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spoonful of homemade basil pesto coming out of a jar.

Easy Homemade Pesto Recipe

  • Author: Sally
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 0 minutes
  • Total Time: 10 minutes
  • Yield: 1 cup
  • Category: Appetizer
  • Method: Cooking
  • Cuisine: Italian


This is how I make classic basil pesto at home. It’s incredibly simple and flavorful and uses only a handful of fresh ingredients.


  • 2 cups (60g) fresh basil leaves*
  • 1/3 cup (48g) pine nuts*
  • 1/3 cup (25g) freshly grated or shredded parmesan cheese
  • 3 small cloves garlic (roasted garlic or fresh)*
  • 1/3 cup (80ml) olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • freshly ground black pepper, to taste


  1. Pulse the basil, pine nuts, cheese, and garlic together in a food processor or blender. Scrape down the sides, then add the oil, lemon juice, and salt. Pulse until everything is blended together and relatively smooth. Add a drizzle more olive oil to thin out, if desired. Taste and add pepper (and/or more salt) if desired. I always add a pinch of pepper.
  2. Store pesto in a jar or sealable container, tightly seal, and refrigerate for up to 1 week.


  1. Storing & Freezing Instructions: You can store this basil pesto in a jar or sealable container, then tightly seal and refrigerate for up to 1 week. To prevent browning, pour a layer of olive oil on top of the pesto before sealing. Freeze the pesto for up to 2–3 months. You can freeze it in greased ice cube trays and thaw small portions at a time. Let it thaw at room temperature or in the refrigerator.
  2. Special Tools (affiliate links): Food Processor or Blender
  3. Basil or Other Greens: Instead of basil, try other greens like spinach, kale, or arugula. No matter which greens you choose, rinse and pat dry before using.
  4. Nuts: If I’m having trouble finding pine nuts, sometimes I’ll swap them for walnuts, pistachios, or almonds. For a nut-free version, try cooked and cooled edamame, pumpkin seeds, hemp seeds, or sunflower seeds.
  5. Parmesan Cheese: In place of fresh parmesan (aka parmigiano-reggiano), you can use any Italian-style hard cheese, such as pecorino romano, asiago, or grana padano.
  6. Garlic: If you don’t have fresh garlic cloves, use 3 teaspoons minced garlic from the jar.
  7. Other Pesto Variations: Try adding your favorite herbs like cilantro, mint, or parsley. Add your favorite spices like cayenne, ground ginger, paprika, or crushed red pepper flakes. Or add a dash of your favorite hot sauce.

Keywords: homemade basil pesto, how to make basil pesto