Homemade Caesar dressing is rich, creamy, cheesy, tangy, and packed with umami flavor! It’s ready in just minutes and so much better than store-bought!
As much as I love simple vinaigrettes and other light and tangy salad dressings like ginger salad dressing or honey mustard, sometimes I crave rich creaminess, and that’s where this homemade Caesar dressing recipe excels.
Unlike vinaigrettes, with traditional ingredients like raw egg, anchovies (and no, it doesn’t taste fishy!), and parmesan cheese, I always assumed that making Caesar salad dressing at home would be a somewhat long and complicated process. However, by utilizing a little “cheat” (AKA mayonnaise), that couldn’t be further from the truth.
By using pre-made mayonnaise, you don’t have to worry about dealing with raw eggs or tricky emulsion with my easy Caesar salad dressing recipe. Instead, you only need a food processor or blender and a few minutes of your time.
Once blended, this Caesar dressing is perfectly balanced, creamy, velvety, tangy, and loaded with umami. The flavors are bold and delicious, but no one ingredient stands out for a truly appetizing dressing perfect for salads, burgers, wraps, dipping, and more!
Caesar Dressing Ingredients
- Mayonnaise: Use full-fat store-bought or homemade mayonnaise for a super creamy Caesar salad dressing.
- Parmesan cheese: Use fresh parmesan – preferably imported Parmigiano-Reggiano from Italy, from a block – for the best taste/texture. For flavor complexity, use 50/50 parmesan and Pecorino Romano.
- Worcestershire sauce: For a subtle tang and brightness. Use a gluten-free version if necessary. If you can’t use this, use fresh lemon juice instead for the tangy brightness.
- Garlic: For an added savory, aromatic boost and subtle garlic flavor. Roasted garlic will also work, though you’ll need more of it and it will have a sweeter flavor.
- Anchovies: This is practically “the” secret to this dressing. It adds heaps of umami and saltiness without being overly fishy. Use whole anchovies or anchovy paste (1 filet = ½ teaspoon paste), though I think the first adds better flavor.
- Olive oil: Use a good-quality extra-virgin olive oil with a light flavor (so it won’t overpower other flavors) for a rich and silky-smooth texture. Avocado oil also works.
- Salt & Black pepper: Use sea salt and season to taste (the anchovy filets add saltiness, so I often don’t add salt at all).
- Water: To adjust it to the correct consistency. Milk would also work.
To make the best Caesar dressing without anchovies, add 1-2 tablespoon of drained and minced capers and adjust the seasonings accordingly. Alternatively, you can omit it entirely and adjust the seasonings. Note that Worcestershire sauce often contains anchovy, too.
How to Make Caesar Dressing
First, peel and finely mince the garlic and grate the parmesan cheese.
Then, combine all the dressing ingredients in a food processor and process until smooth and creamy. Pause to scrape down the sides 1-2 times, as needed.
An immersion blender/blender will also work.
Slowly drizzle in the water, one tablespoon at a time, until the dressing is thin enough to flow slowly off a spoon.
Then taste the dressing and adjust the seasonings (or any ingredient) to your liking.
For the best flavor, chill the Caesar salad dressing for at least 30 minutes before serving. This allows the flavors to meld and enhance and provides a better consistency.
Store the dressing in a sterile, airtight jar for up to a week. Give it a good shake before using, and optionally add more water, if needed, if it’s thickened.
How to Use Caesar Dressing
- Caesar salad – Complete with crisp romaine lettuce and homemade croutons. Add protein by making a chicken Caesar salad (or add shrimp).
- Other salads – Like a wedge salad, other leafy salads, and salad bowls/grain bowls.
- Side salads – Like a creamy sauce for pasta or potato salad.
- Bread – Use it on sandwiches, burgers, and wraps, like tofu/chicken Caesar wrap with crisp romaine lettuce.
- Vegetables – Drizzle it over grilled or roasted vegetables as a creamy sauce. I.e., corn on the cob, roasted broccoli, asparagus, etc.
- Dipping sauce – i.e., for vegetables, chicken nuggets and tenders, onion rings, etc.
- Marinade – Use this creamy, tangy sauce for chicken, fish, and even steak.
More Salad Dressing Recipes
If you try this Caesar salad dressing recipe, let me know how it goes in the comments below. I’d appreciate a recipe card rating and would love to see your recipe recreations – tag me on Instagram @Alphafoodie!
The Best Homemade Caesar Dressing Recipe
- 1.5 cups mayonnaise full-fat works best
- 3 oz parmesan cheese 1.5 cups grated; Parmigiano Reggiano works best OR a 50/50 Parmesan and Pecorino Romano
- 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil with a light flavor so it doesn't overwhelm; OR avocado oil
- 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce use gluten-free if needed
- 1/2 tablespoon minced garlic from 3 garlic cloves
- 6 anchovy filets or 1/2 tablespoon anchovy paste
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- water 1/4-1/3 cup to thin the sauce
- sea salt only if needed since the anchovies are salty
This will yield about 2.5 cups of Caesar dressing
- Blender/Food processor
- Peel and finely mince the garlic and grate the parmesan cheese.
- Combine all the ingredients in a food processor and process until smooth(ish) and creamy. Pause to scrape down the sides 1-2 times, as needed.An immersion blender/blender will also work.
- Slowly drizzle in the water, one tablespoon at a time, until the dressing is thin enough to flow slowly off a spoon.
- Taste the dressing and adjust the seasoning (or any of the ingredients) to your liking.For the best flavor, chill the dressing for at least 30 minutes before serving. This allows the flavors to meld and enhance and provides a better consistency.
- Store the dressing in a sterile, airtight jar for up to a week. Give it a good shake each time before using, and optionally add more water, if needed, if it's thickened.
- Use freshly grated parmesan: Pre-grated often contains other additives/fillers that can affect flavor and texture.
- Taste and adjust: Tweak any of the ingredients to your liking, whether you’d like the recipe to be more salty, tangy, creamy, umami, etc.
- Adjust the texture/consistency: Whisk the parmesan into the dressing for more texture. Add more/less water to adjust the thickness and consistency.
- To whisk by hand: Use anchovy paste and finely minced garlic. The texture will be chunkier from the parmesan.
- Lemon juice/zest: Use fresh lemons – for extra brightness and tang. Add zest, too, for a more citrusy flavor.
- Dijon mustard: Will add tang and heat while helping the dressing emulsify.
- Sweetness: Balance the tang & add a hint of sweetness with honey/maple syrup.
- Fresh herbs: Add a touch of freshness with finely minced parsley or chives.
- Seasonings: I.e., smoked paprika for subtle smokiness or cayenne pepper/red pepper flakes for heat.
- Sun-dried tomatoes: Finely chopped to add extra sweet and tangy flavor.