Classic Caesar Salad Dressing – Easy Homemade Recipe

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close up caesar salad dressing drizzles on the salad.

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Classic Caesar Salad Recipe is a delicious combination of simple ingredients that comes together in minutes. This semi-creamy dressing is just like an expensive tableside Caesar Salad but is easily made at home.

Simple salad dressing tossed with fresh, crispy romaine lettuce, fresh parmesan cheese, and homemade croutons is always my family’s number one request for a birthday meal or a welcome home celebration.

The best way to make this easy Caesar dressing is in a wooden bowl with crushed garlic cloves and ground with kosher salt directly into the bowl.

Serving ladle full of Caesar Dressing dripping onto a white bowl full of torn romaine lettuce.

Mixed together with the remaining fresh ingredients and then tossed with crisp chilled romaine lettuce, fresh ground pepper, garlicky homemade croutons, and more grated or shaved Parmigiano Reggiano Cheese in a tableside restaurant-style way.

Next time you get a craving for a delicious Caesar salad, make it at home. It’s the best Caesar dressing you’ll ever eat!

Classic Caesar Salad dressing served with romaine lettuce, homemade croutons in a wooden bowl.

​WHY YOU LOVE THIS EASY CAESAR SALAD DRESSING

This simple homemade Caesar salad dressing is just like an expensive restaurant Caesar Dressing but is easily be made at home for half the price.

Homemade Caesar Dressing can be doubled effortlessly and stored in an airtight container like a mason jar for a week.

This traditional version uses one wood bowl, no food processor or immersion blender is needed. It’s a one-bowl method.

The savory flavor of this recipe is so much better than any store-bought dressing, you’ll never buy the bottle version again.

WHAT YOU’LL NEED FOR THIS DELICIOUS DRESSING

Caesar salad ingredients on a white wood table with labels for ingredients.

​Simple Ingredients

  • Wooden Bowl: a wood salad bowl is a must. 
  • metal cooking spoon: a large plastic or wooden spoon will not work. 
  • cloves of garlic: this recipe uses about 3 medium-sized cloves, cut fine or smashed. 
  • salt: use coarse sea salt or kosher salt. Fine iodized table salt will not work.
  • oil: extra virgin olive oil is best. regular olive oil or vegetable oil is too heavy and takes over the savory flavors of the fresh ingredients.
  • raw eggs: yes, all traditional Caesar Salad Dressings use one raw egg. Acid from the lemon juice “cooks” the egg. 
  • fresh lemon juice from one medium-sized lemon 
  • Anchovy Paste: anchovy paste is more subtle and less salty than using whole Anchovies. But if you prefer them over paste then use 3 or 4 whole fillets.
  • Worcestershire Sauce
  • Dijon Mustard: regular yellow mustard will not work.
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • lettuce: 1 head crisp Romaine Lettuce torn into bite sized pieces. Romaine is sturdier than green or red leaf lettuce and holds the dressing better than thin lettuces.
  • cheese: Parmesan Cheese or Romano Cheese or a combination of both
  • croutons: Simple Garlicky Homemade Croutons or good quality store-bought croutons

HOW TO MAKE THE BEST CAESAR SALAD

  • STEP ONE: On a cutting board, Smash the garlic pods with the smooth side of a meat mallet (I use this mallet every day!) or the flat part of a larger knife using the back of your hand.
  • STEP TWO: Cut up mashed garlic and place it in the wooden bowl with the coarse sea salt. Use the back of a large kitchen spoon and rub garlic and salt all around your bowl.
step one with smashed garlic, coarse sea salt in a wooden bowl.
smashed garlic and coarse sea salt rubbed all around inside of wooden bowl.
  • STEP THREE: Scrap out half of the mashed garlic-salt mixture and save it for later to make homemade toasty croutons. Note: This step controls the salt.
rubbed smashed garlic-salt mixture with half taken out in a wooden bowl.
  • STEP FOUR: Pour Olive Oil and swirl around with a spoon mixing the garlic, oil, and salt together. Note: if using real anchovy fillets, add at this step but mash with your spoon in the oil-garlic mixture.
step 3 - olive oil added to wooden bowl and swirled around all inside.
  • STEP FIVE: Crack and add a room-temperature raw egg into the oil mixture. Whisk for about 10 strokes. Squeeze 1 whole medium-sized lemon into the egg-oil mixture. Whisk vigorously until the mixture becomes thicker and “milkier”. Note: the milky color is the lemon juice “cooking” the raw egg.
anchovy paste, Worcestershire sauce, Dijon mustard add in and  mixed with kitchen spoon in wooden bowl.
  • STEP SIX: Add the anchovy paste, Worcestershire Sauce, and Dijon mustard. Whisk together until smooth.  Note: if using real anchovy filets, skip adding the anchovy paste in this step.
  • STEP SEVEN: Add and mix the grated parmesan cheese.  Refrigerate for at least an hour. ​Note: If making the day before, refrigerate overnight, and transfer to a glass bowl or jar…you’ll ruin the wood bowl if the liquid stays in too long.
grated parmesan cheese added in dressing mix in wooden bowl.

HOW TO SERVE THIS GREAT RECIPE

Tableside Style

  • Use one large crispy fresh Romaine lettuce head washed, dried, and chilled ahead of time of serving time. When ready to serve, tear lettuce leaves into bite-sized pieces and toss them with the Caesar dressing in the wooden bowl.
  • Sprinkle with more grated parmesan cheese and toss again. 
  • Lastly, toss with croutons and freshly ground black pepper. It’s ready, dig in!
Square bowl full of Caesar Dressing with a ladle full on top.

Individual Servings

  • Drizzle the dressing on top of the crispy Romaine lettuce in individual bowls. 
  • Sprinkle grated Parmesan cheese and croutons, and gently toss to mix.

Quick Tips:

😎Romaine Lettuce Tip: Cut end and stand up in colander, let drain. Layout 4 or 5 connected paper towel sections and lay about 10 romaine lettuce leaves flat on towels. Cover with an additional 4 or 5 connected sections and lay another 8-10 lettuce leaves on top. Continue this process until all leaves are covered with paper towels. Roll up semi-tight and store in the refrigerator until ready to use.

⭐NOTE: clean up counters with the moist used paper towels…2 uses before they land in the trash. Extra tip: If using a salad spinner, wash and tear up romaine lettuce and then spin it. Store in an airtight container until ready to use.

close up of dressing being spooned on bite size romaine lettuce leaves.

WHAT TO SERVE WITH THIS HOMEMADE CAESAR SALAD DRESSING

​Caesar Salad can either be a delicious side dish or a main course.

Serve with a nice grilled salmon filet or beef tenderloin for a special five-star homemade dinner for the holidays or special occasions.

Use leftover reserved homemade dressing for a main course salad night with chicken tenders, shrimp, or store-bought rotisserie chicken.

​This great recipe is also terrific used on meat and cheese sandwiches or veggie sandwiches.

 

Caesar Salad with homemade croutons and shaved parmesan cheese in a white bowl on a mustard yellow towel.

FAQ

Can you use vegetable oil instead of extra virgin olive oil? Not if you want it to taste like authentic Caesar dressing.

Can you substitute Parmigiano Reggiano Cheese for blue cheese? I have done this, it tastes like an oily blue cheese dressing, not an authentic Caesar dressing.

Is Caesar Dressing gluten-free? The dressing itself is gluten-free but the croutons are not. Add raw or toasted pecans, almonds, or roasted sunflower seeds with the salad instead of croutons. 

Is Caesar Salad dressing the same as Italian dressing? No, it is not. Caesar dressing is made with raw egg and anchovies and has a savory flavor. Homemade Italian dressing is made with herbs and spices for a lighter, tangy taste.

KITCHEN ITEMS YOU’LL NEED

MORE RECIPES YOU’LL LOVE👇

Caesar Salad with homemade croutons and shaved parmesan cheese in a white bowl on a mustard yellow towel
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Simple Classic Caesar Salad Recipe

The best Caesar dressing is made the traditional way in a wooden bowl with crushed garlic cloves and ground with the salt directly into the bowl. Mixed together with the remaining fresh ingredients and then tossed with crisp chilled romaine lettuce, garlicky homemade croutons, and more freshly shaved Parmesan Cheese in a tableside restaurant-style way.
Prep Time10 minutes
Active Time8 minutes
Course: dinner, holiday, Salad, Side Dish
Cuisine: American
Keyword: anchovies, anchovy paste, garlic, holiday, homemade, parmesan cheese, parmigiano reggiano cheese, salad
Yield: 6
Calories: 211kcal

Equipment

  • 1 wooden bowl
  • 1 large metal kitchen spoon

Materials

Caesar Dressing

  • 3 cloves garlic, mashed and cut more or less to garlic preference
  • 1 tbsp coarse sea salt you can use fine ground but coarse works best
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1 whole lemon more or less to taste
  • 1 raw egg
  • 1 tbsp Dijon Mustard more or less to taste
  • 1.5 tbsp Anchovie Paste make it mound, heaping
  • 6 shakes Worchestershire Sauce more or less to taste
  • 1/2 cup Parmigiano Reggiano Cheese grated or shredded, extra for topping
  • fresh ground pepper to taste

Caesar Salad

  • 1 head Romaine Lettuce
  • Parmigiano Reggiano Cheese shaved, shredded, or grated
  • Homemade Garlic Croutons use store bought if necessary

Instructions

  • STEP ONE: Smash the garlic pods with the smooth side of a meat mallet or the flat part of a larger knife using the back of your hand. 
  • STEP TWO: Cut up mashed garlic and place in a wooden bowl with the coarse sea salt. Use the back of a large kitchen spoon and rub garlic and salt all around your bowl. 
  • STEP THREE: Scrap out half of the garlic-salt mixture and save it for later to make these homemade toasty croutons. Note: This is a great way to control the salt. 
  • STEP FOUR: Pour the Olive Oil and swirl around with the spoon mixing the garlic, oil, and salt together.
  • STEP FIVE: Crack and add room temperature raw egg into the oil mixture. Whisk for about 10 strokes. Squeeze 1 whole medium-sized lemon into the egg-oil mixture. Whisk vigorously until the mixture becomes thicker and "milkier". 
    Note: the milky color is the lemon juice "cooking" the raw egg. 
  • STEP SIX: Add the anchovy paste, Worcestershire Sauce, and Dijon mustard. Whisk together until smooth. 
    Note: if using real anchovy filets, skip adding the anchovy paste in this step.
  • STEP SEVEN: Add and mix Parmigiano Reggiano Cheese.  Refrigerate for at least an hour.

Notes

If using anchovy fillets out of a can, drain 3 or 4 (or more depending on your taste buds) on a paper towel before mashing into the oil.
😎Romaine Lettuce Tip: Cut end and stand up in colander, let drain. Layout 4 or 5 connected paper towel sections and lay about 10 romaine lettuce leaves flat on towels. Cover with an additional 4 or 5 connected sections and lay another 8-10 lettuce leaves on top. Continue this process until all leaves are covered with paper towels. Roll up semi-tight and store in the refrigerator until ready to use. ⭐NOTE: clean up counters with the moist used paper towels…2 uses before they land in the trash.

Nutrition

Serving: 6g | Calories: 211kcal | Carbohydrates: 4g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 21g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 14g | Cholesterol: 6mg | Sodium: 1333mg | Potassium: 270mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 9155IU | Vitamin C: 4mg | Calcium: 136mg | Iron: 1mg

close up of the best homemade Caesar Salad close up in a white bowl with homemade croutons, shaved parmesan cheese and fresh ground pepper

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