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This homemade Caesar dressing recipe is creamy, garlicky, and made in minutes at home. The simple salad dressing is bursting with flavor and perfect for salads, wraps, and more. Keep reading for all our tips, including a lighter yogurt-based variation.

Caesar dressing
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There’s something about the creamy, garlicky tang of Caesar dressing that is pure salad perfection. Craving this rich, creamy salad dressing but tired of the store-bought options? Try our homemade recipe!

What we love about this recipe: This Caesar dressing makes authentic-tasting salad dressing in minutes, bursting with fresh garlic, Parmesan cheese, and lemon juice. Drizzle it over romaine lettuce for a classic Caesar salad, or use it to elevate sandwiches, wraps, and more. We’ve also got a lighter variation using Greek yogurt—we might like it even better!

The Caesar dressing ingredients

Caesar dressing may sound like an Italian recipe that’s been around for centuries, but it was actually invented in the 1920’s. The story goes that Italian immigrant Caesar Cardini owned a restaurant in Tijuana, Mexico and created Caesar salad in 1924. The original recipe had and egg and olive oil, which is essentially homemade mayonnaise, along with citrus, Worcestershire sauce, and Parmesan cheese.

Once you’ve made this version of this salad dressing at home, you’ll never go back! Here are the ingredients in homemade Caesar dressing:

  • Mayonnaise: That signature savory creaminess comes from mayonnaise. Use a high-quality mayonnaise if you can: you can taste the difference.
  • Grated Parmesan cheese: Parmesan brings in a savory saltiness. Make sure to use grated (not shredded), which melds into the creamy texture.
  • Lemon juice: Fresh lemon juice brings in that signature tang. Don’t use bottled juice, since it doesn’t have the same fresh flavor as using a real lemon.
  • Anchovy paste or Worcestershire sauce: Anchovies are traditional, though the original Caesar salad used Worcestershire sauce. Both add a savory flavor, but we like anchovy paste for the most classic Caesar flavor.
  • Fresh garlic and Dijon mustard: Fresh garlic is important; avoid using jarred or otherwise preserved garlic. Dijon rounds out the tangy, savory flavor.
Caesar Dressing Ingredients: Mayo, Parmesan, garlic, Dijon mustard, lemon juice, anchovy paste or Worcestershire sauce.

Notes on anchovies

A classic Caesar dressing recipe typically anchovies or anchovy paste. This salty fish adds intensely salty, savory flavor to dressings and sauces. The original 1920’s version of Caesar dressing originally used Worcestershire sauce, but anchovies became incorporated by restaurateurs along the way and remain a common ingredient to this day.

Do you have to use anchovies in Caesar salad? No, but we’ve found anchovy paste really adds that sharpness of classic Caesar flavor! Or, substitute Worcestershire sauce, a vegan Worcestershire sauce or this Worcestershire sauce substitute.

Tips for making this Caesar dressing recipe

This Caesar dressing recipe is very easy to make: you’ll simply whisk all ingredients together in a bowl. Here are a few things to keep in mind when making this recipe:

  • No blender needed! Just whisk together the ingredients in a bowl.
  • Use a fine grater or microplane: If you’re grating your own Parmesan cheese from a block, use a fine grater or microplane for both the garlic and the Parmesan. This helps the garlic and Parmesan melt right into the creamy texture of the dressing instead of making it chunky.
Homemade Caesar salad dressing recipe in bowl with spoon.

Lighter variation (with yogurt)

Don’t want to use all mayonnaise in your Caesar dressing? Swap out the ¾ cup mayonnaise in this recipe for ¼ cup mayonnaise, ½ cup Greek yogurt, and 1 tablespoon olive oil. It helps reduce calories and makes the salad taste lighter and fresher, while still clinging to the greens. We like it even better!

Ways to serve Caesar dressing

You can serve this Caesar dressing recipe in all sorts of ways, the most classic being the ubiquitous Caesar salad! We often make it into an easy dinner by topping it with a protein. Here are a few ideas:

Vegan variation

Want a plant-based or vegan variation? Whip up this Vegan Caesar Dressing! You’ll use a blender to mix chickpeas with Dijon mustard, garlic, olive oil and more. It might sound odd, but trust us. We think this Vegan Caesar Salad is just as tasty!

Caesar salad with Caesar dressing and coutrons.

More homemade salad dressing recipes

Love making homemade salad dressing? Ditch the grocery store bottles and opt for making our own! Here are some of our top favorite salad dressing recipes:

Dietary notes

This Caesar dressing recipe is pescatarian and gluten-free. For vegetarian, omit the anchovy paste. For vegan, go to Vegan Caesar Dressing.

Frequently asked questions

Do I need a blender or food processor to make Caesar dressing?

No! While a blender or food processor can help achieve a smoother consistency, you can easily make Caesar dressing by whisking all the ingredients together in a bowl.

My Caesar dressing is too thick/thin! How can I adjust it?

The consistency of Caesar dressing can be adjusted depending on your preference. If it’s too thick, add a ½ teaspoon or so water to thin it out. If it’s too thin, whisk in a little more grated cheese or add a bit more mayonnaise.

Can I make Caesar dressing ahead of time?

Yes, you can! Homemade Caesar dressing will keep in the refrigerator for up to 1 week in an airtight container.

What if I don’t have all the ingredients?

This recipe is a guideline! Here are some substitution options:

Anchovies: Omit them or use Worcestershire sauce or miso paste (a small amount) for a similar umami flavor.

Parmesan cheese: Substitute with another hard cheese like Pecorino Romano or Grana Padano.

Dijon mustard: You can use regular yellow mustard, but Dijon adds a bit more depth.

Can I make a lighter version of Caesar dressing with yogurt?

Yes! Simply substitute part of the mayo with Greek yogurt and olive oil (see the recipe below). A small amount of mayo is helpful because it helps the dressing stick to the romaine lettuce.

Can I make a vegan Caesar dressing?

Absolutely! Go to Vegan Caesar Dressing.

Do I need to use anchovies in Caesar dressing?

Anchovies are a traditional ingredient in Caesar dressing: they add a savory umami flavor that’s signature of this popular salad dressing. If you’re not a fan of anchovies, you can omit them or use a substitute like Worcestershire sauce or this Worcestershire sauce substitute.

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Caesar dressing

Caesar Dressing Recipe


5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star

5 from 3 reviews

  • Author: Sonja
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 0 minutes
  • Total Time: 10 minutes
  • Yield: About 1 cup 1x

Description

This homemade Caesar dressing recipe is creamy, garlicky, and made in minutes at home. The simple salad dressing is bursting with flavor and perfect for salads, wraps, and more.


Ingredients

Scale
  • 1 medium garlic clove, minced or grated
  • ¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice (1/2 lemon)
  • ¾ cup high quality mayonnaise (or ¼ cup mayonnaise, ½ cup Greek yogurt and 1 tablespoon olive oil*)
  • ½ tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • ½ teaspoon anchovy paste** (or Worcestershire sauce), optional
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper

Instructions

  1. Whisk together all the ingredients in a bowl. Store refrigerated in a covered jar (keeps at least 1 week).

Notes

*Lighter variation: Try a lighter version of the dressing by swapping in Greek yogurt and olive oil for part of the mayo. We like it even better!

Vegan variation: Go to Vegan Caesar Dressing

**Anchovy paste really does add that classic Caesar flavor, but Worcestershire sauce works too (or a Worcestershire substitute). If all you can find is whole anchovy fillets, blend 2 anchovy fillets to make 1 teaspoon anchovy paste. Keep in mind that anchovy paste has added vinegar and spices and is milder in flavor.

  • Category: Salad Dressing
  • Method: Whisked
  • Cuisine: American

About the authors

Sonja & Alex

Hi, we’re Alex and Sonja Overhiser, married cookbook authors, food bloggers, and recipe developers. We founded A Couple Cooks to share fresh, seasonal recipes and the joy of cooking! Our recipes are made by two real people and work every time.

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4 Comments

  1. Teri says:

    Wow! Another hit in the salad dressing department! I only come to you guys for homemade salad dressing recipes. I made this with the yogurt and the flavor is spot on! As good as anything I’ve had in a nice restaurant and waaay better than the seed oil laced junk from the grocery store.






  2. Alana says:

    This was great!






  3. Sonja Overhiser says:

    Let us know if you have any questions!