Easy Homemade Pesto – Spend With Pennies

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

Pesto is a delicious basil sauce with olive oil, pine nuts and a bit of Parmesan cheese. It requires no cooking and comes together in just a few minutes

It’s perfect on pasta but also makes a great dipping sauce for bread, 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

The Magic of Pesto

What is Pesto? Pesto originated in Italy and is a paste or sauce made with with fresh basil leaves, garlic, pine nuts (or walnuts or almonds), salt, and a hard cheese like Parmesan or pecorino romano. It’s not just for pasta, use it for sauces, as a dip to add it to soup.

Easy freezing – If your garden is overflowing wiht basil, make big batches and freeze it. I freeze in ice cube trays and drop a cube or two in when when making pasta sauce!

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 for Pesto

Basil – For a classic basil pesto sauce, use fresh basil leaves from the garden or farmer’s market. If you’re low, substitute some or all of the basil with other fresh herbs or greens. Try parsley, dill, a bit of mint, spinach, arugula, or kale.

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 are the classic choice but they’re also very expensive. You can use other nuts like almonds, walnuts, or pistachios. If changing the nuts, use any shelled nuts you have; just note the texture may vary.

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

To make it easy, I make this creamy basil pesto in a food processor. If you don’t have one, a personal blender or mortar and pestle will work too.

  1. Pulse basil and olive oil in a food processor (per the recipe below) to make a paste.
  2. Slowly add the remaining ingredients in order and pulse until smooth.
  3. Season with salt to taste.
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.

Use it to make pasta salads for summer (or even adding it to Caprese salad or bruschetta)

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

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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

  • 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.

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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