How to Freeze Basil Pesto


Pesto is a traditional Italian sauce comprised of basil, pine nuts, olive oil, garlic and Parmesan cheese. It is a versatile ingredient that can be used as a pasta sauce, vegetable dip or sandwich spread. Since pesto is made from fresh basil leaves, you may not easily be able to make it all year long. If you want to enjoy pesto even when you don't have access to fresh herbs, you can preserve the sauce in your freezer.

Step 1

Prepare the basil pesto according to your favorite recipe. For best results, leave out the Parmesan cheese, which tends to loose its flavor after it has been frozen.

Step 2

Scoop the pesto into an ice cube tray. Do not overfill the tray.

Step 3

Place the ice cube tray in the freezer. Store it in the freezer for approximately two hours, or until the pesto hardens into individual cubes.

Step 4

Remove the frozen cubes from the tray and place them into a quart-sized plastic freezer storage bag. Close the bag securely and store in the freezer for up to six months. Each cube equates to 1 tbsp. of pesto.

Tips and Warnings

  • Do not defrost more pesto than you will immediately use because the olive oil and the oils from the pine nuts can spoil even if the sauce is refrigerated. The pesto flavor may linger in the ice cube tray so it's best to have a set dedicated to freezing pesto.

Things You'll Need

  • Plastic ice cube tray
  • Quart-sized plastic freezer storage bag
  • Bowl


  • Fine Cooking Magazine: Basic Basil Pesto
  • Bon Appetit Magazine: Pesto Tips
Keywords: basil pesto, freezing pesto, Italian sauce

About this Author

Allison Boelcke graduated from Indiana University with a bachelor's in English and a minor in psychology. She worked in print journalism for three years before deciding to pursue Internet writing. She is now a contributing web writer for Demand Studios and Conjecture Corporation.