There is nothing better than a classic, homemade caesar salad dressing. This caesar dressing is thickened with an egg yolk, anchovies and freshly grated Parmesan cheese (no mayo here!) And has the perfect balance of creamy, savory, cheesy and spicy.
The BEST Caesar Dressing is made the Classic Way
I've said it before and I'll say it again, my husband Joe makes the absolute best homemade caesar dressing.
Keeping it classic and old school with a fresh raw egg yolk and oily anchovy filets, but after years of making and adapting to what we have, there are a few modifications you can do.
Traditionally, Caesar dressing is made tableside in a large wooden bowl. The wood helps emulsify and break down the anchovy and garlic which turns into a gorgeous paste. However, we get great results using a small food professor too.
Tips and Modifications
- A pasteurized raw egg yolk is used and makes the caesar dressing incredibly creamy. Use the freshest eggs you can find.
- To check how fresh your eggs are, place one in a cup of water. If it sinks, it's fresh and if it floats, try and eat it within the next day.
- If you can't find anchovy fillets, anchovy paste is a great substitute. It comes in a tube similar to tomato paste and keeps easily in the fridge. And I promise, the dressing won't taste "fishy".
- If using a wooden bowl, work in sets of 3's
- Pepper, anchovy, egg yolk
- Garlic, Dijon mustard and lemon juice
- Worcestershire sauce, Tabasco, olive oil
- Add Parmesan cheese at the very end
- If using a food processor, add the garlic and anchovy first and blend to break it up before adding other ingredients.
Homemade Caesar Dressing Ingredients (No Mayo!)
- Garlic cloves
- Anchovy fillets or anchovy paste
- Freshly ground black pepper
- Raw egg yolk
- Tabasco or other favorite hot sauce, optional
- Dijon Mustard
- Worcestershire sauce
- Lemon Juice
- Olive Oil
- Freshly grated Parmesan cheese
How to Make Homemade Caesar Salad Dressing
1) In a large bowl (a real wooden bowl is traditional), grind pepper (As much as you like, we did about 10-15 turns).
2) Add 3 anchovy fillets. And please don't skip this step, they are delicious once the filets are broken down. You can also use a good squeeze of anchovy paste.
3) Add 1 egg yolk and using a wooden spoon, break up the egg and mix well.
4) Once the egg and anchovy are broken down and mixed well, add grated or finely chopped garlic and Dijon mustard and mix everything well.
5) And lemon juice and continue breaking up the garlic and anchovies until thickened.
6) Add Worcestershire, Tabasco and stream in olive oil and continue mixing until blended. You can also use anchovy oil for added flavor. Use the back of your spoon to continue breaking up the anchovies and garlic.
7) Towards the end, add freshly grated Parmesan. This can be to your preference, but roughly about ¼ cup -½ cup. And save some for garnish when serving the salad.
8) Chill the dressing for at least 15 minutes if you have the time. This is also a great time to chill your salad bowls too.
9) When ready to serve, gently toss romaine and croutons with Caesar dressing and serve.
Homemade Caesar Salad
- Black pepper
- 3 anchovy filets
- 1 egg yolk
- 2 garlic clove minced fine or grated
- 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
- ½ lemon juiced
- 2-3 dashes Worcestershire
- 2-3 dashes Tabasco optional, if you ilke spice
- ¼ cup Olive oil or anchovy oil
- ¼ cup Freshly grated parmesan cheese + more for garnish
- 1 head of romaine lettuce cleaned and cut into large pieces
- In a large wooden bowl, grind pepper (As much as you like, we did about 10-15 turns), anchovy fillets and egg yolk and use a wooden spoon to break down anchovies.
- Add minced or grated garlic, Dijon mustard and lemon juice. Use a wooden spoon to break up the garlic and anchovy. Continue mixing until thick and almost paste like.
- Add Worcestershire, Tabasco and stream in olive oil and continue mixing until blended.
- Towards the end, add freshly grated Parmesan and stir in. You may want to add up to ½ cup.
- At this point, chill the dressing for at least 15 minutes so the flavors can marry. Taste for seasoning and adjust as needed.
- When ready to serve, gently toss dressing with romaine lettuce and croutons and serve on chilled bowls. Add an extra grating of Parmesan cheese if desired.
This post was originally published in December, 2013 and updated May, 2022 with retested recipe, added nutritional information and updated photos.
I've been looking for a classic Caesar salad recipe as most of them have more creamy-style dressing. Pinned so I can save it and make it soon.
Jennie @themessybakerblog says
You make caesar salad look so elegant. I always always make my own caesar dressing. I can't stand the store bought crap. Pinned.
You know my husband has never seen the Santa Claus movie with Tim Allen, I keep trying to convince him to watch it with me. Hopefully this year I will succeed. 🙂
Jennifer @ Peanut Butter and Peppers says
Your salad looks amazing and such beautiful pictures! Love the movie the Santa Clause! Another great classic!
Family Foodie says
I can't wait to try this dressing recipe! So glad you shared it.
Happy Holidays to you and your family!
This is my hubby's go-to salad when we dine out. I need to make this for him at home! And I love the idea of adding roasted tomatoes 🙂
Audrey's Mamma says
My girls just watched that movie for the first time and they loved it. Funny thing is that scene you described was the only one I caught as I was not watching with them. I laughed!
This is the type of caesar salad I love. I'm not a fan of the creamy dressing, I prefer the authentic oil based, anchovy, garlic and parm dressing! I could probably eat that entire bowl.
Cindys Recipes and Writings says
Beautiful Caesar salad, Samantha! Looks great for a starter or lunch!
I've eaten Caesar salads but never made it from scratch before. I love anchovies so that's probably why I love this dressing so much.
Tammi @ Momma's Meals says
I've never made my own Caesar Salad before, the thought of the anchovies kind of scared me, but you've convinced me that I have to try this!! Oh and I love adding tomatoes to my Caesar Salad too! Happy Holidays!
Shannon R says
I hear you about needed a bit of a break. I ordered a ton of veggies for salads in my CSA this week. Need to keep my veggie intake up above my sugar intake!
I was JUST watching this movie!! Love it. You can't go wrong with a classic recipe
Martin D Redmond says
I love how you've explained in detail the secret to this great classic salad. Thank you and Happy Holidays!
YuM! I'm always buying anchovies, but I have never thought to make anything with them! This salad sounds divine!
That is such a pretty caesar salad, and would make such a nice veggie break from all the heavy Christmas food!
I made a living doing Caesar salads through college at a fine dining restaurant so it is the first you tube video I made. I use egg substitute like egg beaters now or if it is just for me I do the yoke only. Anyway i enjoyed your great pics, the glass bowl was a good idea for the photos. Hope you like my video.
Hi Chuck!! FABULOUS video..I need to show it to my husband who made the dressing. He used to make it tableside as well in his serving years. And LOVE l'estornell olive oil...the only one we use!!! Just subscribed to your channel too 🙂
Classic Caesar salad is still my all time favorite salad, I cheat on my dressing though and use anchovy paste, I totally agree, don't skip the anchovies!
Making this for the third time since last week so I would say it’s a hit! Thank you!