Easy Homemade Basil Pesto

A classic Italian sauce that is simple and easy to make. This bright and flavorful basil pesto can go on anything from chicken, to pasta, to seafood. It only takes about 5 minutes to make. 

Basil pesto, there are so many ways to make this wonderful sauce. In the summer this is such a quick and easy way to spice up some of your normal dishes. I fell in love with this sauce when I was a child and my dad used to put on wagon wheel pasta with salmon in it. Whether you use it in your pasta or even on the grill this sauce is ready for all of your summer dishes. A huge bonus is that it freezes well if you have extra. 

In this recipe

The main ingredient for this sauce is the basil. One of the important things is to make sure that the leaves are not really large. If they start to smell like mint then you don’t want to use them. Basil is a plant that loves the heat and so in the summer if you have multiple basil plants is seems like there is always too much basil. It is a fast growing plant and this sauce makes great use of it. 

Ingredients for basil pesto
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Going old school

Pesto comes from the Genoese word pestâ which means to pound. The original way to make pesto is by using a mortar and pestle. This is personally my favorite way as the texture is completely different than if you were to use a blender or food processor. However it takes considerably more time to make is this way. Start by pounding the garlic and pine nuts with the salt. Once that becomes a paste add a small amount of oil and basil until all of the oil and basil is incorporated. Mix in the shredded cheese and pepper. You will love how silky and smooth it is. 

mortar full of basil pesto with pestle on the side
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Making basil pesto

The fastest way to make it is in a blender or food processor. While a lot of people like using the food processor I prefer a blender. The reason for this is that the shape of the blender forces all of the sauce towards the blades. This will create a much smoother sauce (at least in my opinion). The other thing you want to watch out for is oxidation. The more air that gets to the basil the faster it will turn brown. By chilling the oil, blender/food processor bowl and blades it will help. 

Basil pesto in a black granite mortar with pestle
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Looking for other sauces?

Basil pesto in a mortar
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Easy Homemade Basil Pesto

A fresh basil sauce with garlic, olive oil and cheese.
5 from 8 votes
Prep Time 5 minutes
Total Time 5 minutes
Course Sauce
Cuisine Italian
Servings 2 servings
Calories 1014 kcal


  • Food processor or blender


  • cups basil fresh, packed
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • ¾ cup olive oil
  • cup pine nuts
  • cup parmesan cheese grated, 1 ounce
  • cup pecorino cheese grated, 1 ounce
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp ground black pepper


Food processor preparation

  • Add the garlic and pine nuts and pulse until they are chopped finely.
  • Add the basil, salt and pepper and blend on high speed. Slowly drizzle in the olive oil until the pesto has reached the proper smoothness. For a thinner sauce add additional olive oil.
  • Add the cheese and pulse until combined.

Blender preparation

  • Combine all of the ingredients and blend until the sauce has reached the desired consistency.


Serving: 1servingCalories: 1014kcalCarbohydrates: 7gProtein: 16gFat: 105gSaturated Fat: 18gPolyunsaturated Fat: 17gMonounsaturated Fat: 66gCholesterol: 29mgSodium: 787mgPotassium: 284mgFiber: 2gSugar: 1gVitamin A: 1792IUVitamin C: 7mgCalcium: 445mgIron: 3mg
Nutrition Disclaimer*
Keyword Basil, Fresh, Pesto
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!
basil pesto pinterest pin
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9 thoughts on “Easy Homemade Basil Pesto”

  1. This homemade basil pesto is a game-changer! Bursting with fresh flavors, it added a vibrant touch. I’ll drizzle it over pasta, spread it on chicken, or pair it with seafood from now on!

  2. 5 stars
    Your Basil Pesto recipe is so delicious! I had a go at using the pestle and mortar using the instructions you gave and it came out brilliant

  3. 5 stars
    We love pesto in our household. Home made basil pesto is the best. We enjoyed making this dish and eating it. Wonderful aromas! We paired it with pasta. Delicious!

  4. I like how easy to make this basil pesto is and this is something I could see pairing well with pasta, as a pizza sauce, with meat, or more. Thanks for sharing

  5. 5 stars
    I made some fresh pasta and wanted something light to go with it. This was perfect! Super well balanced. Thanks a ton!

  6. 5 stars
    There are so many wonderful ways to use a good basil pesto sauce! And I have a bunch of basil in my pots right now. Thank you!!

  7. 5 stars
    I have lots of basil in the garden right now. What a great place to use it. Homemade pesto is the best.

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