Poorman’s Chicken Caesar Salad

Make a Chicken Caesar Salad from scratch without spending a ton on pricey ingredients.

Poorman's Chicken Caesar

OK, Caesar Salad may be very 1994. It might also be very 1924, for that matter. But, I don’t care. It still tastes great.

Caesar Salad is actually my kids’ favorite salad. It’s my favorite, too. For months, nay, years, I’ve been making all manner of salads, except the Casear. My kids don’t love my old standard that I’ve made forever. And I don’t want to pay big bucks on Newman’s or Cardini’s highly processed, very expensive, bottled variety. So, we’ve gone without.

Earlier this month, when I was brainstorming ways to get the kids to eat more vegetables, I asked them what they liked. The unanimous response was: Caesar Salad, but the creamy kind. Always with the disclaimer….

So, I decided I would make it myself. I’ve tweaked this recipe a few different times over the last few weeks, and think that I’ve arrived. I toyed with the idea of adding the egg back into my standard Caesar, but the paranoid overprotective mother in me won out. I decided to go with mayonnaise instead of risk salmonella poisoning from my store bought eggs.

In the early days of parenting, Caesar Salad was a regular, albeit expensive, item on our menu. I bought boxed croutons, high grade parmesan cheese (the “real deal”), and the aforementioned expensive, bottled dressing.

I’ve cut the costs in several ways for this Chicken Caesar Salad:

  1. Marked down bread from the grocery store became homemade croutons. (Cost = $0.75  for a gallon-size bag of croutons.)
  2. I used the less expensive Romano cheese instead of Parmesan Reggiano (Cost comparison = $6.99/pound compared to $19.99/pound; a little goes a long, long way.)
  3. I used leftover grilled chicken to add protein to the salad, making it a meal in itself.
  4. I made my own dressing.
  5. I bought the romaine lettuce on a manager’s special.

Poorman's Chicken Caesar Salad

I made a huge salad bowl full for the kids and my lunch this week. When I called them in from the great outdoors, one particular 8-year old raised an eyebrow. Salad for lunch?

Why, yes, yes, it is.

After some initial prodding, he gobbled it right down. There were no leftovers.

Want to make your own Poorman’s Caesar? You can do it now.

Subscribe to Good Cheap Eats
Read Newer Post
Read Older Post


  1. I read all the time, but never really comment, but I really enjoy your blog!

    Love Caesar salad, but never made my own dressing! Any idea how long the dressing would last in the fridge, if I made up a large amount (or if we don’t eat it all, seeing as there’s only 2 of us?)

  2. Wow your kids have the same complaint mine do – but theyll often order ceasar salad in the restaurants because they love it so – can’t wait to try it – great job

  3. Stephanie says:

    My kids and our whole family for that matter love your olive garden like dressing. I tried to link up the recipe from the recipe search and can’t find it. My kids know if the recipe says life as mom…whatever its going to be good. Anyway the dressing has mayo vinegar parm and romano cheeses and a a few other things. Do your kids still like that one?

  4. Colleen M says:

    This may be a silly question, but is mayonnaise dressing different than “mayonnaise”. I am really interested in trying this recipe for my family. Thanks!

    • You mean the difference between Mayo and Miracle Whip? I think there is sugar in Miracle Whip. But, if that’s what you use and like, I don’t think it should matter for this.

      • Colleen M says:


        Thank you so much for replying. I actually have never used Miracle Whip – only Mayo!! Thanks again and I cannot wait to try this for our Sunday dinner.

        • @Colleen M, I just saw the typo in the recipe. That would explain why I didn’t understand your question. It’s just supposed to be 1 T mayo. I have no idea why I typed dressing in there. Oy!

  5. Genius to use mayo instead of raw egg!

  6. Charity L. says:

    Re-pinned it on Pinterest. Awesome. My husband will be very happy!

  7. We use the recipe from your cookbook, and add a tsp or so of mustard (so that it emulsifies). We keep it in the fridge for up to a week – no problems yet!

  8. I often make my own ceasar dressing but have anchovy paste in the fridge just for this. None of my kids like it so I am anxious to try a recipe that elimates it totally!

  9. This is very similar to one that I have made and my kids love it!!! What else did you put on your salad in the picture of the big bowl? Carrots?

  10. shelley robbins says:

    Hey I enjoy your blog, and wanted to pass on this tip. I use a creamy Caesar dressing from I sub out half of the mayo for greek yougart. also, powdered cheap parm works fine in this dressing, I use shredded to toss in…

  11. This looks like it’s going to be my dinner solution tonight. I have leftover grilled chicken, which I’ve never thought of adding to a Caesar, for some reason, and Asiago cheese which is about half the price of parmesan here and no one has complained about subbing it for parm yet. Awesome, thanks!

  12. This dressing was a life saver last night! Thank you! I don’t usually like mayo, but it was perfect in this.

  13. My sister adds anchovy paste which is relatively cheap to her homemade version of this and it adds an extra delicious kick since authentic Caesar has it… 🙂 But I love how simple you make this sound – I just wish the prices were that cheap in Alaska… 🙂
    I love reading your blog btw!


  1. […] Poorman’s Caesar Salad (use leftover chicken or omit […]

  2. […] it helps to observe your child’s habits and preferences. If you know they will gobble down Caesar Salad or Veggie Dippers, like my vegetable-hater, make those more often and easily available. But, […]

  3. […] out what they like. FishBoy9 ate more salad than pizza last Friday. I made his favorite Caesar Salad, which when made at home, is pretty good for you, all things […]

Share Your Thoughts