Pesto sauce

Pesto sauce

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(77 ratings)

Prep: 10 mins Cook: 5 mins


Makes 250ml

Make your own delicious pesto sauce in just 15 minutes

Nutrition and extra info

  • Vegetarian

Nutrition: per tbsp

  • kcal105
  • fat11g
  • saturates2g
  • carbs0g
  • sugars0g
  • fibre0g
  • protein2g
  • salt0.06g
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  • 50g pine nuts
  • large bunch of basil



    Most closely associated with Mediterranean cooking but also very prevalent in Asian food, the…

  • 50g parmesan (or vegetarian alternative)



    Parmesan is a straw-coloured hard cheese with a natural yellow rind and rich, fruity flavour. It…

  • 150ml olive oil, plus extra for storing
    olive oil

    Olive oil

    ol-iv oyl

    Probably the most widely-used oil in cooking, olive oil is pressed from fresh olives. It's…

  • 2 garlic cloves


  1. Heat a small frying pan over a low heat. Cook the pine nuts until golden, shaking occasionally. Put into a food processor with the remaining ingredients and process until smooth, then season.

  2. Pour the pesto into a jar and cover with a little extra oil, then seal and store in the fridge. It will keep in a fridge for up to two weeks.

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Comments, questions and tips

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3rd Feb, 2020
Found this recipe calls for far too much oil, when I warmed the sauce to stir into pasta it separated and I was left with a pool of oil in my bowl! I also think ‘large bunch of basil’ is unhelpfully vague.
14th Jan, 2019
My first time making homemade pesto. This was super simple and delicious. Definitely recommend.
mhchevalier's picture
1st Aug, 2018
I was excited to make pesto as everyone told me that homemade pesto is better than shop bought. However, my parents and I found this tasted disgusting. Very dissapointed; most BBC good food recipes are great.
Callys Rainbow
25th Jul, 2018
I love this recipe! I use Sainsbury's basic Italian hard cheese as I'm vegetarian. I also just add the olive oil a little at a time until I get the consistency I prefer... I have quite a few basil plants as I love pesto (and I have guinea pigs!) so I always have fresh basil at hand. I sometimes use Avocado oil for a slightly different taste and I occasionally change from pine nuts to walnuts....always delicious!
newmikeman's picture
1st Mar, 2018
How big is a "large bunch basil"? If a small packet in Waitrose is 25g, is a large bunch twice that, 10 times that, or what? One of the other recipes here says 80g basil. Would that suit your recipe too? Its a bit academic because all the basic pesto recipes are the same except that one of them is complete and the other two are not - the quantity of basil.
Callys Rainbow
25th Jul, 2018
When I first started making my own pesto sauce following this recipe I used to buy Sainsbury's pre-packed basil leaves which is a 30g bag and it was about right. I now grow my own and just add according to taste.
14th Feb, 2018
I didn't have enough basil so added a few broccoli florets that I cooked in the same pot as the pasta, it was very tasty and the toddlers enjoyed it
11th May, 2017
I had to improvise slightly with this as I didn't have all the ingredients! I only used 50ml of olive oil, also used spinach instead of basil and added some lemon juice and 3 (small!) cloves of garlic. The results were fantastic, I literally had it with Tagliatelle pasta some feta cheese and sundried tomatoes which made a fab pack up! This sauce is fantastically creamy and fresh, I love it!
12th Mar, 2017
I love this recipe as it's so quick and easy. I used half basil and half spinach for added vitamins. You only need to add a little oil to the top of the jar once it's made to stop it drying out. I stirred my pesto into rigatoni and added char-grilled chicken strips and vine roasted tomatoes - heaven on a plate!
18th Jan, 2017
Made this a few times and it has turned out great. I now use walnuts instead of pinenuts as a cheaper alternative.


1st Jul, 2014
Does anyone know if this is freezable? I've got loads of basil growing in the garden and I'd like to make up a few batches. Any advice gratefully received.
goodfoodteam's picture
16th Jul, 2019
Thanks for your question. We don't generally recommend freezing pesto as there can be discolouration and loss of flavour. However, if you have a glut of basil and are keen to freeze some pesto, we'd recommend doing so in portions. A popular method is to oil ice cube trays and then portion out your pesto into these, seal the trays in a freezer bag. You can then pop out as many as you need for your recipe.
goodfoodteam's picture
7th Nov, 2014
Hi there thanks for your question, yes you can freeze the pesto - try freezing it in ice cube trays for convenient portions.
14th Jul, 2019
are there any other ways to store pesto?
19th Oct, 2014
It won't help you now but you could always do some basil butter and freeze them for thewinter. Not sure how long it will keep but it's an idea anyway.
24th Sep, 2015
I added rocket to add a bit of a kick. Chopped mushrooms add a nice change too. I served with linguine, asparagus, tomatoes and falafel. A good vegetarian parmesan alternative is tesco's everyday value 'Italian style hard cheese'.
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