothing like the dry, hard to eat bread squares sold in bags (which are also often loaded with questionable flavors – and lots of salt). Since Caesar salad is basically romaine lettuce, parmesan cheese, croutons, and dressing, each ingredient needs to shine (though I love to add sweet onion, too – love.it.).
Okay, if you’re rolling your eyes thinking, “does she actually have to make everything?” then I’ll point out that croutons are crazy-easy to make – and are a great way to use up older bread that’s maybe too dry for fresh eating (homemade artisan bread is incredible as croutons, but any bread makes better croutons than you can buy). Here are the steps to prove it:
You’ll Never Go Back to Bought Homemade Croutons
- Cut 2 pieces (or more) of bread into cubes and place in a small bowl – 2 min.
- Drizzle olive oil (or garlic olive oil-yum) over the cubes (about a tsp.) and sprinkle with a seasoning – we like our basic spice rub – 1 min.
- Spread in a single layer on a cookie sheet. Bake at 375 degrees for 10 minutes (less for more chewy croutons, more for more crunchy – you get to choose!) – 10 min.
- Cool and toss on salad – 5 min.
Three minutes of hands-on time, 10 to cook and 5 to cool – do you have 3 minutes of your time to make croutons that are WAY better than bought? Yeah, I thought so.