Made with fresh ingredients, this Homemade Pesto Sauce is ready in just 5 minutes! Perfect for pasta, pizza, sandwiches and more. You’ll never buy a jar of pesto again!
I love when I’m able to replace things I buy at the store with a homemade, fresh version. This is especially true of sauces, like the enchilada sauce and pesto sauce. The homemade version of any sauce always just tastes so much better than what you can get at the store.
This homemade basil pesto is no exception. With just 6 ingredients, it’s ready in minutes – definitely in less time than it would take me to drive to the store to buy a jar!
If you have a fresh basil plant at home, there’s a good chance you’ll have most if not all of these ingredients on hand too. This pesto is literally as simple as blending everything together in a food processor. A few minutes later and viola! you have the best recipe for basil pesto.
Though we typically think of pesto pasta, this sauce is truly versatile! Below I’ve shared a few of my favorite ways to use it but really, you can add a spoonful of this to anything that needs a little basil flavor. Once you taste how good it is, I bet you’ll come up with lots of unique ways to use it.
What You’ll Need
You only need a handful of ingredients to make this fresh pesto. Opt for fresh and high quality when you can.
- Basil leaves – The main ingredient – be sure to use the freshest leaves you can find.
- Toasted pine nuts – You can also use walnuts.
- Freshly grated parmesan cheese – Parmigiano Reggiano is recommended.
- Chopped garlic – A traditional pesto ingredient, even though the amount is small, be sure not to skip it!
- Lemon juice – Use fresh lemon juice if possible.
- Olive oil – Use high quality extra virgin olive oil. Cobram Estate California Select and Olio Santo are two great choices.
How To Make Homemade Basil Pesto
This basil pesto comes together in literal seconds. There are only 3 steps until your homemade pesto is ready and all you need is a food processor!
- Add all ingredients except olive oil to the food processor. Pulse until the basil is finely chopped.
- Add in olive oil. Slowly drizzle in olive oil. Allow food processor to run for 10-15 additional seconds, scraping the side as necessary.
- Season with salt and pepper. Seasoning according to your tastes.
Tips for Success
With so few ingredients, it’s hard to go wrong making this pesto. But, here are a few things to keep in mind!
- Want to use a basil sub? You can substitute up to one cup of basil with another green vegetable – carrot tops and spinach are great pesto add-ins. I also like baby spinach or kale.
- Use high-quality ingredients. Since we’re working with so few ingredients, you can definitely taste the difference between high and low quality. This is especially true with the olive oil and cheese.
- Scrape the sides of the food processor. To ensure all of the basil is finely chopped, be sure to scrape down the sides of the food processor where the leaves may get stuck.
There are endless ways to use this basil pesto! Here are a few favorites:
- Pasta. Use it to make the best pesto pasta you’ve ever had! You can also use it on gnocchi.
- Pizza. Use this pesto as your pizza sauce, then top with mozzarella and tomatoes. Yum!
- Sandwiches. Use this to take your favorite sandwich or wrap up a notch.
- Salad. Add a little vinegar or more oil to turn this pesto into a light salad dressing.
- Veggies. Toss your favorite veggies in this for some extra flavor.
- Proteins. Drizzle some pesto over baked chicken, steak or tofu!
How to Store
You can store homemade pesto in the fridge for up to four days. Since this recipe makes so much, I often have leftovers. I’ll use it for pasta the first night then keep the leftovers in the fridge to add to veggies, sandwiches, and other meals throughout the week.
Can I Freeze Pesto?
You can absolutely freeze this basil pesto! You can serve it in small plastic jars or containers for up to 6 months.
I actually like to freeze pesto in ice cubes, then transfer to a ziploc bag. Then I can just grab as many cubes as I need for that night’s dinner. Allow it to defrost and your pasta sauce is ready to go!
More Homemade Sauces:
Homemade Basil Pesto Sauce
- 1 1/2 cups fresh basil leaves, packed
- 1/4 cup toasted pine nuts
- 1/4 cup parmesan cheese, freshly grated
- 1 tablespoon chopped garlic
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil, good quality
- Add the basil, pine nuts, parmesan cheese, garlic, and lemon juice to the bowl of a food processor. Pulse until the basil is finely chopped
- With the food processor on low speed, slowly drizzle in the olive oil. Once all of the oil has been added, allow the food processor to run for an additional 10 to 15 seconds to fully incorporate the oil. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as necessary.
- Season with salt and pepper to taste.