Homemade Pesto Recipe – An easy recipe for homemade basil pesto! Pesto is made from a mixture of fresh basil, garlic, cheese, nuts, and olive oil.  Find out how to make it at home!

homemade basil pesto recipe

I absolutely adore pesto and all of that super fresh, garlicky, and cheesy flavor!  It’s something I especially start to crave more once the weather gets warm.  While store-bought pesto can taste great, absolutely nothing compares to the flavor of homemade!

If you haven’t made basil pesto before, you should know that it comes together in about 10 minutes or less!  I am including a few “in process” photos today to show you how I make it.

For this recipe, it is best if you use your food processor.  However, if you only have a blender that should work too.

basil and garlic in food processor for basil pesto

Basil Pesto Recipe:

Pesto really only takes a handful of ingredients.  Some of them like the olive oil, salt, and pepper you will generally already have in your cabinet.

The remaining ingredients are basil, garlic, pine nuts, and parmesan cheese.

You will want to use the freshest basil that you can find for best flavor.  This becomes easier during spring and summer when you can find it at your local farmer’s markets.  But, I am always able to find decent basil year-round in the produce section of our grocery store.

For the garlic, it is best to use fresh.  I always have a jar of pre-minced garlic on hand, but, for this recipe be sure to use to full cloves of garlic.

Pine nuts are my preference for pesto.  However, it is great with walnuts as well if you have some on hand!

The parmesan cheese should also be freshly grated off the block if possible.  You can use pre-shredded if that’s what you have.  I don’t recommend using the bottle of grated parmesan for this recipe.

how to make pesto

How to Make Pesto:

Making pesto in the food processor is a snap!

You will want to make sure you remove the stems from your basil first.  Then, add the leaves to the bowl of your food processor.

Next, add your two peeled garlic cloves, along with the pine nuts, cheese, salt, and pepper.

Place the lid on your food processor, lock into place, and give your basil mixture about five good pulses.  After you pulse a few times you will notice that you have a very coarse mixture of finely chopped basil, garlic, pine nuts, and cheese as you can see below.

homemade basil pesto

The next step is to add your olive oil.  You will want to add that in while the food processor is running.  Simply turn the processor on low, and slowly stream the olive oil right into the basil mixture.

olive oil basil pesto

Once you have added all of the olive oil, go ahead and turn your food processor to high.  Allow it to run for about 30 seconds.

Now, your pesto is ready to serve!  Be sure to give it a taste, and add additional salt and pepper if necessary.

Your pesto will be best stored in a small bowl with plastic wrap over the top.  The plastic wrap should touch the top of the pesto.  This will keep it from getting too much air and turning brown.

pesto recipe



5 from 36 votes

Homemade Pesto Recipe

Homemade Pesto Recipe - An easy recipe for homemade basil pesto! Pesto is made from a mixture of fresh basil, garlic, cheese, nuts, and olive oil.  Find out how to make it at home!
Prep 10 minutes
Total 10 minutes
Servings 1 Cup


  • 2 Cups Fresh Basil Leaves
  • 2 Cloves Garlic
  • 1/3 Cup Pine Nuts
  • 1/2 Cup Parmesan Cheese, Fresh
  • 1/4 Teaspoon Salt
  • 1/4 Teaspoon Pepper
  • 1/2 Cup Olive Oil


  • Add the fresh basil leaves, garlic, pine nuts, parmesan cheese, salt, and pepper to the bowl of your food processor. Pulse 5 times until a coarse mixture forms.
  • Turn the food processor on low and slowly add the olive oil in a steady stream.
  • Serve the pesto immediately or store in a small bowl covered with plastic wrap in the refrigerator.


Calories: 1474kcal, Carbohydrates: 11g, Protein: 25g, Fat: 152g, Saturated Fat: 25g, Cholesterol: 34mg, Sodium: 1388mg, Potassium: 456mg, Fiber: 2g, Sugar: 2g, Vitamin A: 2925IU, Vitamin C: 10.5mg, Calcium: 688mg, Iron: 5mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Additional Info

Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Like this? Rate & review this recipe below!

Hey! Nice to meet you! I'm Nichole!

Welcome to The Salty Marshmallow! I'm a mom, animal lover, photographer, & kitchen mess-maker. Here you will find the result of my decades-long passion for chasing the best flavors in the kitchen, all meant to be cooked by regular people with busy lives just like you and me.

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  1. Hi Nichole, I wanted to thank you for sharing this recipe! I don’t know how many times I have made triple batches of it, because I’ve lost count, but I don’t want to lose any of my basil that I have growing in my garden. I’ve been freezing the pesto in bags that are just enough for a pound of fettuccine, so we can continue to enjoy this amazing dish, even when there’s snow on the ground! I add some reserved pasta water to the pesto and fettuccine and I continue to stir it together and it makes a wonderfully creamy pesto sauce that is out of this world!!!
    Thanks again!

  2. Are the 2 cups of Basil squished and packed in to measure? Do you have a measurement by weight by chance?

    1. I was just getting ready to comment on this wonderful recipe, Kimberly, and I saw your question. I’ve made this many times and I’ve always used firmly packed cups of basil.

    1. Emma, I’ve made this pesto before, and yes you can freeze it. I just pour it into a mini cupcake tin, (16 sections) cover them with saran wrap till they freeze, pop them out and put them in a big freezer bag.

  3. 5 stars
    This was the first thing I made in my new food processor (never used one before) and if this pesto is the only thing I learn how to make will in it then I’d say it’s still a win! This was THE BEST pesto! I followed recipe exactly! Thank you!