How long does pesto last? (+7 Ways to use)

In this article, we will answer the question “How long does pesto last?”, and how to safely store pesto sauce?

How long does pesto last?

The following table shows the estimated shelf-life of refrigerated and unrefrigerated pesto under different storage conditions.

Pesto (sold unrefrigerated, unopened)1-3 months past the Best-by date
Pesto (sold unrefrigerated, opened)7-10 days 
Pesto (sold refrigerated, unopened)5-7 days past the Use-by date
Pesto (sold refrigerated, opened)5-7 days 
Pesto (homemade)4-5 days 

How to store pesto sauce?

  1. Like other sauces, pesto also comes in both; refrigerated and unrefrigerated forms. Unrefrigerated pesto comes in jars or tins and can be stored at room temperature if it is not opened yet. Keep it in a cool and dry area away from heat(sunlight and stove).
  2. Once the container is opened, pesto should always be stored in the fridge. If the original container of the pesto is not resealable, it should be transferred to an air-tight container.
  3. Homemad pesto should always be stored in the fridge. Pouring some oil over the homemad pesto before refrigerating it will keep it good for days.

Freezing pesto

Freezing pesto is a great option if you want to extend its shelf life. However, freezing will affect the quality and texture of the sauce negatively. If the frozen pesto is to be used during cooking, the altered texture will not be a problem.

Pesto can be frozen in an ice cube tray. This way you can thaw as much pesto as you want. Alternatively, you can freeze it in a container.

How to tell if the pesto has gone bad?

  1. Visible mold growth around the lid of the container and on the surface of the sauce is an obvious indication of spoilage.
  2. If the pesto smells rancid and rotten or gives off funny odors, it must be discarded.
  3. Pesto sauce that has its green color altered to a brown color, should be tossed in the bin immediately.

If you are unsure about the spoilage signs, it is better to discard the sauce than to risk your health.

How to make pesto sauce at home?


  • 1 cup fresh basil leaves
  • 3 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 3 tbsp pine nuts
  • 1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1/3 cup olive oil


  1. In a food processor, grind basil leaves with garlic, pine nuts, and parmesan. Add salt and pepper to season and adjust the taste according to your taste. Now add oil slowly so that it is emulsified properly with the rest of the mixture.
  2. Transfer the pesto to an air-tight container and store it in the fridge for about 1 week.

Tips for making pesto

  1. Pesto is not limited to basil. You can make it with other herbs like cilantro, parsley, mint, dill, sage, chives, or alternate varieties of basil (such as lemon basil or Thai basil).
  2. Pesto can also be made with vegetables like spinach, kalamata olives, sun-dried tomatoes, arugula, roasted bell peppers, or kale.
  3. Making pesto doesn’t have to be heavy on your pocket. You can swap the pricey pine nuts with walnuts, almonds, cashews, pecans, sunflower seeds, or pepitas. 

How to use pesto sauce?

Use as a vegetable dip

Instead of using plain mayo for your sandwiches or fries, add some pesto into it to make pesto aioli. Add a tbsp or two of pesto to yogurt, ranch dressing, sour cream, vinaigrette, queso, hummus, guacamole to use as a dip for your favorite roasted vegetables.

Stir into mashed potatoes

You do not need to add milk, cream salt, and pepper to mashed potatoes to enhance flavor.

Add 1-2 tbsp of pesto instead. 

Pesto pesto butter

Make compound butter by mixing two-part butter with one part pesto. Spread this butter on toast or top roast vegetables, rice, potatoes, chicken, or fish with it.

Stuff chicken breast

Stuff the chicken breast with pesto alone or combined with vegetables, nuts, and cheese. This is a great way to make chicken breast taste exciting.

Eat along with eggs

Add some pesto on top of your omelet or fried egg. Add it to the scrambled eggs mixture and whisk. Pesto with eggs is like avocado with toast.

Pair with grilled meat

Grilled steaks, chicken, pork, seafood brushed with pesto is the best combination of herbaceous and smoky flavors.

Toss with pasta

Toss some pesto into the pasta. Top with a poached or fried egg, chicken breast, steak, or pork chop. Serve with side roasted or sauteed vegetables.


In this article, we answered the question “How long does pesto last?”, and how to safely store pesto sauce?


How Long Does Pesto Last? [Storage, Shelf Life, and Spoilage]