November 29, 2022

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Cooking Is My World

The Best Caesar Salad Recipe

This is the ultimate recipe for Caesar Salad! Made with crisp romaine lettuce, fresh parmesan, homemade croutons, and the best homemade Caesar Dressing, this Caesar Salad is worthy of a 5-star restaurant, yet incredibly simple to prepare at home.

Caesar salad in serving dish with homemade croutons and fresh parmesan on side.

Whenever you want to start a meal with an impressive, yet easy salad, Caesar Salad is the way to go!

From a bowl of spaghetti with homemade meatballs to perfectly cooked steak to grilled shrimp to chicken piccata, classic Caesar Salad pairs with them all!

My recipe for Caesar Salad is made with crisp lettuce, creamy Caesar dressing, crispy, seasoned croutons, and salty parmesan. It has all the elements of a Classic Caesar Salad you would enjoy at a high-end restaurant, yet can be enjoyed easily at home.

Caesar Salad Ingredients

Ingredients for Caesar Salad labeled on counter.
  • Lettuce: Hearts of romaine are the best option for Caesar Salads. They have a nice crisp bite and hold up well to the dressing.
  • Parmesan Cheese: Now is the time to use REALLY good quality parmesan cheese, not pre-grated or a canister of parmesan. Instead, use a wedge of cheese labeled Parmigiano Reggiano. I typically recommend using a Microplane to freshly grate parmesan cheese. However, for a Caesar salad, I find it is best to have slightly larger pieces of cheese to really add a punch of flavor to the salad. Use a box grater or vegetable peeler to grate larger shreds of parmesan when making a Caesar Salad.
  • Croutons: I prefer homemade croutons for the best flavor and texture, but any good-quality store-bought croutons will work. I make them easily with a baguette (but any good quality bread works), olive oil, oregano, garlic powder, and oregano.
  • Caesar Dressing: When making Caesar Salad, you can use store-bought dressing, but for the BEST Caesar Salad, homemade caesar dressing is the way to go. And don’t worry, my recipe for Caesar Dressing is not made with raw eggs and the addition of anchovies is optional.

How to Make Caesar Salad

Making a really good quality Classic Caesar Salad is not hard, but for the best results, it is best to prepare homemade Caesar dressing and homemade croutons. While preparing the dressing and croutons from scratch does take a bit more effort, it is minimal work for incredible results.

Step One: Prepare Homemade Croutons

It is so simple to make croutons and taking the flavor of homemade croutons is far superior to anything storebought.

  • Cube bread of your choice into 1-inch cubes. This is a great time to use stale bread.
  • Toss the cubes with olive oil and seasonings and then spread out onto a rimmed baking sheet.
  • Bake until the bread is fully toasted.
  • Remove from the oven and let the croutons cool before adding to the salad or storing.
Side by side photo of courtons before and after baking on sheet pan.

Step Two: Prepare Homemade Caesar Dressing

My recipe for caesar dressing is quite simple to make and will guarantee that you have the best possible homemade version of this classic salad. It can also be made up to 7 days in advance, making it a perfect thing to meal prep when you have the time so that you can enjoy a Caesar Salad whenever the craving strikes.

  • To make the dressing, simply combine mayonnaise, anchovy fillet (optional), lemon juice, Worcestershire sauce, Dijon mustard, parmesan cheese, garlic, salt, and pepper in a food processor fitted with an s-blade or blender.
  • Pulse or blend until smooth and creamy.
Homemade Caesar Salad in small food processor next to fresh bread.

Step Three: Assemble Caesar Salad

Once you have your dressing and croutons prepared, it is incredibly simple to throw together an epically delicious Caesar Salad.

  • Wash and spin dry chopped romaine lettuce. It is really crucial to remove all the excess liquid from your lettuce before assembling the salad. That way the dressing can adhere and the lettuce leaves and not become watered down.
  • Place a bit of the prepared Caesar dressing in the bottom of a large mixing bowl. I recommend starting with ¼ cup and adding more dressing as desired, to prevent an overly dressed salad.
  • Add the chopped lettuce to the mixing bowl and using tongs, toss the lettuce with the dressing until the leaves are evenly, yet lightly coated with the dressing. At this point, you can add additional dressing, 1 tablespoon if needed.
Side by side photo showing bowl with caesar dressing then lettuce added.
  • Add half the parmesan cheese to the dressed greens and toss again to evenly distribute.
  • Serve the salad immediately with additional parmesan and croutons. I also like to have the remaining dressing available for guests to add to their salad if they like.
Caesar salad in serving dish with homemade croutons and fresh parmesan on side.

Make-Ahead Instructions

Caesar Salad is best assembled immediately before serving to keep the croutons from becoming soggy. That said, you can take a few steps ahead of time to make assembling this salad effortless when ready to serve. 

  • Prepare the Caesar Dressing up to 7 days in advance and store in an airtight container in the refrigerator. 
  • If desired, prepare homemade croutons up to 7 days in advance. Allow the croutons to cool fully and then store them in an airtight container in the pantry. 
  • Grate the parmesan cheese up to 3 days in advance and store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
  • Up to 12 hours prior to serving the salad, toss the lettuce with the dressing as directed. Cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to serve. Do not try to prepare any longer than 12 hours ahead of time or the lettuce will become wilted and a bit soggy. Right before serving, toss the greens again, add the parmesan and croutons, and then serve immediately.

Caesar Salad Variations

  • Grilled Caesar Salad: For a unique twist on a Caesar Salad, grill the romaine lettuce before adding the salad. To do this, slice hearts of romaine in half vertically, leaving the root base intact (this will help hold the lettuce together as it grills). Drizzle the romaine with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Grill over medium heat for 2-3 minutes per side, being careful not to char the lettuce. Remove from the grill, chop into bite-size pieces, and proceed with the recipe as written.
  • Chicken Caesar Salad: Add crispy, diced chicken tenders, Grilled Greek Chicken, or leftover store-bought or homemade rotisserie chicken to the caesar salad and serve as the entree.
  • Caesar Salad Wrap: Roll up diced, cooked chicken and a scoop of Caesar salad in a tortilla, for a fast and tasty portable lunch.

Serving Suggestions

Caesar Salad makes a perfect start to just about any meal and this easy recipe makes dinner feel more elegant and impressive–with minimal effort. Below are a few of my favorite meals to pair with Caesar Salad.

Need more inspiration for planning meals that your family will love? Sign up for my FREE Meal Plans and each week you will get a meal plan with a shopping list.

If you tried this recipe for Homemade Caesar Salad, I would love for you to leave a comment and review below.

Caesar Salad with homemade croutons and parmesan next to fresh lemon and fork.

Caesar Salad

This homemade caesar salad recipe is the BEST. It is a restaurant-quality salad recipe made with a Homemade Caesar Dressing.

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Course: Salad

Cuisine: American, Italian

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Total Time: 10 minutes

Servings: 6

Calories: 302kcal

Prevents your screen from going dark while preparing the recipe.

Instructions

For Croutons

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Toss cubed bread with olive oil, garlic powder, salt, onion powder, and pepper to evenly coat the bread. Spread the seasoned cubes out evenly onto a rimmed sheet pan, being careful to not overlap the cubes. Bake for 12-15 minutes or until the croutons are just golden, flipping halfway through cooking. Allow the croutons to cool slightly before adding them to the salad.

For the Dressing

  • In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise, lemon juice, Worcestershire sauce, mustard, Parmesan, and anchovy paste until well combined. Tasted and add a pinch or two of salt and pepper as needed

For the Salad

  • Wash and dry the lettuce until completely dried. Chop the lettuce into bite-sized pieces.

  • Add the lettuce to the bowl with the prepared dressing (if using store-bought dressing, add that dressing to the bowl along with the lettuce.) And toss the lettuce with the dressing until evenly combined.

  • Top the salad with croutons and shredded parmesan cheese and serve immediately.

Notes

Dressing: Any leftover dressing can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 7 days in an airtight container. 
Croutons: Use any good quality bread you like, like a baguette or Italian bread. Leftover croutons can be stored in an airtight container in a cool, dark place like the pantry, for up to 7 days after cooling. 

Nutrition

Calories: 302kcal | Carbohydrates: 5g | Protein: 6g | Fat: 29g | Saturated Fat: 6g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 15g | Monounsaturated Fat: 7g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 24mg | Sodium: 610mg | Potassium: 132mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 3399IU | Vitamin C: 4mg | Calcium: 177mg | Iron: 1mg

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