Homemade Pesto Sauce

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!

Homemade pesto sauce in a glass jar with a spoon

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.

Ingredients for homemade pesto measured in glass bowls

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.
Three shots of basil pesto in a food processor, before during and after blending

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!

  1. Add all ingredients except olive oil to the food processor. Pulse until the basil is finely chopped.
  2. Add in olive oil. Slowly drizzle in olive oil. Allow food processor to run for 10-15 additional seconds, scraping the side as necessary.
  3. Season with salt and pepper. Seasoning according to your tastes.
Basil pesto in a glass jar

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.

Serving Suggestions

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!
A bowl of basil pesto with a spoon

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 pesto sauce in a glass jar with a spoon

Homemade Basil Pesto Sauce

Yield: 2 cups
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 5 minutes
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!
5 from 11 votes


  • 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.


This recipe makes 2 cups of pesto. Nutritional information is provided for one cup of pesto. However, one individual serving of pesto is about 1/4 cup. 
Store the pesto in an airtight container in the fridge for up to four days.


Calories: 652kcal, Carbohydrates: 5g, Protein: 8g, Fat: 69g, Saturated Fat: 10g, Cholesterol: 9mg, Sodium: 203mg, Potassium: 190mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 1g, Vitamin A: 1053IU, Vitamin C: 8mg, Calcium: 191mg, Iron: 2mg
Course: Spices, Sauces, and Seasonings
Cuisine: Italian
Author: Ashley C.
If you try this recipe, don’t forget to leave a review below or share a photo and tag @spoonfulofflavor on Instagram.

6 comments on “Homemade Pesto Sauce”

  1. First time making pesto. I need a larger food processor but I got it done. It was easy and delicious. I used half pine nuts and half walnuts. Tastes great.

  2. Have any suggestions as to what I can substitute pine nuts with?  Our family can’t have peanuts, tree nuts, or chickpeas.  Thanks so much!

  3. This recipe is perfect. I was looking at pesto in store and there is so much stuff that is not needed. This is fresh and bright. Love it

  4. I love making my own pesto! It tastes so much more fresh than getting it in store!

  5. Great pesto recipe. Looking forward to making it again when the basil in my garden is ready!

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