Homemade Caesar Dressing

4.91 from 10 votes
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This 10-minute Homemade Caesar dressing is perfect for tossing with crisp romaine lettuce, parmesan cheese, and crunchy croutons. The authentic flavor comes from anchovy fillets, eggs, and high-quality olive oil.

Homemade caesar dressing recipe placed in a glass jar.

Recipe Science

  • The emulsification of olive oil with egg yolks and mustard in Caesar dressing creates a creamy consistency by evenly dispersing oil droplets throughout the mixture.
  • Due to their high glutamate content, anchovies provide umami, a savory taste that deepens the overall flavor profile of the dressing.
  • The addition of garlic not only infuses the dressing with its characteristic pungent flavor but also contains allicin, which offers antimicrobial properties that can help preserve the dressing.

Why It Works

It’s tempting to grab a bottle of Caesar dressing from the grocery store to make a quick salad. But if you can resist, the recipe is easy! Here’s my step-by-step guide for making restaurant-quality homemade Caesar salad dressing—the perfect pairing for fresh greens, pasta, sandwiches, or wraps.

Egg yolks and cured anchovies give the sauce its creamy and savory flavor. They help the sauce cling to crispy pieces of lettuce, delivering a boost of umami flavor. I have plenty of ingredient substitutions, so there is no excuse not to try making this famous condiment yourself.

Ingredients You’ll Need

Ingredients in portioned little bowls to make a caesar salad dressing.
  • Anchovies: Look for canned or jarred anchovies, not fresh. These tiny fillets, delicate bones and all, have already been cooked and preserved in oil and salt. Canned versions allow you to chop them up and eat them as is. They may be sold as “flat fillets of anchovies” on the packaging.
  • Egg: A classic Caesar salad uses raw egg yolks. I use one large yolk in my recipe. The fat in the yolk helps to thicken the dressing and add richness. The lecithin in the yolks also helps to emulsify and stabilize the sauce for longer. Only use pasteurized eggs for the dressing.
  • Oil: A high-quality extra-virgin olive oil thickens the dressing, giving a fruity, slightly pleasant bitter taste.
  • Citrus: Fresh lemon juice and zest provide a tangy element.
  • Seasoning: Salt, pepper, and aged grated parmesan cheese boost the umami taste of the cured anchovies. Mustard and freshly minced garlic add pungency and earthiness.

See the recipe card below for all ingredients and measurements (US and metric).

Ingredient Substitutions

Looking to customize the Caesar dressing? No problem! Check out these easy swaps:

  • Raw Egg Substitute: Add 1 to 4 tablespoons of mayonnaise, adding more for a thicker and creamier consistency.
  • Oil: Use a neutral oil like avocado oil, canola, or refined coconut oil.
  • Garlic: Add ¼ teaspoon garlic powder instead of freshly minced.
  • Cheese: Use Pecorino Romano or Parmigiana Reggiano.

How to Make Caesar Dressing

Slicing anchovies and garlic.

Step 1: Make the Anchovy Paste

Grab your chef’s knife, anchovy fillets, salt, and minced garlic.

Finished anchovy paste on a white cutting board.

Use the side of the blade to scrape the fish against the board, creating a fine paste.

If this is your first time making anchovy paste, it’s easy to master. It’s salty and savory, but it won’t make the sauce taste fishy, so don’t skip it. The garlic helps flavor the paste and masks some fish odor. Coarse salt granules help break up the protein—measure one tablespoon of the paste to add to the dressing.

Caesar dressing ingredients placed in a mixing bowl.

Ingredient Chemistry: It’s important to thoroughly mix the thick ingredients before adding the olive oil. The homemade or prepared anchovy paste is very dense. It’s combined with the egg yolk, lemon juice, dijon mustard, salt, and pepper until smooth.

Drizzling olive oil into a bowl of salad dressing to make an emulsion.

Step 2: Make Caesar Dressing

Slowly drizzle in the olive oil while constantly whisking to break it into tiny droplets. This process will thicken the dressing.

Whisking in grated parmesan cheese into the salad dressing.

I wait to add the parmesan cheese since it’s slightly coarse and easier to disperse once the emulsion has formed in the dressing.

Caesar salad on a white plate with cheese and croutons served on top.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why should I use pasteurized eggs for the Caesar salad dressing recipe?

The pasteurizing process reduces the risk of foodborne illness from Salmonella. In the United States, this means treating the eggs at a minimum of 140ºF (60ºC) for 3 ½ minutes, then cooling them. I only use pasteurized eggs from the grocery store, not any that are freshly laid or from the farmer’s market. If you are pregnant, immunocompromised, or serving the dressing to children, skip the egg yolk and use store-bought mayonnaise, between 1 and 4 tablespoons.

How to substitute anchovy fillets with anchovy paste

Grab a tube of anchovy paste to save a little prep time. Food manufacturers have ground down the fillets and seasoned them with olive oil and salt. You’ll need one tablespoon for the salad dressing recipe. The garlic is missing, so finely mince the amount called for in the recipe to mix it in. Make sure to taste before adding salt, as you don’t know how much is already in the product.

How to make Caesar dressing without anchovies

Substitute Worcestershire sauce, made of vinegar, tamarind, a hint of anchovies, and seasonings. To skip the fish altogether, look for a version without the anchovies. Other options to give the umami flavor are soy sauce or miso paste. Kalamata olives or capers can be chopped finely for a savory, salty flavor. Start with a small amount of either substitute, ½ to 1 teaspoon at a time, then adjust to your desired taste.

Is Caesar dressing keto and gluten-free?

My version is low in carbs and gluten-free. I use raw egg yolks, cheese, extra-virgin olive oil, and homemade anchovy paste to create a thickened, creamy texture. If using store-bought mayonnaise, look for keto-friendly products.

Can you make the dressing healthier?

Swap the egg or mayonnaise with plain Greek yogurt for a lower-calorie Caesar dressing. It will be tangier, but that can be balanced with a little sweetener if desired. The mayonnaise can also be reduced from ¼ cup to 1 to 3 tablespoons.

Substituting raw eggs with mayonnaise

Mayonnaise is a comparable option if you hesitate to use raw egg yolks in the Caesar dressing. It’s made from egg yolks, oil, and seasonings, and it will give you the same creamy mouthfeel and emulsified dressing. I recommend adding ¼ cup of mayonnaise for each large egg yolk. For a lighter consistency, you can reduce it to as low as 1 tablespoon.

Serve This With

If you tried this Homemade Caesar Dressing, please leave a 🌟 star rating and let me know how it went in the 📝 comments below!

Homemade Caesar Dressing

This 10-minute caesar dressing recipe is perfect for tossing with crisp romaine lettuce, parmesan cheese, and crunchy croutons.
4.91 from 10 votes
Prep Time10 minutes
Cook Time0 minutes
Total Time10 minutes
Servings 12 servings
Course Condiment
Cuisine Mexican


  • 6 anchovies, canned
  • ½ teaspoon minced garlic
  • ¾ teaspoon kosher salt, divided
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 2 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 1 teaspoon dijon mustard
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • ½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese


  • Make the Anchovy Paste – On a cutting board, chop the anchovy fillets, minced garlic, and ¼ teaspoon salt together. Use the side of the knife to help scrape and mash into a paste.
  • Make the Caesar Dressing – In a medium bowl, whisk together the anchovy paste, egg yolk, lemon juice, zest, mustard, ½ teaspoon salt, and black pepper. Gradually whisk in olive oil until a thickened, smooth emulsion forms. Whisk in the parmesan cheese.

Recipe Video

YouTube video


  • Recipe Yield: About ¾ cup
  • Serving Size: 1 tablespoon
  • Dressing Lettuce: The recipe makes enough dressing for 8 cups of lettuce.
  • Substituting the Egg Yolk: Add 1 tablespoon to ¼ cup of mayonnaise instead of the egg yolk, depending on the desired creaminess level. 
  • Using Anchovy Paste: 1 tablespoon (15g) of anchovy paste can be substituted for whole anchovies. Finely mince the garlic to add to the dressing.
  • Storing: The dressing can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

Nutrition Facts

Serves: 12 servings
Calories 93kcal (5%)Carbohydrates 0.5gProtein 1g (2%)Fat 10g (15%)Saturated Fat 2g (10%)Polyunsaturated Fat 1gMonounsaturated Fat 7gCholesterol 18mg (6%)Sodium 175mg (7%)Potassium 16mgFiber 0.1gSugar 0.1gVitamin A 33IU (1%)Vitamin C 1mg (1%)Calcium 17mg (2%)Iron 0.2mg (1%)

Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000-calorie diet. All nutritional information is based on estimated third-party calculations. Each recipe and nutritional value will vary depending on the brands you use, measuring methods, and portion sizes per household.

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Jessica Gavin

I'm a culinary school graduate, cookbook author, and a mom who loves croissants! My passion is creating recipes and sharing the science behind cooking to help you gain confidence in the kitchen.

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Recipe Rating

9 Comments Leave a comment or review

  1. Maria T. says

    Just finished making this dressing with an anchovy substitute, Worcestershire. Had that slightly fishy salty thing going on. Delicious dressing, should be even better later tonight. Even husband thought it was tasty. Off to make croutons for that Caesar salad I planned as part of tonight’s dinner.

    • Jessica Gavin says

      It’s great to hear that the Worcestershire sauce was a good substitute for the anchovies!

  2. Dennis says

    Homemade Caesar Dressing recipe calls for 6 anchovies.
    Is this 6 whole anchovies or 6 anchovies fillets?
    Please clarify.
    Thank you, Dennis

  3. Judy says

    Jessica I’m happy to have another of your wonderful recipes. Homemade salad dressings have all the fresh flavors Going on. I had never thought of Grilled Romaine until I saw your recipe. I can’t wait to try both these recipes today.