The classic salad served in restaurants everywhere is so simple to make at home! Savory, creamy romaine salad topped with a homemade caesar dressing, fresh croutons, and tender grilled chicken is going to be your new favorite light meal.
I like ordering chicken caesar salad at restaurants. You might think that’s boring, coming from me, but in reality, it’s just me being sure that I’m well fed!
Caesar salad is pretty difficult to mess up. Even the worst chicken caesar salad is going to be pretty tasty, and include veggies, bread, protein, and a salty, creamy dressing. So when I’m at a restaurant while traveling, or somewhere where I’m unsure of the menu items, chicken caesar salad is a safe bet.
We aren’t making a boring salad today though. We are making the Best Ever Chicken Caesar Salad. Using fresh ingredients, and from scratch dressing and croutons, we’ll create a Chicken Caesar Salad that’s fit to be on the menu at the best restaurant in town, and not just as a safe bet.
Why You’ll Love This Recipe
- The Perfect Light Meal: This recipe hits all of the required food groups, in a super tasty way. Make this for lunch or dinner.
- Homemade: Homemade dressing and homemade croutons make this salad incredibly delicious, and special enough for even the fanciest of occasions.
- Customizable: Add in your own spin, or substitute ingredients. Have fun making this salad your own.
Ingredients in Chicken Caesar Salad
Here’s what you’ll need:
- Chicken Breast: One large chicken breast sliced into two thin cutlets is enough, but you can add more chicken if you prefer.
- Romaine Lettuce: Use either two romaine hearts or one large head of romaine lettuce for a salad that serves 2-3 people. Wash the lettuce well and dry using a salad spinner.
- Caesar Dressing: Follow the link here to get my homemade caesar dressing. I’ve perfected it, and I know you’ll love it. You can make the dressing up to a week ahead of time if needed.
- Croutons: For best results, make these fresh. Follow these instructions for making homemade croutons. It’s super simple, just toss bread cubes with oil and seasonings and bake.
- Parmesan Cheese: Finely shredded or freshly shaved parmesan is perfect. You want to be able to see it in your salad.
Complete list of ingredients and amounts can be found in the recipe card below.
Recipe for Chicken Caesar Salad
- Grill: Grill the chicken on a BBQ or a grill pan. You can also use a skillet. Add olive oil to the pan, season the chicken with salt and pepper, and cook for 3-4 minutes on each side, until cooked through. Remove the chicken to a plate and set aside while you make the rest of the salad.
- Chop: Chop the washed and dried lettuce, or tear it with your hands into bite sized pieces.
- Make Dressing and Croutons: While you can use store-bought dressing and croutons, it’s really worth making your own from scratch. It’s so easy and I have an awesome Caesar dressing for you to try, and a tutorial on how to make homemade croutons.
- Toss: In a large bowl, combine the lettuce with the dressing, parmesan cheese, and croutons. Toss until well combined.
- Slice: Once the chicken has rested, slice it into bite sized pieces.
- Serve: In a large salad bowl, add the dressed lettuce, then top with the chicken pieces. Serve immediately.
Toss the lettuce with the dressing right before serving. If you let it sit too long, the lettuce will wilt and lose its crunch.
Tips for Making the Best Chicken Caesar Salad
- Don’t Take Shortcuts. In a recipe like this one, with so few ingredients, you want to make sure that every one of them is amazing. Start with fresh lettuce, not pre-cut, bagged romaine. Make your dressing and croutons from scratch, and shred a block of parmesan cheese. It will all be worth it, I promise.
- Wash the Lettuce. Romaine can get especially dirty and sandy. A wash with cold water and a spin through the salad spinner makes it nice and clean and ready to eat.
- Use a Big Bowl: You want a lot of room to comfortably toss the salad and let the creamy dressing evenly coat the lettuce leaves. I love this set of mixing bowls, and I use the largest one for mixing up caesar salad.
- Use the Right Tools: I love a nice pair of stainless steel tongs for tossing salads. Having a sharp chef’s knife is also key to cooking with confidence.
What To Serve With Chicken Caesar Salad
With Soup: Soup and Salad is a classic pairing. You can eat them together or serve them as two separate courses. Stuffed Pepper Soup, Italian Wedding Soup, or Instant Pot Creamy Tortellini Soup would all be great with caesar salad.
Chicken Caesar Variations
There are so many ways to switch things up with this salad!
To simplify things, if you don’t want meat in your salad, just leave it out. Rotisserie chicken is a nice option too if you just don’t want to cook chicken today.
You can also use steak, shrimp, or salmon in place of the chicken in this recipe.
Use other hearty greens in place of all or some of the lettuce. Kale is really delicious in caesar salads.
Add Toppings! Try these:
- Hard or soft boiled eggs, quartered or sliced
- Crispy Bacon or pancetta
- Fresh chopped tomatoes
- Chopped Basil
- Freshly cracked black pepper
- Black Olives
- Sliced Red Onion
Most restaurants serve this salad with white meat chicken breast, and that’s what I prefer too. However, you can use any cut of chicken that you like. Boneless, skinless chicken thighs can be used, or even cut up rotisserie chicken.
Well, it’s probably not the healthiest salad that you could eat. The creamy dressing and bready croutons add calories, fat, and flavor to what would otherwise just be a bowl of lettuce. That being said, a Caesar salad is a well balanced meal with lots of leafy greens and a serving of protein. Everything in moderation, right?
You can prepare parts of this salad ahead of time, including grilling the chicken, washing the lettuce, preparing the dressing, and baking the croutons. So long as you wait until just before serving to dress the salad, everything will be perfect.
My homemade Caesar dressing does call for anchovy fillets, but if you prefer, they can easily be left out. Substitute Worcestershire sauce for the fish.
This is going to be the best Chicken Caesar Salad you’ve ever had! Your family will appreciate all of the extra steps you took to make it special too.
For the chicken:
- 1 chicken breast sliced into 2 thin cutlets (can add more chicken if desired)
- 2 teaspoons olive oil
- salt and pepper
- Baking sheet
- Grill pan or skillet
- Chef knife
- Large mixing bowl
- Stainless steel salad tongs, for serving
- Grill the chicken on a BBQ or a grill pan (or use a skillet). Add olive oil to the pan, season the chicken with salt and pepper and cook for 3-4 minutes on each side.
- When the internal temp of the chicken is 165°F/74°C, remove it onto a plate and set aside.
- Chop the lettuce or tear it apart into bite sized pieces.
- In a large bowl, combine the lettuce with the dressing, parmesan, and croutons. Toss until well combined.
- Slice the chicken into bite size pieces.
- Serve in a large salad bowl, top with with the chicken pieces/strips. Serve immediately.
- Keep in mind that the size of the romaine lettuce head/hearts varies, so use your best judgment on how much dressing you need to use.
- Toss the lettuce with the dressing right before serving. If you let it sit too long, the lettuce will wilt and lose its crunch.
- Use a large bowl to comfortably toss the salad before serving. If you use a small bowl, you will end up bruising the romaine salad leaves which can ruin your salad and make it soggy.
This website provides approximate nutrition information for convenience and as a courtesy only. Nutrition data is gathered primarily from the USDA Food Composition Database, whenever available, or otherwise other online calculators.
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