Raise your hand if you love a good Caesar salad. (Me! I do!) I have many favorite salads, but Caesar salad has been a favorite for as long as I can remember. A great Caesar salad hits a satisfying balance between fresh and crisp, and creamy and cheesy.
The Caesar salad is a versatile one. It’s the perfect accompaniment to a generous bowl of soup or your favorite homemade Italian meal. It will also round out a special occasion—whether that’s a weekend dinner or a big holiday.
When I was expecting our baby, Grace, I started craving all of my creamy childhood favorites, ranging from baked potatoes to ranch dressing to crisp but creamy Caesar salads. Clearly, it was time to develop a proper Caesar salad recipe, and here it is.
This recipe combines my Caesar salad dressing (it’s so simple!) and simple homemade croutons with crisp romaine lettuce and a final sprinkling of additional Parmesan cheese. You’ll find the full recipe below, written from start to finish.
How to Make Caesar Salad
The Caesar salad is fairly straightforward. Here are a few quick notes and tips to keep in mind:
Start with the croutons, then work on the dressing.
While the croutons are baking, you’ll have time to stir together the dressing. It’s so easy since it’s made with store-bought mayonnaise, rather than a homemade emulsion of raw egg yolk and oil.
Chop your own romaine lettuce.
Fresh, chilled heads of romaine lettuce will yield the nicest chopped salad. Pre-chopped bagged lettuce tends to go brown at the edges, plus the pieces are cut larger than I like for Caesar salad (aim for small bite-sized pieces).
Toss when you’re ready to serve (no sooner).
Once tossed in dressing, the lettuce and croutons will start to soften. Wait to dress the salad until you’re ready to dig in. Keep in mind that the croutons are best consumed within a few hours after baking.
Special diet considerations:
This Caesar salad recipe, unlike most others, is anchovy-free so it is safe for those with shellfish allergies (see my Worcestershire sauce recommendations at the bottom of the recipe). It’s also fully vegetarian if you choose your Parmesan carefully—Whole Foods 365 and BelGioioso brands offer vegetarian Parmesan cheese.
Watch How to Make Caesar Salad
More Green Side Salads to Make
Here are a few more of my go-to green salads:
- Favorite Green Salad with Apples, Cranberries and Pepitas
- Pomegranate & Pear Green Salad with Ginger Dressing
- Roasted Beet Salad with Goat Cheese & Pistachios
- Super Simple Arugula Salad
View all of my salad recipes here. As always, please let me know how your Caesar salad turns out in the comments! I love hearing from you.
Homemade Caesar Salad
- Prep Time: 15 minutes
- Cook Time: 10 minutes
- Total Time: 25 minutes
- Yield: 4 salads 1x
- Category: Salad
- Method: Various
- Cuisine: American
- Diet: Vegetarian
Make the best homemade Caesar salad with this foolproof recipe! This Caesar salad recipe is the perfect side salad for special meals and holidays (or just any time you get the craving). Recipe yields 4 generous side salads or 6 small.
- 2 large slices of crusty bread, about ¾-inch thick (about 4 ounces)
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- ¼ teaspoon fine salt
- ⅛ teaspoon garlic powder
- Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Caesar salad dressing
- 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
- 2 medium heads of romaine lettuce (10 ounces), roughly chopped
- ⅓ cup (1 ounce) finely grated Parmesan
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit and line a large, rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper for easy clean-up. Line a plate with a paper towel and set it aside.
- To prepare the croutons: Use a serrated knife to gently slice the bread into ¾-inch cubes (or if it’s easier, use your fingers to gently tear the bread into pieces about that size). Place the cubed bread on the prepared baking sheet. Drizzle with the olive oil and sprinkle with the salt, garlic powder, and several twists of black pepper. Gently toss the bread with your hands until it’s lightly coated in oil, then arrange the bread evenly across the baking sheet.
- Bake, tossing every 5 minutes, for about 10 to 12 minutes, until the croutons are turning golden brown but still offer a bit of chew in the center. Remove the croutons from the oven and transfer them to the lined plate to absorb excess oil. Once cool, season to taste with additional salt and pepper, if desired.
- To prepare the salad dressing: 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.
- When you are ready to serve, assemble the salad: Place the prepared romaine in a large salad bowl. Top with the croutons. Drizzle the dressing over the salad, then sprinkle most of the Parmesan on top. Toss gently to lightly coat the lettuce in dressing, then garnish with the remaining cheese. Serve promptly, as the lettuce and croutons will soften with time.
Make it ahead: Store the components separately until you are ready to serve. Croutons are best enjoyed within a few hours of baking, as they can become a bit tough over time, but will keep in a sealed bag for several days at room temperature.
*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).
Mayonnaise is NOT a Caesar dressing. An egg yolk (pasterurized if you are worried), anchovies, Dijon, olive oil, salt, pepper, shaved (not grated) Parmesan, romaine, and lemon juice are you need for an authentic Caesar.
Hi Zelda, I beg to differ—emulsifying the yolk in oil is essentially homemade mayonnaise. So this mayo-based dressing is not much different from the rest. I omitted the anchovy to keep the recipe vegetarian (all of my recipes are vegetarian). Would love for you to give it a try!
I have always loved Caesar. The original contained anchovies and coddled egg (egg that is virtually raw, but warmed by dipping in very hot water for about one minute. Years ago that changed. Egg was often omitted because of salmonella issues and a lot of people don’t like anchovies. The grated cheese stayed, so when I became vegan I was at a loss. Hooray!! now there are a number of vegan Parmesans. So I will veganize and enjoy this recipe.
Thanks Ruchama! Please report back on your veganized recipe. I was pregnant when I created this recipe and wanted to avoid raw egg, so mayo was the perfect solution, and I’m one of those people who don’t like anchovies. So, this is my ideal Caesar dressing!
This salad dressing is amazing. I double the recipe so I can use it for several days.
Thank you, Heidi! So glad to hear it.
I love, love, love Cesar salad’s. Yours looks so yummy, that I plan to make and serve with dinner tomorrow. Thanks for sharing
Thanks, Ivory! I hope you love it.
It isn’t really Caesar without the anchovies. But if the thought of salty fish doesn’t sit well. get some anchovy paste and squeeze it into your dressing. It really makes all the difference and is mild and delicious. I also put anchovy paste into my red wine dressing to give it some zip. A little goes a long way.
Thanks, Julie! I’m one of those people who don’t like anchovies—I always pick up on it, no matter how subtle—so this is my preferred dressing!
Can the dressing be made ahead of time? If so, how long? Thank you
Hi Laurie! Yes, you can make it ahead of time. The dressing will keep for about 5 days in the fridge.
Fresh & healthy.
Thanks for all the recipes
Thanks so much, Doug! Happy holidays!
So happy to see you back with new content! Sending so much love to you and your family.
Thank you so much, Catherine! I’m easing back into work and it feels good! Happy holidays and be well. :)
I just made this as written and , per usual, it is perfection! I LOVE this dressing!!! It is so nice to know I can always count on your recipes tasting incredible as many on-line do not. Thanks for the work you put into this!
Great to hear, Dani! I appreciate your review.
I love- love- love Caesar salad’s, they are the best! There is nothing like a good Caesar salad, and this one is a winner. Happy thanksgiving. Thanks for sharing
You’re welcome, Ivory! I appreciate your review.
Just made this and both the dressing and croutons were perfect!!! I have been wanting a really good recipe for Caesar salad a long time and this is it! Thank you!
You’re welcome, Ianna! Thank you for your review.
Amy Tate Berenson
Loved this dressing! Best Caesar ever. Who knew worchestershire was the magic for this dressing? Easy and quick salad. Didn’t even need the croutons or shaved parm (I was out of time) and it was still delicious. And I don’t like anchovies either so didn’t miss. For those who like, could as anchovy paste.
Hooray! I’m glad you love it.
I made this Caesar and it was was easy and tastes great. I like my Caesar with a little tang with it so I added a bit more lemon juice. May also try adding some vinegar.
The BEST Caesar dressing ever!!! My husband would have it every night. It rates 10 on my list!
The BEST Caesar dressing and I’ve tried a LOT!!!
I love to hear that, Louise! I appreciate your review.
This dressing is amazing. Anchovies are not my favorite fish by any stretch of the imagination but my husband loves them. I have made this dressing several times and he’s never missed the stinky smelly suckers. I plan to keep making it even if he does discover my little secret. Easy to make, ingredients generally on hand, and gets rave reviews at dinner parties. Thank you for sharing.
Thank you for sharing, Pam!
I’ve made this countless times using homemade vegan mayo (with tofu) and I really love it. I struggled trying to find an oil free dressing that I could use but this solved my struggle. Thank you for this great recipe.
You’re welcome, Cat! Thank you for your review.