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a glass jar of fresh made pesto, with a serving spoon balancing on top.

How to Make Pesto

  • Author: Kyndra Holley
  • Total Time: 10 minutes
  • Yield: 1 1/2 cups 1x
  • Diet: Vegetarian


Learn how to make pesto with this classic basil pesto recipe. With just 5 main ingredients and 5 minutes of your time, it really couldn't be any easier. It's delicious on seafood, chicken pasta, sandwiches, pizza, eggs, you name it!


  • 3 1/2 cups fresh basil leaves, stems removed, loosely packed
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 cup toasted pine nuts
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt 
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/3 to 1/2 cup olive oil


  1. Add the basil, parmesan, pine nuts, garlic, salt, and pepper to a blender or food processor. Pulse until pureed. With the machine running, slowly pour in the olive oil. 


  • Storage: Store leftovers in the refrigerator for up to 5 days, or freeze for up to 2 months. 
  • Make it dairy free: To make a dairy free pesto, simply omit the parmesan cheese. For that nutty flavor that parmesan cheese imparts, you can add 1/4 cup of nutritional yeast in place of the parmesan cheese.
  • Add lemon: For a fresh burst of acid, add 1 to 2 tablespoons of fresh lemon juice.  
  • Net carbs by serving: 4g
  • Changes up the nuts: While pine nuts might be the most traditional route, this is also delicious with walnuts, pistachios, almonds, pecans, or even sunflower seeds. 
  • Mix up the herbs: Try mixing several different herbs and leafy greens to play with the flavors a bit. Some of my favorites are parsley, arugula, kale, cilantro, chives, green onions, mint and spinach.
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Category: Condiment Recipes
  • Method: Food Processor
  • Cuisine: Italian


  • Serving Size: 1/4 cup
  • Calories: 347
  • Fat: 28g
  • Carbohydrates: 9g
  • Fiber: 5g
  • Protein: 6g

Keywords: the best pesto recipe, how to make pesto, classic basil pesto, garlic pesto, parsley pesto, dairy free pesto, nut free pesto