Basil pesto is easy to make and freeze, preserving the fresh flavors of summer. Healthy and versatile – pesto is perfect brushed on grilled meats, tossed with steamed veggies, or stirred into soup.

Putting pesto on pasta

I love preparing homemade basil pesto in bulk during the summer. I can prepare the sauce in just minutes, and it’s also extremely versatile and ideal for freezing. When you’re in need of a quick lunch or dinner, you can take a cube of frozen pesto and have a sauced up pasta in minutes! It’s actually super simple, and I’ll show you how easy it is to make and freeze your own basil pesto.


  • Fresh basil: Whether from your own yard or the store or farmer’s market, it needs to be fresh!
  • Parmesan: Nutty and salty, it adds texture and flavor to the sauce.
  • Pine nuts: Instead of using raw pine nuts, I like to toast them to add a deep, rich flavor.
  • Garlic: Earthy, nutty, and somewhat spicy, it adds rich flavor to the pesto.
  • Lemon juice and zest: Brightens up the flavor while adding an acidic balance to the olive oil, cheese, and nuts.
  • Olive oil: Helps to evenly distrubute the ingredients as they blend and gives the pesto its spreadable consistency.

how to Make and Freeze Basil Pesto

Toasted pine nuts

Start by toasting your pine nuts by tossing them in the oven at 350 for about 6 or 6 minutes, until nice and brown.

Drying basil

While the pine nuts are toasting, you can wash and dry your fresh basil.

Adding basil leaves to food proccessor

Then pick the basil leaves off of the stems and add to a food processor.

Adding parmesan cheese to food processor

Followed by the grated parmesan cheese.

Adding lemon zest to pesto

Then add your garlic cloves and fresh lemon zest.

Adding pine nuts to pesto

Next add your toasted pine nuts.

Adding salt to pesto

Finish with some salt and pepper to taste, before turning on your food processor.

adding olive oil to pesto

As your pesto blends, slowly add the olive oil until ilt arrive at the desired consistency.

Adding lemon juice to pesto

Finish off with the fresh lemon juice, and you are ready to serve over some pasta, brushed onto grilled meat, or whatever you can think of!

How to make and freeze basil pesto.

However if you aren’t using it all for your dish, take a clean ice cub tray and fill with the pesto. Cover (plastic wrap will work if your trays don’t come with lids), and place in the freezer. You’ll now have basil pesto at the ready for months going forward!

Easy Substitutions

  • Basil : spinach, parsley, arugula or cilantro
  • Parmesan : pecorino, romano, or Grana Padano cheese
  • Pine nuts : walnuts, pistachios, or cashews

Frequently Asked Questions:

How long can you keep homemade pesto for?

Pesto keeps for 5-7 days in the refrigerator.

How long does frozen pesto keep for?

Does olive oil have to be used to make pesto?

Olive oil prevents oxidation and slows the pesto from turning brown. I’ve never tried not using olive oil.

How to make and freeze basil pesto on pasta.

Recipes with Pesto

Eat It, Like It, Share it!

Did you try this method? The next time you make it, snap a picture and share it to your socials! Tag @thelemonbowl and #thelemonbowl so we can admire and share your meal.

Liz eating fresh basil pesto.

Eat it now, or eat it later, now that you know how to make and freeze basil pesto, you’ll start using it all the time.

Your fork is waiting.

Putting pesto on pasta

How To Make And Freeze Basil Pesto

Liz DellaCroce

Lemon juice and zest adds brightness and freshness to this traditional basil pesto recipe. Perfect for freezing and using later in pastas, soups, marinades and more.

Prep Time 5 mins

Total Time 5 mins

Course Sauce

Cuisine Italian

Servings 24

Calories 119 kcal

  • 4 cups fresh basil
  • 1 cup grated parmesan
  • ½ cup pine nuts toasted
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1 lemon juice and zest of
  • 1 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • To toast pine nuts, place on a baking sheet in an even layer and bake at 350 for 6-7 minutes until browned.

  • In a large food processor, pulse together basil, parmesan, pine nuts, garlic, lemon juice and zest.
  • Slowly drizzle in the olive oil and puree until smooth. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Serving: 2tablespoonsCalories: 119kcalCarbohydrates: 1gProtein: 2gFat: 12gSaturated Fat: 2gCholesterol: 4mgSodium: 64mgPotassium: 42mgFiber: 1gSugar: 1gVitamin A: 245IUVitamin C: 3.2mgCalcium: 56mgIron: 0.3mg

Keyword how to make and freeze pesto

For more great recipes, check out my Pinterest board!


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