How to Make Pesto: A Step-by-Step Guide

The Perfect Homemade Pesto Recipe

Welcome to our ultimate guide on how to make pesto at home. Whether you want to impress your dinner guests or simply enjoy a delicious homemade sauce, pesto is the perfect addition to any dish. This versatile sauce is easy to make and can be used for pasta, sandwiches, pizza, and more. In this article, we will provide you with a step-by-step guide on how to make pesto from scratch. So, let’s get started!

What is Pesto?

Pesto is a traditional Italian sauce made from fresh basil leaves, garlic, pine nuts, parmesan cheese, and olive oil. It’s typically prepared in a mortar and pestle, but you can also use a food processor or blender for a quicker version. The origins of pesto can be traced back to Genoa, a city in northern Italy. Pesto is typically served over pasta or as a spread on bread, but it can also be used as a dip or marinade. This sauce is easy to make, and it’s perfect for those who love the taste of fresh herbs and garlic.


Ingredient Amount
Fresh basil leaves 2 cups
Garlic cloves 2-3
Pine nuts 1/4 cup
Parmesan cheese 1/2 cup
Extra-virgin olive oil 1/2 cup
Salt To taste

How to Make Pesto

Now that you have all of your ingredients ready, let’s begin making pesto.

Step 1: Toast the Pine Nuts

Firstly, toast the pine nuts in a pan on low heat until they are golden brown. Make sure to keep an eye on them as they can burn easily. Once they are done, set them aside to cool.

Step 2: Combine Basil Leaves and Garlic

Wash the basil leaves and pat them dry. Then, add them to a food processor or blender with the garlic cloves.

Step 3: Add Toasted Pine Nuts and Parmesan Cheese

Next, add the toasted pine nuts and parmesan cheese to the mixture in the food processor or blender. Pulse until everything is well combined.

Step 4: Slowly Add Olive Oil

As you pulse the mixture, slowly add the olive oil until the pesto reaches your desired consistency. You may need more or less olive oil depending on how thick or thin you want your pesto.

Step 5: Season with Salt

Taste the pesto and add salt to your liking. Mix again to combine the salt with the rest of the ingredients.

Step 6: Serve and Enjoy!

Your homemade pesto is now ready to use or store. You can serve it immediately with your favorite pasta or store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to a week. This recipe makes about 1 cup of pesto.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What can I use instead of pine nuts?

You can use any nut of your choice such as walnuts, almonds, or cashews.

Should I use fresh or dried basil for pesto?

Fresh basil leaves are the best for pesto to get a delicious and vibrant taste. Dried basil can be substituted in a pinch, but it won’t be as flavorful.

Can I freeze pesto?

Yes, you can freeze pesto. Place the pesto in an airtight container or freezer bag and store it in the freezer for up to three months.

Can I make pesto without cheese?

Yes, you can make pesto without cheese. You can add nutritional yeast flakes for a cheesy taste without the dairy.

How long will homemade pesto last in the fridge?

Homemade pesto can last up to a week in the refrigerator if stored in an airtight container.

Can I add other herbs to pesto?

Yes, you can add other herbs to pesto such as parsley or cilantro for a unique flavor.

Is pesto vegan?

Pesto is not always vegan as it usually contains parmesan cheese. However, you can make it vegan by omitting the cheese or using a dairy-free alternative.

Does pesto need to be refrigerated?

Yes, pesto should be refrigerated to keep it fresh. Store it in an airtight container for up to a week in the refrigerator.

Can I use a mortar and pestle to make pesto?

Yes, you can use a mortar and pestle to make pesto. However, it may take longer and require more effort than using a food processor or blender.

What dishes can I use pesto in?

Pesto can be used in a variety of dishes such as pasta, pizza, sandwiches, and salads for an added flavor boost.

How can I adjust the consistency of pesto?

If the pesto is too thick, you can add more olive oil. If it’s too thin, you can add more pine nuts or parmesan cheese.

Can I use frozen basil to make pesto?

While you can use frozen basil to make pesto, fresh basil leaves are preferred for the best taste.

Can I make pesto with a blender?

Yes, you can use a blender to make pesto. However, a food processor may be easier to use and require less effort.

What can I substitute for olive oil in pesto?

You can use any neutral oil such as vegetable oil or sunflower oil as a substitute for olive oil in pesto.


Now that you know how to make pesto from scratch, you can enjoy this delicious sauce any time you want. It’s easy to make, versatile, and can be used in a variety of dishes. Whether you’re a seasoned cook or a beginner, this recipe is perfect for everyone. So, go ahead and give it a try. Your taste buds will thank you!

Closing Disclaimer

The information in this article is for educational purposes only and is not intended to diagnose or treat any medical condition. Always consult with your healthcare provider before making any changes to your diet or lifestyle.

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