Our Favorite Caesar Salad Dressing
How to make our favorite creamy Caesar salad dressing with very little fuss. Make this by hand, in a blender, in a food processor or by using an immersion blender. Jump to the Caesar Salad Dressing Recipe or read on to see our tips for making it.
When it comes to Caesar salad, I like my dressing to be full of flavor, a bit tangy and extra creamy. This simple recipe gets high marks across the board and bonus, it’s quick to make!
We use this dressing to make our favorite homemade Caesar salad!
The ingredients you’ll need
A full ingredient list with ingredient amounts is listed in the recipe area below this article. Here, I’ll quickly walk you through them just in case you have any questions.
- Egg — My favorite style of Caesar dressing starts with raw egg. I use fresh, local eggs (just like when making homemade mayonnaise). If you are worried about using raw egg yolk, look for pasteurized eggs at the store and use them. We’ve also shared an egg-free Caesar dressing, which is quite delicious if that’s more in line with what you were looking for.
- Fresh lemon juice — Fresh is best here and I like to add quite a bit. Lemon cuts the creaminess of the dressing and lifts all the flavors up. If you are sensitive to lemon, hold back slightly and then simply squeeze in a little more as needed once the dressing it made.
- Dijon mustard — Mustard does a couple things for Caesar dressing. First, it helps with emulsification, which just means it helps to bind the dressing together and make it ultra creamy. Mustard also adds its own element of tang to the party.
- Anchovies — I go for the real thing and buy anchovies packed in oil since I love the flavor they add to the dressing. You can buy anchovy paste in tubes, which will also work, just keep in mind that the whole anchovies will impart the best flavor.
- Garlic — Fresh garlic is a must for this salad dressing. I use two medium cloves, which makes the dressing reasonably garlicky. You can reduce or increase based on how much you love raw garlic.
- Neutral oil — Some recipes call for olive oil when making this dressing, but we prefer to use a more neutral oil, which means the lemon, anchovies and garlic really shine.
- Parmesan cheese — I always add a handful of parmesan shavings to my salad, but I also love adding a few tablespoons of grated parmesan to the dressing.
How to make Caesar dressing
As I mentioned above, you have a few options for making the dressing. Let me walk you through all of them:
- By hand — This takes about 10 minutes and requires a bowl and whisk. You will need to put a little elbow grease into whisking the oil into the dressing, but it doesn’t take long (promise). Start by whisking egg yolk, lemon juice and mustard together until frothy then slowly stream in oil. Keep whisking the entire time until the oil is incorporated and the dressing looks like thinned out mayonnaise. Finish by whisking in finely minced anchovies, garlic and shredded parmesan.
- In a blender, food processor or using an immersion blender — This takes less than 5 minutes and means all the work is done for you. No whisking. (When using a food processor, if you have a small bowl attachment, we recommend using it.) For all options, blend everything but the oil first, and then, while the machine is running, slowly stream in the oil until the dressing comes together.
I typically make the dressing by hand because I hate doing extra dishes. I also love the texture of the handmade dressing, which leaves teeny tiny bits of garlic and anchovies scattered throughout. Whichever method you choose, the dressing will be amazing.
Egg-free (and mayonnaise-free) dressing: Take a look at our egg-free Caesar salad dressing.
Vegan caesar salad dressing: Substitute the egg and oil for vegan mayonnaise (1/2 to 1 cup) and replace the anchovies with a tablespoon or so of minced capers. Hummus or tahini are also excellent bases for the dressing. You should also leave out the parmesan cheese.
Made without anchovies: If you don’t enjoy anchovies, try capers instead. Use 1 to 2 tablespoons of drained capers and mince them really well before adding to the dressing. A tiny splash of Worcestershire sauce is also a nice addition to help with replacing the briny, umami flavors missed by not including the anchovies.
More Homemade Dressing Recipes
- Honey Mustard Dressing
- Homemade Blue Cheese Dressing
- Easy Dreamy Tahini Sauce (vegan)
- Easy Creamy Tzatziki
Our Favorite Caesar Salad Dressing
Homemade Caesar dressing is simple to make and can be done a few different ways: by hand, in a blender, in a food processor or by using an immersion blender. All methods are simple and quick. I particularly love doing this by hand and enjoy seeing little bits of the garlic and anchovy in the dressing.
You Will Need
3 to 5 anchovies packed in oil, depending on taste
2 medium garlic cloves
1 large egg yolk
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
4 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese
1/3 cup neutral oil (like grape seed oil, safflower oil or avocado oil), plus more as needed
Salt and fresh cracked black pepper
- Make By Hand
- Make in a Blender or Food Processor
- Make with an Immersion Blender
Using a chef’s knife mince the anchovies and garlic into small bits. Using the side of the knife mash them into a very fine paste by pushing and pulling the mound of anchovies and garlic across the cutting board. Set aside.
In a medium bowl, whisk the egg yolk, lemon juice and mustard together until frothy. Placing a dishcloth underneath the bowl helps to steady it as you whisk.
Get into a comfortable whisking position and while you whisk with one hand, slowly stream in the oil with the other hand. You are looking to add the oil in tiny drips and will notice that as you whisk in the oil, the mixture in the bowl will start to lighten in color and thicken.
When all of the oil has been added, check the consistency. If it’s too thick, whisk in a teaspoon or so of water. If it’s too thin, continue to whisk and stream in a little more oil.
Finish by whisking in the mashed anchovies, garlic and parmesan cheese. Taste and generously season with salt and pepper.
When using a food processor, if you have a small bowl attachment for your food processor, it’s best to use it.
Combine anchovies, garlic, egg yolk, lemon juice, mustard, and parmesan cheese in the bottom of a blender or food processor bowl. With the blender or processor running, slowly drizzle in the oil until a smooth dressing forms. If after adding all of the oil, it seems too thick, add a teaspoon or so of water to thin it out. If it is too thin, with the machine on, slowly drizzle in a bit more oil. Taste and generously season with salt and pepper.
Combine anchovies, garlic, egg yolk, lemon juice, mustard, and parmesan cheese in the bottom of a cup that just fits the head of an immersion blender.
With the blender running, slowly drizzle in the oil until a smooth dressing forms. If after adding all of the oil, it seems too thick, add a teaspoon or so of water to thin it out. If it is too thin, with the machine on, slowly drizzle in a bit more oil. Taste and generously season with salt and pepper.
Adam and Joanne's Tips
- Anchovy paste: 1 anchovy fillet equals 1/2 teaspoon anchovy paste (anchovy fillets and anchovy pastes do taste slightly different so add based on your own tastes)
- Nutrition Facts: The nutrition facts provided below are estimates. We have used the USDA database to calculate approximate values.