Does Caesar Dressing Have Dairy?

This article will discuss whether Caesar dressing has dairy. It will cover whether the original recipe had dairy and if store-bought Caesar dressings have dairy. In summary, the original Caesar dressing had dairy from the use of Parmesan cheese as an ingredient. Additionally, most store-bought Caesar dressings have dairy that comes from Parmesan cheese and other dairy products. There are some store-bought Caesar dressings that are dairy-free. Read on for more details.

Original Caesar Dressing & Dairy

The Caesar salad was purportedly invented by Caesar Cardini in 1924. Cardini owned restaurants and hotels in the United States and Mexico. The now popular salad was said to have been first prepared in Tijuana, Mexico at Caesar’s Restaurante Bar. The restaurant is still in operation today and you can still order the original Caesar salad. However, the recipe has been tweaked somewhat from the original.

So, did the original Caesar salad have dairy? The answer is yes. Its ingredients included olive oil, egg, Worcestershire sauce, lemon juice, garlic, Parmesan cheese, salt/pepper, and romaine lettuce. The source of dairy in the original recipe was Parmesan cheese which was added as a component during tableside preparation.

You can see how a modern version of the original Ceasar salad is made at the original restaurant in the below video. You can see how liberally Parmesan cheese is used for this recipe. In other words, if you are looking to avoid dairy, this salad isn’t for you.

Store Bought Caesar Dressing & Dairy

Okay, most people aren’t heading over to Tijuana to eat at the original restaurant. So, let’s talk about if store-bought Caesar dressing has dairy.

We analyzed the ingredients of several popular Caesar dressing brands to see if they had dairy. Here are the results:

Casesar DressingContains Dairy (Yes or No?)Primary Dairy Ingredients
Annie’s Organic CaesarYesParmesan Cheese
Kraft Classic CaesarYesRomano and Parmesan Cheese
Ken’s Creamy CaesarYesParmesan Cheese
Newman’s Own Creamy CaesarYesParmesan Cheese
Cardini’s The Original CaesarYesParmesan Cheese 
Wish-Bone Creamy CaesarYesParmesan and Mozzarella Cheese 
Primal Kitchen CaesarNoNone
Marzetti Simply Dressed Caesar YesRomano and Parmesan Cheese
Panera Bread at Home Caesar NoNone
Litehouse CaesarYesParmesan Cheese 
Bolthouse Farms Creamy CaesarYesYogurt, Buttermilk, Asiago, Parmesan, Cheddar, Whey Protein Concentrate
Briannas Asiago Caesar YesAsiago Cheese
Girard’sYesParmesan Cheese 
Daiya Creamy CaesarNoNone

While there are dairy-free Caesar dressings, most store-bought options have Parmesan cheese or another form of dairy as ingredients. Primal Kitchen, Daiya, and Panera Bread are three brands to consider if you want a dairy-free Caesar dressing. Keep in mind that anchovies and eggs are common ingredients in modern Caesar dressings. So while a dressing might be dairy-free, it also might not be vegetarian or vegan.

Homemade Dairy-Free Caesar Dressing

Of course, if you make your own Caesar dressing, you have control over whether it contains dairy or other potential undesirable ingredients for you. Here are a few dressing recipes you can try that are dairy-free:


Sources:

Gardiner, M. A. (2019, May 14). Caesar salad has mixed history, but got its start in Tijuana. The San Diego Union-Tribune. https://www.sandiegouniontribune.com/lifestyle/food-and-cooking/story/2019-05-14/caesar-salad-has-mixed-history-but-got-its-start-in-tijuana.