Easy Homemade Basil Pesto

This homemade pesto recipe comes together quickly in a food processor! It’s an excellent way to use up a glut of fresh basil and works well with pasta, vegetables, chicken, pizza, sandwiches, and more!

Growing basil is a surprisingly simple and rapid process, which means it’s easy to end up with an oversupply of basil!

Making homemade pesto is my favorite way to use up a batch of basil.

But, before we get started, let’s go through how to trim basil leaves properly to guarantee that you’re allowing for new stem and leaf development for an endless supply of flavorful fresh basil.

How to prune basil plants

When you cut a basil stem, two new stems will sprout and branch out from the wound.

This implies that regular trimming is essential for keeping your basil plant healthy and generating new leaves.

And that means more pesto for Future Us!

  1. You should begin trimming the basil stem when it is 6-8 inches tall and has at least three sets of leaves.
  2. 4 leaves above the following set of leaves.
    In the photo above, you can see me cutting between the top two sets of massive leaves. In the midst of all the leaves, I couldn’t get a good image of myself cutting closer to the ground. I let it grow too long and it turned into a jungle!Pinch the stem and cut approximately 1 inch of it with herb snips or scissors.
  3. Continue to water and trim your basil plant in the future, remembering that the more individual stems you clip, the larger your plant will grow and the more leaves you’ll be able to harvest.

What is pesto?

Pesto is an Italian sauce that is bright green and salty. It is often prepared with:

  • basil leaves
  • garlic
  • pine nuts
  • Parmesan cheese
  • olive oil
  • salt and pepper

Originally, the ingredients were crushed together using a mortar and pestle (pestle, pesto coincidence? I don’t think so! ), but to save time, I prepare mine in a food processor.

What kind of nuts can I use in pesto?

Traditional pesto is prepared with pine nuts, however we use walnuts in our family owing to a pine nut allergy.

You may replace walnuts for a 1:1 substitute of:

  • pine nuts
  • pistachios
  • almonds
  • sunflower seeds

Ingredients for basil pesto

  • Nuts: Pine nuts, walnuts, pistachios, almonds, or sunflower seeds may all be used.
  • Garlic: I peel and roughly chop up a few cloves, but you can also simply peel and chuck the clove in whole!
  • The star of the show is a delicately packed cup of fresh basil leaves.
  • Salt and pepper: Of course, to ensure it’s properly seasoned.
  • Extra virgin olive oil: Use a high-quality EVOO; the flavor will be obvious, so choose something you appreciate.
  • Freshly grated or shredded Parmigiano Reggiano is always the finest option. Pre-grated or pre-shredded cheese has less taste and is more dry.

How to make homemade pesto sauce

Homemade pesto is simple to make in the bowl of a food processor, and you’ll have a wonderful batch in 5-10 minutes.

  1. Combine walnuts and garlic in a food processor and pulse until roughly chopped.
  2. Add basil, salt, and pepper and process on low to medium speed for 1 minute, or until blended into a paste-like texture.
  3. Add olive oil in a slow stream to the processor while it is operating on low to medium speed.
  4. 30-60 seconds later, add the shredded cheese and pulse to mix.

Please do not use a blender! It won’t function the same way, and the outcomes will be strange.

Storing pesto

Refrigerate your freshly prepared pesto in an airtight jar for up to 1 week.

Freezing pesto

Pesto, thankfully, freezes well! So, if you want to create a large pot of pesto to use up your basil harvest, you can set Future You up for great pesto whenever you need it.

For up to 6 months, store your pesto in tiny jars or freezer-safe containers.

You may alternatively freeze pieces in ice cube trays and then store them in freezer-safe plastic bags when they’ve frozen firm.

Can I use dried basil for pesto?

It is not something I would suggest. Using dried basil yields a drab, brownish pesto that lacks the fragrant taste of fresh basil.

It also has a little bitter flavor, which isn’t what I’m trying for.

What can I use pesto in?

Pesto has a plethora of applications! Pesto complements well:

  • Pasta (hot dishes and cold pasta salad)
  • Grilled or roasted vegetables
  • Chicken breasts
  • Pizza
  • Sandwiches
  • Salads

Easy Homemade Basil Pesto


Prep Time: 10mins
Total Time: 10mins
Servings: 8servings (makes about 1 cup)
    ✓ Read the recipe beginning to end
    ✓ Check oven calibration
    ✓ Check expiration dates
    ✓ Properly measure ingredients
    ✓ Check butter temperature


Homemade pesto is easy to make in a food processor in less than 10 minutes! It’s a great way to use up a bounty of fresh basil – goes well on pasta, veggies, chicken, pizza, sandwiches and more!


  • Food processor


  • 3tablespoonswalnuts
  • 2clovesgarlic, chopped or whole cloves
  • 1cupfresh basil leaves, lightly packed
  • teaspoonsalt
  • teaspoonground black pepper
  • cupextra virgin olive oil
  • freshly shredded Parmigiano Reggiano


  • Combine walnuts and garlic in a food processor and pulse until roughly chopped.
    2 garlic cloves, 3 tablespoons walnuts
  • 8 teaspoon black pepper, ground
    4 teaspoon of salt 1
    Add basil, salt, and pepper and process on low to medium speed for 1 minute, or until blended into a paste-like texture.
    1 cup fresh basil leaves, 1 teaspoon
  • 3 cups virgin olive oil

    Add olive oil in a slow stream to the processor while it is operating on low to medium speed.

  • 3 cup Parmigiano Reggiano grated

    30-60 seconds later, add the shredded cheese and pulse to mix.

  • Refrigerate in an airtight container for up to a week. Enjoy!


Substituting walnuts: Traditional pesto is made with pine nuts, but we use walnuts due to a pine nut allergy in our house. You can swap the walnuts with pine nuts, pistachios, almonds or sunflower seeds in the same amount as a 1:1 substitute.Storing pesto: Store your freshly made pesto in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.Freezing pesto: Store your pesto in small jars or freezer-safe containers for up to 6 months. You can also freeze portions in ice cube trays, and then after they’ve frozen solid you can store them in freezer-safe plastic bags.

Nutrition Facts

Calories: 341kcal | Carbohydrates: 2g | Protein: 6g | Fat: 35g | Saturated Fat: 6g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 6g | Monounsaturated Fat: 21g | Cholesterol: 9mg | Sodium: 347mg | Potassium: 69mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 0.3g | Vitamin A: 416IU | Vitamin C: 2mg | Calcium: 169mg | Iron: 1mg


What is basic pesto sauce made of?

Pesto is traditionally made with fresh basil, garlic, pine nuts, extra-virgin olive oil, and Parmesan cheese. It comes together in just a few steps using a food processor: In a food processor, pulse the nuts, lemon juice, and garlic until finely chopped. Add the basil and pulse one more.

What is a good substitute for pine nuts in pesto?

Other nuts may readily replace pine nuts in pesto: walnuts, pistachios, almonds, and even sunflower seeds are all excellent pine nut substitutes. You may also create pesto from otherwise discarded ingredients, such as carrot greens.

What is the recipe formula for pesto?

2 cups fresh basil leaves (stems removed)
2 tbsp pine nuts (or walnuts)
2 huge garlic cloves.
12 cup extra-virgin olive oil.
12 cup freshly grated Parmesan.

Why boil basil leaves for pesto?

The heat from blanching basil destroys the decomposition enzymes that cause the leaves to brown, resulting in a pesto that lasts longer.

Why is my pesto bitter?

What’s the deal with my bitter pesto? The most frequent cause of bitter pesto is that the olive oil is beyond its prime and has begun to get rancid. If you created the pesto in a food processor or blender, it’s possible that the harsh, sheering action of the blades has left it bitter.

What makes pesto so good?

Pesto is a deliciously green sauce with a taste that may best be characterized as bright and pungent, with a basil-forward, herbaceous garden perfume floating in delicate olive oil, loaded with pine nuts (pignoli), and boosted with Italian cheeses and garlic.

How long does homemade pesto last?

How Long Does Homemade Pesto Keep? This basil pesto may be stored in a jar or sealable container, then carefully sealed and refrigerated for up to 1 week or frozen for up to 2-3 months.

How important are pine nuts in pesto?

Pine Nuts – Pine nuts are a typical addition to pesto, adding a savory taste as well as a touch of creaminess. To enhance their taste, add them raw or toast them in a pan.

What is a quick substitute for pesto?

1. Basil essential oil. Making a basic herb oil from finely chopped basil leaves and enough extra virgin olive oil to produce a chunky paste is the fastest and simplest pesto replacement.

What thickens pesto?

Cornstarch is the simplest method to thicken pesto sauce. Begin with 1 tablespoon cornstarch and add an equal quantity of cold water or vegetable broth in a small dish. Mix until it becomes a smooth mixture, which is known as a slurry. Whisk in a bit at a time so that your pesto sauce does not get too thick.

Rate this post

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *