Freeze Pesto – It Works And Tastes Good Too

Quickly cook some pasta, add pesto and a delicious dish is ready. Whether made from fresh green herbs or based on tomatoes, homemade pesto offers a special taste experience, without any commercially available additives. Even frozen leftovers are convincing.

Which speaks for freezing

No one wants to stop you from making absolutely freshly made pesto. There is nothing better. But there are many reasons to use the potential and free space of a chest freezer.

  • Process herbs that are readily available in summer
  • Don’t let unused pesto residues go to waste
  • Filler for days when there is no time to cook
  • pesto is guaranteed not to spoil in a frosty environment

Freeze store-bought pesto

While a homemade pesto can be kept in the refrigerator for several days under ideal conditions, the contents of an open supermarket jar must be used up much more quickly.

For those who prefer variety on their plate, the leftover spoils. Unless it’s frozen. However, this should not be done just before the spoilage, but preferably immediately after opening the jar.

Portioning, an important step

Because of the liquid they contain, pesto freezes into a single hard lump. Consequently, the entire pesto has to be thawed later, no matter how much of it is actually needed. The be-all and end-all when freezing are therefore correct portioning.

  • Divide large amounts of pesto
  • in need-based portions
  • freeze in several small containers

Pesto can be wonderfully poured into an ice cube tray and pre-frozen. With the individual cubes, the right amount can be put together at any time if required.

Labeling is a necessity

Some frozen goods can be clearly identified by their appearance without a corresponding label. The situation is different with pestos, for example with the green variants. Not only are the individual types of pesto difficult to tell apart, but there is also a risk of confusion with frozen herbs.

Compensate for color losses

As is well known, the eye also eats, and a green color primarily signals freshness. With a frozen pesto, however, the minus lines in the freezer can result in a significant loss of color. This is especially the case with the popular basil pesto.

Color loss cannot be reversed after thawing. With the addition of a few fresh herbs, the color and taste of the pesto can be spiced up.

Minor loss of taste

Frozen pestos occasionally taste a little less intense than freshly made ones after thawing. However, the remaining taste is still good enough to freeze. With a dash of lemon juice, freshly ground pepper, etc. the taste can be upgraded afterward.


If you love pasta with pesto, you will definitely not leave this in the freezer for long. Nevertheless, for your information: A pesto frozen under optimal conditions can easily last a year in the freezer.

They should preferably be placed in the coldest area of the freezer. It is also important that they are packed and frozen immediately after preparation. However, heated pesto must first be completely cold.

Thaw frozen pesto

Pesto should be gently thawed in a refrigerator, preferably overnight. Variants that may or must be heated can also be defrosted more quickly in a saucepan over low heat.

Conclusion for fast readers:

  • Suitable pestos: Homemade and purchased pestos
  • Portioning: Divide pesto into appropriate portion sizes; facilitates defrosting
  • Labeling: risk of confusion with other frozen goods; Be sure to label containers
  • Shelf Life: Remains edible for up to a year
  • Thawing: Gently in the fridge overnight
  • Alternatively: in a saucepan over low heat; only heat-tolerant varieties
  • Loss of color: temperatures below zero cause color change; Pesto remains edible
  • Tip: After defrosting, spice up the color with fresh herbs
  • Change in taste: Taste decreases slightly; Seasoning possible

Additional information on freezing wild garlic has been compiled for you here.

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Written by Emma Miller

I am a registered dietitian nutritionist and own a private nutrition practice, where I provide one-on-one nutritional counseling to patients. I specialize in chronic disease prevention/ management, vegan/ vegetarian nutrition, pre-natal/ postpartum nutrition, wellness coaching, medical nutrition therapy, and weight management.

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