A Caesar salad is only as good as its dressing. And while it's not hard to make an incredible one from a few pantry staples, sometimes you just don't have the time. A bottle of the store-bought stuff is a quick, painless way to get salad on the table fast. But with an aisle full of bottles to choose from, just which one exactly is worth buying? We tasted some of the most popular brands in order to find one that's worthy of its convenience.
1. The Extra-Thick One: Ken's Creamy Caesar
Ken's wasn't lying when they named this dressing "creamy." It's extra-thick and rich, and the flavor is heavy on the garlic with a nice peppery kick. It's a great choice if you want less of the briny flavor that comes from anchovies or Worcestershire sauce.
2. The Cheesy One: Kraft Classic Caesar
This bottle of dressing is all about the cheese. The ingredient list noted both Romano and Parmesan cheese, and it delivers. The cheese can be a little overwhelming and mutes out the garlic and tangy vinegar or lemon juice, but it is creamy without being too heavy, which we like.
3. The Basic One: Wish-bone Creamy Caesar
This one is just a little boring. Sure, it has all the elements of a Caesar dressing in terms of flavor, but it is a bit too mild and uninspiring as well as a little too thick.
4. The Salty One: Newman's Own Creamy Caesar
Newman's Own gives us a dressing that is definitely creamy, but much less thick, rich, and cloying like the others, which we like. Fair warning: It's pretty salty.
5. The Winner: Marie's Creamy Caesar
You have to head to the refrigerated aisle of dressings to find this one, but it's worth it. Marie's is there because it doesn't contain all the preservatives the others do that keep them shelf-stable. This means that the ingredient list is much shorter, and each one — from the garlic to the anchovies to the cheese — shines. It's as close to homemade as we've found.