The Best Way to Freeze Pesto Is Not What You Think

The Best Way to Freeze Pesto Is Not What You Think

Sheela Prakash
Aug 26, 2016
(Image credit: Christine Han)

Whenever I am stuck with more fresh herbs than I can manage — be it herbs from my tiny container garden on my balcony or a big bunch from the grocery store — I undoubtedly make pesto. Just last week I made both sage and thyme pesto in order to get a handle on my excess. Then I froze the two to use on pasta, fish, chicken, and even just good bread whenever the craving strikes. But I don't freeze pesto the way most people tell you to (in ice cube trays). I have a method that I wholeheartedly believe is better.

(Image credit: Christine Han)

Freeze Pesto So You Can Take Out Just What You Need

The problem with the ice cube tray method is that your frozen pesto cubes are all exactly the same size. Sure, maybe that's not an issue when you're making a big pot of pasta and you just grab a handful of cubes. But what if you only need half a cube to defrost and slather on your sandwich? Or what if you just want a little to dollop on your soup? As a household of two, I come across plenty of occasions when a whole cube of pesto is too much.

So instead I grab a small baking sheet (like a quarter sheet pan or even the tray in my toaster oven) and line it with wax or parchment paper. I dump the freshly made pesto out onto it and spread it evenly to be about 1/4-inch thick. Then I gently press another piece of wax or parchment paper onto the spread pesto and stick it in the freezer for a few hours to firm up. Once frozen, I place the pesto sheet in a small zip-top freezer bag, label it, place it in the freezer. When I need pesto, I pull out the bag and break off as much or as little I need. Plus, the pesto defrosts extra fast since it's a thin sheet instead of a dense cube.

Get the Recipe: How To Make Perfect Pesto Every Time

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