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Whip up a restaurant-style classic Caesar salad recipe at home! Crisp Romaine lettuce is tossed with traditional Caesar salad dressing, shaved Parmesan, and homemade croutons. Serve it as a side dish with steak or fish, or add chicken or shrimp to make it a meal. This is the best Caesar salad you’ll ever taste!

Homemade caesar salad served in a bowl on a wooden table

Caesar salad is truly a delicious addition to almost any meal. With a few tips and simple, homemade touches, you can pull together this classic dish in your own kitchen to rival any fine dining establishment. Make a chicken Caesar salad or a shrimp Caesar salad for a light lunch or dinner, or offer the salad as a fresh, crisp counterpart to meat, soup or pasta-based entrees. It’s always a crowd-pleaser!

Classic Caesar Salad

There are many different versions of Caesar salad these days; however, a traditional preparation includes a green salad made of Romaine lettuce and croutons tossed in a dressing of lemon juice, olive oil, egg, Worcestershire sauce, anchovies, garlic, Dijon mustard, Parmesan cheese and black pepper. It’s a simple combination that yields a rich taste with a delicious balance of salty, earthy and bright flavors. The dressing has a somewhat creamy texture (thanks to the egg), but is more bold and tangy (like a vinaigrette).

Where was Caesar salad invented?

While many assume that Caesar salad is a traditional Italian dish, its origins might surprise you! Restauranteur Caesar Cardini, an Italian immigrant with restaurants in Mexico and the United States, made the first Caesar salad at his restaurant in Tijuana, Mexico in 1924, when a Fourth of July rush depleted the kitchen’s supplies. He needed to whip up a salad with the limited ingredients available, and the end result was this wildly popular dish!

Side shot of a bowl of classic Caesar salad with homemade dressing and croutons

Ingredients

This is a quick overview of the ingredients that you’ll need to make a classic Caesar salad recipe. As always, specific measurements and complete cooking instructions are included in the printable recipe box at the bottom of the post.

  • Anchovies: don’t be intimidated — anchovies are a classic ingredient in Caesar dressing, and they won’t make your dish taste “fishy.” Instead, they emulsify in the dressing and become undetectable, while still giving the dressing that unique rich, salty, savory flavor that everyone loves.
  • Garlic: another classic flavor in Caesar dressing.
  • Kosher salt and freshly-ground black pepper: to enhance the rest of the flavors in the dish.
  • Egg yolk: imparts a subtle richness and helps to emulsify the dressing so that it clings to the lettuce.
  • Dijon mustard: a little bit of zesty tang in the dressing.
  • Worcestershire sauce: for even more savory, umami flavor.
  • Olive oil and vegetable oil: the base of the dressing.
  • Lemon juice: a bright, acidic addition.
  • Parmesan: freshly-grated for the dressing and shaved for the salad.
  • Cubed bread: I like a crusty loaf of sourdough, French or Italian bread for the croutons.
  • Romaine hearts: the crisp base of the salad.
Process shot showing how to make Caesar salad dressing

How to Make Caesar Salad with Homemade Dressing

This easy Caesar salad recipe comes together with just a few simple steps. Whizz together the dressing, quickly toast the croutons in a skillet, and combine everything in a large bowl. It tastes decadent and delicious, but it won’t weigh you down!

  1. Make the Caesar salad dressing by hand or in a food processor or blender.
  2. Toast the croutons with olive oil in a skillet.
  3. Assemble the salad by tossing together the lettuce, croutons and dressing.
  4. Garnish with shaved Parmesan and freshly-ground black pepper.
Homemade croutons in a cast iron skillet
Horizontal side shot of a bowl of classic Caesar salad recipe

What to Serve with Caesar Salad

A classic Caesar salad is delicious for a light lunch or dinner entrée with a loaf of crusty bread or a French baguette. You can top it with pan-seared chicken as in this recipe, or grilled chicken like this recipe to make it a heartier meal. For a shortcut, use a store-bought rotisserie chicken. A shrimp Caesar salad is also a great combination! We love this grilled shrimp on top of the flavorful lettuce.

If you’re offering the dish as a side, here are some entrées that go well with Caesar salad:

Side shot of a classic caesar salad in a bowl in front of a black background

Storage

  • Prepare the homemade Caesar salad dressing up to 3-4 days in advance. Store the dressing in an airtight container in the refrigerator until ready to use.
  • The croutons are best when toasted just before serving so that they don’t get soft and chewy.
  • Leftover Caesar salad will keep in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 1 day; however, it’s not ideal. The lettuce and the croutons will get soggy as they sit in the dressing.
Overhead shot of easy Caesar salad recipe served in a bowl on a wooden table

Recipe Variations

  • For a shortcut, you can purchase a high-quality bottled Caesar dressing when you don’t want to make your own.
  • For a creamy Caesar dressing, try this recipe.
  • While Romaine lettuce is most traditional, you can substitute with other types of lettuce in a pinch. Try a spring mix of baby lettuce leaves or chopped Iceberg.
  • Add crispy bacon or pancetta to the salad.
  • Top the salad with chicken or shrimp and turn it into a main course.
  • Make a Caesar salad wrap by rolling the salad with some sliced chicken in tortillas.
Square image of a side shot of a bowl of classic Caesar salad

Tips for the Best Caesar Salad Recipe

  • If you don’t want to use a food processor, you can prepare the salad dressing by hand. Just mash the anchovies, garlic, salt and pepper into a paste before whisking in the egg yolk, mustard and Worcestershire. Then gradually stream in the oil while whisking so that the dressing emulsifies.
  • You might not need all of the dressing for one salad, so save any extra in a jar in the refrigerator for 3-4 days.
  • To easily shave Parmesan from a wedge, use a vegetable peeler!
  • Pick a loaf of good, crusty bread for the croutons. Sourdough, French or Italian breads add the best flavor and texture to the salad.
  • For ease, use anchovy paste instead of a tin of whole anchovies.
Close overhead shot of a big bowl of homemade Caesar salad recipe

More Salad Recipes to Try

Homemade caesar salad served in a bowl on a wooden table

Classic Caesar Salad Recipe

5 from 1 vote
Prep: 20 minutes
Total: 20 minutes
Servings 4 – 6 people
Calories 269 kcal
Whip up a restaurant-style classic Caesar salad recipe at home! Crisp Romaine lettuce is tossed with traditional Caesar salad dressing, shaved Parmesan, and homemade croutons.

Ingredients
  

DRESSING:

  • 2 anchovy fillets, rinsed and patted dry (or 1 teaspoon anchovy paste)
  • 1 garlic clove
  • Kosher salt and freshly-ground black pepper
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • ½ teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • ½ teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • cup vegetable oil
  • Juice from half of a lemon
  • 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan

CROUTONS:

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 ½ cups cubed crusty bread (such as Italian, French or sourdough bread)
  • Kosher salt

SALAD:

  • 2 hearts Romaine lettuce, chopped
  • ¼ cup Parmesan shavings

Instructions

MAKE THE DRESSING:

  • In a food processor or blender, pulse together the anchovies, garlic, ½ teaspoon salt and a dash of pepper to combine and form a paste. Add the egg yolk, Dijon mustard and Worcestershire; pulse again. With the food processor or blender on low speed, gradually stream in the olive oil and vegetable oil. Finally, add the lemon juice and grated Parmesan. Taste; season with additional salt and pepper, if necessary.

MAKE THE CROUTONS:

  • In a cast iron skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add the cubed bread and cook, stirring regularly, until toasted and golden brown. Season the warm croutons with a pinch of salt.

ASSEMBLE THE SALAD:

  • In a large bowl, toss together chopped Romaine, croutons and dressing. You might not need all of the dressing, so just use enough to moisten the lettuce. Serve extra dressing on the table, or store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 3-4 days. Garnish with Parmesan shavings; season with freshly-ground black pepper. Serve immediately.

Notes

  • If you don’t want to use a food processor, you can prepare the salad dressing by hand. Just mash the anchovies, garlic, salt and pepper into a paste before whisking in the egg yolk, mustard and Worcestershire. Then gradually stream in the oil while whisking so that the dressing emulsifies.
  • You might not need all of the dressing for one salad, so save any extra in a jar in the refrigerator for 3-4 days.
  • To easily shave Parmesan from a wedge, use a vegetable peeler!
  • Pick a loaf of good, crusty bread for the croutons. Sourdough, French or Italian bread adds the best flavor and texture to the salad.
  • For ease, use anchovy paste instead of a tin of whole anchovies.

Nutrition

Serving: 1/6 of the salad and dressingCalories: 269kcalCarbohydrates: 9gProtein: 5gFat: 25gSaturated Fat: 13gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 38mgSodium: 178mgPotassium: 141mgFiber: 1gSugar: 1gVitamin A: 3376IUVitamin C: 2mgCalcium: 104mgIron: 1mg
Keyword: Caesar salad, classic caesar salad
Course: Salad
Cuisine: American
Author: Blair Lonergan
blair

Hey, I’m Blair!

Welcome to my farmhouse kitchen in the foothills of Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountains. Inspired by local traditions and seasonal fare, you’ll find plenty of easy, comforting recipes that bring your family together around the table. It’s down-home, country-style cooking!

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