Chicken Caesar salad is just like a traditional Caesar, but with extra protein, making it perfect for a lunch or light evening meal. Caesar salads are a family favorite. I like to make a batch of this creamy dressing on the weekend so we can use it throughout the week. While a traditional Caesar salad is just romaine lettuce, this dressing is delicious on iceburg or red leaf as well.
Who invented the “Caesar salad”?
While one would assume that “Caesar” salad was named after Julius Caesar, it’s actually named after Caesar Cardini. Cardini was born in Italy, and became a successful restaurateur in Southern California. During Prohibition, Cardini opened a restaurant in Tijuana, Mexico, just across the border from San Diego in order to sell alcohol to his customers. (This post was originally published on June 24th, 2015. As an Amazon Affiliate, I earn commission on qualifying purchases)
His restaurant became popular with Hollywood celebrities, who. most likely helped make the Caesar salad “famous”. “According to legend, Caesar Cardini created the salad on July 4, 1924, when a busy holiday weekend had depleted his kitchen’s supplies.” He combined what ingredients he had on hand in the restaurant, and the Caesar salad was born! In spite of its south of the border heritage, this tangy dressing has become an American staple.
What’s in a Caesar salad?
Garlic, Parmesan cheese, garlic, anchovies, olive oil, lemon juice, kosher salt, and Worcestershire sauce are tossed in a large wooden bowl with crisp romaine lettuce, then topped with crunchy croutons and fresh black pepper.
Traditionally, raw egg yolks are used, however unless you know where your eggs are sourced, I recommend always coddling or tempering the egg yolks to be safe. Because of this extra step, I created this recipe to avoid the “raw egg” problem.
Over time, various chefs and restaurants have added their own adaptations to the classic Caesar salad recipe, adding other ingredients such as grilled chicken or sliced steak. I find this is an excellent way to use up leftover rotisserie chicken.
Caesar dressing ingredients, (without raw eggs)
This creamy Caesar salad dressing has all the components of a traditional Caesar dressing except the raw eggs. Since mayonnaise is made with egg yolks, using a few tablespoons, will give the dressing the creamy texture and aid in emulsification. I only use mayonnaise made from avocado or olive oil, (no seed, soy, or vegetable oils).
- Use fresh lemon juice. This is no time to use bottled lemon juice. Actually, there really is no good time to use it.
- Worcestershire sauce
- While anchovy fillets are traditional, I use anchovy paste when I don’t want to open a whole tin. Although, these jarred anchovy fillets are great if you just need a couple.
- Use real garlic cloves, again, this is no time to use jarred garlic, garlic powder, or garlic salt.
- Dijon mustard. I keep a good quality Dijon on had for a variety of uses, but it’s key in a good vinaigrette dressing.
- Parmesan cheese; if you can’t find Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, find a good quality parmesan cheese and grate it yourself.
- Salt. I always use kosher, Himalayan or Real Salt, not table salt.
- Black pepper
What kind of chicken is used in a chicken Caesar salad?
This is entirely up to you! Do you have leftover or rotisserie chicken? Maybe you grilled chicken the night before? Poached boneless skinless chicken breasts are also a good option! This simple Lemon Roasted Chicken makes the moistest chicken you’ll ever taste, and would be delicious in this salad. Or just use your favorite chicken recipe.
I would not recommend using chicken thighs though. I love chicken thighs, but feel that white meat chicken is the best option for this chicken Caesar salad recipe, and pretty much any chicken salad recipe! How you serve the chicken is also your choice. If the chicken is grilled, you might want to use chicken slices to show off the grill marks. If you’ve got a lot of small leftover pieces, dice or shred it.
Assembling chicken Caesar salad
Once you’ve got the homemade dressing ready, assembling the salad is a breeze. Homemade croutons take just a few minutes and are infinitely tastier than their store-bought counterpart!
- In a food processor, pulse or blend the mayonnaise, anchovy fillets or paste, Worcestershire sauce, Dijon mustard, lemon juice, salt and black pepper.
- Add crushed garlic and pulse a few more times.
- Slowly add olive oil in a steady stream so that dressing will emulsify.
- Store dressing in a jar, or airtight container, in the refrigerator until ready to use.
- Toss the romaine leaves with about 1/2 cup in a large bowl just until coated.
- Add the chicken and more salad dressing if needed.
- Divide between four salad plates or bowls and garnish with additional anchovy fillets, parmesan cheese and croutons.
- Store any leftover dressing in the refrigerator in an airtight container.
Chicken Caesar Salad
Caesar Salad Dressing
- 1/2 cup mayonnaise
- 2 1/2 teaspoons anchovy paste or 1 or 2 anchovy filets
- 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- 3 Tablespoons lemon juice
- 1/2 teaspoon each kosher salt and black pepper
- 2 cloves garlic crushed
- 1/3 cup olive oil
- 1/4 cup finely grated fresh parmesan cheese
Chicken Caesar Salad
- 1 head Romaine lettuce torn or cut into bite sized pieces.
- 16 ounces cooked chicken breast grilled, rotisserie or poached.
- 1/4 cup additional shredded or shaved parmesan
- 4 Anchovy filets (optional)
- 1/2 cup Croutons optional
Caesar Salad Dressing
- In a food processor fitted with a blade, blend first six ingredients, mayonnaise through salt and pepper.
- With motor running add crushed garlic cloves, 30 seconds or so to mince garlic.
- With motor running pour olive oil in a slow, steady stream until emulsified.
- Store in refrigerator in an airtight container for up to four days.
Chicken Caesar Salad
- In a large bowl, toss romaine lettuce gently, with 1/2 cup dressing until leaves are coated. Don't over dress! Add more dressing, if needed. Plate salad on four plates and add 4 ounces of cooked chicken, additional parmesan, croutons, and anchovy fillets.
- Makes approximately 3/4 cup
- Store in an airtight container for up to 4 days.
- nutritional value is based on 4 servings, with leftover dressing.
- Estimate 4 ounces of chicken per person for a light meal.
- Store leftover dressing in an airtight container for up to 5 days.
- Makes 3/4 cup dressing.
Looking for more salads and dressings?
Green Goddess Dressing with Basil
allie @ Through Her Looking Glass says
Great dressing Cynthia. I was glad to learn the tip of replacing the eggs with mayo so it keeps longer! Woo hoo! Unfortunately I don’t have a teen in the house who wants to eat Caesar salad every day for lunch. Wish I did. I have four boys who try to escape salads as often as possible. Perhaps this dressing will win them over….
Michelle @ A Dish of Daily Life says
I can’t tell you how much I love a good caesar salad! I’m trying your recipe! It looks awesome!
Taylor Kiser says
Looks so delicious! Need to have this for lunch very soon!
Jenny | Honey and Birch says
A caesar salad phase is a great phase – one of my favorite salads!
WANDA LE BEAU says
THIS SOUNDS DELICIOUS. I AM GOING TO TRY IT. THANK YOU.
I use mayo too. Takes the worry out.
mimi rippee says
Sounds wonderful! Don’t you love tubular anchovies?!!! I think they stay fresher in the tube. Although I also like whole anchovies in a jar, not a can. In any case, Happy New Year!
Hi I love this recipe especially since you’ve introduced me to a diary free Mayo-alternative!!
Though if I’m using the tubular anchovies how much would you recommend adding?
Thanks again for the awesome post
I use the tube of anchovies and squeeze out a teaspoon or two depending on how salty you like it.
I admit I haven’t made this dressing, because it came up in my search results for an egg-free Caesar dressing. Your title is quite misleading, given that it is made with mayo, and inherently has eggs in it. The eggs might not be raw, but it is in no way an egg-free dressing.
Sorry it’s misleading to you. I’m trying to figure it a way of saying “Caesar salad dressing without RAW egg yolks…since a traditional Caesar salad dressing uses egg yolks, oil, and lemon juice, (which is basically mayonnaise), I’ve substituted mayonnaise. For those who are not concerned with salmonella or are sure where there eggs come from, raw eggs would be a better choice. I was trying to give people an alternative to raw eggs. Sorry that was confusing.
Christina Conte says
Unfortunately, unless we have our own chickens or know someone who does, we really shouldn’t be using raw eggs as they do in Europe. This is a great alternative for us in the US. Thanks for sharing!
right? I need some chickens!
Will definitely make again! I initially wanted to make a recipe but it called for raw eggs, even though this used Mayo (and therefore, eggs) I felt a lot safer pulling out the Hellman’s than two raw eggs yolks! Great recipe!
thank you. you can totally make it with raw eggs if you temper them over hot water…I find this way much easier!
This is a great salad recipe to serve when entertaining guests. Definitely restaurant quality! Thanks for sharing.
Sara Welch says
This was everything a gourmet salad should be, and then some! Quick, easy and delicious; definitely a new favorite “go-to” salad recipe!
Diana Reis says
Delicious recipe and mayo makes this prep quick and easy.
Shadi Hasanzadenemati says
Thank you so much for sharing this dressing . I can’t wait to try .
This was a nice hearty twist on a regular ceasar salad! It was super satisfying and great for lunch!
Shadi Hasanzade says
Love the flavors of this salad! Perfect for summer and the dressing is spot on!