Love Caeser salad? Make it yourself at home with this Ridiculously Easy Caesar Dressing (no raw eggs!). It's crazy delicious and comes together in under 10 minutes, from start to finish!
True confession... as much as I enjoy cooking, there have been some recipes that I just couldn't get right -they were simply an enigma to me. Caesar Dressing was one of those conundrums. I can't tell you how many jars of dressing I've thrown out in the past for one reason or another... too thin, too grainy, not creamy, wrong flavor, the oil separated, the Parmesan got clumpy... and on and on it went.
The recipes I tried were all described as "easy" but, in reality, they were not (at least not for me!). Most of them required a blender and adding a "slow steady stream" of oil to the eggs and other dressing ingredients. I had to laugh at one popular website's description:
The best Caesar salad dressing starts with anchovies and garlic, and it creates an emulsion with raw egg yolks, mustard, and two types of oil. The best Caesar salad dressing is deceptively simple and delectable.
Really? As hard as I tried, it never came out like "the pictures". Have you ever had this problem?
Earlier this summer, I decided to give Caeser dressing another go. I said to myself, "You have a food blog, you should be able to figure this out!" Scott sometimes says that my middle name should have been "Determination". My mom had the (frequent) expression when I was growing up, "Where there's a will, there's, a way!" Then she expected us to solve whatever the current problem was. If I listen hard, I can still hear her saying that.
Yes, I told myself, "You should be able to figure this out"!
The ideal Caesar Dressing
I started out by making a list of qualities of my ideal Caesar dressing:
- Creamy - a thick creamy dressing that would coat the greens. A little texture from grated parmesan is great.
- Garlic - the garlic flavor has to shine through and be strong enough to not be diluted when combined with the greens.
- Lemon - I love a layer of bright lemon flavor in my Caesar dressing.
- Umami - a good Caesar dressing has an element of umami, that salty, savory taste that begs you to take another bite.
- Not fishy - recently Scott and I dined at a very fine local restaurant. We ordered Caesar salads and were disappointed as every bite had a strong, fishy aftertaste. I know a good Caesar dressing often includes anchovies or a bit of anchovy paste for that classic umami flavor, but my mantra is "A little goes a long way"!
- No raw eggs - The U.S Department of Agriculture warns that it's not safe to eat raw eggs, particularly "people with health problems, the very young, senior citizens, and pregnant women (the risk is to the unborn child). They go on to say however, that "in-shell pasteurized eggs" may be used safely used. I really like to use ingredients that are readily available and reasonably priced to my readers, so that eliminated the use of pasteurized eggs.
- EASY - truly easy to put together, with no fancy equipment needed!
Away we go
A few failures later (and more thrown-out dressing), I got a revelation. I thought about the fact that making Caesar dressing in a blender and drizzling oil into the egg mixture is basically making mayonnaise. Why not just use a good quality mayo and be done with all the fuss? Delicious store-bought mayonnaise is readily available these days.
Once that problem was solved, I just started tinkering with the other ingredients... more lemon juice, less lemon juice, more garlic, decrease the garlic a bit, no anchovies, just a touch of anchovy paste, differing amounts of parmesan. This part was fun. I even decide to sub half of the mayo with Greek yogurt and no one knew the difference!
Several weeks later, I think we have a winner! Scott is a big Caesar salad fan but it has to be a "really good" rendition. Every time I serve this dressing he comments over and over about how delicious it is! I've also served it to guests who have loved it and our 7-year-old grandson ate a huge plateful, requested more and barely touched his burger!
This Caesar Dressing recipe comes together in minutes. It's so easy, your kids can proudly prepare this dressing with a few measuring tools, a whisk and a mixing bowl.
Here at The Café, we call recipes like this "Ridiculously Easy" and we actually have a whole category of these super simple recipes. You can read more about our Ridiculously Easy recipes here and check out the whole collection here but my in-a-nutshell definition of these recipes is "they make you look like a kitchen rock star with minimal effort on your part". This Caesar Dressing will definitely do that!
What to do with this Caesar dressing?
Besides making a traditional Caesar salad, here are some other ideas on how to use this Caesar dressing:
- Use it as a dip for raw veggies.
- Drizzle it over steamed asparagus or green beans.
- Use it as a spread for sandwiches or burgers.
- I just made a wrap with leftover grilled chicken on a low carb tortilla spread with this Caesar dressing - delish!
- Make a Caesar potato or macaroni salad.
- Spread a spoonful over salmon or white fish and broil - it keeps the fish moist and adds delicious flavor!
- Drizzle it over corn on the cob.
- Go outside the box with greens for a Caesar salad. Romain is classic but kale, Brussels sprout leaves, Belgium endive, rainbow chard and spinach are also delicious.
Have any Caesar salad aficionados in your inner (or outer) circle? Treat them to a salad with this Caesar dressing sometime soon - just don't share the ingredients right away or that it's ridiculously easy (aka effortless) to make. They will love it and probably request seconds. Then it's your call, whether or not you spill the beans...
Café Tips for making this Ridiculously Easy Caesar Dressing
- Use your favorite mayo for this recipe. I really like Hellman's (called BEST west of the Mississippi) but there are other good brands as well.
- I really like FAGE Greek yogurt. I use whole milk but a lower fat Greek yogurt would also work.
- Don't skip the mayonnaise and try to use 100% Greek yogurt. You really need the eggs and oil that are in the mayo for a good Caesar dressing.
- Use the best quality Parmesan cheese you can find and/or afford. I really love Parmigiano-Reggiano which is made in Italy in the areas around Bologna, Reggio Emilia, Mantua, Modena, or Parma (hence the name). Only cheese produced in these provinces may be labeled "Parmigiano-Reggiano" Italian and European laws protect the production of this cheese to ensure flavor and quality.
- That being said Parmigiano-Reggiano can be pricey (it's more reasonably priced at Sam's Club and Costco) and there are some great quality parmesan cheeses made right here in the States. I like BelGioioso Parmesan which is made in Wisconsin.
- Don't skip the anchovy paste! There's only a half teaspoon and this dressing does not taste "fishy" at all but the anchovy paste adds a lot of that delicious umami flavor that you want in a good Caesar dressing. You can find anchovy paste in the canned meat section of most grocery stores near the tuna. Anchovy paste comes in a tube and it has a long refrigerator life (2+ years!) so you don't have to worry about buying a tube and it going bad. Plus, once you make this dressing, you'll be making it again and again!
- One substitution for anchovies that can be made in a pinch is the same amount of fish sauce
- This recipe also calls for a splash of Worcestershire sauce. This also has a long shelf life - a year stored at room temp and up to 3 years in the refrigerator.
Thought for the day:
For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord,
“plans to prosper you and not to harm you,
plans to give you Hope and a future.
What we're listening to for inspiration:
If you enjoy this recipe, please come back and leave a star rating and review! It’s so helpful to other readers to hear your results, adaptations, and ideas for variations.
- ½ cup good quality mayo (I use Hellman’s)
- ½ cup Greek yogurt
- 2 medium cloves garlic finely minced
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 2 teaspoon Dijon mustard I use and really like Maille Dijon
- ½ teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
- ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
- ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
- ½ teaspoon anchovy paste (or fish sauce) optional
- ½ cup freshly grated Parmesan Cheese I use Parmigiano-Reggiano
- 2 tablespoons good quality extra virgin olive oil
- milk to thin if needed
. Combine all the ingredients except the Parmesan and olive oil in a medium size bowl and whisk until nice and smooth.
Add the Parmesan and stir to combine.
Slowly add the olive oil while whisking vigorously. Take a taste and add more lemon juice, salt or anchovy paste/fish sauce.
If the dressing is a little too thick, add milk as desired to thin.
See Café Tips above in the post for more detailed instructions and tips to ensure success.
If you prefer to use Metric measurements there is a button in each of our recipes, right above the word “Instructions”. Just click that button to toggle to grams, milliliters, etc. If you ever come across one of our recipes that doesn’t have the Metric conversion (some of the older recipes may not), feel free to leave a comment and I will add it.