Homemade Caesar Salad Dressing

updated Jan 12, 2024

This zesty dressing is simple to make and so much better than store-bought.

Makes1 cup

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When searching for Caesar salad dressing, you’ll find a ton of variations — like eggless Caesar dressing or anchovy-free dressing (like the one in Kale Caesar Salad). There’s also really good store-bought salad dressing. But this is the very best restaurant-style Caesar salad dressing.

The best Caesar salad dressing starts with anchovies and garlic, and an emulsion with creamy egg yolks, Dijon mustard, and two types of oil. It’s simple enough to make at home and is so much better than what comes in the bottle.

Quick Overview

Tips For Making Classic Caesar Salad

  • Don’t skip the canned oil-packed anchovies — they pack a punch of flavor!
  • Choose pasteurized whole eggs, which have been heated briefly to kill off bacteria.
  • Add in olive oil, and then finish with a neutral oil of your choice.
Credit: Photo: Alex Lepe ; Food Stylist: Brett Regot

Key Ingredients in Caesar Dressing

  • Anchovies: Oil-packed anchovies give this Caesar salad dressing the briny, savory flavor you’re searching for. Trust me.
  • Garlic: Coarsely chop 2 cloves of fresh garlic.
  • Egg yolks: Raw egg yolks add richness, flavor, and help to bind the dressing together. Pasteurized egg yolks — which have been briefly heated to kill off any harmful bacteria — are readily available and can be used here.
  • Dijon mustard: Smooth Dijon mustard works with the egg yolks to emulsify the dressing.
  • Lemon juice: Squeeze the juice from 1 lemon until you have 2 tablespoons juice.
  • Olive oil: Use either regular or extra virgin olive oil for this dressing. Extra virgin olive oil adds even more nuanced flavor to the dressing, but is not required.
  • Vegetable oil: Pair the olive oil with a neutral-flavored oil like vegetable, grapeseed, or canola oil.
  • Parmesan cheese: Use a rasp grater, like a Microplane, to finely grate the sharp and nutty cheese so that it melts into the dressing.
  • Black pepper: Freshly ground black pepper adds more flavor to this dressing than pre-ground pepper.

Does Caesar Dressing Have Anchovies?

Some food historians believe that Worcestershire sauce may have been the original source of briny, meaty flavor in classic Caesar salad. But the salty, umami flavor of anchovies adds something to this homemade Caesar dressing that a bottled sauce simply cannot.

Canned or jarred anchovies are relatively inexpensive and readily available, while also packing a punch of flavor. Plus, the anchovies practically disappear into the dressing once all of the ingredients are added.

Two Types of Oil Are Best for Caesar Dressing

Olive oil is the oil of choice when making a classic vinaigrette — extra-virgin, if we are being specific — to truly enjoy the nuanced flavor of the oil. That’s not the case with Caesar dressing. The garlic, anchovies, rich egg yolks, and Parmesan cheese will mask the flavor of a delicate olive oils.

For this creamy Caesar salad dressing, use a small amount of olive oil (again, extra-virgin is really wonderful, but not required) and then finish with a neutral oil of your choice. Vegetable oil is called for below, but you can easily use any neutral-flavored oil, such as grapeseed or canola oil.

How to Make Caesar Salad Dressing

  • Make anchovy-garlic paste. Chop the anchovies and garlic together until a mostly smooth paste forms.
  • Whisk egg yolks, then add mustard. Whisk the egg yolks and Dijon mustard until smooth.
  • Add anchovy-garlic paste. Whisk the anchovy-garlic paste into the egg yolks until combined.
  • Whisk in the lemon juice. Continue whisking while slowly pouring in the freshly squeezed lemon juice.
  • Add the oils. First whisk in the olive oil, then add the neutral oil. After all of the oil has been added, keep whisking for another minute to thicken.
  • Add Parmesan. Whisk in Parmesan cheese, then taste and season with freshly ground black pepper.

Homemade Caesar Salad Dressing Recipe

This zesty dressing is simple to make and so much better than store-bought.

Makes 1 cup

Nutritional Info


  • 1 (2-ounce) can

    oil-packed anchovy fillets

  • 2 cloves


  • 3

    large egg yolks

  • 1 teaspoon

    Dijon mustard

  • 1

    medium lemon

  • 2 tablespoons

    olive oil

  • 1/2 cup

    vegetable oil

  • 2 tablespoons

    finely grated Parmesan cheese

  • Freshly ground black pepper


  • Chef's knife and cutting board

  • Medium mixing bowl

  • Whisk

  • Measuring cups and spoons


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  1. Make an anchovy-garlic paste. Drain 1 (2-ounce) can oil-packed anchovy fillets. Mince the anchovies and 2 garlic cloves together until the mixture is mostly smooth and the garlic is almost paste-like, about 3 minutes.

  2. Whisk the egg yolks. Place 3 large egg yolks in a medium bowl and whisk until smooth.

  3. Add the mustard. Add 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard and whisk until combined.

  4. Add the anchovy-garlic paste. Add the anchovy-garlic mixture and whisk until combined.

  5. Whisk in the lemon juice. Juice 1 medium lemon until you have 2 tablespoons juice. While whisking, pour the lemon juice into the bowl and whisk until smooth.

  6. Whisk in the olive oil. While whisking, slowly pour in 2 tablespoons olive oil to create a thick emulsion. Once all of the olive oil is added, whisk for another minute to thicken.

  7. Finish with vegetable oil. While whisking continuously, slowly pour in 1/2 cup vegetable oil. Once all of the vegetable oil is added, whisk for another minute to thicken.

  8. Season and serve. Add 2 tablespoons finely grated Parmesan cheese and whisk to combine. Taste and season with freshly ground black pepper as needed.

Recipe Notes

Storage: Leftover dressing can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 1 day. Let sit at room temperature for 10 minutes and whisk again before using.