Best Pesto Recipe

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This basil pesto is made with simple ingredients of fresh basil, parmesan cheese, garlic, lemon juice, and olive oil. This pesto recipe is perfect for bread dipping and delicious tossed with pasta.

pesto with spoon in bowl

Wonderful Basil Pesto

Pesto is one of my favorite sauces as it has such an intense flavor of garlic and parmesan, but is also very fresh from the basil.

I love making homemade basil pesto because I can use up all of my fresh basil from the garden. Dinner can be ready in no time by tossing al dente noodles in pesto or even using it as a delicious dip for an appetizer.

What is pesto?

Pesto is a green sauce that originated in Italy. It’s typically made from basil, garlic, pine nuts, and olive oil.

There are many variations of pesto including kale pesto, walnuts pesto, pesto using other herbs, vegan pesto, etc.

ingredients on countertop

Ingredients for Pesto

  • Basil: don’t have basil? Try using spinach or kale instead. 
  • Pine Nuts: pine nuts too expensive? I get it! Try using cashews, pecans, or almonds instead.
  • Parmesan Cheese: hoping to keep this recipe dairy-free? Nutritional yeast is a great sub for parmesan cheese.
  • Olive Oil: instead of olive oil use grape-seed oil.
Vegan Pesto
Make it Vegan!

Vegan Pesto

Looking for a vegan pesto recipe? Try our homemade vegan pesto recipe. It has the same texture and similar flavors.

Get Recipe

basil in food processor

How to Make Pesto

This homemade pesto recipe comes together in just 5 minutes! Combine all of the ingredients for basil pesto in a small food processor and process until smooth.

  1. Place all of the ingredients into the bowl of a food processor.
  2. Pulse on high for about 60 seconds so that the basil gets pureed.
  3. Add more olive oil as needed to thin things out.
  4. Serve immediately.

make sure not to overprocess your pesto as you can risk it getting a bit slimey. Plus, a little texture is so great for this recipe.

pesto in food processor

Do I need to toast my pine nuts? It is not necessary to toast your pine nuts, but you are more than welcome to do so in order to get a more intense flavor.

Can I use dried basil? Unfortunately, we do not recommend using dried basil for homemade pesto.

Can I use a blender instead? you can absolutely use a blender instead of a food processor.

Is pesto healthy? Pesto is made with fresh ingredients and olive oil, making it a healthy sauce option.

How to Serve Pesto Sauce

There is no one-size-fits-all with our pesto sauce recipe. One of my favorite things about it is that it’s so versatile in how you can use it!

pesto in bowl with bread

Transfer your pesto into an airtight container and store pesto in the fridge for up to 3-5 days.

Freezing pesto is so easy and a great way to use up all your fresh basil! Here’s how to do it.

  1. Transfer pesto into an ice cube tray. Add 1 to 2 tablespoons of pesto into each ice cub so that it’s filled 3/4 of the way full.
  2. Place in the freezer for at least 2 hours or until fully frozen.
  3. Pop the pesto ice cubes out of the tray and then transfer the frozen cubes into an airtight container or gallon-size bag.
  4. Freeze for up to 3 months.

To thaw: simply let the frozen pesto sit out on the counter for 1 hour or transfer them into a nonstick skillet and defrost on the stovetop over medium heat.

pesto in bowl with bread
pesto in bowl

Easy Basil Pesto

This homemade pesto recipe comes together in just 5 minutes! Combine all of the ingredients for basil pesto in a small food processor and process until smooth.

Prep: 5 minutesCook: 0 minutesTotal: 5 minutes

Fat 15

Carbs 2

Protein 3

Yield 1/3 cup 1x


  • 1 cup packed basil leaves, fresh (~20–22 fresh basil leaves)
  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 medium clove garlic
  • 2 tablespoons pine nuts
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  1. Place all ingredients into a high-speed food processor. 
  2. Proces on high for about 60 seconds. Make sure not to overprocess as some grittiness is great for the texture of pesto.
  3. If your pesto is too thick, add more olive oil by the teaspoon.
  • Makes about 1/3 cup pesto
  • This recipe was updated on June 17th, 2021.

Serving Size: ~2 tablespoons
Calories: 145
Sugar: 0
Fat: 15
Carbohydrates: 2
Fiber: 0
Protein: 3

Author: Category: CondimentsMethod: No-BakeCuisine: Italian

Keywords: pesto, pesto recipe

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