This Caesar salad recipe is a flavor explosion with creamy dressing, crunchy croutons, and salty Parmesan cheese. It’s perfect as a side dish, or make it an easy lunch or dinner by adding protein!


Some foods are classic for a reason, like frosty vanilla bean ice cream or hot crispy French fries. This classic salad is another basic, but truly one of our favorite recipes ever. Meet the perfect Caesar salad! Of course you can buy a packaged store-bought version, but make it homemade there’s absolutely no comparison.

Why we love this recipe: We’ve perfected all the elements to a great homemade Caesar salad. The savory, creamy Caesar dressing will become a household favorite. Those crunchy garlicky croutons—well, you’ll be eating them off the baking sheet. Alex and I have made this recipe more times than we can count, often topped with protein for an easy dinner. We hope you’ve love it just as much!

Ingredients in a great Caesar salad

From the first bite of this homemade Caesar salad, you’ll be singing its praises! Here are the ingredients to make this classic salad:

  1. Croutons: It’s best with homemade croutons, but you can use store-bought in a pinch. For homemade, tearing the the bread into uneven pieces before baking makes fluffy, crunchy orbs.
  2. Caesar dressing: This homemade Caesar dressing recipe is so good, you won’t want to buy it again. It’s made primarily of mayonnaise, Parmesan cheese, Dijon mustard, garlic, and lemon juice. We’ve also got a lightened-up spin on it using Greek yogurt (keep reading).
  3. Romaine hearts: Romaine hearts, the sweet and crunchy portion of a head of romaine, are best for a Caesar salad. These are sold usually in packs of 3 in the grocery. You can also use a large head of romaine lettuce, but the leafier dark green portions of the lettuce don’t taste as good.
  4. Parmesan cheese shavings: You need grated Parmesan cheese for the dressing and shredded for the salad. If you don’t want to buy two separate types, grab a large block at the store.

Tips for homemade Caesar dressing

This Caesar dressing recipe is our favorite that we’ve been making for years! It’s easily made vegetarian using vegan Worcestershire sauce and vegetarian Parmesan cheese. Here are a few tips for this Caesar dressing:

  • Anchovy paste is optional, but adds great flavor. Traditional Caesar dressing gets its savory flavor from anchovies, and it adds a nice sharp flavor that’s the signature of the classic. A vegetarian Caesar dressing with vegan Worcestershire sauce (or this Worcestershire sauce substitute) tastes just as good.
  • Try our lighter version with Greek yogurt. Swap out the ¾ cup mayonnaise in this recipe for ¼ cup mayonnaise, ½ cup Greek yogurt, and 1 tablespoon olive oil. It helps reduce calories and makes the salad taste lighter and fresher. We like it even better!

Storing leftovers and make-ahead tips

Once you’ve got your creamy dressing and crunchy croutons, all you need is romaine hearts and Parmesan cheese shavings to bring together that perfect Caesar salad. Want a few time savers for putting it together? Here’s how to make it ahead:

  • Make the dressing up to 1 week in advance. The flavor tastes just as good made in advance.
  • Make the croutons 2 days in advance. Make the croutons and let them cool completely. Then store in a sealed container for up to 2 days. The flavor gets gradually staler over time, so the closer to fresh they are, the better.

Protein adders to make it a main dish

If you take all this time to make Caesar salad…why not turn it into a main dish meal? If you serve it topped with protein, it makes about 4 servings. Here are a few ideas:

  • Chicken Caesar salad: Top it with grilled chicken, Parmesan crusted chicken, or blackened chicken.
  • Salmon Caesar salad: Add poached salmon or grilled salmon.
  • Shrimp Caesar salad: Add sauteed shrimp, grilled shrimp or shrimp skewers.
  • Chickpea Caesar salad: For a vegetarian option, top with Seasoned Chickpeas or Crispy Chickpeas.
  • Tofu Caesar salad: Top with crispy tofu or baked tofu and vegan Caesar dressing.

Vegan variation

Want a plant-based or vegan variation? Whip up this Vegan Caesar Dressing! You’ll use a blender to mix chickpeas with Dijon mustard, garlic, olive oil and more. It might sound odd, but trust us. We think this Vegan Caesar Salad is just as tasty!

Dietary notes

This Caesar salad recipe is vegetarian without anchovy paste. For gluten free, use gluten-free bread for the croutons. For vegan, use Vegan Caesar Dressing and omit the Parmesan cheese, or go to Vegan Caesar Salad.


Caesar Salad Recipe

This Caesar salad recipe is a flavor explosion with creamy dressing, crunchy croutons, and salty Parmesan cheese. It’s perfect as a side dish, or make it an easy lunch or dinner by adding protein!
Servings 6 Yield: 1x
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes


For the Caesar dressing (makes 1 cup)

  • 1 medium garlic clove minced or grated
  • ¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice 1/2 lemon
  • ¾ cup high quality mayonnaise or ¼ cup mayonnaise, ½ cup Greek yogurt, and 1 tablespoon olive oil*
  • ½ tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • ½ teaspoon anchovy paste or Worcestershire sauce or omit
  • ¼ teaspoon each kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper

For the Caesar salad

  • 1 recipe Homemade Croutons or purchased
  • 3 romaine hearts** or 1 large head romaine
  • ½ cup Parmesan cheese shavings
  • Optional protein adders: Parmesan crusted chicken baked salmon, sauteed shrimp


  • Make the croutons: Make the Homemade Croutons, tearing the bread into pieces instead of slicing it into cubes. (This makes the best Caesar salad, but homemade croutons are optional). 
  • Make the dressing: Whisk together the dressing ingredients in a bowl. Store leftovers refrigerated in a covered jar for up to 1 week.
  • Make the salad: Tear or chop the romaine leaves into bite-sized pieces. Top each salad with Parmesan cheese shavings, croutons, and dressing.


*Make a lighter version of the dressing by swapping in Greek yogurt and olive oil for part of the mayo. We like it even better!
**Romaine hearts are easy to find packaged separately in the produce aisle.


Carbohydrates: 12.2gProtein: 8.1gFat: 18.5gFiber: 1gVitamin C: 3.1mgIron: 1mg
Author: Kit Food
Course: Recipes, Side Dishes & Salad Recipes

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