Homemade Basil Pesto

by Erin

It’s hard to beat fresh, homemade pesto. Nothing at the store can compare! You’ll find yourself adding this basil pesto to everything.

Homemade Basil Pesto #homemadepesto

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On Friday, Andrea who works a door down from the lab I work in* and takes lunch with a group of us, brought me a bundle of fresh basil from her garden complete with a tried and true basil pesto recipe. Naturally that was the first thing I made with the majority of the basil and it came out great!

I have a bad habit of over toasting nuts, but this time I managed to remember to check on them constantly so as not to waste such precious expensive pine nuts.

Homemade Basil Pesto GIF

This was actually the very first time I’ve ever made my own pesto and it was easier than driving down the street to the grocery store to buy it there. And of course it’s better than any store-bought kind I’ve ever had. Isn’t that true of almost every homemade food item?

Nine years later and I can verify that it is still my go-to pesto recipe to this very day! It really beats anything you can buy at the store, hands down. Especially now that I can go in my backyard and pick the basil fresh from my garden! Maybe grab a few cherry tomatoes while I’m out there, homemade mozzarella if I’m feeling extra motivated, and caprese salad here we come.

Homemade Basil Pesto #basilpesto

I love using basil pesto in various dishes! Some ideas for you include: 

Besides pesto, what are other great options for which you like to use basil? What are your favorite recipes?

Post updated 8/16/20, photo above is the original.

* Sadly the lab is moving this very day to the new Pharmacy building on campus so our lunch group will be divided and I will no longer be getting fresh herbs. But at the same time it’s really exciting to be moving into a brand new facility **.

** Since the first time I wrote this post, I graduated with my PhD, got a job in Columbus, OH at Ohio State, moved labs to Nationwide Children’s Hospital, and am still currently working there. 

P.S. Moving labs sucks and my current lab is going to move into a new building again in about 2 years… oh the science life.

Homemade Basil Pesto #pomoraoliveoil

Homemade Basil Pesto #homemadepesto


Yield: Approximately 2 cups Prep Time:
Nutrition facts: 200 calories 20 grams fat


  • 3 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 3 oz. Parmesan cheese, cut into 1-inch cubes (freshly shredded is fine)
  • 2 cups packed fresh basil leaves
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts, toasted and cooled
  • 1-1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 1 cup extra virgin olive oil


  1. In the bowl of a food processor, add garlic. Turn on and add cheese through the feed tube. Continue processing until cheese is finely chopped.
  2. Add basil, pine nuts, salt and pepper. Process 2-3 seconds, then gradually add olive oil through the feed tube. Continue processing until thoroughly combined.
  3. Pour into an air-tight container, and top with a small amount of olive oil. Store in the refrigerator.
Did You Make This Recipe?
I want to see! Tag me on Instagram at @TheSpiffyCookie and hashtag it #TheSpiffyCookie.

Source: The recipe was given to Andrea by a friend, but I am unsure of the original source.

Did you make this recipe? I want to see!
Tag @THESPIFFYCOOKIE on Instagram and hashtag it #THESPIFFYCOOKIE

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veronica gantley August 23, 2011 - 5:35 am

Oh your pesto pictures look awesome. My pesto turned brown. Yours looks vibrant and green. It makes me want to take that spoon and take a taste. Thanks for sharing.

spiffycookie August 23, 2011 - 6:42 am

If you store it with a layer of olive oil on top it will prevent (or at least slow down) the browning.

Kita August 17, 2011 - 8:26 am

Once you go homemade pesto… there’s no going back! Its been my crack this summer.

spiffycookie August 17, 2011 - 8:56 am

Too easy to make!

Cassie (Bake Your Day) August 16, 2011 - 3:16 pm

Your pesto looks scrumptions, Erin. Pesto is my “go-to” for any leftover herbs!

Christina @ Sweet Pea's Kitchen August 16, 2011 - 12:39 pm

Homemade pesto is the best! Looks delicious! :)

Erin @ Dinners, Dishes and Desserts August 15, 2011 - 7:09 pm

Love fresh pesto! Yours looks perfect, and yummy!

DessertForTwo August 15, 2011 - 12:55 pm

I am being SO lazy with my basil this year. I have a TON of it and normally, I make a bunch of pesto (sans cheese), then freeze it into ice cube trays to enjoy all winter. There’s nothing like melting a cube of summer pesto in a warm soup in the winter. Ok, you’ve motivated me to do it! Thanks :)

spiffycookie August 15, 2011 - 1:20 pm

Ooo nice idea to put it into an ice cube tray for soup later. Love it! And you’re welcome for the motivation ;-)

Nicole, RD August 15, 2011 - 10:50 am

It really is easier to make than driving to the store to go pick it up…coming from the girl who lives less than a mile from her Kroger! :) Such a pretty green!

P.S. Your siggy is the cutest thing I’ve ever seen :)

spiffycookie August 15, 2011 - 1:18 pm

I live less than a mile from my Kroger too! Some people might call us lazy…

Thank you!! :-)

cliff @ livelovepasta August 15, 2011 - 9:10 am

Ahhh, I LOVE pesto sauce! Your picture is making me drool! Can’t wait to see what else you make with the leftover basil.

spiffycookie August 15, 2011 - 1:19 pm

Haha don’t ruin your keyboard! I hope to post lots of basil things this week.


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