This Caesar dressing really hits the spot. You know I love vinaigrettes, but sometimes only a creamy dressing will do. I’ve been feeling sentimental lately and decided to satisfy my craving for the classic Caesar salad.
This Caesar salad dressing requires just a few pantry ingredients. Stir them together while you bake up some croutons, and you’re ready to enjoy top-notch restaurant-quality Caesar salads at home.
Compared to other Caesar dressing recipes, this dressing is remarkably simple to make. We’ll start with a base of mayonnaise, which is easier than emulsifying oil and egg, not to mention foolproof.
This Caesar dressing is anchovy-free, which makes it suitable for vegetarians like me and anyone with a shellfish allergy. (Technically, anchovies are fish, but they are likely to cause reactions in this with shellfish allergies.) It will also appeal to anyone who is sensitive to anchovy flavor. This dressing offers bold, classic Caesar flavor, without the anchovies!
Caesar Salad Dressing Ingredients
To make this Caesar dressing, we’ll simply stir together the following:
Some Caesar dressing recipes call for oil and egg yolk, which turn into mayonnaise during the process of making the recipe. We’re taking the easy route and starting with store-bought mayonnaise. You’ll find an array of mayonnaise options at well-stocked grocery stores these days—I prefer organic options made with olive or avocado oil.
Just one clove of garlic will do the trick. Use a garlic press or mince it finely by hand.
Lemon juice is one of several tangy ingredients in this dressing, so we only need a couple of teaspoons (one lemon will be more than plenty).
Dijon mustard lends some key flavoring to Caesar dressing. You probably won’t discern it in the final product, but it makes a big difference.
Just a small amount of Worcestershire sauce makes this Caesar dressing taste complete! Worcestershire sauce offers loads of rich umami flavor that makes this dressing taste complex and irresistible. In the absence of anchovies, Worcestershire sauce is absolutely key.
Anchovy/dietary note: If you are vegetarian or allergic to shellfish, choose your Worcestershire sauce carefully. Traditional Worcestershire sauce contains anchovies, but several brands make anchovy-free Worcestershires (Wizard’s, Annie’s and Whole Foods 365 come to mind). Also note that these sauces typically introduce soy, if that is relevant to you.
Parmesan ups the ante with additional salty, umami flavor and a rich, cheesy texture. Finely grated Parmesan is best here. Vegetarians, try Whole Foods 365 or BelGioioso brands of Parmesan, which are truly vegetarian (most Parmesans contain animal rennet).
Salt, Pepper & Water
Since several of the ingredients in this recipe are already salty, we won’t add much additional salt. We will, however, load up this dressing with black pepper, to taste! Lastly, we’ll thin the dressing with a tablespoon of water so it reaches a drizzly consistency.
Looking for a dairy free/vegan variation of this dressing? You will love the Tahini Kale Caesar Salad with Whole-Grain Croutons in my cookbook, Love Real Food (page 72). The tahini-based dressing is vegan as written and remarkably Caesar-like! You’ll find a nutritional yeast substitute for the Parmesan garnish in the recipe notes.
More Salad Dressings to Try
Here are just a few of my favorite salad dressings:
Please let me know how your Caesar dressing turns out in the comments! I love hearing from you.
Easy Caesar Dressing
- Prep Time: 5 minutes
- Total Time: 5 minutes
- Yield: 6 servings 1x
- Category: Salad dressing
- Method: Stirred
- Cuisine: American
- Diet: Vegetarian
This easy Caesar dressing recipe yields classic Caesar flavor. This simple mayonnaise-based recipe is anchovy-free as long as you choose your Worcestershire sauce carefully (see recipe note). Recipe yields about ¾ cup, enough for 6 side salads.
- ½ cup mayonnaise
- 1 medium garlic clove, minced
- 2 teaspoons lemon juice, to taste
- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- ½ teaspoon Worcestershire sauce*, to taste
- ⅛ teaspoon fine salt
- ⅓ cup (1 ounce) finely grated Parmesan cheese
- 1 tablespoon water
- Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- In a liquid measuring cup or bowl, combine the mayonnaise, garlic, lemon juice, Dijon, and Worcestershire sauce, and salt. Stir to combine.
- Stir in the Parmesan, followed by the water. Season generously with black pepper, to taste. I usually think the dressing tastes just right, but if you’d prefer a more bold dressing, add another ¼ teaspoon Worcestershire sauce, or for more zippy dressing, add up to 1 teaspoon additional lemon juice. Serve as desired.
Storage suggestions: Leftover dressing will keep well in the refrigerator, covered, for up to 5 days.
*Worcestershire note: To ensure that this salad dressing is vegetarian/fish-free, choose your Worcestershire sauce carefully, as most contain anchovies. I like Annie’s, The Wizards or Whole Foods 365 brands (note that some anchovy-free Worcestershire sauces contain soy).