Caesar Salad

SaladCroutonGarlicRomaine Lettuce

Classic Caesar Salad with romaine lettuce, homemade croutons, parmesan cheese, and easy homemade caesar dressing. Never buy caesar dressing again.

Photography Credit: Elise Bauer

About Caesar Salad

Do a little research into the background of the caesar salad and you’ll find that it is named not for some illustrious Roman emperor, but for Caesar Cardini, a Mexican chef working in Tijuana in the 1920s, who would dramatically serve it up table-side. (At least that’s how the story goes.)

Fast forward to this century and you have what is probably the most popular restaurant salad in the country, with plenty of variations around the theme of romaine lettuce, garlic, Parmesan, and croutons.

Plated Caesar Salad with Homemade Caesar Dressing and Croutons

What follows is my friend Suzanne’s recipe, family size. I love Suzanne’s caesar salad, and have been a frequent guest at her house when it has happened to have been served (lucky!)

She makes her own croutons from scratch, from baguette slices that have been brushed with olive oil, toasted, and then roughly chopped. This she does while the garlic has been soaking in olive oil in the serving bowl, a great way to infuse the oil with garlic.

About Caesar Salad

Do a little research into the background of the caesar salad and you’ll find that it is named not for some illustrious Roman emperor, but for Caesar Cardini, a Mexican chef working in Tijuana in the 1920s, who would dramatically serve it up table-side. (At least that’s how the story goes.)

Fast forward to this century and you have what is probably the most popular restaurant salad in the country, with plenty of variations around the theme of romaine lettuce, garlic, Parmesan, and croutons.

Plated Caesar Salad with Homemade Caesar Dressing and Croutons

What follows is my friend Suzanne’s recipe, family size. I love Suzanne’s caesar salad, and have been a frequent guest at her house when it has happened to have been served (lucky!)

She makes her own croutons from scratch, from baguette slices that have been brushed with olive oil, toasted, and then roughly chopped. This she does while the garlic has been soaking in olive oil in the serving bowl, a great way to infuse the oil with garlic.

Caesar Salad Recipe

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  • Prep time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 4-6 for a main course or up to 8-12 for a side salad

If you have a concern about the raw eggs called for in this recipe, you can use pasteurized eggs, or you can coddle the eggs first by immersing them in boiling water for 1 minute, before cracking them open. If you don't have anchovies available, add a teaspoon of worcestershire sauce to the dressing.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup high quality extra virgin olive oil
  • 4 cloves fresh garlic, peeled, smashed, then minced
  • 1 baguette, preferably a day old, sliced thin
  • 1/4 cup freshly juiced lemon juice (plus more to taste)
  • 4 ounces Parmesan cheese, grated
  • 1 teaspoon anchovy paste, or 1-2 anchovies, smashed and minced
  • 2 eggs
  • Freshly ground black pepper (1/4 teaspoon or to taste)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 4-6 small heads of romaine lettuce, rinsed, patted dry, wilted outer leaves discarded

Method

1 In a very large bowl, whisk together the olive oil and garlic. Let sit for half an hour.

2 Make the toasted croutons: While the oil is sitting, make the croutons. Spread the baguette slices out over a baking sheet (may need to do in batches), lined with parchment paper or a silicone mat.

Brush or spray with olive oil (or melted butter, or if you want garlicky croutons, dip pastry brush in the garlic infused oil you have sitting in step 1).

Broil for a couple of minutes until the tops are lightly browned. (Note: do not walk away, these can easily go from browned to burnt.) Remove and let cool.

Homemade Croutons for Caesar Salad Toasted Homemade Croutons for Caesar Salad

The steps up until this point can be made ahead.

3 Make the dressing: Add anchovies and eggs to the oil garlic mixture. Whisk until creamy. Add salt and pepper and 1/4 cup of lemon juice. Whisk in half of the Parmesan cheese. Taste, add more lemon juice to taste. The lemon should give an edge to the dressing, but not overwhelm it.

Eggs in Bowl for Caesar Salad Dressing Mixing Homemade Caesar Dressing

4 Tear off chunks of romaine lettuce: Using your hands, tear off chunks of lettuce from the heads of romaine lettuce (do not use a knife to cut). Add to the oil mixture and toss until coated. Add the rest of the Parmesan cheese, toss.

Lettuce heads for Caesar Salad Tearing Lettuce for Caesar Salad

5 Coarsely chop the toasted bread and add (with the crumbs from the chopping) to the salad. Toss. Serve immediately.

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Elise Bauer

Elise Bauer is the founder of Simply Recipes. Elise launched Simply Recipes in 2003 as a way to keep track of her family's recipes, and along the way grew it into one of the most popular cooking websites in the world. Elise is dedicated to helping home cooks be successful in the kitchen. Elise is a graduate of Stanford University, and lives in Sacramento, California.

More from Elise

Fresh Lettuce Heads for Caesar Salad

 

Caesar Salad

29 Comments / Reviews

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Did you make it? Rate it!

  • Kristina Hotchkiss

    Better to make this a day ahead or day of? Dressing and croutons that is

  • Tina

    This is a keeper. I was making a Caesar as a side for just 4, so I halved the recipe, and it was perfect. It’s so easy and much better than the bottled dressing. I will never go back to bottled dressing again!

    xxxxxyyyyy

  • Joffrey

    I’ll never buy caesar dressing again!

    xxxxxyyyyy

  • Latha

    Delicious recipe. Made it as part of a weeknight dinner for the family. Paired it with whole wheat spaghetti and sauce. My husband and kids devoured it. This one’s a keeper!!!

  • Madhu

    My first attempt at Caesar salad and it was tasty! Subbed Worcestershire sauce and a stale loaf of garlic bread, toasted with garlic butter and chopped. I’m going to make and keep some garlicky olive oil for next time…Thank you for putting up the recipe with lovely pictures !

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