Homemade Basil Pesto

This homemade basil pesto is super easy to make and is loads better than store bought!

Homemade Basil Pesto – you won't believe how much better this is than store bought!

I’m bummed. I wanted to post some whole wheat ravioli, along with this pesto and the homemade pasta but I’m hardly functioning at this point so only pesto it is.

What’s weird is that I had no idea what pesto was until a few weeks ago. I knew it was green and slimy (okay, not really, but that’s what I thought!) and those two things don’t appeal to me very much so I never tried it.

I’m stupid sometimes. I’ve been missing out for years!

Quick and easy homemade basil pesto!

Since I can’t compare this to other basil pesto, I let other people try it and supposedly it’s really, really good. I thought it was wonderful, but who am I to judge? Update: I’ve now tried oodles of store bought pesto and none of them hold a candle to this homemade basil pesto! :)

So, the word pesto is the shortened form of pestato, which is the past tense of pestare, which means to pound or crush. Am I the only language nerd who finds stuff like that interesting?

Try to ignore that this shot was taken with my phone. :) And ignore the fact that you don’t just grind everything together, although I did the first time and it wasn’t that much different!

Super Simple Homemade Basil Pesto – you won't believe how much better this is than store bought!

When I looked online for pesto recipes, I was annoyed by the handfuls and cups and bunches measurements. I don’t know how to measure fresh basil. Is it supposed to be packed? And a bunch?! That measurement is absolutely useless to me. So I weighed it. I like stuff to be exact. :)

I did a lot of research before I came up with this homemade basil pesto recipe and it seems like the traditional, and the best way according to many, is to make homemade pesto with mortar and pestle. It gives it some texture in comparison to just throwing everything in the food processor. I’m sure it’d be quicker to do it that way, but it really only took me about five minutes to do it by hand.

Need some ideas on what to do with your glorious new homemade pesto? Here are 10 ways to use pesto!

Homemade Basil Pesto

  • Prep Time:
  • Cook Time:
  • Ready in:
  • Yield: 3/4 to 1 cup


  • 3 tablespoons pinenuts
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt + more to taste
  • 4 garlic cloves, cut in half
  • 30 grams fresh basil (2 cups), clean and patted dry
  • 1/3 cup Pecorino Romano or Parmesan
  • 1/4 cup olive oil + more to cover pesto


  1. Place pinenuts in a small pan over medium-low heat and cook until brown, stirring every now and then so that they don’t burn. It will only take a few minutes and they go from brown to burned quite quickly, so stick around.
  2. Take the pan off the heat and let cool a few minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, crush and grind the salt, garlic and two tablespoons pinenuts in the pestle. Just smash it a few times.
  4. Then add half the basil and half the olive oil, and continue to crush and grind.
  5. Add the rest of the basil and oil and smash until it’s almost to the texture of your liking, and then add the last tablespoon of pinenuts and the cheese and crush and grind a few more times.
  6. Place in a small jar and cover with a layer of olive oil. Cover and store in the fridge for up to about a week.

Recipe by  | www.texanerin.com

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20 comments on “Homemade Basil Pesto” — Add one!

  • Baltic Maid says
    June 20, 2012 @ 11:29 pm

    I love pesto but somehow haven't gotten around making it myself yet. But this looks soo good… Love the jar, too!

  • Erin says
    June 12, 2012 @ 7:47 am

    Clair – Thank you! I'm happy to finally post a recipe that doesn't require a food processor. :) Although, for this, you need another tool. Oh well. I wanted to be "authentic." :)

  • Clair says
    June 12, 2012 @ 2:13 am

    This is AMAZING. I had no idea you could make pesto by hand like that. Kudos to you, and thanks for sharing!

  • Erin says
    June 11, 2012 @ 8:33 pm

    Marta – It is, isn't it?! And it's so stupid that I had never tried it before. I really wonder what I thought was in it. I like basil. Did I think it was made of spinach or something? I guess I never thought about it. But now I know so everything's all good. :)

  • Marta @ What Should I Eat For Breakfast Today says
    June 11, 2012 @ 6:51 pm

    I would never say that you made this picture with a phone, wow. And with pesto – I made the first one a couple of days ago and I'm impressed. It's so easy that I can't understand why it took me years to make the first one… ;)

  • Erin says
    June 9, 2012 @ 10:47 pm

    Barbara – Wow, I'm so happy to hear that it sounds authentic! Thank you. We went to Tuscany last May and I loved it. The people are just so different from how they are here in Germany. And it's a difference I really, really like. I also think it's a pretty language! And I love learning languages. Jag kan också tala svenska, although that's probably bad word order. It's been a while and German has messed with my Swedish. Thanks for stopping by! :)

  • My Italian Smörgåsbord says
    June 9, 2012 @ 10:24 pm

    I am glad you discovered pesto, you will love it forever. what you did definitely looks like the real thing, and a good quality version of the real thing. brava. love your mortar and your round bottle. truly cannot believe you took those lovely shots with an iphone… amazing!
    ps: how come you are interested in Italian language?

  • Erin says
    June 9, 2012 @ 8:23 am

    Nora – Wow. Thank you for all the nice things you said. What a nice message to wake up to. :)

    Julie – Thank you, but just the middle picture was! My phone is nowhere good enough to take those other pictures (not that they're that good or anything :))

  • TastefullyJulie says
    June 9, 2012 @ 4:30 am

    Your pesto sounds delicious and perfect. And I can't believe you took those pictures with your phone. They're great!

  • Nora @ Natural Noshing says
    June 8, 2012 @ 10:15 pm

    Ooooo I LOVE this post! So much color while simplistic…and PESTO is fantastic, I could lick the stuff out of that cute jar :)
    Keep your chin up miss Erin, you are wonderful! Sending love your way

  • Erin says
    June 8, 2012 @ 8:36 pm

    Chung-Ah – Haha, too bad, isn't it? You just have to go now. :)

    Sonia – Aww. Thank you. That gave me a huge smile. I'm doing better today but I often have this hardly functioning feeling (and it's all a mystery to the doctors). But what's important is that I'm feeling happy at the moment. :) Thanks again!

  • Sonia! The Healthy Foodie says
    June 8, 2012 @ 8:31 pm

    Love the jar, love the pesto, love your mortar and pestle, love your "phone" pics, love the language facts. But hate the fact that you would feel bummed out and are hardly functioning. :( Hope this is just a passing thing and that you're doing ok, bella Erin!

  • Chung-Ah | Damn Delicious says
    June 8, 2012 @ 7:14 pm

    I absolutely love that this was made in a mortar and pestle. I'm going to have to make a trip to Williams-Sonoma now! :)

  • Erin says
    June 8, 2012 @ 5:46 pm

    Jessica – So far I've only used it in ravioli but I was impressed. I think I'd be reluctant to try other things but we'll see. Thanks for stopping by! :)

  • Jessica@AKitchenAddiction says
    June 8, 2012 @ 5:14 pm

    I love pesto and put it all kinds of things! :) Thanks for sharing!

  • Erin says
    June 8, 2012 @ 8:20 am

    Cassie – Thanks! It's not very practical but at least it's cute. :)

    Kathryn – Thanks! I almost didn't post this recipe because of the pictures so your comment made me feel better. And everything is pretty much okay with me. Thanks again. :)

    Miryam – You have to make it! I've obviously never had the bought stuff since this recipe is the only kind I've tried, but I can't imagine it being as good. And I do give certain foods a chance! It's just that I never like them. This was the first time ever that pesto even came up (it was in the ravioli recipe). And thanks… I'm so happy I bought all these little jars!

    Heidi – It must be so nice to have your own herbs! I just have to keep buying lots of potted basil plants and they always die in a few days. I guess I'm not ready to take care of any real planted things. I blame the grocery stores. :) They must be doing something to kill my plants.

  • Heidi @ Food Doodles says
    June 8, 2012 @ 6:07 am

    I love pesto so much(and I love the language stuff too – so interesting!). I planted a ton of basil so I'm hoping to make a ton of pesto this year. I can't live without it now that I've tried it, haha!

  • eatgood4life.blogspot.com says
    June 8, 2012 @ 12:05 am

    I love pesto. I even use it with my grilled cheese sandwiches. I put it when and where ever I can and silly enough I have never made it!!

    I am glad you tried it and that you like it :-) You see? you just have to give certain food items a chance! or at least try them once, and you will be surprise how many things you thought of not liking actually liking!! (Weird sentence structure/grammar)

    By the way I really like that little RUSTIC looking bottle!!

  • london bakes says
    June 7, 2012 @ 10:54 pm

    Gorgeous pictures! The colours are so vivid and it looks so tasty!

    I hope everything is okay with you :)

  • Cassie/Bake Your Day says
    June 7, 2012 @ 9:49 pm

    I love, love, love pesto. And that jar is adorable!


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