Close up of homemade pesto in a spoon recipe

The easiest homemade pesto recipe ever!

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Homemade pesto is life! Seriously, it is so easy to make and tastes absolutely wonderful with so many other recipes. It is made by mixing basil, garlic, parmesan cheese, pine nuts, and olive oil together to create a beautifully emulsified sauce to use with anything! You’re this close to making your first pesto at home, keep reading to get all the deets!

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Listen, I have no problem admitting that basil is a gift from above. I could eat basil with anything and be happy and satisfied. Sweet or savory it doesn’t matter to me.


But today we’re doing a homemade step by step pesto recipe to teach you exactly how you can make this amazingness at home ASAP!

I know I’m a little late on posting this, but it’s here and it’s here to stay. If you can find some basil at your grocery store, snatch it now because you will need to keep some of this pesto stored in your freezer throughout the winter months. I said winter months because I want to make up for the fat that I messed up and didn’t share this with you guys back in the spring or summer…

This is the easiest and most flavorful homemade pesto recipe.

Pesto is always something I’ve kept handy in my house because you can do so much with it. From pizza sauce or pasta sauce to salad dressing. It is a versatile mixture that everyone truly loves.

Do you consider pesto a sauce, a condiment, or a garnish? I have a tough time with this one since I eat it straight from the jar. Kinda like Nutella… I have no self control faced with this herb goodness.

What is pesto?

Pesto is a bright green sauce that’s originated in Italy. The word pesto comes from the past tense of the Genoese verb “pestare” which means to crush. Pesto is usually made by crushing all the ingredients with a mortar.

Pesto tastes salty and rich because of the olive oil, pine nuts, and parmesan cheese. It is herby, garlicky, and salty.

Overhead close up shot of texture of green pesto recipe

Homemade pesto ingredients?

To make your pesto today, you will need the following ingredients:

  • Fresh basil leaves– Basil leaves are the more traditional ingredient to make pesto. It is extremely aromatic and fragrant and pair so well with the parmesan and pine nuts.
  • Pine nuts Pine nuts are the more traditional ingredient for pesto as well. They tend to be quite pricey but they are well worth the price once you taste your final product!
  • Parmesan cheese– Freshly grated parmesan cheese adds a wonderful nutty and savory flavor to the pesto.
  • Garlic cloves– Garlic helps give our pesto a little more depth. Don’t skip it, it’s really really good!
  • Extra virgin olive oil– The olive oil adds the perfect richness to the pesto. Make sure to use good tasting and good quality olive oil to the best pesto ever!
  • Salt– Salt to taste.
Ingredients of the homemade pesto in a food processor

How to properly store basil if you have extra

Basil is a very delicate herb. To store it properly and extend its shelf life you can wrap it in a damp paper towel and placing them in a plastic bag. No need to seal the plastic bag, as we don’t want there to be too much condensation. So to recap, cover the unwashed basil leaves in damp paer towel, place those in a plastic bag, then place them in the fridge.

This method should keep your basil leaves fresh for 3-7 days! Neat isn’t it!

Pesto substitutions

If you don’t have certain ingredients or are allergic to some of them, here are a few pesto substitutions you can use to still enjoy it!

  • Parmesan cheese- You can use Pecorino Romano if you can’t get your hands on Parmesan cheese
  • Pine nuts You can substitute pine nuts with walnuts, pecans or even almonds. These alternatives are a lot cheeper than the pine nuts option and will still make a super yummy pesto.
  • Make it vegan– To make this pesto vegan you can use 3 tablespoons on nutritional yeast instead of the parmesan cheese.

How to make pesto from scratch at home

  1. In a food processor, pulse the basil, parmesan, toasted pine nuts, garlic and salt until finely chopped.
  2. While the processor is still running, slowly drizzle the olive oil to allow it to emulsify with the rest of the ingredients. Make sure to scrape down the sides of the food processor from time to time. Continue pulsating until the mixture is well combined. Taste the pesto and add salt to taste.
  3. Serve immediately or store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days.

What to use pesto with?

The possibilities are endless when it comes to using pesto. Some of my favorite ways to enjoy it have to be:

  • As a pasta sauce– Pesto pasta sauce is seriously the best.
  • As a dip of veggies or toasted bread– Toasted bread dipped in pesto is truly dangerous!
  • On pizza- It works so well as either a drizzle or a sauce.
  • As a salad dressing– Trying to add a little oomph to your salad, try mixing your pesto with a little more olive oil or water to thin it out and toss your salad in it.
  • On a soup as garnish- I love topping my creamy soups with a light pesto drizzle so good!
  • As a an avocado toast drizzle– I had this in California a while back and I’m absolutely in love!
Flat bread dipped in fresh pesto sauce

How long can you store homemade pesto?

When you make pesto at home it can be a little tricky to know how to store it and for how long. That’s why I am here to help.

Homemade pesto can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days or in the freezer for up to three months for a longer shelf life.

My favorite way to store pesto is to freeze it in an ice tray, then transfer those frozen pesto cubes to an airtight container and back in the fridge. This method allows me to pull out however much I need whenever I need it. Plus they thaw a lot faster this way.

Tips for making pesto at home

Here are a few tips to successfully make your pesto:

  • Use real parmesan cheese- Don’t use that powdered parmesan cheese we top our pizzas with. It is completely different and won’t make the pesto taste good at all.
  • Slowly drizzle the olive oil while the food processor is still running- This will make sure that the mixture is well emulsified.
Spoon filled with creamy pesto sauce

If you tried this pesto recipe and loved it please leave us a rating by clicking on the 5 stars under the title and description.

Close up of homemade pesto in a spoon recipe

Easy homemade pesto

Today, you will learn how to make the perfect food processor pesto recipe at home. This tastes incredible on bread, pasta, or even pizzas!
5 from 2 votes
Prep Time 5 mins
Total Time 5 mins
Course sauce, Side Dish
Cuisine Italian
Servings 2 cups
Calories 1122 kcal

Ingredients
  

Instructions
 

  • In a food processor, pulse the basil, parmesan, toasted pine nuts, garlic and salt until finely chopped.
  • While the processor is still running, slowly drizzle the olive oil to allow it to emulsify with the rest of the ingredients. Make sure to scrape down the sides of the food processor from time to time. Continue pulsating until the mixture is well combined. Taste the pesto and add salt to taste.
  • Serve immediately or store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days.

Notes

This pesto recipe will last in an airtight container the fridge for up to 5 days. 
It can also be stored in an airtight container in the freezer for up to 3 months. 

Nutrition

Calories: 1122kcalCarbohydrates: 9gProtein: 21gFat: 115gSaturated Fat: 19gCholesterol: 33mgSodium: 869mgPotassium: 379mgFiber: 2gSugar: 2gVitamin A: 2223IUVitamin C: 8mgCalcium: 496mgIron: 4mg
Keyword basil, basil pesto, easy pesto recipe, homemade pesto, olive oil, pine nuts
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