Classic Caesar Salad Recipe

Classic Caesar Salad – My all-time favorite salad  

To many, including myself, this is the “King of Salads”.  If a restaurant offers Classic Caesar Salad on the menu, I usually request it when dining out.  If you have never experienced “the show” that goes with the table side presentation, you do not know what you have missed.  What an opportunity for a waiter to show off his stuff, mixing and whisking to the delight of the patrons.

History:  Caesar Salad is named after chef Caesar Cardini (1896-1956) who created it in his restaurant in Tijuana, Mexico in 1924.  It became popular in Hollywood and is now considered an American classic.  The salad consists of greens (classically romaine lettuce) with a garlic vinaigrette dressing.

In the 1930s, Caesar Salad was voted by the master chefs of the International Society of Epicures in Paris as the “greatest recipe to originate from the Americas in fifty years.”  In the 1970s, Cardini’s daughter said that the original recipe included whole lettuce leaves, which were meant to be lifted by the stem and eaten with the fingers; coddled eggs; and Italian olive oil.  Learn more about the history Caesar Salad.

Classic Caesar Salad

Check out Linda’s wonderful Low Fat and Low Calorie Caesar Salad Recipe (this is the recipe that I usually make and serve to my family and guests).

Please check out my Prime Rib Dinner Menu and Pork Loin Dinner Menu which includes this fantastic Classic Caesar Salad.

Classic Caesar Salad
Prep Time
30 mins
Cook Time
10 mins
Total Time
40 mins
Course: Lunch, Salad
Cuisine: Mexican
Keyword: classic caesar salad recipe
Servings: 4 side salads
  • 1/2 cup croutons,  homemade, (see directions below)
  • 1 egg, coddled, (see directions below)
  • 1 to 2 cloves garlic, finely-chopped, (with inner green germ removed - the sprouts add an unpleasant bitterness)
  • 1 to 2 fillet anchovy, mashed**
  • 1 pinch salt, coarse
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice***, (1/2 lemon) freshly-squeezed 
  • 3 drops Worcestershire sauce
  • 6 tablespoons olive oil, extra virgin
  • 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese (Parmigiano Reggiano), freshly-grated, divided
  • 2 to 3 heads Romaine lettuce, hearts and tender leaves only
  • black pepper, coarsely-ground 
How to make croutons:
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. 

  2. Trim the crust from day-old peasant-style bread (Italian or French bread) and dice into 3/4-inch cubes.

  3. Toss with enough olive oil to coat, but not drench. Sprinkle lightly with salt and spread out on a rimmed baking sheet.

  4. Bake approximately 10 to 15 minutes or until just golden brown. Halfway through the baking time, give the pan a shake to make sure the croutons toast evenly. Remove from oven and completely cool croutons. Store in an airtight container.

    Homemade Croutons
How to coddle eggs:
  1. Coddling causes the yolk to become slightly thickened and warm. Bring a very fresh egg to room temperature by immersing it in warm water (otherwise it might crack when coddled). 

  2. Place the egg in a small bowl or mug and pour boiling water around the egg until it is covered. Let stand for exactly 1 minute. Immediately run cold water into the bowl until the egg can be easily handled; set aside.

    hands of a chef cracking an egg into a glass preparing to coddle
How to make Caesar Salad dressing:
  1. In a bowl, whisk together the garlic, anchovy, and salt until blended. 

  2. Whisk in the lemon juice and Worcestershire sauce. 

    Whisk in the coddled egg until the mixture is thick, approximately 1 minute (this enable the lemon juice to "cook" the eggs). 

  3. Slowly drizzle in the olive oil with one hand while vigorously whisking the mixture with the other. 

  4. When the dressing is well combined, whisk in 2 tablespoons of the Parmesan cheese.

How to assemble Caesar Salad:
  1. Separate the Romaine leaves and discard the coarse outer leaves. Wash, drain, and pat with paper towels or spin dry the remaining leaves. 

    Note: Lettuce should be prepared ahead of time and refrigerated until ready to use. Tear into bite-size pieces and set aside.

    romaine lettuce leaf ready to be cleaned
  2. In a large wooden salad bowl, add 1/3 of the prepared Caesar Salad Dressing and toss with the croutons until well coated.

    Add the Romaine lettuce pieces and the remaining dressing; toss until coated. 

    lettuce leaves, croutons and Caesar Salad dressing tossed and ready to serve
How to serve Caesar Salad
  1. Divide the salad between chilled plates and sprinkle each salad with the remaining 2 tablespoons Parmesan cheese and coarsely-ground black pepper. 

    Serve immediately with chilled forks.

    Makes 2 to 4 servings (depending on serving sizes).

    salad plate of caesar salad
Recipe Notes

* Coddled egg may be substituted with 1/2 cup mayonnaise. If doing this substitution, reduce some of the olive oil.

** Use only good-quality Spanish or Portuguese anchovies in your dressing. Anchovy paste may be substituted (approximately two inches squeezed from the tube will provide the equivalent taste of one anchovy fillet). More anchovy fillets may be added according to your personal taste.

*** Fresh lemon juice is essential. Some chefs squeeze the lemon through a cheesecloth to ensure that only the juice ends up in the salad. If you are careful to keep the lemon seeds out of the salad, a simple squeeze will do.


Anchovy Salads & Dressings    Green Salads   

Comments and Reviews

5 Responses to “Classic Caesar Salad Recipe”

  1. Marily Shupe

    AmAzInG, AmazeBalls, Holy Moly, Zowie…need I say more. I’ve enjoyed Caesar Salad (take it or leave it), but this recipe has made me a lover of. First try is always overwhelming (coddling the egg), but it is such a simple recipe. I’ll never settle for less. Thank you for sharing.

  2. Jeff

    hello. Ive used your Caesar recipe for years. I’ve shared it with other in the past. I just looked for it, and I see that it’s no longer posted. The recipe section of the Caesar page says: [amd-zlrecipe-recipe:13865] whatever that means..! Is there anyway I can access the recipe..? Thank you.

    • Nancy

      Jeff, thank you for letting me know! We converted recipes to a new format and this one got lost. I have corrected it now. Here’s the link: Thank you so much for your compliment on our Caesar recipe and thank you for being a long-time guest to What’s Cooking America. – Nancy

  3. Lila

    Hey great information, Can i Use extra virgin olive oil & any other alternative of Parmesan cheese.
    Please reply

    • Whats Cooking America

      Yes the recipe already calls for extra virgin olive oil and you can you any cheese you prefer.


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