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What's The Best Store-Bought Caesar Salad Dressing?

Freshly dressed Caesar salad
Freshly dressed Caesar salad - Foodio/Shutterstock

We all know a Caesar salad is only as good as its dressing. Even if you source the crispest, most flavorful romaine lettuce, and make your own sourdough croutons in a fresh melted herb butter, a bad dressing can tank the whole thing. And while we appreciate that it's very easy to make homemade Caesar dressing, sometimes convenience is king, or maybe you just don't have the stomach to work with crushed anchovies. Of course, you'll have no trouble finding dozens of premade Caesar dressings in your grocery store aisle, but not all are created equally, and some are downright bad. Luckily, we've tested and ranked 12 store-bought Caesar dressings and found our top pick. It turns out, you can't beat Ken's Steak House Creamy Caesar Dressing.

When determining the best of the grocery store Caesar dressings, we looked at the overall flavor and consistency, the ingredient list, and how they compare to traditional Caesars. Ken's won out for a few reasons: it's delightfully rich and creamy, unlike some watery bottled dressings and hybrid vinaigrettes. It's also full of classic savory ingredients, and host to a smattering of delicious herbs and seasonings. In our taste tests, we found that some store-bought alternatives tasted a touch too acidic thanks to the inclusion of heavy non-traditional vinegar, but Ken's kept its flavors sharp but pleasant.

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How Does It Stack Up Against Homemade?

Ken's Creamy Caesar dressing bottle
Ken's Creamy Caesar dressing bottle - Ken's Steak House

The origins of the first Caesar salad are disputed, but most versions that have been adapted since then usually contain at least most of the following ingredients: fresh parmesan cheese, olive oil, lemon juice, egg, Worcestershire sauce, and anchovies. Many also include Dijon mustard in the lineup. Ken's doesn't use all of these ingredients, but we found that the ingredient list was still perfectly balanced and tasted like authentic Caesar dressing.

Perhaps what helps Ken's version stand out is that the use of actual egg yolk (which not all store-bought Caesar dressings have) keeps it wonderfully creamy. It also includes parmesan and anchovies, which pack a ton of umami flavors. (Note that, in addition to containing a dairy product, it isn't safe for those with a fish allergy.) We also appreciate the balance between vinegar and lemon juice for pronounced but not overwhelming tanginess.

These major pros are likely why we don't mind that the dressing goes light on one seemingly key ingredient and omits another: olive oil and Worcestershire sauce, respectively. Less than 2% of Ken's dressing is made up of olive oil. Instead, it uses soybean oil as the main fat. This could be for flavor neutrality or some other manufacturing reason, but we clearly didn't miss it. Worcestershire also usually makes an appearance in Caesars, but the balance of savory and sour flavors made it redundant here. Ken's Caesar dressing can be found in many major grocery chains, including Walmart, Kroger, and Food Lion.

Read the original article on Mashed.