This fresh and vibrant Homemade Pesto Sauce is a simple, delicious condiment that takes just 10 minutes to make. Use on pasta, homemade pizza, grilled chicken, as a spread for sandwiches and so much more.
Homemade Pesto Recipe with Pine Nuts
This Homemade Basil Pesto sauce is a quick and easy way to add a burst of color and flavor to so many different recipes. This version is made with plenty of basil, Parmesan cheese, a squeeze of lemon juice, pine nuts and fresh garlic, but it is easy to swap out any of these ingredients. While pesto was traditionally made using a mortar and pestle, I’ve opted instead to go with a food processor or blender - easy peasy and the flavor is spot on.
And if you happen to have an herb garden, you’ll appreciate another reason I love pesto - you can freeze it for up to 3 months! Go ahead and make a huge batch. No more fretting over how to use up that late summer bounty of basil!
How to Use Pesto
With just a few minutes and a handful of ingredients, you can add flavor and freshness to so many different dishes with just a little dollop of Homemade Pesto. Here are a few of our favorite ways to use this basil pesto recipe:
- Pesto and Sausage Homemade Flatbread Pizza
- Three Cheese Pesto Flatbread
- Chicken Pesto Pasta
- Three Cheese and Pesto Quiche
- Creamy Pesto Pasta Salad
- Grilled Chicken Salad with Pesto Ranch Dressing
Ingredients in Homemade Pesto
- Basil - use the freshest basil you can find, whether that is from your garden or from the produce section of your grocery store. If you can’t find basil, or want to try something else, you can also make pesto with spinach, arugula, kale, parsley or even cilantro.
- Parmesan Cheese - if possible, use freshly grated Parmesan cheese. You can grate it yourself, or often times you can find freshly grated Parmesan at your local grocery store. If you are looking for a good substitute, try any other hard aged cheese such as Asiago.
- Lemon Juice - fresh lemon juice tastes best.
- Pine Nuts - pine nuts taste amazing in pesto, but they are also a little expensive. You can substitute walnuts, cashews, pecans or even pistachios.
- Garlic - fresh garlic cloves tastes best. The next best thing would be the pre-minced garlic that comes in a jar.
- Salt and Pepper
- Olive Oil - since this recipe is heavy on the olive oil, we like to use a high quality extra virgin olive oil.
How to Make Homemade Pesto Sauce
This recipe for homemade pesto in a blender only takes a few minutes to throw together. Make your own pesto in no time! It's one of the best homemade pesto recipes.
- Blend ingredients. Add the basil, garlic, pine nuts, Parmesan cheese, lemon juice, salt and pepper to a blender or food processor. Blend on high until finely chopped.
- Slowly add olive oil. While the blender or food processor is running on low speed, slowly drizzle in the olive oil until your pesto reaches the desired consistency. For a smoother pesto, add a bit more olive oil.
- Store or use immediately. Transfer to a jar, or another airtight container, and refrigerate or use immediately. Serve on pizza, pasta, or as a dip. Enjoy!
Frequently Asked Recipe Questions
You sure can. Whether you have a nut allergy in the family or you simply don’t have any nuts lying around, you can easily make pesto without nuts. You may want to slightly increase the amount of Parmesan cheese but otherwise you can make the recipe exactly the same.
Yes! My favorite trick is to freeze Home made Pesto in an ice cube tray. Once they are frozen, pop them out of the tray and store in freezer bags for up to 3 months.
Pesto freezes incredibly well, so if you want to make a big batch and be sure it lasts, I recommend freezing. Otherwise, it will stay fresh in the fridge for up to 3 days.
- Make nut free by using pelotas or hemp seeds.
- Add any leafy green or substitute basil with parsley, cilantro, or arugula.
- Add roasted roasted pepper, sun dried tomatoes, charred jalapeno, or artichoke hears.
- Refrigerator: store in a jar or another airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days. You may want to press a layer of plastic wrap directly on top of the pesto to keep it from browning. If it does begin to brown, mix well before using again.
- Freezer: freeze flat in freezer bags, or in ice cube trays then transferred to freezer bags for up to 3 months.
Homemade Pesto Recipe
- 2 cups Basil Leaves fresh
- ¼ cup Parmesan Cheese
- 2 Tablespoons Lemon Juice fresh
- ½ cup Pine Nuts toasted
- 1 clove Garlic
- ¼ teaspoon Salt
- 1 pinch Pepper
- ⅓ cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil more for a smoother pesto
- Add the fresh basil leaves, Parmesan cheese, lemon juice, pine nuts, garlic, salt and pepper to a blender or food processor. Blend on high until finely chopped.
- With the blender or food processor on low speed, slowly drizzle in the olive oil until your pesto reaches the desired consistency. For a smoother pesto, add a bit more olive oil.
- Transfer to a jar, or another airtight container, and refrigerate or use immediately. Serve on pizza, pasta, or as a dip. Enjoy!
- You can swap the pine nuts for your choice of nuts - walnuts, pecans, cashew and pistachios all work great.
- You can make this a nut-free pesto by using hemp seeds or Pelotas.
- Sub any leafy green, cilantro, parsley, or arugula for fresh basil.
- Add roasted red peppers, artichoke hearts, or sun-dried tomatoes for a flavor variation.
More of Our Favorite Sauces and Condiments
- Pico de Gallo
- Homemade Taco Seasoning
- Cranberry Salsa
- Easy Alfredo Sauce
- Southwest Ranch Dressing
- More Homemade Sauces
- More Summer Favorites
If you’ve tried this recipe, please rate it and leave a comment on this post. I love hearing feedback from you helps me and other readers too! If you love Pinterest, feel free to leave a comment and photo there too. Also, if you like to share, use the hashtag #thecarefreekitchen on Instagram and tag me @thecarefreekitchen so I can find you and give your post some love. You can also find me on Facebook at The Carefree Kitchen. Thank you!!
With just a few minutes and a handful of ingredients, this Homemade Pesto adds flavor and freshness to many different dishes. Use on pasta, homemade pizza, salads and more.