Chicken and Bacon Caesar Salad is an upgrade on the classic Caesar with crispy chicken and flavourful chicken breast. The tangy homemade Caesar Dressing is SO easy to whip up, and is made from typical pantry ingredients.
The legend of Caesar Salad states that it was created out of desperation by Italian chef Caesar Cardini in the 1920s. He was running low on ingredients during a 4th of July rush at his restaurant in Tijuana and improvised using what he had to create a salad with Romaine lettuce, croutons and Parmesan cheese. There are many variations of this famous salad, and though this recipe is in no way ‘authentic’ it is a great everyday version which is easy to make at home.
- Chicken – I have provided instructions in the recipe card for pan fried chicken breast, which is my favourite for Caesar Salad. But you can use any cooked chicken – this salad is a great way to use up leftover roast chicken (or leftover turkey). You can also use rotisserie chicken.
- Bacon – Streaky bacon is my favourite as it gets lovely and crispy, adding great texture to Caesar salad. You can also use back bacon or medallions if you prefer. Turkey bacon or plant based bacon can also be used if that suits your diet.
- Romaine Lettuce – the original Caesar was made with Romaine lettuce, and is the most commonly used. You can use any other lettuce or mixed salad leaves. Kale is also excellent for Caesar salad as it holds up very well with the creamy dressing.
- Croutons – I have included how to make homemade croutons in the recipe card, but you can use shop bought for ease.
- Parmesan Cheese – in the dressing and as an optional extra garnish.
Easy Homemade Caesar Dressing
I’ve tried my hand at a fair few variations of Caesar Dressing before. A lot of them seem pretty daunting – lots of emulsifying, raw eggs, whole anchovies.
And if there’s one thing I really can’t get behind it’s having to use (and wash up!) extra equipment like a blender or mortar & pestle. This dressing is super easy to whip up in just one bowl with a simple whisk or even a fork. No blending required.
Caesar Dressing Ingredients
- Mayonnaise – use full fat or light, whatever you prefer.
- Greek Yoghurt – You can switch up the ratio of yoghurt and mayonnaise depending on your taste. More yoghurt will make a lighter, tangier dressing.
- Parmesan Cheese
- Lemon Juice
- Worcestershire Sauce
- Dijon Mustard
- Garlic – I use fresh garlic in the recipe but you can swap for a teaspoon of garlic granules.
Caesar Salad with No Anchovies?
Ok so technically there is a little anchovy in the dressing, in the form of Worcestershire sauce. It adds a complexity and depth to the dressing with its savoury umami flavour. You can also source a vegan/vegetarian-friendly version or even make your own vegan Worcestershire if you prefer.
Perfect Crispy Bacon
How do you cook the perfect crispy bacon to top off your Caesar Salad? My secret is to OVEN COOK your bacon rashers! Simply line a baking tray or cookie sheet with some greaseproof or baking paper (don’t use foil) and lay out your streaky bacon rashers (this won’t work as well with back bacon).
Then place the tray in the middle of a COLD oven, turn the heat to 200c/180fan/400f/gas 6 and cook the bacon for about 20 minutes, or until your desired crispness. That’s it! Perfect crispy bacon every time.
Homemade Croutons for Salad
These easy croutons really make the dish in my opinion. Super easy and tasty (I always find myself snacking on then while I’m preparing the rest of the salad, and have been known to make extra purely for this reason…).
I like to use Sourdough bread, but anything thick and crusty will do. You can even use regular sandwich-style sliced bread in a pinch.
Cut or tear the bread into bite-sized chunks, then toss with olive oil, garlic powder, parsley and salt & pepper. You can mix it up here and add additional spices and flavourings to suit yourself. Then simply bake the croutons at 200c/180fan/400f/gas 6 for 10 minutes – you can add them to the oven while the bacon is cooking! You can also cook croutons in the Air Fryer at the same temperature, but reduce the cook time to 5-8 minutes.
Serving and Storing
I have kept it simple here with only sliced Romaine lettuce, but there are so many ways you can upgrade your Caesar Salad. Add in some diced tomatoes, pepper, cucumber or slices of avocado along with the lettuce.
Use a mixture of different lettuce, a bag of mixed salad leaves or even use kale or spinach.
You can replace the chicken with shrimp, prawns or soft boiled egg. White beans also make a great vegetarian swap.
Use turkey or plant-based bacon.
Toss with some cooked pasta to make a Caesar Pasta Salad.
After assembly, Caesar salad is best eaten immediately as the lettuce will get soggy after about 20 minutes. If you want to transport this salad I would recommend keeping the components separate until ready to serve.
Homemade Caesar Dressing will keep in the fridge for 4 days.
Chicken Bacon Caesar Salad is great for meal prep. The chicken, bacon and croutons can all be made in advance. Cooked chicken and bacon will store in the fridge and croutons in an air tight container at room temperature, all for 3 days. Make a big batch and you have lunch sorted for half the week!
Looking for more easy salad recipes? Here are some of my favourites:
- Easy No-Mayo Tuna Salad
- Easy Homemade Ranch Dressing with Chopped Salad
- Ultimate Chopped Salad
- Lemon Dill Potato Salad
- Strawberry Spinach Salad with Poppyseed Dressing
- Everyday Tomato & Mozzarella Salad
I hope you like this recipe as much as I do! Please leave a comment or tag me on Instagram @carrieskitchen_ if you make it!
Chicken and Bacon Caesar Salad
- 6 Rashers streaky bacon
- 2 heads Romaine Lettuce
- 2 Chicken Breast
- 1 tbsp Olive Oil
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- salt and black pepper
- 3 slices Sourdough or Crusty Bread
- 1 tsp Olive Oil
- 1 tsp Dried Parsley
- ½ tsp Garlic Powder
- Salt & Pepper
Cook the Bacon
- To cook perfect crispy bacon, line a baking sheet with greaseproof or baking paper. Lay out the bacon rashers evenly and place in a COLD oven.
- Turn the oven temperature to 200c/180fan/400f/gas 6 and cook for about 20 minutes, until bacon reaches your desired level of crispy. You can also cook the bacon in a pan on the hob.
- When the bacon is cooked, allow it to cool on some kitchen paper then finely dice.
Cook the Chicken
- Slice the chicken breasts in half horizontally and sprinkle both sides with salt, pepper and garlic powder. Heat a drizzle of olive oil in a frying pan over medium-high heat and add the chicken.
- Cook for 5 minutes before flipping over with a pair of tongs. Continue to cook the chicken for another 5 minutes or until the chicken is lightly browned on the outside and cooked all the way through. You can also cook chicken in an air fryer at 180℃/350℉ for 10-12 minutes.
- Remove the chicken from the pan and allow to rest and cool for a few minutes on a chopping board before cutting into slices or bite-sized cubes. You can cook the chicken in advance and store it, whole or cut, covered in the fridge for up to 3 days.
Make the Croutons
- Cut or tear the bread into ½ inch chunks.
- Add the bread cubes to a bowl and sprinkle over the olive oil, dried parsley and garlic. Season well with salt and pepper and toss to combine.
- Lay the bread on a cookie sheet or baking tray and bake at 200c/180fan/400f/gas 6 for 5-10 minutes, tossing halfway through. They should be golden brown and crispy. You can also use an air fryer at the same temperature.
Prepare the Dressing
- Combine all the dressing ingredients in a small bowl or jar. Mix well with a whisk or fork. Add additional salt and pepper to taste if needed. If you like really smooth dressing, use a food processor.
Assemble the Salad
- Wash and chop the lettuce.
- Scatter the chopped bacon and croutons over the lettuce, then add the sliced chicken on top.
- Drizzle over the dressing and garnish with some extra grated parmesan.
- Serve and enjoy!