The BEST Caesar Salad Recipe!

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The BEST homemade Caesar salad recipe — full of crisp greens, toasty sourdough croutons, lots of Parm, and my all-time favorite Caesar dressing.  Feel free to add in some proteins (chicken, shrimp, salmon, etc.) or grill the lettuce too, if you’d like!

Friends, meet the Caesar salad of my dreams. ♡♡♡
It’s made with my favorite Caesar salad dressing recipe that I shared with you all earlier this week, which is packed with a bold blend of the creamy, savory, umami flavors we all know and love in Caesar dressing (including anchovies which, yes, I consider a must).  Then I’m also going to insist that we grab a loaf of crusty bread (we’re partial to sourdough in our house) and invest an extra 10 minutes of prep time to make a batch of homemade croutons, which I promise will taste a million times better than store-bought croutons and instantly elevate your Caesar game.  Chop up a big bowl of crisp Romaine and give everything a good toss.  (Or serve the leaves whole, as Chef Caesar reportedly did back in the day.)  Add a generous sprinkle of shaved Parmesan and cracked black pepper on top.  Then enjoy, enjoy, enjoy.
Oh my goodness, this is seriously one of those recipes that I could eat every day for the rest of my life and never grow tired of.  We love and make it on constant repeat in our house — either served on its own as a simple side salad, or combined with a protein (such as salmon or chicken) to create more of a main dish.  And it is such a winner every single time.
If you love Caesar salads as much as I do, you’ve gotta give it a try. ♡
The Best Caesar Salad Recipe | 1-Minute Video

Caesar Salad Ingredients:
So here’s the thing about making homemade Caesar salad — because there are traditionally so few components in this salad, it’s worth purchasing high-quality ingredients (especially good crusty bread and a block of aged Parmesan) and investing a few minutes of extra time making things from scratch (resist those store-bought dressing and croutons!) in order to make this Caesar absolutely irresistible.
Here’s what we will need to make it happen!
Caesar dressing: I published a blog post earlier this week fully explaining all of my thoughts about what constitutes a stellar Caesar dressing, which you can read here.  But basically, I’m partial to modern-styled Caesar dressing (which I’ve learned is slightly different than the original by Chef Caesar), made with an olive oil base and bold amounts of anchovies, garlic, Parmesan, lemon juice, Dijon and raw eggs.  I’ve included an option below for how to make a mayo-based dressing, if you prefer not to use raw eggs.  But otherwise, I recommend following this dressing to the letter — it’s my fave!
Lettuce: Chopped Romaine hearts or little gems are traditionally used in Caesar salad, because their nice crisp leaves hold up well with the crispy croutons and creamy dressing.  (Actually, the original Caesar salad is said to have been made with whole lettuce leaves drizzled with the dressing that you could pick up and eat with your fingers, if you would like to give that a try!)  That said, you could really make Caesar salad with any kind of greens that you prefer, so go with whatever you love best.
Homemade croutons: Key word: homemade.  I know that store-bought croutons are tempting to grab.  But guys, they are never as good as homemade!  So grab a loaf of crusty bread the croutons can bake while we prepare the other components of the salad.
Parmesan: I love adding shaved Parmesan to my Caesar salads (you can either buy store-bought shaved Parm, or just take a vegetable peeler and shave some off of a wedge yourself).  Or, of course, you can just sprinkle some grated Parmesan on top too.
Freshly-cracked black pepper: And finally, I recommend a few generous twists of cracked black pepper to finish the salad.  Always so good.

How To Make Caesar Salad:
Alright, here is a basic overview of how to make Caesar salad!  (Full detailed instructions in included the recipe box below, as always.)
Make the homemade croutons. Tear some crusty bread into bite-sized pieces, toss with olive oil, salt and pepper, and bake until crispy.
Make the Caesar dressing. I usually just make my dressing in a traditional blender since I’m working with whole anchovies, but see other options here for how to make it by hand or with an immersion blender instead.
Toss the salad. In a large mixing bowl, combine the lettuce, homemade croutons, and Parmesan.  Drizzle evenly with your desired amount of dressing, then toss until combined.
Serve. Then sprinkle each serving with some extra Parmesan and freshly-cracked black pepper and enjoy!

Possible Variations:
There are, of course, endless variations that you can make on this classic Caesar salad recipe.  For example, feel free to…
Add a cooked protein: Feel free to cook (grill, bake, sauté, you name it!) your favorite protein to add to your Caesar if you would like to turn it into more of an entrée salad.  I especially love making salmon Caesar salad (with some blackened salmon), chicken Caesar salad (with these easy baked chicken breasts), or shrimp Caesar salad (with grilled or broiled shrimp).
Add pasta or tortellini: If you would like to turn this recipe into a pasta Caesar salad, just skip the croutons and add some (chilled) pasta or tortellini to the mix.
Use different greens: Really, you can use just about any kind of greens to make a Caesar salad.  But if you are looking to make things a bit healthier, I recommend massaging some kale to make a good kale Caesar salad.
Grill the greens: If you happen to have a grill, I also love grilling some hearts of Romaine to make a grilled Caesar salad.

More Favorite Salad Recipes:
Looking for more winning green salad recipes?  Here are a few of my faves:


My all-time favorite homemade Caesar Salad recipe!  This recipe makes a big batch, so feel free to halve it if needed.

Caesar Salad Ingredients:
3 hearts of Romaine lettuce (20 ounces) or little gems, roughly chopped
1/2 cup shaved or grated Parmesan cheese, plus extra for garnish
freshly-cracked black pepper
Homemade Croutons Ingredients:
3 cups of bite-sized pieces (cut or torn into 3/4-inch cubes) crusty bread
2 tablespoons olive oil
sea salt and freshly-cracked black pepper
Caesar Dressing Ingredients:

Make the homemade croutons. Heat oven to 375°F.  Drizzle the olive oil evenly over the bread crumbs on a baking sheet, then toss until the bread is evenly coated in the oil.  Spread the bread out in an even layer, then season generously with salt and pepper.  Bake for 15-20 minutes until crispy.
Make the Caesar dressing. Add the anchovy filets, garlic, egg yolks, Parmesan, lemon juice, Dijon, sea salt and black pepper to a blender.  Purée for 5 seconds, or until combined.  Then, while the blender is still running, remove the small cap from the blender lid and gradually stream in the olive oil until the dressing is completely smooth.  Add a few tablespoons of water, as needed, until the dressing achieves your desired consistency.  (I prefer mine to be about the consistency of heavy cream.)  Then taste and add extra salt and/or black pepper, if needed.
Toss the salad. In a large mixing bowl, combine the lettuce, homemade croutons, and Parmesan.  Drizzle evenly with your desired amount of dressing, then toss until combined.
Serve. Serve immediately garnished with extra Parmesan and freshly-cracked black pepper.

Anchovies: Please feel free to use more or less anchovies to taste.  When shopping for anchovies, look for the canned fish aisle for small jars or tins of anchovies packed in oil.  Alternately, you can use anchovy paste (1/2 teaspoon = 1 anchovy, more or less), but to be honest, I much prefer the flavor of the whole anchovy filets in this recipe.
Raw eggs: Raw egg yolks are traditionally used in Caesar dressing. But they do carry the risk of salmonella, so you consume them at your own risk.  If you prefer not to use raw eggs in this recipe, you are welcome to use pasteurized egg yolks instead.  Or you can substitute 1 tablespoon of mayo for each yolk.
Dressing alternatives: If you do not own a traditional blender, see details here for how to make this dressing either with an immersion (hand) blender, or how to make it 100% by hand.

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