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+ servings
pesto in a small white pot on wooden chopping board

Homemade Basil Pesto

Here I'll show you how to make the most delicious homemade basil pesto. After seeing how easy this recipe is you'll never get store bought again!
5 from 1 vote
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Course: Condiment
Cuisine: Italian
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 10 minutes
Servings (click & slide): 1 cup
Calories per serving: 176kcal
Author: Chris
Cost per serving: £2 / $2.50


  • Food Processor (or Pestle and Mortar)
  • Fine Cheese Grater
  • Spatula


  • 2 very large handfuls of Fresh Basil Leaves (approx 2 packed cups worth - 60g/2.1oz)
  • 1/2 - 2/3 cup / 100 - 150ml Extra Virgin Olive Oil, or as needed
  • 4 tbsp Pine Nuts, optionally toasted (see notes)
  • 1/2 cup / 40g freshly grated Parmesan (see notes)
  • 1 small clove Garlic
  • 1/4 tsp Salt, or to taste
  • 1/8 tsp Black Pepper, or to taste


Pestle and Mortar

  • Begin by crushing 1 small clove garlic with a pinch of salt to form a paste. Gradually add in basil and smash/grind to blend. Then add your pine nuts and parmesan. After, add in your oil around 1 tbsp at a time. Test for seasoning.


  • Add 1 small clove garlic and pine nuts and blend until desired texture. Add basil and parmesan, blend and slowly add in your oil. Test for seasoning. Alternatively this can all be added at once and results will still be similar. This method just ensures there's no large chunks of garlic and the pine nuts and pulsed to preference.

Quick Demo


a) Toasted Pine Nuts - If you are toasting pine nuts, place 4 tbsp in a pan over low-medium heat with no oil and shake occasionally until golden brown. Pine nuts will go from toasted to burnt extremely quickly so just be vigilant.
b) Burning Pesto - It is possible to burn pesto, especially if you pulse it into oblivion. A tip to avoid this is to rest some ice in the blender before using, just to keep it cool and avoid it becoming hot and burning out the basil.
c) Parmesan - Ensure you freshly grate the parmesan, using packet/powdered parmesan will ruin both the flavour and texture of the pesto.
d) How to store pesto - Tightly seal in a jar in the fridge with a layer of olive oil on top. Each time you use it, pour off the oil and replace when you put it back in. This will last at least a week, anything after that just be vigilant with your senses before using it. Freeze for up to a month, however add the cheese AFTER if you plan on freezing.
e) Calories - Based on the whole recipe (using 1/2 cup oil) divided by 8:
Nutrition Facts
Homemade Basil Pesto
Amount Per Serving
Calories 176 Calories from Fat 164
% Daily Value*
Fat 18.17g28%
Saturated Fat 3.035g19%
Trans Fat 0.061g
Polyunsaturated Fat 2.972g
Monounsaturated Fat 11.094g
Cholesterol 5mg2%
Sodium 186mg8%
Potassium 56mg2%
Carbohydrates 1.74g1%
Fiber 0.3g1%
Sugar 0.18g0%
Protein 2.57g5%
Vitamin A 379IU8%
Vitamin C 1.2mg1%
Calcium 66mg7%
Iron 0.54mg3%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
*Nutrition is based on the absence of salt unless stated as a measurement in the ingredients. Cost is worked out based on ingredients bought from UK supermarkets, then divided by the number of servings. In both instances these values are just for guidance. Please check out my FAQ Page for more info.
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