Have you ever wondered how long pesto lasts in the fridge? And what's the best way to store it so it doesn't go bad?
WHAT IS PESTO
Pesto is a sauce made from fresh basil, Parmesan cheese, garlic, pine nuts, and olive oil. It's a versatile sauce that can be used on pasta, pizza, chicken, fish, or vegetables.
Have you ever made homemade pesto? Fresh Basil Parmesan Pesto is one of my favorites, it's a delicious recipe that can be used so many different ways.
STORE BOUGHT PESTO
If you don't want to make homemade pesto there are two types on the market to purchase.
You will find this pesto in the refrigerated section of your local grocery store. Be sure to keep refrigerated pesto in a sealed container in the fridge immediately when returning from the grocery store.
This type pesto can be kept at room temperature in a pantry. It is best if the space does not have any heat source or any direct sunlight. Because unrefrigerated pesto is shelf stable before opening there are more preservatives found that you don't find in the refrigerated variety.
Unrefrigerated pesto can be found in the condiment isle at the grocery store.
Find out about the best store bought sauces here.
Both refrigerated and unrefrigerated pesto should be stored in a container with a good seal after opening.
HOW TO STORE FRESH PESTO
The best way to store pesto is in an airtight container in the fridge. Mason jars work great for this!
If you're not planning on using the pesto within a week, you can also store it in a freezer-safe container. Just make sure to leave some headroom at the top of the container so the pesto has room to expand as it freezes.
Pesto will last in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.
If you've stored it in the freezer, it will last for 6 months. When you're ready to use frozen pesto, thaw it overnight in the fridge or place the container of pesto in a bowl of warm water for a quicker thawing time.
Do not try to thaw frozen pesto by microwaving it!
- Make sure you don't leave fresh pesto at room temperature for too long.
- Pay attention to the use-by date and the expiration date. Fresh pesto is delicious but it has a funky smell once it gets past the pesto shelf life.
- An unopened jar of pesto will last you a long time, as long as you store the sauce properly.
CAN I FREEZE PESTO?
Yes, you can freeze pesto!
Just make sure to leave some headroom in the container so it has room to expand as it freezes. Frozen pesto will last for 6 months. When you're ready to use it, thaw overnight in the fridge or place the container of pesto in a bowl of warm water.
Do not try to thaw frozen pesto by microwaving it.
If you'd like to make it even easier, freeze the pesto in ice cube trays to make single serving thawing even easier (hello, pesto cubes)!
You can also freeze the pesto in heavy-duty freezer bags, plastic wrap, plastic freezer bags, or freezer-safe containers.
Do I need to add more oil before using frozen pesto?
It's not necessary to add more oil before using frozen pesto, but you may want to stir in a bit of extra olive oil after thawing to give the sauce a smoother texture. This is especially important if you plan on using the pesto as a pasta sauce or spread.
To ensure that your pesto stays fresh and lasts for as long as possible, always remember to store it in an airtight container in the fridge or freezer.
Use this delicious basil pesto sauce when making Pesto Potato Salad.
HOW TO USE LEFTOVER PESTO
One of my favorite things about pesto is how versatile it is!
It's commonly used as a pasta sauce, spread on pizza or sandwiches, mixed into chicken or fish marinades, or tossed with vegetables. Get creative and experiment with using pesto in different recipes!
I'd love to see what you come up with! Post it to Instagram ad tag @cookingupmemoriesinsta so I can see what your cooking!
When using leftover pesto in your dishes, make sure you pay attention to the shelf life of the pasta. I don't want you to ruin a batch of pasta by adding in bad pesto!
How can I change up pesto to make it taste different?
The good news is that there are different ways to change up traditional pesto to give it a unique twist.
- Try adding different herbs or greens, such as arugula or spinach, in place of some of the basil. You can also experiment with using different types of nuts, such as walnuts or almonds, in place of pine nuts.
- Try swapping out the Parmesan cheese for a different type of hard cheese, like Pecorino or Grana Padano. If you have jars of pesto, put these ideas to use!
- Pesto is a delicious and versatile sauce that can be used on all sorts of dishes. Now that you know how to store it properly and how long it will last, there's no reason not to keep a jar (or two!) of pesto in your fridge at all times!
While you can buy pesto at the grocery store, it's much better when you're able to make fresh homemade pesto!