This Classic Caesar Salad is the best Caesar Salad recipe, complete with crunchy homemade croutons. Serve as a side salad, light lunch, or with added protein to make it a complete meal.
Our homemade Caesar Salad Dressing covers each piece of crisp romaine lettuce and tastes amazing with freshly grated Parmesan cheese. Feel free to add grilled chicken or shrimp, or try any one of the recipe variation ideas for this classic salad that we have given you below.
Best Caesar Salad Recipe
If you are looking for a classic Caesar salad recipe including homemade Caesar Salad dressing and fresh croutons, you have come to the right place. You won’t believe the difference between homemade dressing and store bought.
Both the dressing and the croutons can be made in advance, making this salad the perfect quick lunch. You can also easily turn Caesar salad into a main course by adding grilled or oven baked chicken, salmon, or steak bites. If anchovies and raw eggs freak you out, don’t click away! We have suggested substitutions below.
Traditional Caesar Salad Ingredients
- Romaine Lettuce - these should be washed and cut into approximately 1” bite sized pieces.
- Parmesan Cheese - either shredded or shaved will work.
- Bread - while you can technically use any type of bread to make croutons, I like to use a crusty loaf like French bread or sourdough. It’s actually helpful if the bread is slightly stale, but fresh bread will work just fine. You’ll want to cut into ¾” - 1” pieces.
- Butter - melted butter adds flavor to the croutons, but you could skip and use all olive oil if you wanted to make these vegan.
- Olive Oil - olive oil helps the croutons crisp up in the oven.
- Garlic Powder and Onion Powder - these will add a more mild garlic and onion flavor as well as no little chunks that can burn in the oven.
- Salt - sea salt works great.
- Parsley - you can use fresh or dried parsley for a little extra flavor. Italian seasoning would also taste great.
- Olive Oil - any kind of extra virgin olive oil will work great. You will slowly drizzle this into the blender at the end.
- Garlic - fresh minced garlic has the best flavor.
- Lemon Juice - make sure to use fresh lemon juice.
- Dijon Mustard - any kind of dijon mustard will work great.
- Worcestershire Sauce - this has loads of umami and builds some of the characteristic flavor of Caesar dressing.
- Egg Yolks - yolks are what will help to emulsify the dressing and make it ultra creamy. If you don't want to use raw egg yolks, you can substitute about ¼ cup of mayo but it won’t be quite as creamy.
- Parmesan Cheese - use freshly grated Parmesan cheese.
- Pepper - freshly ground black pepper tastes best.
- Anchovy Paste - this is optional but will really enhance the flavor. If you don’t have anchovy paste, you can substitute a bit more Worcestershire sauce or a dash of fish sauce.
How to Make This Easy Caesar Salad Recipe
- Prep the croutons. In a small bowl, combine the melted butter, olive oil, garlic powder, onion powder, salt and parsley. Whisk until combined. Cut the French bread into pieces that are 1" or smaller and place in a large bowl. Drizzle the olive oil mixture over the bread cubes and stir until all the cubes are lightly coated. Spread the bread cubes onto a large baking sheet in a single even layer.
- Bake the croutons. Bake in the preheated 375 degree oven for about 12-15 minutes, stirring every 3-4 minutes, or until the cubes are golden brown on all sides. Once baked, remove from the oven and allow the croutons to cool.
- Make the caesar dressing. In a blender, add the garlic, lemon juice, dijon mustard, Worcestershire sauce, egg yolks, Parmesan cheese, black pepper, and anchovy paste (if using). Blend until smooth, then slowly drizzle olive oil into the blender while blending until emulsified.
- Assemble the salad. Drizzle the caesar dressing onto your chopped romaine lettuce. Add half of the parmesan cheese and as many croutons as desired. Toss until combined.
- Serve. Sprinkle the remaining parmesan cheese on top along with your homemade croutons. Serve immediately. Enjoy!
Caesar Salad Recipe Variations
There are loads of ways to switch up this easy Caesar Salad recipe. Below are just a few ideas, but feel free to get creative and create your own variations:
- Grilled Chicken Caesar Salad Recipe: Add grilled chicken breast slices on top of the traditional Caesar salad.
- Shrimp Caesar Salad Recipe: Substitute grilled or sautéed shrimp for the chicken to create a lighter variation.
- Kale Caesar Salad Recipe: Swap out the romaine lettuce for chopped kale for a heartier texture and added nutritional benefits.
- Avocado Caesar Salad Recipe: Add slices of ripe avocado for a creamy and satisfying addition to the salad, providing healthy fats and extra creaminess.
- Caesar Salad Wraps: Use large lettuce leaves or tortillas to wrap up the Caesar salad ingredients for a portable and convenient meal.
- Grilled Caesar Salad Recipe: Grill the romaine lettuce hearts briefly to add a smoky flavor and charred texture to the salad.
- Caesar Pasta Salad Recipe: Incorporate cooked pasta (such as penne or bowtie) into the Caesar salad ingredients for a satisfying and filling twist.
Frequently Asked Questions
While anchovies are a classic flavor component of Caesar dressing, you don’t absolutely have to add anchovies. If you either don’t have or don’t want to use anchovy paste for your Caesar Dressing, you can substitute a bit more worcestershire sauce or a little fish sauce.
While you can make croutons from any type of bread (even sandwich bread!), I like to use a crusty loaf of bread like French bread or sourdough. Even cornbread makes great croutons, so feel free to get creative. Croutons are also a great way to use up bread that is a few days old and beginning to get a bit stale. Less fresh bread is also much easier to cut, so it’s a win-win.
Minus the croutons, our Caesar Salad recipe is gluten-free as long as you use gluten-free Worcestershire Sauce (FYI, the United States version of Lea & Perrins Worcestershire sauce is gluten-free). You could also make croutons with gluten-free bread.
The Best Caesar Salad Recipe
- ½ loaf French Bread
- 3 Tablespoons Butter
- 3 Tablespoons Olive Oil
- 2 teaspoons Garlic Powder
- 1 teaspoon Onion. Powder
- ¼ teaspoon Salt
- 1 teaspoon Parsley dried or fresh, chopped
Caesar Salad Dressing Ingredients
- ⅓ cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- 2 cloves Garlic minced
- 2 Tablespoons Lemon Juice
- 1 Tablespoon Dijon Mustard
- 2 teaspoons Worcestershire Sauce
- 3 large Egg Yolks
- ½ cup Parmesan Cheese finely grated
- ½ teaspoon Black Pepper or to taste
- 1 teaspoon Anchovy Paste optional
For the Caesar Salad
- 2 small Romain Hearts Lettuce
- ⅓ cup Parmesan Cheese shredded or shaved
How to Make Homemade Croutons
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
- In a small bowl, combine the melted butter, olive oil, garlic powder, onion powder, salt and parsley. Whisk until combined.
- Cut the French bread into pieces that are 1" or smaller and place in a large bowl. Drizzle the olive oil mixture over the bread cubes and stir until all the cubes are lightly coated. Spread the bread cubes onto a large baking sheet in a single even layer.
- Bake in the preheated oven for about 12-15 minutes, stirring every 3-4 minutes, or until the cubes are golden brown on all sides.
- Once baked, remove from the oven and allow the croutons to cool.
How to Make Homemade Caeser Dressing
- In a blender, add the garlic, lemon juice, dijon mustard, Worcestershire sauce, egg yolks, Parmesan cheese, black pepper, and anchovy paste (if using).
- Blend until smooth, then slowly drizzle olive oil into the blender while blending until emulsified.
Assembling the Salad
- Prepare your romaine lettuce by cutting the stem off, washing, and cutting into 1" pieces.
- Drizzle the caesar dressing onto your chopped romaine lettuce. Add half of the parmesan cheese and as many croutons as desired. Toss until combined.
- Sprinkle the remaining parmesan cheese on top along with your homemade croutons. Serve immediately. Enjoy!
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This is the best Caesar Salad recipe, filled with all of your favorite Caesar salad ingredients. We'll show you how to make homemade dressing and homemade crunchy croutons.