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
- 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).