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 table-side 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
- 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.