anchovies in caesar dressing

Are There Anchovies in Caesar Dressing? – Complete Guide

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Caesar salad is probably the most popular salad served in restaurants all over the world today. Made primarily of Romaine lettuce, what makes the salad stand out is Caesar dressing. Tossed in this creamy dressing, the salad tastes delicious and is touted by many as their comfort food.

What is Caesar dressing made with, though? Does it really have anchovies in it? Let’s find out!

So, are there anchovies in Caesar dressing? Yes, authentic Caesar dressing has anchovies or anchovy paste as a key ingredient. It gives the dressing a fishy, umami flavor that really ties it together.

Read on to find out more about anchovies in Caesar dressing, how it affects the taste of the dressing, whether some popular brands of Caesar dressing have anchovies in them, and how you can make Caesar dressing without anchovies at home.

Does All Caesar Dressing Have Anchovies?

Anchovies are small, shiny, saltwater fish native to the Mediterranean and the Black Sea. They are generally 5 to 8 inches long and have an intense flavor, which is why they are used in small amounts.

Anchovies are popularly used in the culinary world to provide an umami flavor and add depth to dishes. They can be found in dishes such as pizza, pasta, and sandwiches, but their most notable use remains in Caesar dressing.

While there are several variations of the recipe, the authentic recipe for Caesar dressing calls for anchovies or anchovy paste. It gives the dressing a hard-to-replicate umami flavor and is often found in all the popular brands of ready-made Caesar dressing.

However, if you are someone who dislikes the taste of anchovies or wishes to avoid them due to dietary restrictions, there are ways to make the dressing without using anchovies. It will taste slightly different but will be delicious nonetheless.

Ingredients List for Popular Caesar Dressings

Caesar dressing is an important part of making Caesar salad. If you ask us, it’s the dressing that gives it its delicious flavor!

anchovies in caesar dressing

Due to its popularity, there are several brands of Caesar dressing available in the market these days. Not only are they delicious but also make it super easy to whip up a Caesar salad at home in no time!

Here are some of the most popular store-bought Caesar dressings along with their ingredients. You’ll notice that most of them have anchovies or anchovy paste in them. There are, however, a few great options that make do without the fishy ingredient. Let’s find out which ones.

Caesar Dressing BrandIngredients ListDoes It Have Anchovies?
Cardini’s Original Caesar DressingSoybean Oil, Water, White Wine Vinegar, Parmesan Cheese (Part-Skim Milk, Cheese Culture, Salt, Enzymes), Egg Yolk, Distilled Vinegar, Salt, Garlic, Spice, Lemon Juice Concentrate, Mustard Seed, Natural Flavor, Onion, Xanthan Gum, Corn Syrup, Potassium Sorbate (Added to Maintain Freshness), Anchovies, Calcium Disodium EDTA Added to Protect Flavor, Celery Seed, Tamarind.Yes
Ken’s Steak House Creamy Caesar DressingSoybean Oil, Water, Distilled Vinegar, Egg Yolk, Parmesan Cheese (Pasteurized Part-Skim Milk, Cheese Cultures, Salt, Enzymes), Salt, Contains Less Than 2% Of Olive Oil, Garlic, Sugar, Lemon Juice Concentrate, Spice, Natural Flavor, Egg, Titanium Dioxide (Color), Onion, Xanthan Gum, Potassium Sorbate And Sodium Benzoate (Preservatives), Propylene Glycol Alginate, Molasses, Lactic Acid, Corn Syrup, Caramel Color, Garlic, Calcium Disodium EDTA (To Protect Flavor), Tamarind, Celery Seed, Anchovies, Maltodextrin.Yes
Briannas Asiago Caesar Salad DressingCanola Oil, Water, Rice Vinegar, Asiago Cheese (Pasteurized Milk, Cheese Cultures, Salt, Enzymes, Powdered Cellulose (To Prevent Caking)), Balsamic Vinegar, Garlic Puree (Garlic, Citric Acid), Egg Yolk Powder, Salt, Cane Sugar, Worcestershire Sauce (Water, Distilled Vinegar, Soy Sauce (Water, Salt, Hydrolyzed Soy Protein, Corn Syrup, Caramel Color, Potassium Sorbate [Preservative]), Sugar, Corn Syrup, Tamarind Extract, Caramel Color, Spices, Salt, Dried Garlic, Dried Onion, Citric Acid, Xanthan Gum, Natural Flavors, Potassium Sorbate [Preservative]), Spices, Dijon Mustard (Distilled Vinegar, Water, Mustard Seed, Sea Salt, White Wine, Citric Acid, Tartaric Acid, Spices), Natural Flavors, Sodium Benzoate (To Preserve Freshness), Xanthan Gum, Rosemary Oleoresin (Antioxidant), Mixed Tocopherols (Antioxidant-Vitamin E).No
Girard’s Classic Caesar DressingCanola and soybean, oil, water, parmesan cheese (part-skim milk, cheese culture, salt, enzymes), white wine vinegar, distilled vinegar, salt, egg yolk, sugar, garlic, anchovies, lemon juice concentrate, mustard seed, spice, citric acid, xanthan gum, onion, molasses, potassium sorbate added to maintain freshness, yeast extract, calcium disodium EDTA added to protect flavor, tamarind, natural flavor.Yes
Newman’s Own Caesar DressingCanola Oil, Water, Distilled Vinegar, Romano Cheese (Pasteurized Cow’s Milk, Cheese Cultures, Salt, Enzymes), Apple Cider Vinegar, Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Sugar, Anchovy Paste (Cured Anchovies, Salt, Water), Less than 2% of: Sea Salt, Garlic, Mustard Flour, Black Pepper, Oregano (Dried), Cayenne Pepper Sauce (Distilled Vinegar, Red Pepper, Salt), Xanthan Gum (as a Thickener), Paprika and Annatto Extracts (for Color).Yes
Marzetti Supreme CaesarSoybean Oil, Water, Parmesan And Romano Cheese (Part Skim Milk, Cheese Cultures, Salt, Enzymes), Red Wine And Distilled Vinegars, Egg Yolk, Salt, Sugar, Lemon Juice Concentrate, Dried Garlic, Mustard Seed, Spice, Xanthan Gum, Yeast Extract, Anchovies, Molasses, Tamarind, Natural Flavor.Yes
Marie’s Creamy CaesarSoybean Oil, Water, Egg Yolks, Sour Cream (Cultured Nonfat Milk, Cream), Romano Cheese (Pasteurized Milk, Cheese Culture, Salt, Enzymes), Distilled Vinegar, Contains Less Than 2% Of Sugar, Salt, Spices (Includes Mustard), Cultured Buttermilk, Garlic Juice, Onion Juice, Natural Flavors (Includes Milk), Lemon Juice Concentrate, Anchovy, Xanthan Gum, Olive Oil.Yes
Daiya Creamy Caesar DressingWater, Expeller Pressed Canola Oil, White Vinegar, Cane Sugar, Salt, Chickpea Protein, Natural Flavors, Cultured Dextrose, Lactic Acid, Xanthan Gum, Spices, Onion.No
Panera Caesar DressingSoybean Oil, Water, Egg Yolk, Worcestershire Sauce (Distilled White Vinegar, Anchovies, Garlic, Molasses, Onion, Salt, Sugar, Water, Chili Pepper Extract, Cloves, Natural Flavorings, Tamarind Extract), Red Wine Vinegar, Garlic (Garlic, Water, Citric Acid), Garlic Juice (Garlic, Vinegar, Salt), Anchovy Paste (Anchovies, Salt, Water), Contains Less Than 2% Of Onion Juice, Mustard (Distilled Vinegar, Water, Mustard Seed, Salt, Turmeric, Paprika, Spice, Garlic Powder), Lemon Juice Concentrate, Sugar, Xanthan Gum, Salt, Rosemary Extract, Nisin, Natamycin.Yes

How to Make Homemade Caesar Dressing Without Anchovies?

Although anchovies are an integral part of Caesar dressing since they give that umami flavor to it, you can skip it when making your own!

anchovies in caesar dressing

Here are the ingredients you’ll need to make homemade Caesar dressing without anchovies:

  • Egg yolks
  • Fresh lemon juice
  • Garlic – grated or finely minced
  • Dijon mustard
  • Canola oil
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Parmesan cheese – grated
  • Kosher salt
  • Black pepper

Here are simple step-by-step instructions for making anchovy-free Caesar dressing:

  1. Take a medium-sized bowl and whisk together the egg yolks, lemon juice, garlic, and Dijon mustard until they are properly combined.
  2. Mix the canola oil and extra virgin olive oil in a cup or bowl, preferably one with an easy-pour spout.
  3. Slowly drizzle the mixed oil into the egg yolk mixture until the dressing is fully emulsified. Make sure to whisk continuously.
  4. Season the dressing by adding the parmesan cheese, kosher salt, and ground black pepper.
  5. For best results, cover the bowl in plastic wrap and refrigerate the dressing for at least 30 minutes to allow all the ingredients and flavors to combine and result in a more flavorful dressing.

Note: If you do not wish to use a bowl and whisk for mixing up the ingredients, you can also use a food processor.

Substitutes for Anchovies in Caesar Dressing

If you want to make Caesar dressing but don’t want to add anchovies due to taste preference or simply because you don’t have any at home, here are a few great substitutes you can use in its place:

Worcestershire Sauce

Worcestershire sauce is typically made with anchovies, along with a few other ingredients, and has a very similar flavor profile. Since you are getting a similar taste with this substitute without having to add anchovies or anchovy paste, it’s one of the best alternatives out there. 

worcestershire sauce

Worcestershire sauce is already an ingredient in the original recipe for Caesar dressing, but when using it in place of anchovies, add an extra 1 to 2 tablespoons.


Some argue that capers taste even better than anchovies in Caesar dressing. If you love the salty and fishy flavor of anchovies, you’ll certainly love capers as a replacement.


Use ½ a tablespoon of capers for every 1 teaspoon of anchovies or anchovy paste. Simply blend them with the rest of the ingredients.

Soy Sauce

Soy sauce will certainly fill out the salty flavor when using it in place of anchovies. Not only is it very salty but also has a slight fishy flavor. Simply add 1 tablespoon of soy sauce for every 1 teaspoon of anchovies.

soy sauce


Nori is dried edible seaweed that is the closest to anchovies in terms of flavor. It usually comes in small sheets in small packets.

nori seaweed

You can simply shred the sheets into the dressing until you achieve your desired flavor. About 3 to 4 sheets of nori should do the trick.

Miso Paste

If you are looking for a similar taste as well as consistency as anchovies, we suggest you go with miso paste.

miso paste

Replace the anchovies with miso paste in equal parts. Just make sure to add a little bit of extra oil to the dressing to match the moisture levels.

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