Bottled Caesar dressings may be convenient but they can’t hold a candle to traditional homemade Caesar dressing! My Caesar dressing is rich, creamy, and luscious with just enough garlic and anchovy to balance the olive oil and egg. This is Caesar how it was meant to be.
Many years ago (over 25!) when my husband and I were just dating we had a Caesar salad down in Mexico on vacation. They made it there in the traditional way, with egg, oil, garlic, and the rest all done tableside with flair.
Thus began my love affair with Caesar salads and my need to make the perfect one. I believe I’ve done so and I hope you agree. 🙂
Creamy Caesar Dressing
There are a few elements to proper Caesar salad. One which goes beyond a quick lunch or a barely remarked upon side salad. These elements are:
- Truly crisp and fresh romaine
- Parmigiano Reggiano
- Freshly made croutons
- Creamy authentic dressing
Since this salad is so simple (4 elements!) each one needs to shine. I just posted my Fried Croutons recipe to bring your crouton game to a new level. And I trust you to pick up some proper parmesan and fresh lettuce. So today I’m going to talk about what you need to make the best homemade Caesar dressing ever.
What ingredients do you need?
- Egg Yolk – while you can use the whole egg instead of just the yolk, I personally don’t like the texture of raw white so I always separate and use the yolk only
- Lemon Juice – a little to start and more later, and remember fresh is best!
- Mustard – this is the secret weapon of emulsions!
- Kosher Salt – a pinch with the egg yolk and more at the end
- Olive Oil – since I whisk my Caesar dressing, I love a good extra virgin olive oil (if you use a blender, you’re going to want to use mostly vegetable oil)
- Worcestershire Sauce – it’s not a Caesar without it
- Garlic – grated with a microplane
- Anchovies – not in the original but a must for what we expect a Caesar to taste like
And a secret ingredient – water! Once you’ve made the emulsion and adjusted the flavors, drip in water a little at time until your dressing is creamy and smooth. It makes all the difference!
How do you make it?
To make Caesar dressing whisk together an egg yolk with lemon juice, mustard, and salt. Slowly pour in the olive oil while whisking to create an emulsion. Add Worcestershire sauce, garlic, anchovies, and more salt to taste.
Tips for getting the emulsion right
I know (all too well!) that making emulsions like mayonnaise, aioli, bearnaise, and others can be tricky and simply not work, so I have a few tips that I’ve picked up over the years to help you get it right the first time.
Extra Tip: If you need to rest, stop adding oil, whisk for a few more seconds to make sure all the oil is incorporated, then stop and relax until you are ready to begin again.
** You want a wide 11-12 inch whisk like this Tovolo whisk.
Storing Egg Based Dressing
Can you freeze caesar dressing?
No, you cannot. Freezing and thawing a homemade dressing with egg yolk would cause it to break and you’d have an oil slick instead of dressing.
How long does it last in the fridge?
For best results and flavor, use the dressing within one day. However, you can keep it for 2-3 days if kept chilled and in a covered container.
Recipes using Caesar dressing
If you try my recipe for Homemade Caesar Dressing, I would love to hear from you in the comments with your experience and rating! And I’m happy to answer any questions you might have.
– Happy Eating, Annemarie
Classic Homemade Caesar Dressing
- 1 egg yolk
- 1-2 tbsp lemon juice, divided, 1 tsp to start and the rest later
- 1 tsp dijon mustard
- 1/2 tsp kosher salt
- 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 2-3 tsp Worcestershire sauce
- 1 tsp anchovy paste, or minced anchovies
- 1 clove garlic, finely minced or grated
- In a medium bowl, whisk the egg yolk with 1 tsp of the lemon juice, the mustard, and a pinch of salt.
- As you whisk, the color of the yolk will change to light yellow and then darken again. Once it darkens, it's time to begin pouring in the oil. This will take 20-30 seconds.
- Pour the oil in very slowly at first while whisking vigorously and consistently.
- Keep whisking and add the oil in a light, but steady, stream. (You can stop to rest as needed. Begin whisking again before adding more oil when you are ready to start.)
- Once the oil is all incorporated, add 2 tsp more lemon juice, 2 tsp Worcestershire sauce, anchovies, and garlic.
- Taste and adjust the seasonings, adding salt, lemon, and Worcestershire as needed.
- Now add cold water by small spoonfuls and whisk it in until the dressing lightens up and becomes pourable.
- Either use the dressing immediately or store covered in the refrigerator for up to one day.
- Doubling: You can increase the amount of oil to 1/2 cup with the single yolk if you want to make more dressing or use two egg yolks and double the recipe.
- Whisk: You will have the best results if you use a large (~11 inch) balloon whisk since you will find it easier to incorporate the oil.
- Olive Oil: Since I whisk instead of using a blender I do use extra virgin olive oil in the dressing. However, since EVOO can get bitter when mixed, you may want to use a blend of vegetable oil and olive oil.
- Stabilizing the bowl: Ways to stabilize the bowl as you whisk and pour include pressing the bowl between yourself and the counter, putting a kitchen towel around the base of the bowl, roping someone into helping, or using bowls with rubber rings on the bottom. (I use the bowls with the rubber rings.)