Basil Pesto

Basil Pesto is a classic recipe, and it is very simple to make with just a few simple, fresh ingredients! Make this pesto recipe and enjoy the bright, savory, herbaceous flavor on pasta, potatoes, or meat.

a small marble bowl filled with homemade basil pesto. On the table next to a plate and a spoon.

Why This Basil Pesto Recipe is So Good

  • Full of flavor: Pesto is ALL flavor. Fresh basil leaves bring so much to the party, but pinenuts, garlic, parmesan cheese, and olive oil each add their own nuances to make this flavorful sauce.
  • A Versatile Recipe: You can adjust this recipe for the ingredients that you have on hand. It’s a great way to use up leftover greens or a handful of nuts that’s left in the bag.
  • So Easy to Make: Toss everything in the food processor and hit start. You’ll have pesto in a few minutes.

Tips and Tricks for Making The Best Basil Pesto

  • Enjoy homemade pesto within a few days for best flavor. It can start to brown after that.
  • Freeze it! Basil pesto freezes very well, and can last up to a year if stored properly. I like to freeze it in small jars or plastic containers, but you can also make pesto ice cubes to toss into soups and sauces.
  • If you don’t have a food processor, you can make pesto the old fashioned way, using a mortar and pestle. Or, use a high speed blender instead.
  • Toast the pine nuts. I suggest buying raw pine nuts and toasting them yourself. It’s less expensive this way, and the flavor is amazing. Simply add the nuts to a dry skillet and cook while stirring until they turn lightly brown.
  • Instead of pine nuts, try toasted walnuts instead.
  • To make vegan basil pesto, you can either omit the parmesan cheese, or use a vegan substitute.
  • For a more mild flavor, replace up to half of the basil leaves with baby spinach, carrot tops, or kale.
basil, pinenuts, and cheese in a food processor

What to Serve With BASIL PESTO

Enjoy homemade basil pesto tossed with pasta, or drizzled over roasted potatoes.

It’s also delicious on corn on the cob, or any type of steamed veggie. Try basil pesto on steak too!

If you really love the flavor of fresh basil, try making this spiked sparkling basil lemonade cocktail!


If you make this recipe, I’d love for you to give it a quick review & star rating ★ below. Your comment and/or rating helps other readers!

a marble bowl filled with green basil pesto. A silver spoon is in the bowl.

Basil Pesto

Basil Pesto is a classic recipe, and it is very simple to make with just a few simple, fresh ingredients! It's savory, bright, and delicious.
Prep Time 5 minutes
Total Time 5 minutes
Course Syrups and Sauces
Cuisine Italian
Servings 2 cups
Calories 79 kcal


  • 1 1/2 cups Fresh Basil Leaves packed tightly
  • 1/4 cup Toasted Pine Nuts
  • 1/4 cup Parmesan Cheese freshly grated
  • 1 tbsp Garlic chopped
  • 1 tbsp Olive Oil
  • Salt and Pepper to taste


  • Add the basil, pine nuts, parmesan cheese, garlic, and lemon juice to the bowl of a food processor.
    basil, pinenuts, and cheese in a food processor
  • Pulse until the basil is finely chopped.
    basil pesto in a food processor, before oil is added
  • 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 10-15 seconds to fully incorporate the oil. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as necessary.
    fully blended basil pesto in a food processor.
  • Season with salt and pepper to taste. Store the pesto in an airtight container in the fridge for up to four days.


  • You can substitute up to one cup of basil with another green vegetable– carrot tops and spinach are great pesto add-ins.
  • The pine nuts can be substituted for walnuts.
  • Basil pesto freezes very well. Freeze in small portions for up to a year. 
  • Keyword basil pesto
    a marble bowl filled with green basil pesto. A silver spoon is in the bowl. Text at top of image says "super yummy basil pesto" in varied fonts.

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