How to Properly Freeze Pesto So You Can Enjoy It Later

updated Jun 22, 2022
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Credit: Joe Lingeman

Whenever you’re stuck with more fresh herbs than you can manage, you can almost always make pesto. Though pesto is traditionally made with fresh basil, you can also use ingredients like sage and thyme if you find your self in herb excess. Plus, you could even make fun variations on pesto like this creamy basil pesto or this vibrant beet pesto pasta.

If you’re a fan of making a large batch of homemade pesto, but don’t plan on using all of it at once, you can freeze (yes, you can freeze pesto!) it to make it last as long as possible. Freezing pesto is a good way to make sure you have enough on hand to use on pasta, fish, chicken, and even just good bread whenever the craving strikes. There are a couple different ways to freeze pesto — read on to learn more about how to do it!

How to Freeze Pesto In a Baking Sheet

One of the best ways to freeze homemade pesto is to use a baking sheet. Freezing pesto in a flat layer on a baking sheet works well because you can always break off as much as you need in the moment.

  1. To freeze pesto, use a quarter sheet pan or even the tray in a toaster oven and line it with wax or parchment paper.
  2. Pour the freshly made pesto out onto the sheet and spread it evenly to be about 1/4-inch thick. Press another piece of wax or parchment paper onto the pesto and stick it in the freezer for a few hours to firm up.
  3. Once frozen, slice the pesto sheet into wedges, place them in a small zip-top freezer bag, label it, place it in the freezer. Whenever you need pesto, you can pull out the bag and break off as much or as little you need. The pesto defrosts very quickly since it’s a thin sheet.

Credit: Target

How to Freeze Pesto In an Ice Cube Tray

An alternative way to preserve your pesto is to freeze it in an ice cube tray. This method works particularly well if you plan on making a batch of pasta with pesto or tossing some meat or fish in a small amount of pesto.

  1. To freeze pesto in an ice cube tray, prepare basil pesto as directed by your favorite pesto recipe. You can use a food processor, blender, or mortar and pestle.
  2. Pour or spoon the pesto into the ice cube tray and drizzle a small amount of olive oil over the tops of each of the cubes.
  3. Freeze for a few hours until solid. Remove the frozen pesto cubes from the tray and add them to a large plastic food storage bag and label with the contents and date.

How Long Can You Freeze Pesto?

In general, you can freeze homemade basil pesto for up to 6 months. This timeframe, however, can be influenced by the conditions in your freezer. Additionally, this timeframe could also change slightly with non-basil pestos.