Whipping up homemade Caesar salad dressing is easier than you might think—maybe easier than running out to pick up a bottle of your favorite store-bought version. But first, you must embrace the anchovy. The salty little fishies provide the robust umami flavor key to the best Caesar salad recipes. Look for nicer ones in olive oil—bonus points if you use some of that oil in the dressing too.

Second, don’t let raw egg yolks scare you off. They bring the creamy richness we associate with the Italian American staple, helping it cling to the romaine lettuce leaves with more vigor than any vinaigrette could. Buy the freshest eggs you can and stash the unused whites for a lazy-day meringue.

For the best Caesar dressing—i.e., one that’s thick and lush—add the oil drop by drop, whisking until the base becomes glossy; then slowly stream in the rest of the oil, whisking vigorously until combined. Neutral vegetable oil works fine here (thanks again for the flavor, anchovies!), but if you want to swap all or some of it for extra-virgin olive oil, feel free. And fine, if you “just can’t” with the canned fish, swap in 2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce (which is what the original recipe was made with anyway).

For the full Caesar experience, you’re gonna want some homemade croutons. For a chicken Caesar, try roasting the bird in Caesar dressing—it’s a game changer. You could also file this Caesar salad dressing recipe to use as a sauce for pasta salad, a spread for toast (topped with a fried egg or a slice of tomato), or as a dip for…well, everything.

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