Caesar Dressing (Easy, Delicious, All-Natural)


As much as I like innovating in the kitchen, with plenty of recipes here to prove it, you might also know I like paying homage to originals. Take my garlic dill pickle or my Napa kimchi recipes for instance. The thing for me is not to just make another traditional iteration of something already so commonplace, but to try to think about and work on developing the recipe (the ingredients plus the process and even equipment) to make the very best possible version of that classic something. That can mean being really delicious, but I also make it an imperative for these recipes to be all-natural (meaning they can also easily be made organically as well) and straightforward.

When it comes to Caesar dressing, there’s so many options at the grocery stores but I have rarely had one that was really good. This may be true at restaurants as well (not all of which are even making their own). There’s some that are passable, sure. Tasty on wings or pizza… okay how could it not be? (Unless we’re really talking a bad dressing!)

But when it came to writing a Caesar dressing, I wanted it to at least live up to the one store dressing that I actually like and can get behind… that of the original creator of Caesar dressing, Caesar Cardini’s dressing! Although I generally find the generic version of many products is perfectly on par with the name brands, this is probably the only store-bought Caesar dressing I really enjoy. There’s a couple others I like (or are acceptable), but most are DRECK. Haha.

To give a really quick summary of the history, Caesar Cardini was born in Italy (and eventually was an Italian restaurant proprietor and chef in Mexico and the US). He developed the dressing for one of his Italian restaurants in Tijuana in 1924 (which is why you might have heard – and been skeptical – that Caesar dressing originated in Mexico). By 1948, he trademarked the dressing in the US and was in the development of making it a more mass-produced product.

From there I’m not aware of the specifics enough to know how much the restaurant dressing (which, according to Cardini’s daughter was extremely simple) had to be adapted to the supermarket version, and how much it has further changed since then. But what I’d like to get across is that even the delicious Cardini’s dressing – in its current form anyway – has some awful ingredients:

Soybean oil. Sodium benzoate. Potassium sorbate. Guar gum. Disodium EDTA. Corn syrup.

You get the point.

I have closely considered the ingredients that go into this dressing that really make it delicious, and focused on those, while eliminating or reducing those which are used for preserving it or for unnecessary textural reasons. It’s true, my version won’t last as long as the store version. But it’s so good, it’s not going to last long anyway. What’s more, it is all-natural, just as I discussed at the outset, and can easily be made organically.

With that, let’s get to it! (My sourdough croutons recipe is in the works!)

Yield: Sufficient for a Caesar salad of 4 heads Romaine (feeds about 8-10); halve the recipe and use 2 heads Romaine for a family of 4-5

Shelf life: Without the yolk, the dressing is good for up to about ten days. If including the raw yolk, it is advised to consume within 4 days (refrigerated)



  • 1 cup mayonnaise (any will do, but preferably a high quality version; this is my simple, all-natural 5-ingredient paleo recipe)
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 2 small garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 filet anchovy, drained & minced (or 1/2 tsp to 1 tsp anchovy paste, to taste)
  • 2 TBSP freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • Zest of 1 lemon 
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard (or sub with 1/2 tsp mustard powder) 
  • 1 tsp Worcestershire Sauce
  • A few dashes of Maggi Liquid Seasoning (or sub with Worcestershire)
  • 1 tsp white wine
  • 1 tsp tamarind paste (optional)
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp ground celery seed (optional)

Can combine with dressing or add to salad separately:

  • 1/2 cup freshly-grated parmesan cheese


1.) Prepare the ingredients as noted above and add to mixing bowl. Whisk very well, until the dressing is smooth and creamy. You may also add the parmesan cheese and mix again until evenly distributed.

Alternately, you may toss the salad with the dressing and then toss again with the parmesan (or put half the parmesan in the dressing and the other half toss in after the dressing). I like to toss in at least some of the cheese after the dressing and then top the salad with some reserved parmesan. I find that the texture and flavor of the parmesan is more pronounced this way, but it will add a few more minutes to the process.

Notes: If you use the tamarind paste, which offers a wonderful tangy nuance to the flavor, it can be very thick. In order to thin it for easy distribution into the dressing, make sure it is at room temp. Then you can combine it in a small bowl with the liquids (white wine, lemon juice, and Worcestershire Sauce) and mash it up with a spoon until it is loose and pliable.

Want to make your own delicious all-natural croutons too? Maybe from your own homemade sourdough bread? Here’s my recipe.

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