Homemade Caesar Dressing is thick, creamy and overflowing with scrumptious tangy, salty flavors. Our version of this classic condiment has been successfully prepared many times, by many people, making it both time and taste tested. Starting with classic Caesar Dressing ingredients, we add in a surprise that amps up the flavors big time. Plus, it’s something you’re likely to already have in your pantry!
What does Caesar Dressing taste like?
I love, love Caesar salad. And, it’s the flavors in the dressing that make it so scrumptious – and so popular around the world. A good Caesar dressing is thick, creamy, tangy, salty, lemony and a bit garlic-y – it’ll make your taste buds sing!
Best Caesar Dressing Recipe
This recipe for Caesar Salad Dressing is the bomb. It’s not my recipe, and it had a fun roundabout way of getting into my hands – and into my cookbook, “Fresh Tastes.” Seriously, this recipe for Caesar Dressing has made the rounds of numerous home cooks, not just because it’s amazingly delicious, but also because it’s reliable, and super easy to prepare.
Origin of this Caesar Dressing
One night, Robert and I were treated to a fabulous dinner at the home of our good friend Tammy Smith. She served a salad with truly the best Caesar dressing I had ever tasted, and happily agreed to share the recipe. Tammy sent it via email with the heading, “recipe from Mary Talbot.” What struck me as funny was that, while I didn’t know Mary at the time, I’d heard wonderful things about her from my college roommate Cynthia Ballantyne, who lives in Boston.
A few months later, I finally met Mary — and told her I had her Caesar salad dressing recipe! She told me it actually came from her sister Cappy Shopneck, who then told me she got it from a woman on a ranch in Mexico where she and her husband Bob were bird hunting. I haven’t yet met the woman in Mexico…but at this rate, it’s only a matter of time!
Origin of Traditional Caesar Dressing
Yes, Caesar salad is reported to have been created at Caesar’s restaurant in Tijuana, Mexico, owned by Italian immigrant, Chef Caesar Cardini. Whether Chef Caesar, or his brother, or an employee actually invented this delectable salad is up for debate. Regardless, it has stood the test of time, and is every bit as delicious today as it was in the 1920s when it first hit the food scene.
What is this Caesar Dressing made of?
This delectable dressing starts with all the ingredients in a classic Caesar dressing:
- fresh garlic,
- fresh lemon juice,
- egg yolks,
- Dijon mustard,
- Worcestershire sauce,
- vegetable oil, and
- extra virgin olive oil.
In addition to the above, this version adds in a new, surprise ingredient that enhances all those wonderful tangy, salty, vibrant flavors. And the surprise addition is . . . granulated chicken bouillon (or broth)!
Granulated chicken bouillon is actually a flavor enhancer often used by Mexican cooks. And, where did this version of Caesar Dressing came from? And where was Caesar salad invented? Mexico!
Why are anchovies put in Caesar Dressing?
Originally, Caesar dressing was most likely made without anchovies, but no one knows for sure. One school of thought is that the creator’s brother added in anchovies after he discovered them in Italy during the First World War.
Anchovies are an important addition to this dressing, as you won’t get that true Caesar taste without them. They provide a briny punch of umami that enhances and deepens the flavor. In our recipe, we use a smaller portion that’s completely blended into the dressing, so you can’t taste the anchovy – just it’s benefits!
The flavor of whole anchovies will be stronger than mashed anchovy from a tube, as the latter has vinegar and spices added that make the fish flavor milder. In my opinion, Caesar Dressing tastes best using whole anchovies. However, if all you can find is anchovy paste in a tube, I would start with 2 1/2 teaspoons, and add more to taste.
Homemade Caesar Dressing should last 2 to 3 days, covered and refrigerated. If you precook the eggs before adding (see note in recipe header), it could last another day or two.
Raw egg yolks add a subtle richness to any Caesar dressing, and also help the ingredients emulsify (i.e., blend and stay blended). However, consuming raw egg may increase the risk of food borne illness. If you can find pasteurized eggs, use those. Also use the freshest eggs you can find. If you prefer, cook the egg in 140-degree water for 3 minutes before using.
Yes, you can make it without raw egg, but in my opinion it won’t taste as good. Mayonnaise is probably the best substitute.
If you add the oils too quickly, your dressing won’t emulsify properly and will “break” – and the dressing will be runny. To avoid throwing it out, try this method from www.seriouseats.com to fix it (visit the full article here):
1. Place a teaspoon of water or lemon juice in a small bowl.
2. Slowly whisk in some of the broken dressing until it starts to emulsify (thicken).
3. Slowly whisk in the rest of the broken dressing.
Uses for Homemade Caesar Dressing
- Traditional Caesar Salad: place torn romaine lettuce leaves, shaved or shredded Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese and croutons in a bowl. Add a spoonful of Homemade Caeser Dressing and toss. It doesn’t take much dressing, but it’s very thick, so you need to toss and toss to get it evenly spread throughout the salad. Season with salt and fresh ground pepper.
- Shrimp Caesar Salad: add grilled shrimp to the Traditional Caesar Salad. Also toss in some chopped bell peppers.
- Chicken Caesar Salad: Add grilled or sautéed chicken to the Traditional Caesar Salad.
- Broccoli Salad: Toss with cooked broccoli, peppers and olives.
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This Homemade Caesar Dressing is thick, creamy and full of tangy, salty flavors. Our version of this classic dressing has been successfully prepared many times, by many people, making it both time and taste tested.
Note: this recipe contains raw egg. Consuming raw egg may increase the risk of foodborne illness. If you prefer, cook the egg in 140-degree water for 3 minutes before using.
- 2 medium to large garlic cloves
- 3 to 5 anchovy fillets (around 1/3 to 1/2 of a 2-ounce can) – see Note below
- 1 large egg
- 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
- 1 heaping teaspoon granulated chicken broth or bouillon – see Note below
- A few dashes Worcestershire sauce
- Juice from 1/2 to 1 lemon, or to taste
- Freshly ground pepper, to taste
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 3/4 cup vegetable oil
- Kosher salt, to taste
- In a blender, combine garlic, anchovies, egg, Dijon mustard, broth granules, Worcestershire sauce, juice from 1/2 lemon and pepper. Blend until smooth.
- In a measuring cup, combine oils. With the blender running, slowly add the oil mixture. (If the dressing comes out runny, it probably means you added the oil too fast. It should be a drizzle as you pour it in).
- Taste and add more lemon juice as needed. Season to taste with kosher salt and fresh ground pepper.
Gluten free: Use gluten-free granulated chicken bouillon/broth and gluten-free Worcestershire sauce.
Make ahead: Dressing can be made up to 3 days ahead, covered and refrigerated. If you precook the eggs before adding (see note in recipe header), it could last another day or two.
Note on anchovies: The flavor of whole anchovies will be stronger than mashed anchovy from a tube, as the latter has vinegar and spices added that make the fish flavor milder. In my opinion, Caesar Dressing tastes best using whole anchovies. However, if all you can find is anchovy paste in a tube, I would start with around 2 teaspoons, and add more to taste.
Note on granulated chicken broth: One packet (4g) of Herb-Ox Granulated Chicken Bouillon works perfectly. If you can’t find granulated chicken broth, smash a bouillon cube into small bits.
Keywords: salad dressing, garlic, anchovies, lemon