Easy to make Classic Caesar Salad Dressing is close to the original, using pantry ingredients and ready to eat in about 5 minutes!
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's and the kid's favorite salad (mine? probably chef's salads or this roasted beet salad…), so you can guess we have it regularly.
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.
Reading the history of the dressing and salad's origins revealed 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.
Classic Caesar Salad Dressing Recipe (Plus BEST Homemade Croutons)
- 1/4 cup mayonnaise preferably homemade
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 3 cloves garlic
- 1/3 cup Parmesan adds more body to the dressing- you can omit if you only want it on the salad
- 1 to 2 teaspoons anchovy paste (or 2-4 anchovy fillets)* OR 1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
- 1/2 teaspoon cracked black pepper
- salt to taste usually don't need
- 1/2 to 3/4 cup olive oil start with less and add more if desired
- Place the first six ingredients into the bowl of a food processor or jar of a blender. Blend until garlic is chopped and all is combined.
- With motor running, add the oil in a stream to let the dressing emulsify together. Add honey, if using, and salt to taste and blend again.
- Store in refrigerator.
1. Cut 2 pieces (or more) of bread into cubes and place in a small bowl.
2. 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.
3. 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!).
4. Cool and toss on salad.
Note: this recipe was originally published in 2011 and has been updated with all new photos, clearer formatting and printable recipe. Enjoy!
Other salad dressing recipes you may enjoy:
Best Homemade Ranch Dressing and dip
Homemade Honey Mustard Dressing
5-minute Easy Vinaigrette Salad Dressing- 1 recipe 4 ways!
made mine to the recipe and when I pulled it out of the fridge it was solidified what happened
I'm not sure, Hank - mine has never done that 🙁 Did you use a homemade mayo using a different kind of oil (I'm just guessing here!).
This was delicious. Mine turned out much thicker than yours even with the whole 3/4 c. of oil added...Maybe it's because I measured 1/3 c. grated parmesan and it looks like yours is more shredded so probably would be less dense in the measuring cup. Will try cutting it down next time so it will pour rather than having to spread it with a spoon. Also will be trying the caesar slaw with it, maybe in a wrap with some chicken...Wish my husband/kids would eat it, too, so I could serve it for dinner. Oh well, more for me!
Just made this with the homemade mayo recipe...I'm making traveling caesar salad...individual leaves dressed with parmesan cheese sprinkled on them for a finger food salad! The dressing is delish! Thanks!
Yeah! Wish I had chickens to make the mayo with - fingers crossed for one day. 🙂
This dressing will I try to do! I wish you a nice weekend! . Zinnia
Sarah at Mr. Food says
Jamie, I Love the option of with/without anchovies - I am a Worcestershire fan, HFCS and all 🙂
Thanks for sharing - I included your Classic Caesar Salad Dressing recipe in a roundup on Mr. Food's blog.
Barb-Harmony Art Mom says
Another recipe for my "to do" list....my guys love Caesar salad and I have been trying to do more of my own dressings. Perfect. Thanks.
Jami @An Oregon Cottage says
Jenny- My Lea & Perrins must be older (it takes awhile to use it up...). So glad to know they changed it!
I checked out my Lea & Perrins Worcestershire bottle and it has no HFCS. In fact, nothing scary at all, unless you count anchovies!
Jami @An Oregon Cottage says
SKM- The longest the dressing has been in our fridge was about three weeks- but it was fine and I think it might last longer...we just used it up! You could make a smaller amount, but I like having some in the fridge for lunch salads. 🙂
Mindy- Good for you! They are super easy and a fraction of the price. 🙂 If your hubs likes it more creamy, you can up the mayo part, I think!
Kelly- Yes, with store-bought you'd be good. I use my homemade and it still has a raw egg in it.
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Can't WAIT to try this. Looks delish.
Oh my gosh I'm so not allowed to have "real" Caesar dressing until I pop this baby out, but since yours uses mayo instead of egg I will NEED to try this recipe! I've been craving Caesar dressing for 9 months!
mayo is made from egg.
Jami, thank you for posting this after I contacted you. I see lots of salads in our future.
Wow I have never made homemade caesar dressing, it doesn't seem so complicated. I just have to get past the anchovies part! Maybe I will start with the worstershire version 🙂 I wanted to invite you over to my cookbook giveaway that is going on right now until July 16th. Stop on by to enter! Hope you are having a great week 🙂
I've recently been thinking about making it a personal goal to not buy store-bought dressings anymore. It would only take a short time for making it to become a habit. I have a vinaigrette that I make for myself all the time, but The Dad's fave is creamy Caesar. I'm definitely giving this a whirl.
Jami - How long would you say this would last in a fridge? I love the idea of my own dressing, but it's just me and my husband and I would be worried that it would go bad before we ate all of it.