How to Make Homemade Pesto Sauce

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If you’ve been around my blog for a while you know I love pesto sauce.  Over the years I’ve shared various pesto recipes, but I realized I’ve never shared a recipe for pesto… crazy right?  So today I’m sharing a super easy Homemade Pesto Sauce recipe. Pesto sauce is so versatile and it freezes well too!

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Homemade Basil Pesto Sauce

What ingredients are in traditional pesto sauce?

I am a huge fan of basil, garlic, and cheese… some of the main components in pesto… so it’s no wonder I love pesto. Pesto sauce usually also are made with toasted pine nuts, but it can be made with walnuts, almonds, pecans, or other nuts too. What pulls all the ingredients together is extra virgin olive oil.


It’s easy to put together in your food processor or blender if you don’t have a processor.

This fresh basil pesto recipe makes about 1 cup.

How to Make Pesto Sauce

Basil in food processor

Add your beautiful, washed fresh basil leaves to your food processor. I’m a traditional pesto girl, but you can swap out the basil for kale or even arugula. Any fresh herb can replace the basil or be added in addition to the basil if you prefer a different taste. A couple of ideas would be cilantro or parsley.

Basil, pine nuts and minced garlic

Add the pine nuts and minced garlic on top of the basil.  Pulse about 10 times. You can toast your pine nuts if you want to give your pesto a deeper nutty flavor. Just place your nuts in a skillet and heat on medium heat for a few minutes until you start smelling them – the heat will release the oils and that is what you’re smelling.

Pulsing the Homemade Basil Pesto Sauce

Place the parmesan cheese and salt and black pepper to taste in your food processor.

Adding parmesan cheese and seasonings to Pesto Sauce

Add about 1/2 of the olive oil and pulse about 10 times.

Adding olive oil to Pesto Sauce

Add the remaining olive oil and let the food processor go for about 10 seconds or until you reach your desired smoothness.

Homemade Basil Pesto Sauce all blended

In just minutes you’ll have delicious, fresh pesto sauce… perfect for so many recipes! I use fresh basil pesto sauce on pasta dishes, a pesto pizza, and pesto chicken sandwiches.

Basil Pesto Sauce
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Homemade Pesto Sauce

Learn how to make your own pesto sauce!  It’s so much better fresh!
Print Recipe
Prep Time:10 minutes
Total Time:10 minutes


  • food processor


  • 1 cup basil leaves you could also do 1/2 c. basil and 1/2 c. spinach
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 3 tbsp pine nuts
  • cup Parmesan cheese
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • cup olive oil


  • Add your washed basil leaves to the food processor.
  • Add the garlic (minced) and pine nuts to the basil leaves.
  • Pulse 10 times.
  • Add the grated parmesan cheese, salt and pepper.
  • Add about half of the olive oil.
  • Pulse about 10 times.
  • Add the remaining olive oil and let the food processor go for about 10 seconds or until you reach your desired consistency.
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Italian
Keyword: basil, garlic, parmesan cheese, pesto, pine nuts
Servings: 1 cup
Author: Maryann @ Domestically Speaking
Cost: $6

How to Freeze Pesto Sauce

You can freeze homemade pesto sauce, you’ll just want to add a little extra olive oil to it.  I like to freeze in 1/2 cup sizes. If you prefer smaller portions you can pour the sauce into an ice cube tray and then pop the frozen pesto out and place it into a freezer bag until you’re ready to use.

I hope you get a chance to make your own pesto sauce sometime.  It really is super easy and so delicious when it’s freshly made.

Easy to make Pesto Sauce

Recipes with Pesto to Try:

Pesto Monkey Bread

Pesto Monkey Bread

Pesto Lasagna Rollup

Pesto Chicken Roll-ups

Pesto Three Cheese Tortellini with Chicken

Creamy Pesto Three Cheese Tortellini with Chicken

Homemade Basil Pesto Sauce | Easy to make | Quick for so many dinner recipes


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