This classic homemade Caesar dressing will transform your salad into something amazing!  It’s an easy recipe for a traditional creamy dressing flavored with lemon, garlic, anchovies, Worcestershire sauce, and Parmesan cheese.

Prep Time: 20 minutes
bottle of Caesar salad dressing with bacon and croutons
Dips, Sauces, & Custards, Salad

Classic Homemade Caesar Dressing

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This recipe was originally published on February 8, 2018.

Can’t find your favorite Caesar salad dressing anymore?  No need to fret.  Homemade Caesar dressing isn’t hard to make, and doesn’t require fancy kitchen gadgets.  You might even like it better than favorite store bought dressing.

person holding a bottle of Caesar salad dressing

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Who invented Caesar dressing?

An Italian immigrant named Cesare Cardini claims to have invented the dressing back in 1920. 

What does Caesar dressing taste like?

The traditional Caesar dressing is creamy from the mayo, and has a flavor profile that is cheesy, briny, tangy, and zesty.  Most people will agree that the best Caesar dressings also have a strong garlic taste.

Is Caesar dressing made with raw eggs?

Egg yolks are a key ingredient in homemade mayo, so unless you use store bought mayo for your Caesar dressing, you’ll be using a raw egg to make Caesar dressing from scratch.

bottle of Caesar salad dressing with lemon slices

Does all Caesar dressing have anchovies?

The best tasting Caesar dressing will have minced anchovies ground into a paste.  Anchovies are an essential ingredient because they provide the right umami flavor for the dressing.  It will add a briny, fishy, umami flavor profile or the savory element, which is so important in a classic Caesar dressing.  I’ve also added Worcestershire sauce, which also has anchovies in it, for some extra umami.

If you must substitute because you are vegan, use ground up kelp for the anchovies.  This seaweed will still provide some of the fishy taste, and replace the Worcestershire sauce with the vegan version.

What qualities are essential to a good Caesar dressing?

To make an amazing Caesar dressing, it has to be made with the right balance of fresh ingredients.  Most people agree that a creamy Caesar dressing is preferred over a vinaigrette.  Its thicker texture nicely coats the Romaine lettuce, and adds a pleasing creamy taste to the Caesar salad.

  • Hard Cheese: freshly grated Parmesan, Parmigiano-Reggiano, Romano, or Asiago
  • Fat: homemade mayo, or good quality mayo such as Duke’s or Hellmann’s
  • Unami, Briny, Fishy flavor: minced anchovies, Worcestershire sauce
  • Acidic Tang: freshly squeezed lemon juice and vinegar
  • Garlic: raw, freshly minced garlic, or minced roasted garlic
  • Pepper: freshly ground black pepper

person pouring salad dressing on a Caesar salad

Is Caesar dressing bad for you?

For two tablespoons of our Caesar dressing, there is 196 calories, 20g of fat, and 33.3mg of cholesterol.  Since most creamy versions of Caesar dressing have egg yolk in them, you might want to reduce the amount you put on your Caesar salad if you have high cholesterol.  For more nutritional information, scroll past the recipe card.

What do you serve Caesar dressing with?

The most obvious choice is a Caesar salad which has Romaine lettuce, bacon, homemade croutons, grated Parmesan cheese, minced garlic, freshly squeezed lemon juice, and freshly cracked black pepper.  To make your Caesar more of a meal, add some grilled or rotisserie chicken.  For an amazing Caesar salad, taste it as you go to make sure it has enough lemon juice, garlic, and black pepper.

bottle of Caesar salad dressing with lemon slices

Can I make Caesar salad dressing ahead of time?

Yes, you can.  It keeps well in the fridge as long as it is stored properly in an airtight bottle, so making it the night before would be perfectly fine.

How to make Caesar dressing

Gather all the ingredients.  You’ll need a light tasting olive oil, egg yolk, minced garlic, freshly squeezed lemon juice, minced anchovy fillets, grated Parmesan cheese, Dijon mustard, white wine vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, and the spices.

The mixing method we will show in the pictures below is hand whisking.  If you prefer to use a blender or a food processor, feel free to do so as it will speed up the process.

ingredients for Caesar salad dressing

To make the homemade mayo, place the egg yolk in a large bowl.  Pour the light tasting olive oil in a measuring cup with a spout.  Slowly drip the oil into the egg yolk while constantly whisking.

whisking an egg yolk with oil

When you are half way done, pour the oil in a thin steady stream.  Don’t forget to still keep whisking. 

whisking homemade mayo

When your homemade mayo is finished it will look like this.  If you want to skip this step, make sure to use a good quality mayo like Hellmann’s or Duke’s.

homemade mayo in a bowl with a whisk

The next step is making the anchovy paste.  You can use the blade of a large chef’s knife and a wooden cutting board or a mortar and pestle.  It’s in this step that the minced garlic and the chopped up anchovies are ground together into a paste.

grinding anchovies and garlic in a mortar and pestle

Add the anchovy paste to the homemade mayo and whisk it together.

person holding a bowl of anchovies and garlic

Next add the grated Parmesan cheese, Worcestershire sauce, and the Dijon mustard to the dressing and whisk.

person holding a tray of cheese, Worcestershire sauce, and Dijon

Add some freshly squeezed lemon juice to taste and to thin the dressing.

adding lemon juice to homemade Caesar salad dressing

Taste, and add the black pepper and a dash of salt.  Whisk in the spices and taste again.

adding salt and pepper to Caesar salad dressing

Add some more lemon juice. Whisk.

adding more lemon juice to Caesar salad dressing

Taste.  Don’t be in a hurry.  Tasting and adjusting is key to the perfect Caesar dressing.

tasting Caesar salad dressing with your fingertip

If necessary, add a pinch more salt.

adding salt to Caesar salad dressing

Whisk in the salt.  When the dressing is to your liking, you can pour it into a glass jar with an airtight lid.

whisking Caesar salad dressing

Now you are all ready to assemble the Caesar salad: Romaine hearts, homemade croutons, bacon, fresh garlic, freshly grated Parmesan cheese, black pepper, and lemon wedges. 

bottle of Caesar salad dressing with lettuce, bacon, and cheese

Remember, to achieve the perfect classic Caesar dressing, taste as you go.  Don’t be in a rush.  Adjust your fat, acid, and salty flavors and you will be thrilled with your final result as it will be customized to your taste buds.

Pro Tips

  • Making homemade mayo?  Add the oil in very slowly as you whisk constantly.
  • Want less salt?  Add the salt in last, and only a small amount of it.  Taste as you go.  The anchovies and Parmesan will have most of the sodium.
  • Need this to be keto friendly?  You are already go to go as this dressing has no sugar and uses olive oil and has .8g of carbs for a 2 tbsp. serving.
  • Taste test as you go.  You want the right balance of fat, saltiness, cheese, pepper, garlic, fishy flavor, and acid (lemon and vinegar). 
  • Need this to be vegan?  Use vegan mayo, soy milk, nutritional yeast, kelp, and vegan Worcestershire sauce.

bottle of Caesar salad dressing with a bowl of grated cheese

Our Go-To Kitchen Tools

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The pleasure of a 5-star review for this Caesar dressing would be greatly appreciated.

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bottle of Caesar salad dressing with bacon and croutons

Classic Homemade Caesar Dressing


  • Author: Brooke
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Total Time: 20 minutes
  • Yield: 1 cup 1x

Description

This classic homemade Caesar dressing will transform your salad into something amazing!  It’s an easy recipe for a traditional creamy dressing flavored with lemon, garlic, anchovies, Worcestershire sauce, and Parmesan cheese.


Scale

Ingredients

  • 1 egg yolk, at room temperature (farm fresh or pasteurized)
  • 1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons light tasting olive oil (150 ml)
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice, from one lemon (30 ml)
  • 4 anchovy fillets, rinsed and minced (5g)
  • 1 tablespoon garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon white wine vinegar
  • 1/2 cup finely grated Parmesan (35g)
  • 1/4 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/8 teaspoon black pepper, plus more to taste
  • light sprinkle of salt

Instructions

Making the Easy Homemade Mayo

  1. Start by making the mayonnaise.  Separate the egg, reserving the whites for another use.  Put the room temperature egg yolk in a medium bowl and set aside.
  2. Measure the light tasting olive oil into a measuring cup that has a pouring spout.
  3. Choose your mixing method for the dressing: hand whisk, blender, or food processor.  For this recipe, I will describe the hand method.
  4. Drip the vegetable oil very slowly, while constantly whisking, on top of the egg yolk.  When most of it is mixed in, then pour the remaining light tasting olive oil a little faster.  Next, in a steady, thin stream, pour the rest of the light tasting olive oil while whisking.  If the homemade mayo needs to be thinned, use a little lemon juice.

Making the Anchovy Paste

  1. Rinse and finely chop the anchovies.  Mince the two cloves of garlic, and add it to the anchovies.  Mash them together on a cutting board with a blade of a knife or with a mortar and pestle.

Assembling the Dressing

  1. Add the anchovy paste to the bowl of mayo, then pour in the liquids (vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, and most of the lemon juice), then add the Dijon mustard, grated Parmesan cheese, and the black pepper.  Taste and add a dash of salt.
  2. Taste again, adjusting the flavors with a bit more lemon juice and/ or vinegar.  If the dressing is too thick, add more lemon juice.  Taste again.  If needed, add more salty ingredients or more black pepper.
  3. If not using right away on your Caesar salad, use a wide mouth funnel and pour the dressing into a glass jar.  Store in the fridge with an airtight lid.  For best results, use within 3 days.

Notes

  • Make this recipe perfectly the first time.  Check out the step-by-step photos and pro tips before the recipe card.
  • The pleasure of a 5-star review for this Caesar salad dressing recipe would be greatly appreciated.
  • 👩🏻‍🍳 Want to see our latest recipes?  Subscribe to our email newsletter to get our latest recipes, fun food facts, food puns, and behind the scenes news about our blog.
  • Category: Salad Dressing
  • Method: Stirred
  • Cuisine: American

Keywords: traditional caesar salad dressing, easy caesar salad dressing

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6 thoughts on “Classic Homemade Caesar Dressing

  1. The dressing is sour from the lemon juice and creamy from the homemade mayo. I like how the anchovies make it salty and good!

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