How Long Does Pesto Last in Refrigerator: Shelf Life and Storage Tips

Are you a fan of homemade pesto sauce? I sure am! It’s an easy way to add some zest to your pasta, sandwiches, and anything else that needs some flavor. But what if you made too much and don’t know how long it will last in your fridge? Fear not, my fellow pesto lover, I have the answer for you!

Pesto is made with fresh ingredients, such as basil, olive oil, and Parmesan cheese, which can make it a little tricky to store. The last thing you want is a spoiled batch of pesto that will ruin your perfect dish. So, how long does pesto last in the refrigerator? The answer isn’t straightforward, but don’t worry, it’s not rocket science either.

In this article, I will break down the shelf life of pesto in the fridge, the best ways to store it, and some tips to ensure it stays fresh for as long as possible. Knowing how long your pesto lasts can save you from throwing away precious leftovers or, even worse, getting sick from eating spoiled pesto. So, whether you’re a pro in the kitchen or a newbie just starting, keep reading to learn how to keep your pesto fresh and flavorful for longer.

What is Pesto?

Pesto is a traditional Italian sauce made with fresh basil, garlic, pine nuts, Parmesan cheese, and olive oil. The name “pesto” comes from the Italian word “pestare,” meaning to crush or pound, which describes the traditional process of making the sauce using a mortar and pestle.

Pesto originated in Genoa, Italy, and has become a popular sauce worldwide due to its delicious and versatile nature. It can be used as a spread, dip, or sauce for pasta, meats, and vegetables, making it a staple in many kitchens.

Ingredients of Pesto

Pesto is a popular condiment and sauce that originated in Italy. It is made by blending together a mixture of fresh basil leaves, pine nuts, garlic, salt, Parmesan cheese, and olive oil. The exact recipe can vary, but these are the basic ingredients that are used in most versions of pesto.

  • Fresh Basil Leaves: The most important ingredient in pesto is fresh basil leaves. These are what give the sauce its distinctive flavor and aroma.
  • Pine Nuts: Pine nuts are another key ingredient in pesto. They provide a nutty flavor and a bit of crunch.
  • Garlic: Garlic is used to add a bit of spice and flavor to the sauce. It can be adjusted according to personal preference.

In addition to these main ingredients, pesto may also contain a variety of other ingredients such as lemon juice, black pepper, or even sun-dried tomatoes. However, these are not usually considered essential to the recipe.

When it comes to making pesto, it is important to use the freshest possible ingredients. The basil leaves should be bright green and without any blemishes or wilting. The pine nuts should be plump and have a fresh, nutty aroma. Use good quality olive oil and Parmesan cheese for the best flavor.

Ingredient Importance
Fresh Basil Leaves Most important
Pine Nuts Key ingredient
Garlic Adds spice and flavor

Overall, pesto is a delicious and versatile ingredient that can be used in a variety of dishes. From pasta to sandwiches to salads, it adds a burst of flavor and freshness to any meal. By using fresh, high-quality ingredients, you can ensure that your pesto will be both delicious and long-lasting.

How to make Pesto

Pesto is a versatile Italian sauce that can be used in a variety of dishes like pasta, sandwiches, and pizzas. Making pesto is an easy task that can be done in just a few minutes with a blender or food processor.

  • There are various types of pesto recipes that you can choose from depending on the available ingredients and your taste preferences.
  • Basil pesto is the most common type and requires fresh basil leaves, pine nuts, garlic, parmesan cheese, and olive oil as the basic ingredients.
  • You can also experiment with other herbs like parsley, cilantro, or arugula, and substitute the pine nuts with almonds, walnuts, or cashews.

Here’s a basic recipe for homemade basil pesto:

  • 2 cups fresh basil leaves
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 cup pine nuts
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  1. In a blender or food processor, combine the basil leaves, parmesan cheese, pine nuts, and garlic. Pulse until the mixture is finely chopped.
  2. Slowly add the olive oil while pulsing until the mixture reaches the desired consistency.
  3. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  4. Transfer the pesto to a clean jar and top it with a layer of olive oil to prevent air exposure. Store it in the refrigerator for up to a week.

How long does pesto last in the refrigerator?

Homemade pesto can last in the refrigerator for up to a week when stored properly in an airtight container. To prolong its shelf life, always use a clean spoon or knife to scoop the pesto and cover it with a layer of olive oil to prevent air exposure. Freezing the pesto can also extend its storage time for up to six months.

Storage Method Shelf Life
Room temperature Not recommended
Refrigerator 1 week
Freezer Up to 6 months

Enjoy the delicious taste and aroma of homemade pesto by adding it to your favorite dishes. Whether you prefer it fresh or frozen, pesto is a great pantry staple that can add flavor and nutrition to your meals.

Shelf life of Pesto

If you’ve ever wondered how long your homemade or store-bought pesto can last in the refrigerator, you’re not alone. The shelf life of pesto can vary depending on several factors, including the ingredients used, storage conditions, and the type of pesto.

  • Homemade pesto typically lasts for 5-7 days in the refrigerator. This is assuming that it’s stored in an airtight container and kept in the coldest part of the fridge (usually the back shelf).
  • Store-bought pesto can last for up to 2 weeks or more if it’s unopened and stored in the refrigerator. However, once it’s opened, the shelf life decreases significantly.
  • Freezing pesto can extend its shelf life to several months. By storing it in the freezer, you can use it whenever you need it, without worrying about it going bad quickly. Simply transfer it to the fridge to thaw it out before you use it.

It’s important to note that the shelf life of pesto can be affected by several factors. These include:

1. Exposure to air: When pesto is exposed to air, it can quickly go bad. Therefore, it’s important to store it in an airtight container to keep it fresh for as long as possible.

2. Contamination: If you use a dirty spoon or knife to scoop out pesto, bacteria can be introduced to the jar and cause it to spoil more quickly. Therefore, it’s important to use clean utensils when handling pesto.

3. Quality of ingredients: The quality of the ingredients used to make the pesto can also impact how long it lasts. For example, if you use old or wilted basil leaves, the pesto may not last as long as if you use fresh, high-quality basil.

How to tell if pesto has gone bad?

If you’re unsure whether your pesto has gone bad or not, there are a few signs to look out for. These include:

  • Foul smell: If your pesto smells off or foul, it’s likely gone bad.
  • Mold: If you notice any mold on the surface of the pesto, it’s best to throw it away immediately.
  • Off taste: If the pesto tastes different than usual or has a strange aftertaste, it may have gone bad.

By following proper storage procedures, you can extend the shelf life of your pesto and keep it fresh for as long as possible.

Type of Pesto Shelf Life
Homemade Pesto 5-7 days
Store-Bought (Unopened) Up to 2 weeks or more
Store-Bought (Opened) 5-7 days
Frozen Pesto Several months

Remember to always use your sight and smell senses to check if the pesto has gone bad even if it’s still within the shelf life period.

Storage conditions for Pesto

Storing pesto properly is essential to ensure its longevity and prevent spoilage. Here are some storage conditions to follow:

  • Refrigeration: Pesto should always be kept in the refrigerator. This helps slow down the oxidation process and prevents the growth of bacteria and mold.
  • Airtight container: Store pesto in an airtight container to prevent oxidation and contamination. Glass jars or plastic containers with tight-fitting lids work best.
  • Avoid exposure to air: Pesto should not be left out for long periods. Once opened, consume within a few days to prevent exposure to air.

These storage conditions will help your pesto stay fresh for longer, but it’s essential to understand the shelf life of pesto as well. Here’s a table that outlines the different types of pesto and their storage duration.

Type of Pesto Refrigerator Storage Duration
Homemade basil pesto 1 week
Commercially prepared pesto (unopened) Up to 6 months
Commercially prepared pesto (opened) 1-2 weeks

By following these storage conditions, you can ensure that your pesto stays fresh and delicious for as long as possible.

How to Tell If Pesto Has Gone Bad

Pesto is a delicious blend of fresh herbs, nuts, and olive oil that adds flavor and vibrancy to many dishes. However, like all foods, pesto can spoil over time. Knowing how to tell if your pesto has gone bad can help you avoid food poisoning and ensure that your dishes taste their best.

  • Check the expiration date: One of the easiest ways to tell if your pesto has gone bad is to check the expiration date. Most commercially made pesto will have a “best by” date printed on the label. If the date has passed, it’s time to toss the pesto.
  • Spoilage signs: Look for signs of spoilage, like mold, discoloration, or an odor that seems off. If your pesto looks or smells funny, it’s best to err on the side of caution and throw it out.
  • Texture changes: Pesto that has gone bad may also have a different consistency. If it seems thicker or grainier than usual, it’s possible that it has started to spoil.

It’s important to note that homemade pesto may have a shorter shelf life than store-bought varieties, as it does not have the same preservatives. It’s best to consume homemade pesto within a few days of making it.

If you’re unsure whether your pesto has gone bad or not, it’s better to be safe than sorry. Tossing it out and making a fresh batch is a small price to pay for your health and safety.

Below is a table that shows the approximate shelf life of different types of pesto:

Type of Pesto Shelf Life
Store-bought, unopened 6-12 months
Store-bought, opened 1-2 weeks
Homemade, refrigerated 3-5 days
Homemade, frozen 6 months to a year

By following these guidelines and using your senses to determine if your pesto has gone bad, you can enjoy this delicious condiment without any worries.

Can Pesto be frozen?

If you have a big batch of pesto and you don’t want it to spoil, freezing is the best option. You can freeze pesto for up to six months, and it will still retain its flavor and texture. However, it’s essential to know that freezing pesto will slightly change its consistency, making it less creamy than fresh pesto.

  • The best way to freeze pesto is to spoon it into an ice cube tray and place it in the freezer. Once the pesto bits are frozen, remove them from the tray and place them in a freezer-safe container. This method allows you to save time when you need to use pesto, as you can take out just the amount you require.
  • Another alternative is to freeze pesto in a glass jar or plastic container with a tight-fitting lid. However, make sure you do not fill the container to the top, as pesto expands as it freezes.
  • When thawing pesto, always do it gradually, by moving it from the freezer to the fridge. It’s also important to note that pesto should never be thawed, then refrozen.

Freezing pesto can save you money and time. It’s an excellent way to preserve the delicious taste of pesto, even long after its expiration date.

How long does Pesto last in the freezer?

If you are a fan of pesto, you know how versatile this sauce can be. You can use it in various recipes, from pasta dishes to sandwiches and wraps. But what if you made too much pesto and want to save it for later? Can you freeze pesto? And if so, how long does it last in the freezer? Let’s find out.

  • Pesto can last in the freezer for up to 6 months. Freezing is actually a great way to store pesto for later use.
  • Before freezing, make sure your pesto is fresh and of good quality. If your pesto has been sitting in the fridge for a week or more, it might not be the best candidate for freezing.
  • To freeze pesto, transfer it to an airtight container or a freezer bag. Make sure to label the container with the date so you know when you froze it.
  • Pesto tends to expand a bit during freezing, so if you are using a jar, make sure to leave some space at the top to avoid breakage.
  • When you want to use your frozen pesto, simply take it out of the freezer and transfer it to the fridge to thaw. You can also thaw it at room temperature or in the microwave, but be careful not to overheat it or it might lose some of its flavor.
  • Once thawed, your pesto should have a slightly different texture than fresh pesto. It might be a bit more watery and less vibrant in color, but it should still taste delicious.

So, there you have it. Freezing is a great way to store pesto for later use, and it can last in the freezer for up to 6 months. Just make sure to follow the proper freezing and thawing steps to ensure the best quality possible.

Tips for using leftover Pesto

Leftover pesto can be just as delicious as when it was freshly made. Here are some tips and ideas on how to use up any excess pesto:

  • Spread pesto on bread or crackers for a quick and easy snack.
  • Mix pesto into mayonnaise or sour cream for a flavorful dip.
  • Stir pesto into cooked pasta, rice, or quinoa for a simple and tasty meal.

If you have a bit more time, here are some other ways to use leftover pesto:

  • Use pesto as a marinade for chicken, fish, or tofu.
  • Spread pesto on pizza dough instead of tomato sauce for a delicious twist on traditional pizza.
  • Mix pesto with cream cheese and spread on a bagel for a savory breakfast.

But how long can leftover pesto last in the refrigerator? It typically lasts for about a week, but that can vary depending on the ingredients and how it was stored. Here is a table to help you understand how long pesto can last in the fridge:

Type of pesto Storage time
Store-bought, unopened Up to 6 months
Homemade, refrigerated Up to 1 week
Homemade, frozen Up to 6 months

When storing leftover pesto, be sure to transfer it to an airtight container and keep it in the refrigerator. If it begins to turn brown, develop mold, or have a funky smell, it’s safest to discard it.

Creative ways to use Pesto in recipes

Pesto is an incredibly versatile ingredient that can be used in a variety of ways to add flavor and texture to your favorite dishes. Here are some creative ways to use pesto in your recipes:

  • As a marinade: Whisk pesto with olive oil to make a flavorful marinade for chicken, fish, or vegetables. Let the ingredients marinate for 30 minutes to overnight before cooking to help the flavors meld together.
  • On pizza: Instead of tomato sauce, spread pesto on your pizza crust and add your favorite toppings. The combination of the pesto, cheese, and toppings will make for a unique and delicious pizza.
  • In sandwiches: Spread pesto on bread instead of mayo or mustard for a tasty twist on a classic sandwich. Pesto pairs particularly well with turkey, chicken, and mozzarella cheese.

Here’s a recipe for a delicious Pesto Grilled Cheese Sandwich:


  • 2 slices of bread
  • 2 slices of your favorite cheese
  • 2 teaspoons of pesto
  • 1 tablespoon of butter


  1. Spread pesto on one side of each slice of bread.
  2. Place one slice of cheese on top of each slice of bread on the side without the pesto.
  3. Put the two slices of bread together with the cheese in the middle.
  4. Melt butter in a pan over medium-low heat.
  5. Place the sandwich in the pan and cook until the bread is golden brown and the cheese is melted, about 3-4 minutes per side.
  6. Enjoy your delicious Pesto Grilled Cheese Sandwich!

Pesto can also be used as a dip or sauce for vegetables, pasta, and grilled meats. Here’s a recipe for a tasty Pesto Pasta Salad:

Ingredients: Instructions:
8 oz of pasta 1. Cook pasta according to package directions, then rinse with cold water and drain.
1/4 cup of pesto 2. In a large mixing bowl, stir together cooked pasta and pesto until the pasta is coated in pesto.
1/2 cup of cherry tomatoes, halved 3. Add cherry tomatoes, fresh mozzarella cheese pearls, and sliced olives to the pasta mixture. Toss to combine.
1/2 cup of fresh mozzarella cheese pearls 4. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
1/4 cup of sliced black olives 5. Chill pasta salad in the fridge for at least 30 minutes before serving.

These are just a few creative ways to use pesto in your recipes. The possibilities are endless!

FAQs about How Long Does Pesto Last in Refrigerator

Q: How long can I keep pesto in the fridge?
A: Pesto can last up to 2 weeks in the refrigerator if stored properly.

Q: What is the best way to store pesto in the fridge?
A: Pesto should be stored in an airtight container with a thin layer of olive oil on top.

Q: Can I freeze pesto to extend its shelf life?
A: Yes, pesto can be frozen for up to 6 months in an airtight container or freezer-safe bag.

Q: Can I eat pesto that has been in the fridge for longer than 2 weeks?
A: It is not recommended to eat pesto that has been in the fridge for longer than 2 weeks as it may spoil and cause food poisoning.

Q: How do I know if pesto has gone bad?
A: If the pesto has a rancid smell, mold, or a change in color and texture, it has gone bad and should be discarded.

Q: Can I make homemade pesto with dairy and still store it for 2 weeks in the fridge?
A: Pesto made with dairy may not last as long as dairy-free pesto. It is recommended to consume dairy-based pesto within 5 days.

Q: Should pesto be stored in the fridge or pantry?
A: Pesto should always be stored in the fridge as the cold temperature slows down the growth of bacteria.

Closing Thoughts

We hope these FAQs have answered your questions about how long pesto can last in the fridge. Remember to store your pesto in an airtight container with a layer of olive oil on top and consume it within 2 weeks. If you have any more questions, please do not hesitate to reach out. Thank you for reading and we hope to see you again soon!