5 from 1 vote
Pin Recipe Jump to Recipe

This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my Disclosure Policy

Are you still buying that pesto from the supermarket shelves? It’s time to stop and make your own pesto recipe with fresh ingredients. It tastes so much better, you’ll wonder why you ever settled! My family loves it on pasta, sandwiches, and pizza. Best of all, it takes minutes to prepare and yields the kind of flavor that whisks you to Italy!

Best pesto recipe

Best Pesto Recipe

What makes a pesto recipe the best pesto recipe? It’s the fresh ingredients. If you’ve ordered pesto at a proper Italian restaurant, surely you’ve noticed the difference between what they serve and that jarred stuff. Now you can make it yourself and have that heavenly flavor every time!

What is pesto?

Pesto comes to use from Genoa in Italy. The original dish is called Pesto alla Genovese. The authentic way to make it is with basil leaves, pine nuts, crushed garlic, coarse salt, olive oil, and Parmigiano-Reggiano.

Ingredients for making homemade pesto sauce

Pesto Ingredients

  • Fresh basil – it’s the signature pesto ingredient that provides that bright green color.
  • Garlic – adds that pungent taste.
  • Pine nuts – gives pesto that unmistakable texture.
  • Parmesan cheese – because pesto needs cheese.
  • Extra virgin olive oil – it brings the consistency together.

How Do You Make Pesto from Scratch?

This pesto sauce recipe requires just 6 ingredients and your food processor. You’ll pulse fresh basil, pine nuts, garlic, parmesan cheese, and salt together while adding in olive oil until it gets the right consistency. Then it’s ready!

Easy pesto recipe

Easy Pesto Recipe

This easy pesto recipe only requires 6 ingredients and 10 minutes of your time. You can handle that! Get your pasta or pizza dough ready and pair it with this fresh pesto!

You’re the pesto to my pasta.

What is pesto made of?

Basil is the key ingredient in pesto sauce. It is what gives pesto it’s signature color and flavor as well. Basil pesto recipes have a slightly sweet yet savory and pungent taste and chunky texture.

How to make pesto from scratch

Expert Tips and Tricks for the Perfect Pesto Sauce Every Time

  • Use cold water – Wash your basil in cold water. It’s a very delicate herb that will wilt if you use warm water.
  • Nut substitutes – Walnuts and pecans can be substituted for pine nuts if you can’t find them, though I think pine nuts are the best.
  • Don’t skimp on oil quality – Don’t forget to make sure you use a quality olive oil for your pesto. You want something that has the kind of taste you enjoy drizzled over things, not something you cook with.
  • Food processor – Also, use a food processor and not a blender. Blenders can over-combined and change the texture. Some people love to use a mortar and pestle but a food processor will be much faster and turn out great!

What goes well with pesto

Why is my basil pesto sauce bitter?

If your basil pesto sauce tastes bitter, you can add in more cheese, pine nuts, or garlic to balance it out. It’s best to taste-test a little of your basil first to make sure it’s not bitter to avoid the problem altogether.

What can I add to pesto to make it better?

Pesto only contains 6 ingredients. If you find yours is lacking in flavor, add more garlic, more cheese, or more salt to taste. Additionally, be sure the basil you choose is fresh so you get a truly authentic flavor.

What can I use instead of parmesan cheese in pesto?

If you don’t have parmesan cheese for your pesto, you can use asiago or pecorino Romano. For a dairy-free replacement, simply omit the cheese and use extra pine nuts. You can also replace pine nuts with cashews, almonds, walnuts, or Brazil nuts.

How to store pesto sauce

Can I just put pesto on pasta?

Pesto is good for so many things beyond pasta. Try it on a burger or sandwich. Dip fries into it. Replace red sauce on pizza. Dunk breadsticks into it. Pesto is meant to be enjoyed creatively!

Is pesto made from basil

What goes well with pesto?

Pesto pairs perfectly with bowl of pasta or pizza. But that’s not the only thing you can do with your new batch of homemade pesto. You can spread it on sandwiches (blend with mayo to make a creamy spread) or toss it into a chicken salad with tomatoes, almonds and a squeeze of fresh lemon juice. Caprese salad is also great way to use pesto.

Best wasy to use pesto on pasta

How to Store Pesto Sauce

You can keep your homemade pesto in an airtight container in your fridge for as long as a week. Make sure to cover with a lid or plastic wrap so it is airtight. It probably won’t be around that long though since it’s so delicious!

How long does homemade pesto last?

Pesto will keep for a week in a jar in your fridge. If you have any leftover after that, you should freeze it so you can enjoy it at a later date.

Can you freeze pesto?

Pesto freezes really well. I like to portion it out into ice cube trays. When they freeze, I dump them into plastic freezer bags. They’ll be good for 6 months. You can also freeze it in airtight containers which will keep for 12 months.

How to Thaw Frozen Pesto

If you let your pesto sit at room temperature for 30 minutes, that should do it. You can microwave it in 10-second increments if it still feels frozen.

Watch How To Make Pesto (Video)

Homemade Pesto Recipe

5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 10 minutes
Total Time 10 minutes
Servings 4 servings
Calories 553
There is NOTHING like fresh pesto! The taste, texture, and color is amazing and it goes perfect in a variety of dishes, the most popular being pasta and pizza. A great pesto recipe should come out a rich green color. However, basil pesto tends to darken when it is exposed to air. To keep it green and fresh, store it covered tightly in an air tight container.


  • 6 cups fresh basil leaves
  • 1/2 cup pine nuts
  • 3/4 cup parmesan cheese
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil


  • In the bowl of a food processor, combine the pine nuts, parmesan cheese, basil leaves, garlic cloves, and salt and pulse until finely ground. While the food processor continues to run, pour in the olive oil at a slow and steady stream until pesto is mostly smooth. Top with fresh parmesan cheese.
  • Top on fresh pasta, pizza or any other of your favorite ways to use pesto sauce!
Calories: 553kcal
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: Italian


Calories: 553kcal | Carbohydrates: 4g | Protein: 10g | Fat: 57g | Saturated Fat: 10g | Cholesterol: 13mg | Sodium: 884mg | Potassium: 224mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 2045IU | Vitamin C: 6mg | Calcium: 288mg | Iron: 2mg

More pesto recipes:

Never Miss A Recipe!

Join thousands of HowToCook.recipes subscribers and get our best recipes delivered each week!

Yes! Send me the newest recipes by email

You can unsubscribe anytime by clicking the “unsubscribe” link at the bottom of emails you receive.

Avatar photo

I’m a mom of two, food and wine lover, and recipe creation enthusiast. Good food brings families together. Which is why I’m devoted to sharing my best recipes that are simple enough for even the beginner cook that your family will love!

Write A Comment

Recipe Rating