This classic basil pesto sauce recipe can elevate any pasta, sandwich, or soup! And it’s so easy to make, you may never purchase store-bought again.
Pesto is so versatile – don’t miss our 12 great ways to use it beyond pasta at the end of the article.
Surely I can’t be the only one who dreams about pesto sauce. Ok, maybe I’m a weirdo.
My garden basil explodes every summer, so I’m always making fresh pesto. We go through it pretty fast, since my kids love pesto sauce as much (if not more) then red sauce.
Homemade Pesto Sauce – Why We Love It
- It’s a crazy simple recipe. With only 6 ingredients, it comes together in about 10 minutes.
- This pesto sauce can keep for quite a while – up to 1 month in the freezer.
- It’s nutty and creamy and really enhances any dish you put it on.
- A healthy sauce with natural, fresh ingredients.
You only need a few simple, fresh ingredients to make this pesto sauce from scratch.
(Scroll below to the printable recipe card for details and measurements.)
- Basil leaves: Pesto can be made with different herbs, but classic pesto is made with basil.
- Pine nuts: We toast them first for added flavor.
- Parmesan cheese: Freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano off the block.
- Garlic: Fresh is a must!
- Kosher salt: For flavor.
- Extra-virgin olive oil: This is what turns it into a sauce and makes it creamy and rich.
How to Make Pesto
It’s SO easy to make this homemade pesto recipe. You simply place all the ingredients in the bowl of a food processor (except the olive oil.) Blitz until pureed, then gradually drizzle in the olive oil to emulsify. Taste and adjust seasoning, if needed.
- You don’t have to toast the pine nuts but it does add a depth of flavor.
- Grab a spatula and scrape any ingredients that may get stuck a bit in the food processor. Just stop mixing things and redistribute the pesto in the bowl.
- Don’t pour the oil too fast – you want a nice slow drizzle to create an emulsion.
- Switch up the nuts: Try using almonds or walnuts in place of the pine nuts.
- Try a different cheese: Pecorino, Romano, or Asiago could also work in place of the Parmesan.
- Use a different herb: All out of basil? Try using an equal amount of fresh parsley or cilantro (though this will change the taste of the pesto quite a bit).
12 Great Ways to use Pesto Sauce
- Spread on a sandwich
- Whisk into a vinaigrette
- Spread on corn on the cob
- Use as a pizza dough sauce
- Dollop on baked potatoes
- Add to cornbread batter
- Use as a marinade
- Add to scrambled eggs
- Add to potato salad
- Mash into herb butter
- Whisk into tortellini soup
- Top on Turkey Burgers
I also often mix it with a little mayonnaise as a sandwich spread, too (<< don’t knock it ’til you try it!)
More Pasta Sauce Recipes:
Basil Pesto Sauce
- 4 cups loosely packed fresh basil leaves
- 1/3 cup toasted pine nuts
- 2 cloves garlic , chopped
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
- 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- Place all of the ingredients (except the olive oil) in the bowl of a food processor. Process until pureed.
- With the machine running, gradually pour in the olive oil in a steady stream, to emulsify.
- That’s it! Taste and adjust the seasoning, if desired.
- Refrigerate any leftover pesto up to 5 days or 1 month in the freezer.