Our Easy Gluten-Free Caesar Dressing recipe is perfect for weeknight salads, wraps, and more. No anchovy paste required!
One of my favorite ways to lean into fitting in more veggies and protein is to rely on flavor boosters, like rubs, marinades, seasonings, sauces, dressings, and dips. They make a big difference in how easy it is for me to get those veggies in or fit in enough protein. And (bonus!), they’re usually inexpensive and easy to make!
I’ve got several of these flavor boosters coming your way this year, but today I’m starting with a classic salad dressing recipe: Homemade Caesar Salad Dressing!
This thick, creamy dressing has been a favorite on salads for decades, and I get it! It tastes delicious! Salty, punchy, and full of flavor, caesar salad dressing is unlike any other.
Here’s what you need to make our gluten-free caesar dressing recipe (no anchovy paste required)…
Our Easy Caesar Salad Dressing Recipe, At A Glance:
Here’s What You need To Make Homemade Caesar Dressing:
- Good-Quality Mayonnaise. Mayo carries this dressing, giving the dressing a creamy base. The flavor of the mayo can peek through the other flavors in the dressing, so use top-quality mayo, like Hellmans or Best Foods (or a homemade mayo or paleo mayo, if you prefer!) for the best caesar dressing.
- Fresh Lemon Juice. Bottled lemon juice just won’t give you the same flavor as fresh squeezed lemon juice. Whenever possible, I recommend fresh lemon juice!
- Worcestershire Sauce. I prefer to make my Caesar dressing recipe without anchovy paste, since it’s not always readily available in grocery stores, and I can rarely get through a whole tube. Worcestershire sauce contains a small amount of anchovy, and adds umami flavor along with other savory, tangy notes to the dressing that make it feel VERY classic. Be sure your Worcestershire sauce is gluten-free, since many have soy sauce. Lea & Perrins is gluten-free!
- Dijon Mustard. Different brands of Dijon mustard have different levels of assertiveness. I prefer more mild Dijon brands, like Annie’s or Good & Gather. If your mustard is stronger, feel free to start small and add more, to taste.
- Fresh Garlic. Garlic adds a very punchy note to this caesar dressing recipe. If you don’t want to be overpowered by the flavor, feel free to start with 1/2 a clove and work your way up to 1 clove as desired. Mince it as finely as you can for the smoothest texture, or use frozen garlic for even finer texture.
- Salt & Pepper. Since we’re adding plenty of Parmesan cheese, you probably won’t need much salt, but keep it close by, since different brands of mayo, Worcestershire sauce, Parmesan, and Dijon all contain different amounts of salt. You may need a pinch! Then, you’ll need plenty of pepper to balance those flavors.
- Freshly Grated Parmesan Cheese. Again, if possible, I HIGHLY recommend grating the Parmesan cheese yourself, since it’ll have a finer, more delicate texture and blend in more smoothly. It’s also fluffier, so it won’t be as compact as pre-grated cheese. If you’re using thickly grated Parmesan or very fine powdery Parmesan, you’ll probably only need 3-4 Tablespoons instead of the full 1/3 cup.
In the original recipe, Caesar dressing was made at the table for restaurant guests by the chef. This included making mayonnaise from scratch! Since we’re making Caesar dressing for the home cook, I’m taking a simpler approach by using store-bought mayonnaise. If you want to get fancy, feel free to make your own! It’s easier than you’d think, made with an egg or raw egg yolk, oil, salt, lemon juice and/or vinegar, and Dijon.
How To MAke Gluten-Free Caesar Dressing, Step By Step:
- Prep Your Ingredients. If you haven’t already, grate the Parmesan cheese with a microplane zester and set aside. Measure all ingredients and have them ready to go.
- Start Your Dressing. In a mason jar, small bowl, or liquid measuring cup, combine mayonnaise, lemon juice, 1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce, 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard, 1/2 clove minced garlic, and the pepper. Whisk to combine.
- Add The Cheese. Mix in the Parmesan cheese and stir to combine.
- Taste And Adjust. Taste and add more Worcestershire sauce, Dijon mustard, garlic, salt, pepper, or Parmesan, as needed. (I like 1 teaspoon Worcestershire, 1 1/2 teaspoons Dijon, 1/8 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon pepper, and 1/2 clove garlic)
- Serve Or Store. Enjoy immediately, or store in an airtight container in the fridge 4-5 days.
Yummy Ways To Use This Salad Dressing
- Make Classic Caesar Salad! Of course, my favorite way to use homemade Caesar dressing is to make our gluten-free Caesar salad recipe. With crisp romaine lettuce, crunchy homemade croutons, and a little extra Parmesan, it’s completely delightful. Or, upgrade it to a full meal by adding some grilled chicken!
- Caesar Wraps. Toss grilled or cooked chicken, lettuce, and your favorite toppings (like tomato or other veggies) into a tortilla with caesar salad dressing. It makes a great lunch!
- Try It As A Sandwich Or Burger Spread. Spread it on a turkey sandwich, or add to a burger bun for Caesar-style chicken burgers or turkey burgers!
- Dip Veggies. Swap out the ranch for this punchy Caesar dressing. It makes a tasty veggie dip with baby bell peppers, grape tomatoes, carrot sticks, celery, cucumbers, and more.
FAQ + Tips And Tricks For The Best Gluten-Free Caesar Dressing:
How Long Does Homemade Caesar Dressing Last? If you made it with store-bought mayo, caesar dressing should keep in the fridge 4-5 days. If you’re using homemade mayonnaise, it’s best to eat this dressing within 2-3 days.
How To Thin Out Caesar Dressing. Caesar salad dressing is known for being thick. It’s actually supposed to be this way, since you toss the ingredients in a bowl to coat the lettuce leaves with the dressing. However, if you want it to be pourable so you can drizzle it on your salad at the table, just thin it out with a little water. Add just 1 teaspoon or so at a time until you reach your desired consistency.
Lighten It Up. This dressing is definitely on the heavier side, so I save it for delicious side salads, but if you want to lighten it up, you can swap out Greek yogurt for 1/4-1/2 of the mayo. It’ll change the flavor a bit, adding more tang and thickness, but will go a little lighter on calories or fat if that’s something you need.
Can I Make This Dairy-Free? Yes. You can swap out the Parmesan for vegan-style Parmesan shreds (like Follow Your Heart or Violife). The flavor won’t be exactly the same, but it’s a workable solution if you’re used to eating dairy-free cheese! Or, you can try this dairy-free caesar dressing recipe instead!
Where Did Caesar Salad Originate?
Caesar salad was named for the creator–Caesar Cardini, an Italian Restauranteur believed to have created the recipe for Hotel Caesar in Tijuana, Mexico in the 1920s. In the original recipe, the dressing was made with flair table-side, using olive oil, egg, lemon juice, anchovies or Worcestershire sauce, Dijon, Parmesan, garlic, and pepper. (Sources debate whether the original recipe contained anchovies or not, but the dressing has taken many variations over the years, with many recipes using anchovy paste or chopped anchovy fillets, others adding coddled eggs, some using dry mustard, etc.)
⭐ Don’t forget to leave a star review and comment below when you make our Caesar dressing recipe. I can’t wait to hear how it goes!Print