Classic Caesar Salad Made From Scratch


An easy Classic Caesar Salad served with homemade garlicky croutons and homemade dressing (anchovy free). The ultimate light & fresh side dish made from scratch in 20 minutes with fresh romaine, parmesan cheese, crunchy croutons and a creamy caesar dressing!

Looking for more easy side salads? Try out my Everyday Side Salad or my Fresh Spinach & Arugula Salad.

A close-up shot of a bowl of homemade caesar salad

Super Easy Caesar Salad with Homemade Dressing

Whenever I’m in the mood for a light and healthy side dish, I know I can rely on this simple Caesar salad. It’s incredibly easy to make, it’s full of flavor, and there are lots of different textures that make each bite purely satisfying. You have the crisp lettuce, the crunchy croutons, the melt-in-your-mouth parmesan, and of course, the velvety dressing to tie it all together.

A lot of my favorite salads require seasonal ingredients and can’t really be made year-round, but that’s not the case for this one. Thank goodness, too! I don’t know what I would do if I had to go without the tangy goodness of a Caesar salad for more than a month. This is the kind of dish that never leaves our weekly menu!

Chopped lettuce in a mixing bowl beside a jar of homemade dressing

What You’ll Need

Let’s go over the ingredients that make up a classic Caesar salad. You’ll find the full amounts in the recipe card at the bottom of this post.

For the Garlic Croutons

  • Sourdough Bread: Cut into small cubes.
  • Olive Oil
  • Garlic: Freshly minced.
  • Salt & Pepper: Added to taste.
  • Chopped Fresh Parsley

For the Caesar Dressing

  • Garlic
  • White Vinegar
  • Olive Oil
  • Dijon Mustard: Use your favorite brand.
  • Tabasco: You can add more or less according to your preferred level of heat.
  • Lemon Juice: Freshly squeezed from half a lemon.
  • Grated Parmesan Cheese
  • Honey: Raw, unfiltered honey is the way to go.
  • Mayonnaise: For that creamy consistency you know and love.

For the Caesar Salad

  • Chopped Romaine Lettuce
  • Shaved Parmesan Cheese
  • Grated Parmesan Cheese: Using both shaved and grated cheese makes for even more amazing texture.
Homemade caesar salad in a bowl on a marble countertop

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How to Make Caesar Salad From Scratch

Once you make this salad yourself, you’ll never order it at a restaurant again. It couldn’t possibly get any tastier!

Make the Croutons

  1. Heat Oven: Preheat the oven to 375°F.
  2. Combine Ingredients: Add the cubed sourdough bread, olive oil and minced garlic cloves to a large bowl. Toss until everything is combined.
  3. Bake: Spread out the prepared cubes of bread in a single layer on a baking sheet. Bake the croutons for 10 minutes, tossing halfway through to flip them.
  4. Season & Set Aside: Remove your croutons from the oven and season them with salt, pepper and fresh parsley. Set the croutons aside to cool while you make the dressing.
Homemade croutons on a nonstick baking pan with a striped kitchen towel beside it

Make the Dressing

  1. Blend Everything But the Oil & Parm: Add the garlic, vinegar, mustard, tabasco, lemon juice, honey and mayo to a food processor or blender. Blend until the garlic is minced.
  2. Add Oil & Parm: Add the olive oil and grated Parmesan cheese. Blend until everything is combined, then set the dressing aside.

Assemble the Caesar Salad

  • Combine Lettuce, Cheese & Croutons: Add the chopped romaine lettuce, shaved parmesan, grated parmesan and homemade croutons to a large bowl
  • Add Dressing & Serve: Drizzle the dressing over your salad or serve it on the side.
Caesar salad inside of a large glass mixing bowl with two forks inside

Can I Make This Salad in Advance?

If you’d like, you can prepare the dressing and croutons ahead of time and throw together the salad whenever you’re ready. Refrigerate the dressing in an airtight jar or container and store the (cooled) croutons in an airtight container or storage bag at room temperature. Both of them will last for up to 1 week, but the croutons may start to lose their crunch after a couple of days.

Tips for Success

The tips and tricks below will help you make the most delightful Caesar salad you’ve ever tasted. Let’s dive in.

  • The Best Bread for Croutons: You can make your croutons with any kind of bread you like, though I recommend using an artisan-style sourdough, French or Italian loaf. Whatever you decide to use, just be sure to let the bread get nice and stale first. Trust me – stale bread turns into perfectly crunchy croutons!
  • Fresh Ingredients for the Win: While you could use frozen lettuce for this salad, it’s better to go with the fresh stuff. Definitely stick with freshly minced garlic and freshly squeezed lemon juice for the best results.
  • Season to Taste: Don’t be afraid to taste your dressing before you pour it over the salad to make sure it’s flawless. You may want to adjust the flavor a bit, and that’s okay! How you season each element of your salad is ultimately up to you.
A bowl of caesar salad with a golden spoon inside

Variation Ideas

Caesar salad is such a classic, but that doesn’t mean you can’t go about it a little differently! See how you like these tasty variations.

  • Make it a Meal: Turn this salad into a light lunch or dinner by tossing in your favorite protein. Chicken, steak and salmon are all fail-proof options.
  • Use Half Lettuce & Half Kale: Want some variation in your greens? Feel free to swap out 4 cups of the lettuce with 4 cups of chopped kale.
  • Add More Veggies: If you feel like this salad is missing something, just throw it on in! Roasted garbanzo beans (chickpeas), toasted pine nuts and thinly sliced radishes would make wonderful additions.
A bowl filled with caesar salad shown from above

Serving Suggestions

This salad is pretty much guaranteed to go well with any main course you serve alongside it. Here are some standout examples:

  • Pair with Chicken Parm Zucchini Boats: These cheesy Chicken Parmesan Zucchini Boats re-imagine one of your favorite entrees in such a delectable way. They’re low in carbs, low in calories and loaded with flavor!
  • Serve with Glazed Salmon: If you’re in the mood for even more tangy goodness, serve your salad with this Maple Dijon Glazed Salmon. The inside is moist and flaky while the outside is crispy and caramelized.
  • Pair with Pesto Pasta: Made with hearty grilled vegetables and plenty of homemade pesto sauce, I could eat this Basil Pesto Pasta every day with no complaints. It’s very easy to make in less than 30 minutes.

How to Store Caesar Salad

If you think you may have leftover salad, serve the dressing on the side instead of drizzling it on top. Once you’re full, separate the croutons from the salad and store the dressing, croutons and salad in separate airtight containers.

Refrigerate the dressing and salad, but leave the croutons on the counter. While the salad should be eaten within 2 days, the dressing and croutons will stay good for up to a week.

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Homemade caesar salad in a bowl on a marble countertop

Classic Caesar Salad Recipe


Description

An easy Classic Caesar Salad served with homemade garlicky croutons and homemade dressing (anchovy free). The ultimate light & fresh side dish made from scratch in 20 minutes with fresh romaine, parmesan cheese, crunchy croutons and a creamy caesar dressing! 


Scale

Ingredients

For the Garlic Croutons

  • 3 cups cubed sourdough bread
  • 2 tablespoon olive oil
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • salt & pepper to season
  • 2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped

For the Caesar Dressing

  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1/4 cup white vinegar
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon of dijon mustard
  • a few dashes of tabasco, to taste
  • juice of half a lemon
  • 1 tablespoon grated parmesan cheese
  • 1 teaspoon of honey
  • 1/2 tablespoon mayo

For the Caesar Salad

  • 8 cups chopped romaine lettuce
  • 1/3 cup shaved parmesan
  • 2 tablespoons grated parmesan

Instructions

Make the Croutons

  1. Preheat oven to 375°F.
  2. To a large bowl add cubed sourdough bread, 2 tablespoons of olive oil and 3 minced garlic cloves. Toss to coat.
  3. Spread bread cubed out in a single layer on a baking sheet.
  4. Bake for 10 minutes, tossing halfway through.
  5. Remove croutons from oven. Season with salt, pepper and fresh parsley.
  6. Set aside.

Make the Dressing

  1. To a food process (or blender) add garlic, white vinegar, mustard, tabasco, juice of half a lemon, honey and mayo. Blend until garlic is minced.
  2. Next, add olive oil and grated Parmesan cheese. Blend until everything is combined. Set aside.

Assemble the Salad

  1. To a large bowl add, chopped romaine lettuce, shaved parmesan, grated parmesan, homemade croutons and drizzle with dressing or serve on the side.

Notes

  • Makes 4-6 servings.
  • To Make Ahead: Prepare the dressing and refrigerate it in an airtight jar or container. Store the cooled croutons in an airtight container or storage bag at room temperature. Both will last for up to 1 week, but the croutons may start to lose their crunch after a couple of days.
  • To Store: If you think you may have leftovers, serve the dressing on the side. When ready to store, separate the croutons from the salad and store the dressing, croutons and salad in separate airtight containers. Refrigerate the dressing and salad, but leave the croutons on the counter. While the salad should be eaten within 2 days, the dressing and croutons will stay good for up to 1 week.

Keywords: caesar salad with dressing, how to make caesar salad, croutons in salad

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