Better than a restaurant Caesar Salad recipe with a no-fail homemade Caesar dressing and the crispiest garlic and parmesan croutons. 

A close up of caesar salad in a serving bowl with serving utensils.
Photo Credits: Mark Beahm

For just a few simple ingredients, Caesar Salad is an impressive culinary feat. Even as picky eaters when we were little, Caesar dressing was one the few ways my brother and I would eat green vegetables, as a dip for raw veggies (like a kid’s crudité platter!) or spread over cooked veggies like roasted broccoli

The original Caesar Salad recipe is attributed to the Italian restaurateur Caesar Cardini who created it at his restaurant in Tijuana. In 1924, when the salad was invented, it contained only romaine lettuce, garlic, olive oil, lemon, Worcestershire, croutons, and parmesan cheese. Years later, it's believed Caesar's brother, Alex, added the anchovies to the dressing, which is the version I use in this Caesar salad recipe. I prefer the umami boost anchovies provide.

An egg yolk adds richness and creaminess, making the Caesar dressing even better than your favorite restaurant. In one bite, it’s enchantingly tangy, creamy, salty, savory, crisp, and refreshing. Add crunchy homemade garlic croutons and this salad is certain to become a family favorite (if it isn't already)! 

Table of Contents
  1. Ingredients for Caesar Salad
  2. A Note on Egg Yolks
  3. How to Make This Caesar Salad Recipe
  4. Ways to Mix it Up
  5. How to Make an Eggless Caesar Salad Dressing
  6. What to Serve with This Caesar Salad Recipe
  7. You'll Also Like: Classic Salad Recipes
  8. Caesar Salad Recipe
Ingredients for caesar salad including romaine lettuce, parmesan cheese, olive oil, parmesan cheese, garlic, salt, black pepper, crusty bread, anchovies, an egg, and lemon.

Ingredients for Caesar Salad

I usually keep most of the ingredients for homemade Caesar salad in my pantry, so I only need to go out for the freshest lettuce the day I plan to make it. 

  • Romaine lettuce: Classic Caesar salad uses a base of romaine lettuce for its satisfying crunch and mild flavor.
  • Parmesan cheese: Parmesan cheese is nutty and irresistible. I coat the croutons with grated parmesan, mix some in the dressing, and add extra shavings of parmesan on top of the salad.
  • Crusty bread: For homemade croutons, use a few slices of your favorite type of crusty bread, whether it's sourdough, white, whole wheat, or spelt. It doesn’t have to be day-old unless you happen to have some.
  • Extra virgin olive oil: Olive oil adds richness and balances the salty anchovies and parmesan and the acidity of the lemon juice. I like to use fruity Nocellara or buttery Arbequina olive oil in salad dressings.
  • Anchovies: the original Caesar salad called for just Worcestershire sauce, a savory sauce made with anchovies. But anchovies are such a common addition to the dressing now, that it wouldn't taste like Caesar salad without them. I prefer to use just anchovies and skip the Worcestershire sauce altogether.
  • Garlic: Adds a kick of sweet and savory garlic flavor to the croutons and dressing and acts as an emulsifier that helps stabilize the dressing.
  • Lemon: A generous squeeze of lemon juice adds fresh citrus and some sharp acidity. You could substitute it with white wine vinegar.
  • Egg yolk: Egg yolk makes Caesar salad dressing rich and creamy. It naturally contains lecithin, which helps to stabilize the emulsion.
  • Kosher salt and black pepper: Salt brings out the other flavors in the dish, and the black pepper adds subtle heat that complements the lemon, garlic, and anchovies.
A close up of caesar salad dressing in a bowl with a spoon in front of a bowl of romaine lettuce and a plate of homemade croutons.

A Note on Egg Yolks

The egg yolk in Caesar salad dressing is uncooked. Most of us eat runny egg yolks all the time, from sunny side up to poached eggs simmered in Shakshuka

Make sure to use the freshest eggs possible. If you are sick or have a weakened immune system, you can leave out the yolk. See “How to Make an Eggless Caesar Salad Dressing” below for a recipe that uses Greek yogurt instead.

An overhead photo of 2 servings of caesar salad on plates with forks. Next to this is a cloth napkin and 2 glasses of water.

How to Make This Caesar Salad Recipe

Making homemade garlic croutons adds about 20 minutes, but the crunch and garlicky flavor is unmatched. And when it comes to the salad dressing, take your time incorporating the olive oil so it stays emulsified. A little patience will guarantee the perfect Caesar dressing every time! 

  • Preheat the oven: Preheat the oven to 375°F.
  • Season the Croutons: In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together 2 tablespoons olive oil, 2 tablespoons finely grated parmesan, 1 finely grated garlic clove, ¼ teaspoon salt, and ⅛ teaspoon ground pepper. Add 2 cups cubed bread and toss to coat.Cubes of unbaked bread being mixed with olive oil and seasonings in a bowl with a rubber spatula.
  • Bake the Croutons: Spread the bread cubes onto a sheet pan without overlapping. Bake for 10 minutes, toss, and bake until golden and crisp, 5 to 10 minutes more. Remove from the oven when they’re golden and crisp and set aside to cool.Cubes of baked bread spread evenly on a baking sheet.
  • Make the Caesar Salad Dressing: In a medium mixing bowl, use a fork to mash 3 oil-packed anchovies, 1 grated garlic clove, and ¼ teaspoon kosher salt to form a paste. Switch to a whisk and whisk in 2 tablespoon lemon juice, then add 1 egg yolk and whisk to combine. Anchovies, garlic and salt in a bowl being mashed with a fork.
  • Emulsify in ⅓ cup extra virgin olive oil (slowly!). Whisking constantly, add the olive oil one drop at a time, waiting for each addition to emulsify before adding the next. After the first couple of tablespoons, switch to pouring the olive oil in a thin, steady stream, while still whisking constantly. The dressing should look cohesive and thickened slightly, like a loose aioli.Olive oil being slowly added and whisked with the rest of the caesar salad dressing ingredients.
  • Finish the Caesar Dressing: Stir in ¼ cup grated parmesan and ¼ teaspoon ground pepper. The ingredients for the caesar salad in a bowl with a whisk right after some parmesan cheese was added. Next to this is a small bowl of grated parmesan cheese with a spoon.
  • Make the Salad: In a large serving bowl, add 2 chopped romaine lettuce hearts, layering it with the dressing. Use salad servers to toss the lettuce in the dressing until coated evenly. Top with the croutons and extra grated parmesan or parmesan shavings. Serve immediately.An overhead, close up photo of caesar salad in a serving bowl with serving utensils.

Ways to Mix it Up

There are countless ways to give Caesar salad your own spin, from substituting crispy chickpeas instead of croutons to adding chicken or shrimp for a full meal.

  • Switch up the greens: Instead of, or in addition to the romaine lettuce, try using kale, arugula, baby spinach, mesclun mix, or whatever strikes your fancy.
  • For extra crunch: Add crispy roasted chickpeas or toasted pine nuts. 
  • Make it a meal: for a more filling meal, add grilled chicken, crispy chicken cutlets, or tuna.
  • Make it vegetarian: Substitute the anchovies with Dijon mustard.
An overhead photo of caesar salad in a serving bowl with serving utensils.

How to Make an Eggless Caesar Salad Dressing

If you prefer a lighter (and easier) version of Caesar salad with fewer calories:

  • Omit the egg yolk. 
  • Reduce the olive oil to 1 tablespoon. 
  • Add ⅓ cup Greek yogurt. 
  • Since you don’t need to emulsify the yolk and olive oil simply whisk everything together.
A close up of a plate of caesar salad with a fork. Next to this is another plate of the salad, a glass of water, and a fork on a cloth napkin.

What to Serve with This Caesar Salad Recipe

Growing up we had a big bowl of Caesar salad on the dinner table most nights. But it’s also a big crowd pleaser at parties and barbecues. You can prepare the salad and the dressing ahead of time, but keep them separate until just before serving.

Caesar salad makes a great first course or side to pasta dishes, like this Lemon Chicken Pasta or cheesy Manicotti.

It adds refreshing lightness while still holding its own paired with hearty comfort foods like Italian Meatballs or Eggplant Parmesan. Or, make a steakhouse dinner at home serving a big portion of Caesar salad as an appetizer before a Grilled Steak.

You'll Also Like: Classic Salad Recipes

Browse All Mediterranean Recipes

Visit Our Shop

Bundle and Save!

Taste your way through the Mediterranean with our signature olive oil collection, including our famous Greek olive oils, Private Reserve, and Early Harvest, plus our new Nocellara Italian olive oil and Hojiblanca Spanish olive oil.

The 4 bottles of olive oil included in the signature bundle of olive oils from the Mediterranean Dish shop.
No ratings yet

Caesar Salad

photo of author mark beahm.Mark Beahm
An overhead photo of caesar salad in a serving bowl with serving utensils.
Classic caesar salad recipe with homemade cheesy, garlicky croutons–doesn't get much better! The dressing here is relatively simple, just be sure to incorporate the oil very slowly and whisk constantly: A few drops at a time to start. See note for an eggless version.
Prep – 20 minutes
Cook – 20 minutes
Total – 40 minutes
Cuisine:
Italian
Serves – 8
Course:
Salad

Ingredients
  

For the Croutons

  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons finely grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 garlic clove, finely grated or minced
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
  • teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 cups cubed crusty bread (about ¾-inch cubes from 2 to 3 slices)

For the Caesar Salad Dressing

  • 3 oil-packed anchovy filets, finely chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, finely grated
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • cup extra virgin olive oil
  • ¼ cup finely grated Parmesan cheese
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

For the Salad

  • 2 hearts romaine lettuce, chopped
  • Shaved or grated Parmesan cheese

Instructions
 

  • Preheat the oven: Preheat the oven to 375°F.
  • Season the Croutons: In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together the olive oil, parmesan, garlic, salt, and pepper. Add the cubed bread to the bowl and toss to coat.
  • Bake the Croutons: Spread the bread cubes onto a sheet pan without overlapping. Bake for 10 minutes, toss, and bake until golden and crisp, 5 to 10 minutes more. Remove from the oven when they’re golden and crisp and set aside to cool.
  • Make the Caesar Salad Dressing: In a medium mixing bowl, use a fork to mash the anchovies, grated garlic, and salt to form a paste. Switch to a whisk and whisk in the lemon juice, then add the egg yolk and whisk to combine.
  • Emulsify the oil (slowly!). Whisking constantly, add the olive oil one drop at a time, waiting for each addition to emulsify before adding the next. After the first couple of tablespoons, switch to pouring the olive oil in a thin, steady stream, while still whisking constantly. The dressing should look cohesive and thickened slightly, like a loose aioli.
  • Finish the Caesar Dressing: Stir in the grated parmesan and ground pepper.
  • Make the Salad: In a large serving bowl, add the chopped romaine lettuce, layering it with the dressing. Use salad servers to toss the lettuce in the dressing until coated evenly. Top with the croutons and extra grated parmesan or parmesan shavings. Serve immediately.

Notes

  • Shop this recipe: Visit our shop to browse quality Mediterranean ingredients including the olive oil used in this recipe.
  • What bread to use for the Homemade Croutons: Use a few slices of your favorite type of crusty bread, whether it's sourdough, white, whole wheat, or spelt. It doesn’t have to be day-old, unless you happen to have some in which case it's a great way to put it to good use.
  • For an eggless dressing: 
    • Omit the egg yolk. 
    • Reduce the olive oil to 1 tablespoon. 
    • Add ⅓ cup Greek yogurt. 
    • Since you don’t need to emulsify the yolk and olive oil, you can simply whisk everything together.

Nutrition

Calories: 304.7kcalCarbohydrates: 29.5gProtein: 8.6gFat: 17.2gSaturated Fat: 3.1gPolyunsaturated Fat: 2.5gMonounsaturated Fat: 10.1gTrans Fat: 0.02gCholesterol: 29.4mgSodium: 558.8mgPotassium: 127.6mgFiber: 2.6gSugar: 3.6gVitamin A: 682.6IUVitamin C: 2.1mgCalcium: 123.5mgIron: 2.4mg
Tried this recipe?

Share it with the world

Mark learned to bake professionally at Two Fat Cats Bakery in Portland, Maine and was most recently the head baker at Hjem Kensington, a Danish café in London. He lived in Barcelona and Madrid for six years, before moving to London and then back to the States. He is fascinated by the intersection of food, culture, and science. He has been developing recipes for home bakers for three years and began writing for The Mediterranean Dish in 2022.

When he’s not in the kitchen, he spends his time traveling, knitting, and learning to throw pottery.
Learn More

Get our best recipes and all Things Mediterranean delivered to your inbox.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

How many stars would you give this recipe?




This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Comments

  1. Dave S says:

    Quick question...any reason a Vitamix couldn't be used to make the dressing, as opposed to whisking?

    1. Summer Miller says:

      Hi, Dave! I'm Summer and I work here at The Mediterranean Dish. You could certainly try a vitamix, but sometimes super powerful blenders almost overmix sauces/dressings and the emulsion can break, so we tend to favor doing it by hand, but you can always give it a try. If you do, please report back and let us know how it worked!