This really is the best Caesar salad recipe! It’s a classic recipe with crisp romaine lettuce, sharp Parmesan cheese, and easy homemade croutons all tossed in a super simple creamy homemade dressing.

How to make the best homemade Caesar salad

I’ve been obsessed with Caesar salads for years— I’m serving them with dinner several nights a week and I’m ordering them whenever we eat out. I’m always on the lookout for the very best!

And I believe I’ve unlocked the best homemade Caesar salad recipe. It’s fairly authentic (yes, there’s anchovy in the dressing), but still quick, easy, and approachable. Make this salad a part of your regular salad routine at home, I know you’re going to love it!

Serve it alongside soup, pasta, or almost any main dish. To make this classic Caesar salad a light main dish all on its own, add protein like chicken or salmon.

Table of Contents

What’s in a Caesar Salad?

Caesar salads are very simple, but incredible when done right. There are 4 components to a true Caesar salad:

  • Romaine lettuce. Romaine is specifically required for a classic Caesar salad. You can tear it or cut it, though uniform pieces make for easier eating.
  • Croutons. Store-bought works okay, but homemade is preferred! And not that difficult, I’ll show you how to do it.
  • Parmesan cheese. You can use grated, shredded or shaved. Though, buying a whole block or wedge of cheese and grating or shaving it yourself yields the best flavor. And if you want to go all-out, use Parmegiano-Reggiano for the most quality.
  • Caesar dressing. Once again, homemade Caesar dressing is so much better than bottled. Make a large batch and have it on hand for salads throughout the week.
How to make the best homemade Caesar salad

How to make Caesar salad dressing

Making a homemade dressing is key to a fabulous Caesar salad at home. And thankfully, it’s EASY! Here’s the ingredients you’ll need to make homemade Caesar salad dressing (full recipe below):

  • Mayonnaise. I use mayo in place of emulsifying egg yolks and oil, since that’s essentially what mayo is. It’s a shortcut! This version whisks together effortlessly in just a matter of seconds, plus you don’t have to worry about using raw eggs.
  • Anchovy paste. If using anchovies makes you nervous, it shouldn’t! Anchovies give the dressing its distinct flavor, and using paste from a tube eliminates any unpleasantness. Look for it in a well-stocked grocery store along with the artisan pasta sauces and garnishes, or along with the canned meat.
  • Fresh lemon juice, not bottled
  • Fresh minced garlic, or garlic powder in a pinch
  • Dijon or whole grain mustard
  • Worcestershire sauce, for more umami flavor
  • Salt and pepper

How to make Caesar salad

  1. Make the croutons. Toss torn or sliced bread cubes with olive oil and salt, then spread into an even layer on a baking sheet pan and toast in a 375°F oven until golden brown, about 7-10 minutes. Don’t let them burn!
  2. Mix the dressing. While the croutons are toasting, whisk all of the dressing ingredients in a small bowl or jar. It’ll keep for several weeks in the fridge, so feel free to make it ahead of time.
  3. Wash and chop the lettuce. I love to use my salad spinner to keep things easy. 
  4. Combine everything just before serving. This salad won’t keep long, so toss the lettuce, parmesan, and croutons with the dressing and serve immediately. Enjoy!
How to make the best homemade Caesar salad

Caesar salad FAQs

Can I make the dressing without anchovies?

A simple google search will provide you with plenty of recipes that don’t use anchovies, but I’ll argue that they’re not quite the same! Anchovies will provide the signature flavor that can’t be replaced. And one $5 tube of anchovy paste from the grocery store will make dozens of delicious salads. It’s worth it!

However, if you’re looking for an alternative, it is possible to make this salad without anchovies altogether. Simply increase Worcestershire sauce to 1 1/2 teaspoons.

What bread should I use for the croutons?

Use any bread you like! Any French, sourdough or artisan loaf from a bakery or the grocery store will be great, but a simple loaf of white sandwich bread will make for delicious croutons too.

Can this salad be made ahead?

All components can be made ahead of time. Store chopped washed lettuce, parmesan cheese, and prepared Caesar dressing the fridge for several days or more. Prepared croutons can be stored at room temperature for a few days, or even frozen for a month or more. Combine all salad ingredients just before serving.

Can I turn this salad into a main dish?

Absolutely! Add chicken, salmon or steak to make this a light main dish.

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The Best Homemade Caesar Salad Recipe

How to make the best homemade Caesar salad
4.80 from 20 reviews

The Best Homemade Caesar Salad

Servings: 6 servings
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 15 minutes
This really is the best homemade Caesar salad! With homemade croutons and a creamy homemade dressing.



  • 3 cups torn bread cubes , about half of a small loaf
  • 2-3 tablespoons olive oil
  • Heavy pinch of salt


  • ¼ cup mayonnaise
  • 1 clove of garlic , minced
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon anchovy paste
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • ½ teaspoon coarse salt
  • ½ teaspoon ground black pepper


  • 1 head romaine lettuce , washed and torn or chopped into bite-sized pieces
  • Dressing
  • cup Parmesan cheese , grated, shaved or shredded
  • Croutons


Make the croutons:

  • Preheat oven to 375°F.
  • Drizzle bread cubes with enough olive oil so they are all very lightly coated. Toss and add salt.
  • Spread out onto a sheet pan and bake until edges turn brown, 7-10 minutes. Keep a close eye on them so they don’t burn, stir and toss them as needed.
  • Set aside while you prepare the rest of the salad. Can be made several days in advance and stored in an airtight container.

Make the dressing:

  • Whisk together all ingredients.
  • Store in the fridge until ready to use. Can be made at least 1 week in advance.

Assemble the salad:

  • In a large bowl, toss the lettuce with enough dressing to lightly coat the leaves (or to your preference). You may not need all of the dressing.
  • Add half of the croutons and Parmesan cheese and toss again.
  • Top with remaining croutons and cheese and serve immediately.


Calories: 208kcal, Carbohydrates: 15g, Protein: 5g, Fat: 14g, Saturated Fat: 3g, Cholesterol: 9mg, Sodium: 544mg, Potassium: 70mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 2g, Vitamin A: 450IU, Vitamin C: 1mg, Calcium: 107mg, Iron: 1mg
Cuisine: Italian
Course: Salad
Author: Annalise Sandberg
Have you tried this recipe?I’d love to hear about it! Leave a rating and review below, or take a photo and tag it on Instagram @completelydelicious with #completelydelicious.

This recipe was originally published May 2018.