Caesar Salad with Homemade Caesar Dressing

Fresh romaine, shredded parmesan & diced avocado are all tossed in a creamy homemade Caesar dressing & topped with crunchy croutons! This classic Caesar salad recipe is so easy & always a crowd favorite!

A classic Caesar salad tossed in a homemade Caesar salad dressing topped with croutons and diced avocado

Ok Fam – this one comes with a story. One thing you need to understand – Charlie loves Caesar salad. (Like loves it!) Why? Because this authentic Caesar salad dressing has been in his family for generations and it’s by far the BEST dressing I’ve ever had.

I remember when we were first dating, his family served Caesar salad and I watched in amazement as they concocted this dressing right in front of me WITHOUT using a recipe. Everything was to taste and it came out perfect every single time. Flash forward a few years – we’re married and living on our own and he’s still making this dressing to taste! So finally I decided to watch, measure and write everything down and after a few tries on my own I finally got it right!

This is the BEST Caesar salad dressing! It’s bright, lemony, garlicky, not too fishy and has the perfect creamy consistency!

Ingredients used to make a classic caesar salad with homemadde Caesar dressing

Ingredients You’ll Need

Romaine lettuce: A classic sturdy base for your Caesar salad.

Parmesan cheese: Buy a block of parmesan and shred it yourself or use pre-shredded parmesan for ease!

Croutons: Garlic butter croutons or Caesar croutons work the best for this salad. (We love using Texas Toast Croutons! They’re so good!) Homemade croutons can be used instead.

Avocado: An optional topping but we love the creaminess it adds!

Olive oil: Used as the base of your Caesar dressing.

Lemons: You’ll need 1-2 lemons depending how juicy they are. (We love squeezing a little over the top of our salads too!)

Anchovies: Use flat anchovies in olive oil and salt for the best results. (DON’T skip these!) They’re essential to getting that classic Caesar dressing flavor.

Milk: Any type of milk works for this recipe! (Using a thinner milk (ex. skim milk or almond milk) may result in a thinner dressing.)

Worcestershire sauce: You’ll need a ½ teaspoon of Worcestershire sauce.

Egg: You’ll need 1 egg for this recipe. (We’ll be coddling the egg before adding it to the dressing – directions are below.)

Garlic: An essential ingredient for any Caesar salad recipe!

Spices: Black pepper and mustard powder are needed to season your dressing!

A large clear mixing bowl filled with chopped romaine lettuce, shredded parmesan and diced avocado sitting next to a small bowl of croutons
A food processor filled with homemade caesar salad dressing sitting next to a small bowl of lemons

How To Make Homemade Caesar Salad

1. Make the Caesar dressing. Place the dressing ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. Cover and keep the dressing chilled in the refrigerator while you prepare the rest of your salad.

2. Prep your salad ingredients. Chop your lettuce, grate your parmesan and dice your avocado (if using).

3. Toss. Add the prepared salad ingredients to a bowl and pour your desired amount of dressing over the top. Toss until the salad is coated to your liking.

4. Serve! Serve immediately with freshly cracked pepper and a squeeze of lemon. Garnish with your favorite croutons and enjoy!

A large clear mixing bowl filled with caesar salad ingredients freshly tossed in a homemade caesar salad dressing

How To Coddle An Egg For Your Dressing

This is an essential step when it comes to making authentic Caesar dressing. Why do we coddle the egg? It helps give your dressing a rich creamy texture and thickens it slightly. Plus it’s so easy too! (I know it may sound intimidating, but I promise, it’s actually very easy!) After my husband showed me how to do it once, I wrote down all the steps and nailed it my first time!) Here are my step-by-step instructions.

  • Step 1: Bring a small pot of water to a boil on the stove.
  • Step 2: Once boiling, lower your egg into the water and stir. Then set a timer for 2½ minutes and continuously stir the egg the entire time.
  • Step 3: Once done, remove your egg from the pot and run it under cold water.
  • Step 4: Use a spoon to gently crack the egg in half horizontally. Then pour the yolk and raw insides of the egg into a bowl. Use your spoon to scrape out the cooked egg whites attached to the inside of the shell and add the egg whites to the bowl with your yolk.
  • Step 5: Pour the entire egg (raw parts AND cooked parts) into your blender with the rest of your dressing ingredients.
A large serving bowl filled with Caesar salad topped with avocado and croutons surrounded by fresh lemon wedges and a jar of homemade Caesar salad dressing

Serving Suggestions

Caesar salad is really a “blank canvas” type of dish. There’s so many ingredients you can add to it or serve with it to really make it your own! For proteins – ingredients like diced chicken, grilled shrimp, salmon or even sliced hardboiled eggs pair well with your flavors. Or round our your meal by serving it with some garlic bread/cheesy garlic bread, crunchy breadsticks or cornbread!

Fun fact: Growing up my family always served blueberry muffins with our chicken Caesar salad. Why? I have no idea… but to this day Charlie and I will still serve blueberry muffins everytime we have Caesar. (They’re actually very good together!😉)

This Caesar salad would also be a fantastic side dish for any meal! Serve it alongside pastas, lasagna, pizza or your favorite protein.

A serving bowl filled with homemade Caesar salad tossed in a creamy authentic Caesar salad dressing

FAQ’s

  • Can I use anchovy paste instead of anchovy fillets? I would not suggest it. We’ve found that anchovy paste has a slightly different flavor and texture than fillets and our dressing never turned out quite right when we used it. Fillets are the way to go!
  • Do I have to coddle my egg? No! If that sounds a little intimidating you can completely replace the egg with 1 tablespoon of mayonnaise instead.
  • Can I prep any ingredients beforehand? Yes, the dressing can be made at least 2-3 days in advance. (If making it beforehand, you may need to blend the dressing again before serving. It can become pretty thick and separate slightly as it sits in the refrigerator.)
A close up photo of Caesar salad made with romaine lettuce, diced avocado, shredded parmesan and croutons tossed in a homemade Caesar salad dressing

Why you’ll love this Caesar salad recipe!

  • The BEST Caesar salad dressing! After making this easy homemade dressing, you’ll never go back to store bought!
  • Great for serving large groups! This recipe makes a lot of dressing so it’s perfect if you have a lot of mouths to feed! (Plus it keeps well too!)
  • Not overly fishy or garlicky! It’s the perfect blend of flavors! No one will know it’s made with real anchovies!
  • Perfect to hosting! Festive enough for dinner parties and holiday parties yet simple enough for hosting a small get-together with friends.

[Made one of my recipes? Tag my Instagram @kalefornia_kravings & leave a review in the comments – I love seeing what you create!]

Caesar Salad with Homemade Caesar Dressing

Fresh romaine, shredded parmesan & diced avocado are all tossed in a creamy homemade Caesar dressing & topped with crunchy croutons! This classic Caesar salad recipe is so easy & always a crowd favorite!
Prep Time20 minutes
Total Time20 minutes
Course: Main Course, Salad
Cuisine: American
Keyword: authentic caesar salad, caesar salad, caesar salad dressing
Servings: 4 servings
Author: Caitlin

Ingredients

For the Caesar salad:

  • 1 large head of romaine lettuce, chopped (or 2 smaller heads)
  • cup parmesan cheese, shredded or shaved
  • 1-2 avocados, sliced or diced (optional)
  • Croutons
  • Cracked black pepper, for serving

For the Caesar dressing:

  • 1 cup olive oil*
  • cup lemon juice (about 1½ lemons)
  • 6 anchovy fillets (packed in oil)
  • 1 egg**
  • 2 large garlic cloves
  • 2 Tbsp milk
  • ½ tsp worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tsp mustard powder
  • ½ tsp black pepper

Instructions

To make your Caesar dressing:

  • First coddle your egg according to the directions below:
    1) Bring a small pot of water to a boil on the stove. Once boiling, lower your egg into the water and stir. Then set a timer for 2½ minutes and continuously stir the egg the entire time.
    2) Next remove your egg from the pot and run it under cold water.
    3) Use a spoon to gently crack the egg in half horizontally. Pour the yolk and raw insides of the egg into a bowl and use your spoon to scrape out the cooked egg whites attached to the inside of the shell. Add the egg whites to the bowl with your yolk and set it aside.
  • Then add the rest of your Caesar dressing ingredients to a blender or food processor along with your coddled egg.
  • Blend the dressing until smooth. Then taste and adjust your seasonings if needed. (Sometimes we'll add an extra squeeze of lemon.)
  • Store your dressing in the refrigerator while you prepare the rest of your salad.

To make the Caesar salad:

  • Add your romaine lettuce, parmesan and avocado (if using) to a large bowl and toss in your desired amount of dressing.
  • Top the salad with your croutons and serve with freshly cracked pepper sprinkled over the top.

Notes

*Use Extra Light Tasting Olive Oil for the best results. (It’s lighter and more mild in flavor than extra virgin olive oil.) Using a extra virgin olive oil will dull the flavors creating a bland dressing. 
**Don’t want to coddle the egg? Leave out the egg and replace it with 1 tablespoon of mayonnaise instead!

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