Caesar salad is a New World invention, not named for the Roman emperor but an Italian immigrant supplementing depleted dressings stores at his San Diego restaurant in the 1920s. Comprised of a simple blend of lettuce, parmesan, and croutons, the real star of the show in a Caesar salad is the salad dressing.
Italian immigrant and restaurant owner Caesar Cardini invented the dressing out of necessity during a busy Fourth of July weekend that drained his restaurant’s stock of salad dressing.
Cardini whipped up a tasty creation tableside using the ingredients available to him at the time.
Caesar salad is now on the menu at restaurants around the world, bridging culinary divides as a staple at American steakhouses, Italian restaurants, and even fast-food pizza menus.
It’s also a household staple, with dozens of brands of Caesar salad dressings sold in bottles at grocery stores.
Best Caesar Salad Dressings
With so many brands to choose from, I’ve created a list of the best Caesar salad dressings to help guide you to the tastiest decision.
Cardini’s Original Caesar Dressing
If the name sounds familiar, you’d be right to assume that this popular salad dressing comes from Caesar himself.
Caesar Cardini’s original 1924 recipe comes in a bottle branded with his first and last name!
Cardini’s Original Caesar Dressing supplements the original recipe with a few extra ingredients and preservatives but remains faithful to the tableside preparation that started it all.
Cardini’s Original Caesar contains ingredients including white wine vinegar, egg yolk, parmesan cheese, lemon juice, garlic, anchovies, tamarind, and more.
I was surprised by the addition of tamarind, but it adds a lovely tang and sweetness that balances the saltiness from the anchovies.
BRIANNAS Asiago Caesar Salad Dressing
Originating in Austin, Texas, in 1982, Briannas Fine Salad Dressings is a small-batch family kitchen dedicated to creating a superior line of salad dressings for consumers.
Briannas offers a long line of salad dressings that ranges from tried-and-true classics to creative and unique dressings.
Their Asiago Caesar salad dressings lie in the latter camp of innovative creations.
It is a vegetarian and no-sugar-added dressing that uses Asiago cheese instead of parmesan and a vegan Worcestershire instead of anchovies.
I have plenty of vegetarian friends, so Briannas’ dressing is the perfect recipe for dinner parties with guests of all dietary preferences.
Girard’s Classic Caesar Dressing
Founded by French chef Pierre Girard in San Francisco in 1939, Girard’s salad dressings are only a decade older than Caesar salad dressing!
Chef Girard started producing French salad dressing to wide acclaim, expanding the line to include countless high-quality dressings over its impressive 80-plus-year tenure.
Girard’s Classic Caesar dressing is as classic as they come and nearly identical to Cardini’s original recipe.
Not only is this dressing simple and delicious, but its bottle is a lovely triangular prism shape that adds to its refined image.
Newman’s Own Caesar Dressing
Newman founded the now massive company as a charity foundation, donating all the profits from his line of packaged and frozen foods to numerous charities.
Since its founding in 1982, Newman’s Own has donated over 570 million dollars to charity.
This noble cause alone makes Newman’s Own my pick for the best Caesar salad dressing, to say nothing of its delicious, all-natural ingredients.
This dressing has no preservatives and is one of the only brands to use olive oil, anchovy paste, and fresh garlic.
Ken’s Steakhouse Creamy Caesar Dressing
Ken’s Steakhouse is a family-owned Massachusetts restaurant that was a beloved fixture in its local neighborhood for both its steaks and incredible house-made salad dressings.
Ken’s Steakhouse soon turned into a Ken’s Foods, mass producing a line of the crowd-pleasing dressings they once made in the basement of their steakhouse.
Ken’s Steakhouse Creamy Caesar dressing contains similar ingredients to the classic recipe, but this dressing lacks mustard, making it less tangy and spicy but instead creamier.
I enjoy this dressing for a more decadent drizzle. It tastes good mixed with blue cheese as a topping for a filet mignon.
Happy Belly Creamy Caesar Dressing
From books to salad dressings, is there anything Amazon isn’t capable of?
Joking aside, Amazon’s purchase of Whole Foods has equipped the company with all the resources necessary to create high-quality packaged foods.
A case in point is the Amazon brand Happy Belly Creamy Caesar dressing, containing the same ingredients as Cardini’s brand.
Of course, every brand has its proprietary recipe with different proportions.
The Happy Belly dressing contains a dash of olive oil and lemon juice, with a stronger savory flavor from the anchovies and parmesan.
Amazon’s monopoly means that they can outprice any competitor, so their Cream Caesar dressing is one of the cheapest options on the market. Plus, you’ll get it delivered right to your door!
Ken’s Steakhouse Lite Caesar Dressing
Caesar salad dressing is decidedly not a low-calorie or low-fat salad dressing, hence its reputation as creamy and decadent.
If you’re looking to cut calories or lower your fat intake, you can still savor a creamy Caesar dressing, thanks to Ken’s Steakhouse Lite Caesar dressing.
Ken’s Steak House brand makes various ingredient substitutions to produce a salad dressing with less than half the calories of its regular Cream Caesar dressing.
This version doesn’t have egg yolk and uses skim-milk Romano cheese instead of parmesan.
I was thrown off by its vinaigrette-like color, but it tastes just as luxurious as the original recipe.
Newman’s Own Creamy Caesar Dressing
Another product from the Newman’s Own brand, the Newman’s Own Creamy Caesar dressing upholds its all-natural, preservative-free, and noble promise with an even creamier take on the original Caesar dressing.
The creamy Caesar Dressing contains even more egg yolks, making it extra thick.
It also diverges from the original recipe by using Worcestershire sauce instead of anchovy paste.
The extra egg yolks make a world of difference, almost adding a mayonnaise-like thickness.
A little goes a long way, and it’s yet another salad dressing variety that you can feel good about buying, knowing your dollars go to a charitable cause.
Ken’s Chef’s Reserve Creamy Caesar With Roasted Garlic
A third variety from the family-owned Kens Foods, Ken’s Chef’s Reserve Creamy Caesar with Roasted Garlic is fine dining material.
Roasted garlic is a deliciously sweet and creamy ingredient that instantly ups the game on any recipe, from mashed potatoes to soup.
Ken’s Chef’s Reserve Caesar has both dried garlic and roasted garlic puree with a splash of lemon.
All other ingredients reflect those found in Ken’s Steakhouse Caesar dressing. I think that you can never have too much garlic, so this double-garlic dressing is right up my alley.
Plus, roasted garlic has such a different flavor and texture than regular garlic that they might as well be different foods altogether.
Marzetti Supreme Caesar
The Marzetti company is older than Caesar dressing by nearly 30 years, originating in 1896 in Columbus, Ohio.
One thing the Marzetti company has in common with Caesar dressing is that its founder is an Italian immigrant and restaurant owner herself.
Like Cardini, Teresa Marzetti opened a restaurant whose salad dressings were so delicious that the top story of the restaurant became a salad dressing factory.
Marzetti Supreme Caesar continues the legacy of Marzetti’s famous salad dressings.
I like that this recipe offers two kinds of cheese and uses subtly sweet red wine vinegar.
Marie’s Creamy Caesar
The most unconventional dressing on my list, Marie’s Creamy Caesar, is true to its name, adding actual dairy cream products to the standard Caesar dressing.
Marie’s is a salad dressing company founded by Seattle café owner Marie Nordquist in 1959. According to Marie’s, Nordquist’s café is home to the original blue cheese dressing recipe.
Perhaps this explains why Marie’s Creamy Caesar dressing shares key ingredients with blue cheese dressing, including buttermilk and sour cream.
The motto at Marie’s is “unapologetically bold.” I can safely say that Marie’s Creamy Caesar dressing boldly goes where no other Caesar dressing on my list has ever gone.
Best Caesar Salad Dressings
- Cardini’s Original Caesar Dressing
- BRIANNAS Asiago Caesar Salad Dressing
- Girard’s Classic Caesar Dressing
- Newman’s Own Caesar Dressing
- Ken’s Steakhouse Creamy Caesar Dressing
- Happy Belly Creamy Caesar Dressing
- Ken’s Steak House Lite Ceasar Dressing
- Newman’s Own Creamy Caesar Dressing
- Ken’s Chef’s Reserve Creamy Caesar With Roasted Garlic
- Marzetti Supreme Caesar
- Marie’s Creamy Caesar
They say that necessity is the mother of invention. This age-old adage rings true for the creation of Caesar salad. Caesar Cardini used creativity and a passion for food to conjure a salad dressing from leftover pantry staples.
Today, his legacy for creativity lives on through a myriad of Caesar dressing brands that honor the classic recipe while adding a proprietary twist of their own.
Whether you want Cardini’s classic recipe or a novel take on it, you’ll find the best Caesar salad dressing options on my above list.
Check out some amazing salad toppings to add to your classic Caesar salad!
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