Can You Freeze Pesto?

Can you freeze pesto? If you’re wondering if that would work out, this is the article for you.

Pesto is a classic Italian sauce that can be used in a variety of dishes. Pesto can be used as a sauce for pasta or vegetables, in soups, marinades, on pizza, sandwiches, and more.

The primary ingredient in pesto is basil, an herb that grows easily indoors or out, and produces an abundant crop. Pesto is a versatile way to use up some of your basil harvests. Pesto can be kept in the refrigerator for about a week. You can freeze pesto for longer-term storage.

Pesto can be frozen for later use with no discernable loss of texture. Exposure to air can cause oxidation, which will change the color of the pesto, but you can take steps to prevent this.

Some changes are typically made to pesto recipes if you intend to freeze the pesto. These changes enhance the quality of your frozen pesto. Though pesto is typically made with raw basil, quickly blanching the basil in boiling salted water can help maintain the fresh basil flavor for longer. Below is a step by step guide on how can you freeze pesto:

Image used under Creative Commons from Lori L. Stalteri

How to Freeze Pesto?

If your recipe includes butter, this should be omitted and can be stirred in prior to serving. Similarly, some people prefer to leave the cheese out of the pesto and add it in later for a fresher flavor.

Whether you leave the cheese out or not is a personal preference, and will not affect your ability to successfully freeze your pesto. Adding a little bit of lemon juice can also help brighten the flavor and help prevent oxidation.

When you are ready to freeze your pesto, oil your freezer container with olive oil. This will help the pesto release and prevent oxidation along the edges. It is best to freeze pesto in small containers, with just enough for a single recipe in each.

If you only need a small amount of pesto at a time or are unsure how you will be using it, consider freezing your pesto in an ice cube tray. This will allow you to easily remove the exact amount of pesto you need.

When you are portioning your pesto into containers, leave a little room at the top for a thin layer of olive oil. Surrounding your pesto in oil like this will help protect it from being exposed to air, which can cause color changes.

You should wrap ice cube trays in 1-2 layers of plastic wrap, and press plastic wrap down into other containers. Once your pesto is fully frozen, you can transfer the cubes into an airtight bag, being careful to remove all excess air. Pesto can be kept frozen for 3-6 months.

How to Defrost Frozen Pesto?

When you are ready to use your pesto, remove the selected amount from the freezer. Pesto should be thawed either in the refrigerator overnight or in a water-tight container in a bowl of cold water.Microwave thawing pesto may cook it, which will change the flavor of your pesto. If you choose to thaw your pesto in the microwave, carefully monitor it to make sure it is not getting cooked.

Microwave thawing pesto may cook it, which will change the flavor of your pesto. If you choose to thaw your pesto in the microwave, carefully monitor it to make sure it is not getting cooked.

Once thawed, you can use your pesto just as you would fresh, as a spread on sandwiches, as pizza or pasta sauce, in marinades, and more. If you removed any ingredients from your pesto recipe, stir them into the thawed pesto before using.

If you are adding pesto to a soup or similar dish, you can place the frozen cubes of pesto directly in the soup and allow it melt there. Your thawed pesto should taste as fresh and delicious as it did the day you made it. Store thawed pesto in the refrigerator for several days, taking care to continue to protect it from oxidation with a thin layer of oil on top.


Making pesto sauce ahead of time is a great idea for people who have no time to cook. Just thaw the sauce and pour over freshly cooked pasta and you have a quick meal! Now that you know can you freeze pesto sauce, there is no need to worry about what to do with your leftover sauce. Freezing the sauce is the best way to extend its shelf life.