Classic Caesar Salad

5 from 18 votes

Make a simple Caesar salad with a homemade rich and tangy dressing, crisp romaine, and crunchy croutons. You can't go wrong with a classic!

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If there’s a Classic Caesar Salad on the menu at a restaurant, I’m going to order it. It’s never going to be bad. It’s hard to mess up the combo of creamy dressing, salty parmesan cheese, crisp lettuce, and croutons! But it’s even better when I make it at home—and it only takes 30 minutes.

Classic Caesar salad in a large salad bowl with an extra jar of dressing nearby.
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If you’ve never made Caesar salad, it really is simple. It starts with homemade croutons (basically tossing cubes of bread with olive oil, salt, and pepper and baking them until they’re browned and crispy). Then, you make a creamy, slightly salty dressing with grated cheese in it and toss it with romaine lettuce and croutons! See? It’s a pretty perfect recipe. I’ll eat a big bowl of just this homemade Caesar salad, add grilled chicken or salmon on top for something more filling, or serve it as a side with something like garlicky shrimp spaghetti.

Recipe At a Glance

Cuisine Inspiration: American
Primary Cooking Method: No-cook; oven
Dietary Info: Low-carb
Key Flavor: Salty and cheese
Skill Level: Easy

  • A mix of textures: Crisp lettuce, crunchy croutons, homemade, creamy salad dressing…I love all of the textures in a Caesar salad.
  • It’s cheaper: Once you have the ingredients for the Caesar salad dressing, it’s way cheaper to make batch after batch of it than buying bottles of the store-bought stuff.
  • You can make most of it ahead of time: If I’m really busy, I’ll make the dressing up to 7 days ahead and stash it in the fridge. The croutons can be baked and stored in the pantry for up to a week, too. Sometimes I’ll make a double batch of both and use them for easy lunches.
  • Kids love it (really!): Well, at least mine do. The creamy dressing, the cheese, the crispy bread: It’s an easy way to get them to eat their greens.

Ingredients to Make Caesar Salad

Ingredients for recipe before prepping: French baguette, oil, spices, garlic cloves, anchovy paste, grated parmesan, Dijon mustard, Worcestershire sauce.
  • Romaine lettuce: Chop roughly into bite-sized pieces to form the base of the salad.
  • Parmesan cheese: Shaved parmesan adds the best texture and salty bite.
  • Salt and pepper: Use freshly cracked pepper and flaky salt to taste.

For the croutons

  • French baguette: Use a day-old baguette for the crispiest croutons. Cut them into small chunks or into thin wide pieces
  • Olive oil, salt, and pepper: This is for flavoring the homemade croutons, but you can also add other seasonings like onion powder or garlic powder.

Caesar dressing

  • Mayonnaise: You can use vegan avocado mayo if that’s what you have.
  • Lemon juice: For the best-tasting dressing, use fresh lemon juice rather than bottled juice.
  • Dijon mustard and Worcestershire sauce: Both of these add a great tang to the dressing. You can use different kinds of mustard, like yellow or brown, if you’d like, and you can substitute the Worcestershire sauce with soy sauce to make it vegetarian.
  • Anchovy paste: Used in a classic Caesar dressing, or you can use capers to make this vegetarian-friendly.
  • Garlic: The garlic brings extra zing to this homemade Caesar dressing, and I recommend fresh garlic!
  • Parmesan cheese: Use freshly grated for best results. You could swap in vegan parmesan cheese, too.
  • Make the dressing tangier. You can swap out some of the mayonnaise in the dressing for Greek yogurt (like here!).
  • Use a different green. In place of romaine, use finely chopped kale or shredded Brussel sprouts.
  • Grill the lettuce. Instead of chopping the lettuce, split the whole romaine heads in half and grill them. Then, drizzle the lettuce with the dressing and top with the croutons and cheese.

How to Make Caesar Salad

This caesar salad has what I’ll call the three C’s going for it: creamy, crunchy, and craveable.

Make the Croutons

French baguette cubes on a sheet pan.
Step 1: Cut the French baguette into cubes and toss with oil, salt, and pepper.
Homemade croutons after baking on a sheet pan.
Step 2: Toast until crisp and browned.

Make the dressing

Caesar dressing ingredients in a small jar.
Step 3: Mince the garlic and anchovy paste until it forms a paste and add to a jar or bowl with the remaining dressing ingredients.
Creamy Caesar dressing in a small jar.
Step 4: Whisk together until smooth and creamy.

Assemble the Caesar Salad

Salad ingredients in a large bowl before tossing together.
Step 5: Place the lettuce in a bowl with the croutons, shaved parmesan, and dressing.
Salad after tossing.
Step 6: Toss gently to combine to coat the salad with the dressing fully.

Tips for Making the Best Easy Caesar Salad Recipe

  • Use one or two-day-old bread to make the croutons. Fresh bread contains moisture that can cause it to steam when baked and result in less crispy croutons.
  • Use a salad spinner to dry the lettuce. If you don’t have a spinner, after you have washed it, pat it gently with kitchen paper to remove excess water. This helps to avoid any excess water pooling in the bottom of the salad bowl or watering down that yummy dressing. I’ve also found that salad dressing doesn’t cling to damp lettuce well!
  • Dress the salad just before serving. If you dress it too early, the lettuce leaves can wilt.
  • For a smoother dressing, blend it. For a super-smooth caesar dressing, transfer it to a blender. If I’m doing the work of dragging out the blender, I’ll almost always make a double-batch of dressing.
Homemade Caesar salad in a large salad bowl with an extra jar of dressing nearby.

What to Serve With Caesar Salad

Frequently Asked Questions

Can the Caesar salad dressing be made ahead of time?

The dressing can be made up to 7 days ahead. Store it in an airtight container in the fridge and quickly re-whisk (to make sure it’s smooth) before using.

My Caesar salad dressing is too thin. How do I fix it?

If the dressing is too thin, whisk in more mayonnaise a tablespoon at a time until it’s the consistency you want.

Do I have to use anchovies to make Caesar salad dressing? Can I make it vegan?

This Caesar salad can easily be made vegan if you use avocado mayonnaise and capers instead of anchovy paste, and substitute the parmesan cheese for a vegan kind. You can also leave out the cheese and sprinkle some nutritional yeast on top to give it that cheesy flavor.

Caesar salad in a bowl with a fork nearby.

If you put this Caesar salad in front of me, I’d eat it any day, any time. Lunch? Absolutely. Dinner? Yes. Breakfast? I wouldn’t turn it down! With a salad this good and easy, there are more reasons to make it than not to.

More Salad Recipes

If you try this feel good Caesar Salad recipe or any other recipe on Feel Good Foodie, then don’t forget to rate the recipe and leave a comment below! It helps others who are thinking of making the recipe. We would love to hear about your experience making it. And if you snapped some shots, share it on Instagram so we can repost on Stories!

This Caesar salad recipe was originally published April 18, 2020 and has recently been updated to use a classic anchovy-based Caesar dressing. This post also includes helpful tips and substitutions, new photography, and step-by-step images to better help make the recipe.

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Caesar Salad

Make a simple Caesar salad with a homemade rich and tangy dressing, crisp romaine, and crunchy croutons. You can't go wrong with a classic!
5 from 18 votes
Servings 4 servings
Calories 441
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
0 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
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Homemade Croutons

Caesar Dressing

For assembly

  • 1 large head romaine lettuce cut into large pieces
  • ¼ cup shaved parmesan cheese


  • To make croutons, preheat the oven to 400°F. Place the bread on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or aluminum foil. Drizzle the oil on top and season with salt and pepper. Toss with your hands to combine. Bake until golden brown and crispy, about 7-8 minutes; set aside to cool.
  • To make the dressing, place the garlic cloves on a small cutting board and mince until it forms a paste. Add the anchovy paste on top and continue to mince until well combined. Transfer to a small jar. Add the mayonnaise, parmesan cheese, lemon zest and lemon juice, dijon mustard, Worcestershire sauce and black peppers. Whisk together until smooth and creamy. Taste and add salt or lemon juice, if needed.
  • Place the romaine lettuce in a large serving bowl, top with the shaved parmesan cheese and croutons. Drizzle with the Caesar dressing and toss gently to combine and coat the lettuce with the dressing. Serve cold or at room temperature


Make Ahead: You can make the dressing up to 7 days in advance and you can prepare the salad up to 1 day in advance. 
For best results, follow the recipe as is. However here are some common substitutes that would work well in this recipe.
  • Instead of Worcester sauce, you can use soy sauce or liquid aminos.
  • Instead of anchovy paste, you can use capers smashed into a paste.


Serving: 2cups, Calories: 441kcal, Carbohydrates: 26g, Protein: 11g, Fat: 34g, Saturated Fat: 7g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 14g, Monounsaturated Fat: 11g, Trans Fat: 0.1g, Cholesterol: 26mg, Sodium: 966mg, Potassium: 545mg, Fiber: 5g, Sugar: 5g, Vitamin A: 13784IU, Vitamin C: 21mg, Calcium: 258mg, Iron: 3mg

Nutrition information provided is an estimate. It will vary based on cooking method and specific ingredients used.

Cuisine American
Course: Salad, Side Dish
5 from 18 votes (15 ratings without comment)

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Recipe Rating


  1. Angela says:

    Hello, I’m not a big fan of anchovy paste, can I skip it or replace it with something else? Thanks!

    1. Yumna J. says:

      Absolutely! Worcestershire sauce is the most common substitute; olives or capers can also help you get that briney flavor without any fish.

  2. Alia says:

    I would like to say that I love your recipes I have tried many of them
    Is there anything I can substitute the mayonnaise with as my husband doesn’t like mayonnaise at all he wouldn’t even try and eat anything that has even a drop of mayonnaise

    1. Yumna Jawad says:

      Thank you so much! I haven’t tried this recipe with a mayonnaise substitute, but maybe he won’t notice if it’s mixed in with the other dressing ingredients?

    2. Paulina says:

      Hello! This is a late reply but I substituted the mayonnaise for plain Greek yogurt and it turned out really great!!!!!

      1. Yumna Jawad says:

        I love that!

  3. Meenaz says:

    I wanted to know which are best company avocado mayonaise and Dijon mustard are good.

    1. Yumna Jawad says:

      I really liked Primal Kitchen for those items!

  4. Lexi says:

    Came out AMAZING! I have been using this dressing on any salad I make. So easy and so quick!

    1. Yumna Jawad says:

      So glad to hear it!!

  5. Amy says:

    I was going to make this for my husband as he is vegetarian- however he informed me
    That  Worcester sauce is not vegetarian as it has anchovies. Do you have an alternative so I can make this for him?

    1. Yumna Jawad says:

      Sure, you can use soy sauce instead!

  6. Amy says:

    Have never been a fan of Caesar salad. Caught me at Homemade creamy dressing. Made it and yes
    I did enjoy it.