Is Caesar Dressing Dairy Free?

If you are a fan of Caesar salad, you may be wondering if Caesar dressing is dairy free. This is a commonly asked question, as many people enjoy this type of salad but do not know if it contains any dairy.

This can matter to you if you are dairy-free or lactose intolerant, as both types of diets restrict dairy. Though it is important to understand that dairy-free means you eat no dairy, while you can still eat dairy if you are lactose intolerant.

Lactose is a part of dairy that can be difficult for some people to digest, which is why they may avoid dairy. No matter why you avoid dairy, it is a good idea to understand what you are eating and what kind of ingredients are in your food.

Especially if you enjoy Caesar salads and want to be able to try to make a Caesar salad at home. Keep reading to find out if Caesar dressing dairy-free or does it contain dairy products.

Caesar Dressing Isn’t Dairy-Free

If you enjoy eating Caesar salads, you may be wondering is Caesar dressing dairy-free or is it lactose-free. Unfortunately, Caesar dressing is not a dairy-free product as it does contain traces of dairy within the dressing for creaminess and flavor.

Because of this, Caesar dressing is not considered to be a dairy-free product since there are traces of dairy. It is also not marketed as a dairy-free since it contains Parmesan cheese, which is dairy-based.

Healthy Grilled Chicken Caesar Salad

This is unfortunate news for customers who are trying to find a dairy-free dressing for their salad. This also means that you may not be able to order the salad in restaurants if it is a Caesar salad, as it will contain Caesar dressing.

Despite the fact that Caesar dressing does contain dairy, it does not contain nearly as much dairy as you may think. As it is not made with cream or any other kind of milk to give it the creaminess that so many know and love.

There are other ingredients in this dressing that help to give it that creamy consistency, while the Parmesan cheese gives it its dairy and creamy flavor. So with this dressing is not necessarily as dairy-heavy as some other salad dressings are.


One thing that may surprise you about Caesar dressing is the fact that it contains anchovies. This is something that many people do not realize, as a Caesar dressing does not have a fishy flavor in any way.

The anchovies are not added for the flavor but rather provide umami, which is a savory flavor that can be hard to achieve. This is part of what makes Caesar dressing so delicious and satisfying.

Garlic and Pepper

Garlic cloves, and pepper are also added to this dressing to give it plenty of flavor and a little kick. The garlic is not overpowering but is something that you are definitely going to notice in this dressing.

These ingredients give it plenty of flavor so that it is the perfect addition to any salad that you may make.

Garlic and peppers

Dijon Mustard

Dijon mustard is also added to Caesar dressing to give it a kick of flavor that is immediately recognizable. It is very common for Dijon mustard to be added to salad dressings as it complements fresh ingredients.

This also helps to give it its recognizable color with a little extra flavor to bring life to your salad.

Lemon Juice

All the Caesar dressings are going to contain lemon juice, which helps to provide a zesty touch of acidity. Just about any kind of dressing you buy is going to have some kind of acid to help balance the flavors out.

This cuts through the richness of the Caesar dressing and helps to balance the flavors and keep it refreshing.

Parmesan Cheese

Parmesan cheese is also added to Caesar dressing to give a creaminess and its cheesy flavor. This is where the dairy comes from, as Parmesan cheese is made with milk, as is all other kinds of traditional cheese.

The Parmesan is an important part of the Caesar dressing as it helps to round off the flavor and give richness to the dressing.

Olive Oil

Olive oil is the sneaky ingredient in Caesar dressing that helps it to have a creamy consistency. The olive oil is emulsified to create a thick and creamy dressing, that pairs beautifully with the lemon juice and other flavorful ingredients.

This adds a little healthy fat and helps this dressing to taste satisfying.

olive oil with olive fruits

Those With a Lactose Intolerance Can Eat Caesar Dressing

The good news for those who are lactose intolerant is that they can still eat Caesar dressing for the most part. Even though Caesar dressing is not dairy free, it only contains a small amount of lactose.

Caesar dressing may contain Parmesan cheese, but Parmesan cheese is a type of cheese that is very low in lactose. This is due to the fact that Parmesan is aged, as the longer a cheese ages, the less lactose it is going to have.

So you can still enjoy lactose dressing if you are lactose intolerant as long as you exercise restraint. An occasional Caesar salad is most likely going to be fine and will not result in an upset stomach.

Caesar Dressing Isn’t Vegan Friendly

The Caesar dressing only contains Parmesan cheese as the source of dairy, this still means that it is not dairy free. Because of this, Caesar dressing is not considered to be vegan friendly since it does contain dairy products.

Not to mention the fact that Caesar dressing also contains anchovies, which is a type of fish. Those following a vegan diet do not consume any kind of animal products, whether that be meat, dairy, eggs, or fish.

So you may need to avoid Caesar dressing if you are strictly dairy-free, as it does contain traces of dairy. This means you will have to avoid Caesar salads in restaurants as well as buying Caesar dressing and grocery stores.

As both varieties are going to contain dairy either way, as the majority of Caesar dressings are made in the same way with the same ingredients.