Sauces and Spreads

Homemade Basil Pesto Sauce Recipe

This Homemade Basil Pesto Sauce Recipe is vegetarian and comes together in under 10 minutes! Perfect as a spread for sandwiches, marinade for meats, or to drizzle over pizza or veggies.

July 31, 2019 (Last Updated: October 3, 2019)
Basil pesto sauce in a gray bowl with a gold spoon next to it.

Summer is still in full swing here in Wisconsin and my fresh herbs are going nuts! I love this time of year (despite the horrible heat and humidity) with all the fresh produce coming in. One of my favorite things to grow is fresh herbs like basil, rosemary and cilantro. I have some that stay in my house year-round and one of those is basil. Basil is one of my favorite herbs to incorporate into recipes, including this Homemade Basil Pesto Sauce Recipe. The sauce is so easy, and comes together in under 20 minutes. This healthy, vegetarian sauce goes great with pizzas, sandwiches, or as a simple sauce for pasta. I hope you and your family love this simple pesto recipe!

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What Do You Need To Make This Basil Pesto Sauce Recipe?

The kitchen tools you will need for this Basil Pesto recipe are:

  • A Food Processor or Blender
  • Garlic Peeler
  • Measuring Cups and Spoons
  • Container for Storing Leftovers

The ingredients you will need for this Homemade Pesto Sauce recipe are: 

  • Fresh Basil
  • Garlic
  • Olive Oil
  • Lemon Juice
  • Grated Parmesan Cheese
  • Pine Nuts
  • Spices

Overhead shot of basil pesto with gold spoon in the bowl and leaves surrounding it.

How Do You Make Healthy Homemade Pesto?

This homemade pesto recipe is super simple to make and takes less than 10 minutes!

  1. Start by measuring and preparing your ingredients. If using fresh garlic make sure you peel it. 
  2. Once you have everything ready, combine all ingredients in a food processor or a blender. I like using a mini food processor for this basil pesto so I do not have to clean my big one.
  3. Start by running your food processor on LOW for 30-60 seconds. Check the pesto and add more olive oil if it seems to thick. Blend for an additional 30-60 seconds until the pesto is smooth and no chunks remain. 
  4. Serve immediately or store in the fridge or freezer. 


For a more detailed look at prep check out the homemade basil pesto sauce recipe video below!

Prep image for pesto sauce showing raw ingredients in a food processor on a white counter.
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Gold spoon dipping into pesto sauce in a gray bowl.

Common Basil Pesto Recipe Questions

Do I have to use fresh basil for this pesto?

Yes, fresh basil is required for this pesto recipe. Using dried basil will not work at all. You can find fresh basil at most grocery stores by the leafy greens. Also, you could try growing your own. I have my fresh basil in a small pot on a windowsill in my kitchen and it has been going strong for years!

Are there any pesto recipe alterations I can make?

Yes, you can make some alterations to this homemade pesto recipe to make it your own. One alteration you can make is the vegan alteration which I talk about below. Another alteration you can make to this homemade pesto is swapping the pine nuts out for walnuts. If you make this switch use the same amount the recipe calls for. I know pine nuts can be tough to find sometimes, so walnuts work great for this pesto as well!

How can I make classic pesto vegan?

To make this this homemade basil pesto vegan you can swap the Parmesan cheese out for nutritional yeast. This swap does not affect the flavor or texture and is great if you are avoiding animal products. My favorite nutritional yeast is the Bragg Nutritional Yeast Seasoning

How much pesto sauce does this recipe yield?

This basil pesto sauce recipe makes about 2 cups of sauce when finished. You can always store leftovers in the fridge or freezer if you do not need that much. 

What does basil pesto go good with?

Basil pesto sauce is very versatile and can be incorporated into tons of different recipes. You could drizzle it over my Easy Margherita Pizza, spread it on a Grilled Goat Cheese Sandwich, use it as a simple pasta sauce, or even drizzle over the top of some avocado toast!

Overhead close up shot of pesto in a gray bowl with a blue napkin next to it.

Freezing homemade basil pesto sauce

Yes, this basil pesto sauce freezes great and when stored in an airtight container stays fresh for up to 3 months. You could store the pesto in a large freezer bag, glass, or plastic container and scoop out what you need. Alternatively, you could store the pesto in small snack zip-lock bags, or a ice cube tray. This way you can pop out a small amount at a time. 

When ready to use frozen pesto let defrost in the overnight fridge, or until thawed. You could also place the pesto in a zip-lock bag and run cold water over it for 15-30 minutes until completely de-thawed.

Storing pesto sauce leftovers

Store leftover homemade basil pesto in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days. To extend to life of your pesto you can also store it in the freezer!


Happy Eating!

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Basil pesto sauce in a gray bowl with a gold spoon next to it.
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5 from 4 votes

Basil Pesto Sauce Recipe

The BEST Homemade Basil Pesto Sauce Recipe that is vegetarian and takes less than 10 minutes! Perfect to serve with meats, veggies, or sandwiches.
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time0 mins
Course: Sauce, Spread
Cuisine: American, Italian
Keyword: Best Homemade Pesto Sauce, Easy Basil Pesto Sauce Recipe, recipe for basil pesto sauce
Servings: 12 Servings
Calories: 271kcal


  • 1 Cup Olive Oil
  • 2 Tbsp Lemon Juice
  • 4 Oz Pine Nuts
  • 4 Cups Fresh Basil Leaves Packed
  • 1 Cup Grated Parmesan Cheese
  • 4 Cloves Garlic Peeled
  • 1 Tsp Pepper
  • 1/2 Tsp Sea Salt


  • Combine all ingredients into a food processor or blender. Blend on LOW for 30-60 seconds until well combined. If sauce is too thick add more olive oil (1 tbsp at a time) and blend an additional 30 seconds. Serve immediately and enjoy!
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  • Leftover Storage: Store leftover basil pesto in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days. 
  • Freezer Option: Store homemade pesto in an airtight container in the freezer for up to 3 months. A great option is to use an empty ice cube tray so you can have individual servings. Let pesto completely defrost before using. 
  • Vegan Option: To make this pesto recipe vegan, swap the Parmesan Cheese out for Nutritional Yeast. 
  • Recipe Ingredient Swap: If you cannot find pine nuts you can use walnuts instead. Use the same amount as the recipe calls for.


Calories: 271kcal | Carbohydrates: 2.5g | Protein: 7.5g | Fat: 27.3g | Saturated Fat: 5.6g | Cholesterol: 13mg | Sodium: 252mg | Potassium: 72mg | Fiber: 0.5g | Sugar: 0.3g | Calcium: 175mg | Iron: 1mg
Tried this recipe?Mention @erhardtseat or tag #erhardteat!

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Pin for basil pesto recipe, Image of prep on top and finished sauce on the bottom with white test in the middle.

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  • Reply
    sheenam @ thetwincookingproject
    August 1, 2019 at 3:48 am

    Love homemade pesto! Looks so delicious!! YUMMMY!!!!

  • Reply
    August 1, 2019 at 1:58 am

    5 stars
    I always use a store bought Basil Pesto Sauce, but here we go. The homemade one. It is the best! Thanks for sharing!

  • Reply
    August 1, 2019 at 1:57 am

    homemade pesto is so much better than store bought!

  • Reply
    Patty at Spoonabilities
    August 1, 2019 at 12:43 am

    5 stars
    Oh what a delicious pesto! I am going to make this for our pasta meal this week. Can’t wait!

  • Reply
    July 31, 2019 at 8:58 pm

    5 stars
    I love a good pesto! You can be so creative with the way you make it too.

  • Reply
    Julie Wallace
    July 31, 2019 at 8:26 pm

    5 stars
    Yum! And so pretty! Pesto is definitely the best way to use up stray herbs or even baby greens (I make arugula pesto a lot). I’ve been making it a lot this summer since my farmer’s market only sells basil in these gargantuan, mutant sized bunches (seriously, never seen that much basil in my life)!

    • Reply
      Caitlyn Erhardt
      August 3, 2019 at 2:38 am

      Haha! Too much basil is a good problem to have in my book!

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