Fresh Basil Pesto

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A quick 5-minute Basil Pesto packs so much flavor, it’s hard not to eat it right out of the jar!

It’s perfect on pasta but also makes a great dipping sauce for bread, veggies, and a brush-on-marinade for meat.

Stir it into a bit of mayonnaise for a delicious dip!

Easy Homemade Basil Pesto in a jar

What is Pesto?

Pesto originated in Italy and is made with basil leaves, garlic, pine nuts (or walnuts or almonds) salt, and a hard cheese like Parmesan or pecorino romano.

We love to make this in big batches and freeze it in ice cube trays to add an extra pop of flavor when making pasta sauce or using it to make pasta salads for summer (or even adding it to Caprese salad or bruschetta)!

It’s great to add to sauces, dips, or soups, or even as a topping on a burger or scrambled eggs!

Leftover pesto is also great as a dipping sauce for homemade garlic bread. With a versatile recipe like this, how can you go wrong?

ingredients to make Easy Homemade Basil Pesto

Ingredients & Variations

Basil – For a classic pesto we use fresh basil! This is the perfect way to use the abundance of fresh basil in your garden or from a farmer’s market. But any fresh basil will do.

If you’re short on basil, add in some other herbs or greens (parsley, dill, or even spinach work well)!

Olive oil – A mild-flavored oil works great for this recipe letting the flavor of the herbs shine through. The most common oil for this is olive oil, you can also use canola oil, grapeseed oil, or avocado oil.

Nuts – Pine nuts, almonds, or walnuts are all great in this recipe. They provide that perfect nutty balance you expect from a pesto!

Don’t have those on hand? Have fun experimenting with whatever nuts you do have! Be sure to shell them first and remove the skins if necessary. You can leave them on but they will provide a coarser texture.

Cheese – We love using parmesan cheese in this recipe! It is the perfect slightly salty hard cheese. Other great cheeses include Romano or Grana Padano.

pesto ingredients in a food processor

How to Make Pesto

The key to a smooth and creamy basil pesto is the use of a food processor. If you don’t have one, a personal blender will do too.

  1. Pulse basil in a food processor with olive oil until texture is a fine paste.
  2. Slowly add the remaining ingredients in the order of the recipe below and continue to pulse until smooth.
  3. Scrape down the sides of the food processor as needed.
  4. Adjust salt as desired and serve in your favorite way.
pesto blended in a food processor

Can You Freeze Pesto?

Pesto is great for freezing!

  • Scoop into a zippered bag and label it with the date. It should keep about 6 months.
  • Another handy way to freeze pesto is to pour it into ice cube trays. Once the cubes are frozen, put them in a zippered bag and pull out a cube or two as needed.

Delicious Pesto Recipes

Did you love this Basil Pesto? Be sure to leave a rating and a comment below! 

Pesto with basil and pine nuts

4.90 from 28 votes↑ Click stars to rate now!
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Easy Homemade Basil Pesto

Fresh basil pesto is so flavorful. Serve on chicken, pasta or use as a dip for bread!

Prep Time 10 minutes

Cook Time 0 minutes

Total Time 10 minutes

Servings 6 servings

  • Place basil in a food processor with 1 tablespoon of oil and blend into a paste.

  • Slowly add remaining ingredients in order, scraping the sides as needed. Blend until smooth.

Any leftover pesto can be refrigerated for 2-3 days. If stored longer, there is a risk that the garlic may produce botulism. Or alternatively, you can freeze in small portions for future use.
Short on Basil? Add in some other herbs or greens (parsley, dill or even spinach work well)!
Choose a light-flavored oil. Canola oil, grapeseed oil, or avocado oil work too.
Toast the nuts for extra flavor.

4.90 from 28 votes

Calories: 153 | Carbohydrates: 1g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 15g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Cholesterol: 6mg | Sodium: 231mg | Potassium: 65mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 487IU | Vitamin C: 2mg | Calcium: 113mg | Iron: 1mg

Nutrition information provided is an estimate and will vary based on cooking methods and brands of ingredients used.

Course Dip, Dressing, Sauce
Cuisine American, Italian

jar of Easy Homemade Basil Pesto with basil and pine nuts and a title
close up of Easy Homemade Basil Pesto with a title
Easy Homemade Basil Pesto with pine nuts and writing
Easy Homemade Basil Pesto in a jar and close up with writing

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