How to Easily Make Pesto from Fresh Basil

"This WONDERFUL and easy recipe is courtesy of As expensive as basil pesto is in the stores, you'd think it was difficult to make; but it is incredibly easy. The only equipment you need is a food processor, blender or chopper."
photo by Sharon123 photo by Sharon123
photo by Sharon123
photo by Sharon123 photo by Sharon123
photo by Sharon123 photo by Sharon123
Ready In:
1 cup


  • 2 cups basil (fresh leaves, stuff them into a measure cup and press them down with your hand, it's not a precise m)
  • 14 cup parmesan cheese (grated)
  • 14 cup pine nuts (if you don't have pine nuts, you can use walnuts or hazelnuts)
  • 3 garlic cloves, finely minced (or 1 tablespoon of prepared minced garlic)
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice (helps prevent the pesto from turning brown upon exposure to the air)
  • 14 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon sugar


  • Pick the leaves off of the stems. Discard any flower buds, stems or leaves that aren't in good shape. All we want are leaves; small, medium or large; as long as they are a healthy green, not brown or molding!
  • Wash the basil. Just wash them in a large bowl under cold water, no soap!
  • Chop the pine nuts and garlic in the food processor. If you don't have a food processor, you can use a blender.
  • Add the basil leaves, lemon, and olive oil and chop. Stuff the basil leaves (in small batches) into the food processor and chop them into the garlic, olive oil and pine nuts.
  • Chop the mix until it forms a thick, smooth paste.
  • Add the grated Parmesan cheese to the food processor and blend! IMPORTANT NOTE: if you intend to freeze the pesto, leave the cheese OUT and add it when you thaw and use the pesto.
  • Add 1 teaspoon of sugar or Splenda to the batch to bring the flavor alive. (Optional).
  • The pesto will keep in refrigerator for about a week, or you can freeze it and it will last for 3 to 6 months.
  • Serving? Most people serve it over pasta or use it to season fish and chicken dishes.

Questions & Replies

default avatar
  1. jmarshallrolle
    What can I subitute the olive oil with


  1. suze214
    I make a vegan version using 1/4 cup of Nutritional Yeast instead of the cheese, and more garlic (5 cloves!). You can freeze it.
  2. patrick
    Works just fine WITH the basil stems (the thinner ones)- really can't tell any difference in taste. And it costs a lot less!
  3. Shazzie
    Easy and tasty. Freezes well. I used the walnut option. Thank you for a lovely recipe. Any tips out there on how to easily remove basil oil stains from the fingers lol?
  4. mom of six in MI
    Love it! This was easy and wonderful. We used it on turkey paninis. Great combo.
  5. Sharon123
    Easy and so yummy! I used the lemon juice and will have this with pasta! Thank you!



Find More Recipes