Caesar Cardini’s Original Caesar Salad Recipe

I am not a huge salad person, but when I find a salad that I love, I go all out in unabashed foodie fangirl passion. On the very top of my all-time favorites, food-wise, is the Original Caesar Salad. The International Society of Epicures in Paris named the Caesar Salad “the greatest recipe to originate from the Americas in 50 years”, and I am quite inclined to agree!
My love for a great Caesar Salad runs so deep, that I find myself taking it personally when people erroneously assume the original recipe requires anchovies in the dressing, or when they recommend as “the best” version some knock off bottle of dressing. (Not really, but I do get a foodie eye-twitch, haha!)
Now, don’t get me wrong. I will enjoy a random restaurants Caesar salad knock-off just as well as the next gal, but nothing can top the original recipe, straight from the source.


The Origin of the Caesar Salad

In the 1920’s, Caesar Cardini, a European restaurateur, chef, and hotel owner was operating a chain of successful restaurants in California. His primary restaurants operated out of Sacramento and San Diego… that is, until the prohibition hit.
With booze being a major no-no in America, Cardini decided to open a new restaurant in Tijuana, Mexico, where all of his regulars (mostly rich Americans and Hollywood celebrities) would go to drink. In no time at all, business for restaurants in Tijuana were booming in the 1920s, and Cardini’s was one of the more prominent and successful of the “get yo drank on” crowd.
So! How did Caesar’s famous salad come into being? According to Caesar’s daughter, on July 4th, 1924, Caesar was running short on supplies due to an unexpected rush of customers. Faced with turning customers away, he concocted on the fly a salad and dressing out of some of the remaining ingredients he had lying around. The salad was rather simple and certainly not a main entrée, so he decided to get all fancy pants with the selling point that.. *drumroll*… This salad would be made TABLE-SIDE!
While the concept of being catered to table-side and watching the chef make a yummy salad all for your onesie certainly kept business booming that day, Caesar actually managed to whip up a freaking amazing salad, that has stood the test of time.


The salad took America, and soon, Europe, by storm. People began clamoring for the recipe, which prompted Caesar to move his family to Los Angeles in 1935 and focus on the production and marketing of his salad dressing which he trademarked in 1948.
While you can still hop on over to Tijuana and visit the Hotel Caesar to try the original salad, you don’t have to go to such drastic measures to get a taste of the real thing. After 1948, Caesar’s daughter took control of Caesar Cardini Foods Inc., and much later, the Cardini’s brand was sold, and is now owned by the T. Marzetti specialty salad dressing company. So the original Caesar Salad Dressing? Available at any supermarket today! (Click here to check out the salad dressing website.)
If buying the dressing in a bottle is a little too prole for your tastes, the good news is, the original dressing recipe was revealed in the 1970’s. As a child, Julia Child ate at Caesar Cardini’s restaurant in the 1920s and had a Caesar salad made by Caesar himself. 50 years later, she contacted Rosa Cardini (Caesar’s daughter) to get the original recipe for the Caesar Salad to put in her book. (Click here to see the original dressing recipe!)
Me? I am personally a little too impatient to make the dressing from scratch when I can just buy it, pre-made to perfection at the local supermarket. Hehe.
Oh! And all that “a real Caesar Salad has anchovies” rubbish? That came about when Caesar’s brother, Alex Cardini, eventually opened a chain of restaurants in Mexico City, where he also featured Caesar Salad on his menu. The only difference between his version and the traditional Caesar Salad? He added anchovies, (whyyyyyy?!) and this tweak is still a popular addition for Caesar Salads in many restaurants. (Blech!)
So how to you make an original Caesar Cardini Caesar Salad?


You Will Need

Bottle of Caesar Cardini’s Original Caesar Salad Dressing
Romaine Lettuce
Parmesan Cheese
Freshly Ground Pepper
Basically, chop your romaine into large pieces and toss with Cardini’s dressing, a splash of lemon juice and parmesan cheese. Top with croutons and freshly ground pepper, and serve!! Voila!! Tasty, tasty yummy, yummy originality! (If you want to take your foodie madness to the next level, you can make the salad in the original presentation form… do not chop the lettuce, but serve the romaine spears individually drizzled with the above ingredients!)


Have you tried an Original Caesar Salad? Interested in checking it out? Share below!

Gingi Freeman

Gingi is a photographer, cosplayer, amateur chef, crazy cat lady, anime otaku, bookworm, generic geek, world traveler, conservative Christian, homeschooler, devoted military wife and stay at home new mother of two little girls. Gingi blogs about anything and everything that is relevant to being a supermom, stay at home wife, homeschooler and geek girl! You can contact her at or via the contact form on her website at

56 thoughts on “Caesar Cardini’s Original Caesar Salad Recipe

    • 13 January, 2015 at 1:53 pm

      Mine too! And to top it off, it’s been one of my pregnancy cravings, lol!

  • 13 January, 2015 at 4:44 am

    That looks so amazing right now! I can’t wait to eat a salad when I get back to California!!!
    Melanie @

    • 13 January, 2015 at 1:54 pm

      Are you from Cali originally??

  • 13 January, 2015 at 12:33 pm

    A friend introduced me to Cardinis awhile back. Can’t get enough of it in our house. I go light on the dressing, but it is just a delicious taste that everyone in my family loves. I add grilled chicken in the summer and it is dinner:)

    • 13 January, 2015 at 1:55 pm

      YES, grilled chicken is the BEST topping… have you tried a grilled caeser salad?? I am planning on blogging about that soon(ish!)

  • 13 January, 2015 at 2:26 pm

    I didn’t know the origin of the Caesar salad – that is cool.

    my mom makes the best I’ve had – from scratch with an egg – garlic etc.

    • 13 January, 2015 at 2:29 pm

      Ohhhh, share the recipe!!

    • 13 January, 2015 at 7:30 pm

      It does!! Give it a try sometime! <3

  • 13 January, 2015 at 7:10 pm

    A caesar salad is always my family’s favorite. I like to cut my romaine in long thin pieces, and I have a slicer gadget that slices the parm really thin. I’ve had Cardini’s, but I usually use a different brand (sorry!) Now I’m hungry.

    • 13 January, 2015 at 7:31 pm

      Blasphemy!!! (I kid, I kid!) But if you haven’t yet, give Cardini’s a try! ^_^

  • 13 January, 2015 at 9:40 pm

    I’m not a fan of Caesar salads, mostly because in restaurants, they can vary so greatly. Now that I’ve learned this bit of history, and know the original can be had, I’m game to try it!

    • 13 January, 2015 at 9:54 pm

      I’ll make it next time you’re over!!

  • 14 January, 2015 at 4:10 am

    I love Caesar salad and this one looks fantastic! Great information, too!

    • 14 January, 2015 at 3:15 pm

      Thanks for commenting / stopping by! <3

  • 14 January, 2015 at 5:57 am

    I love caesar salad! We just got baby romaine lettuce from costco too, and now you got me crave for it! Thanks for sharing. 🙂

    • 14 January, 2015 at 3:14 pm

      hehe, romaine is one of my weaknesses.. pretty much my FAVORITE of the leafy greens, hehe… thanks for stopping by! <3

  • 14 January, 2015 at 8:34 am

    This salad looks lovely.
    I used to have it a lot before I went dairy free. I’m keen to try and vegan version now. I shall keep you posted on how I get on.
    Thanks so much for sharing 🙂

    • 14 January, 2015 at 3:14 pm

      I don’t know how in the world I could go dairy free, it is one of the main staples of my diet.. I am planning on going sugar free after I have the baby in a few weeks.. so we’ll see how I get on! haha.. I look forward to following your blog / journey! <3

    • 14 January, 2015 at 3:13 pm

      LOL, man, if that were in an option, I’d be in TROUBLE with all the food blogs I like to visit!! haha!

    • 14 January, 2015 at 3:11 pm

      Thanks!! It was!! ^_^

  • 14 January, 2015 at 2:07 pm

    Sometimes in the most stressful situation, we humans come up with cool creative ideas. Great example, The Caesar salad. =)
    I am drooling here, looks fantastic!
    btw I recognize final fantasy in the header. I loved the game! =P

    • 14 January, 2015 at 3:10 pm

      I wish when I am stressed out by dinner I made masterpieces.. I mostly just make something destined for the trash bin! hehehe… YAY!! I get so excited when people recognize what we are cosplaying, lol!

  • 14 January, 2015 at 4:00 pm

    This is my kind of salad…fresh and packed full of flavours. I need to make some soon too. Thanks for sharing!

    • 14 January, 2015 at 4:37 pm

      Yeah, it’s one of my favorites! <3

  • 14 January, 2015 at 4:48 pm

    Mm.. I’m with you! Not sure we need anchovies. Not sure why people call it the original!
    This post made me very hungry, especially reading about the history.

    • 14 January, 2015 at 5:13 pm

      Yeah.. don’t get me wrong, I think it tastes great with anchovies.. it just tastes WAY better without! 😉

  • 14 January, 2015 at 6:42 pm

    Mmmm Caesar salad, possibly the only salad that TASTES like dinner food! It is delicious and nutritious 😀 This looks fantastic Gingi 🙂 xx

    • 14 January, 2015 at 8:01 pm

      Right?! lol… Sometimes salads can just be so bland and leave you wanting more.. thanks for stopping by my blog!!! <3

  • 14 January, 2015 at 11:32 pm

    LOVE all that info, I didn’t know! Let’s face it though, it’s the croutons that make the salad, not the lettuce and not even the dressing and anchovies are a definite no no!

    • 15 January, 2015 at 2:18 am

      Hahaha, right?! I need to learn how to make some good croutons from scratch….

  • 15 January, 2015 at 2:22 am

    And I thought Caeser salad was somehow connected with emperor Caeser! 🙂
    Would love a bowl, but no anchovies, thankyou!

    • 15 January, 2015 at 2:36 am

      Yeah, the consensus seems to be no anchovies.. so I don’t understand how it’s gained so much prominence! lol!

    • 15 January, 2015 at 2:15 pm

      Yeah, I am a food history junkie! LOL..

  • 15 January, 2015 at 2:49 pm

    I can never resist a good Caesar salad. This one looks so fresh! Great backstory, too!

    • 15 January, 2015 at 2:50 pm

      Yeah, I’m a sucker for food history! ^_^

  • 16 January, 2015 at 12:13 am

    i’ve actually been eating a lot of caesar salad lately, might have to try adding lemon!

    • 16 January, 2015 at 12:19 am

      Ohhh, lemon is the BEST part! That and the croutons.. and the cheese.. and the dressing.. and the crisp romaine.. lol!

    • 16 January, 2015 at 1:55 pm

      Thanks! It’s my FAV! ^_^

    • 16 January, 2015 at 3:43 pm

      No problem!! If you see it at the store, give it a try sometime! ^_^

  • 16 January, 2015 at 3:20 pm

    Caesar salad is definitely one of my favorites! Yum! Now I might have to make this as part of my dinner tonight! 😉

    <3 Shannon
    Upbeat Soles

    • 16 January, 2015 at 3:44 pm

      I eat this salad far more than I’d like to confess!! hehe! ^_^

    • 17 January, 2015 at 6:07 pm

      Yes, it is SUPER yummy! ^_^

  • 20 January, 2015 at 9:55 pm

    This looks really nice. The added orange I am sure adds some freshness.

    • 20 January, 2015 at 9:56 pm

      I assume you mean lemon? And yes, it does! hehe! <3

  • 20 January, 2015 at 10:26 pm

    Hi! Wow, it’s such a long time since I’ve had a Caesar salad and your post has left me wondering why. Great to read about the history!

    • 20 January, 2015 at 10:54 pm

      It’s a yummy salad.. I am thinking about going to make myself one right now actually! haha! ^_^

    • 22 January, 2015 at 5:56 pm

      Great!! Thanks for following, I look forward to following you too! <3

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