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How Long Does Pesto Last in the Fridge?


Pesto is a versatile and popular sauce that can elevate many dishes. From pasta to sandwiches, its vibrant flavor and fresh ingredients make it a favorite in many kitchens. However, ensuring your pesto stays fresh and safe to eat is crucial. This guide will explore how long pesto lasts in the fridge, offering tips on storage, signs of spoilage, and ways to extend its shelf life.

Understanding Pesto and Its Ingredients

Pesto is a classic Italian sauce traditionally made from:

  • Basil: The primary herb used.
  • Garlic: Adds a pungent kick.
  • Pine nuts: Provide a creamy texture.
  • Parmesan cheese: Adds umami and richness.
  • Olive oil: Binds everything together and preserves the sauce.

There are variations, such as using different herbs, nuts, or cheeses, but the basic concept remains the same.

Factors Affecting Pesto’s Shelf Life

Several factors influence how long pesto lasts:

  • Ingredient freshness: Fresh basil and quality ingredients extend shelf life.
  • Preparation method: Homemade pesto without preservatives has a shorter shelf life.
  • Storage conditions: Proper containers and minimal air exposure are crucial.
  • Impact of preservatives: Store-bought pesto often contains preservatives that extend its shelf life.

For detailed storage tips, visit How to Store Pesto on The Spruce Eats.

Homemade vs. Store-Bought Pesto

The shelf life of homemade pesto differs significantly from store-bought varieties:

  • Homemade pesto: Typically lasts 4-5 days in the fridge due to the lack of preservatives.
  • Store-bought pesto: Can last several weeks unopened and about a week after opening, thanks to preservatives and airtight packaging.

For more tips, check out The Best Way to Store Pesto on Serious Eats.

Storing Pesto Properly

Proper storage can significantly extend the life of your pesto:

  • Ideal containers: Use glass jars or airtight containers.
  • Minimizing air exposure: Press plastic wrap against the surface or top with a thin layer of olive oil to prevent oxidation.
  • Refrigeration: Always store pesto in the fridge at a consistent temperature.

Signs of Spoiled Pesto

Knowing when your pesto has gone bad is crucial for safety:

  • Visual indicators: Mold or significant discoloration (brown or black spots).
  • Smell: Off or rancid smell indicates spoilage.
  • Taste: Sour or off taste suggests the pesto is no longer safe to eat.
  • Texture: Separation of oil or a watery consistency.

Extending Pesto’s Shelf Life

Here are some tips to keep your pesto fresh for longer:

  • Refrigeration tips: Store in the coldest part of the fridge and ensure an airtight seal.
  • Freezing pesto: Freeze in ice cube trays for easy portioning. Once frozen, transfer the cubes to a freezer bag. Pesto can last up to 6 months in the freezer.
  • Thawing and using frozen pesto: Thaw in the fridge overnight or add directly to hot dishes.

FAQs About Pesto Shelf Life

  • How long does pesto last in the fridge once opened?
    • Typically, homemade pesto lasts 4-5 days, while store-bought pesto lasts about a week after opening.
  • Can you freeze pesto to make it last longer?
    • Yes, freezing is an excellent way to extend pesto’s shelf life.
  • Does pesto go bad if left out overnight?
    • Yes, leaving pesto out overnight can lead to spoilage due to bacteria growth.
  • How can you tell if pesto has gone bad?
    • Look for mold, discoloration, off smells, and sour taste.
  • Is it safe to eat pesto past its expiration date?
    • It’s best to follow the expiration date and check for signs of spoilage before consuming.

Creative Uses for Leftover Pesto

Pesto can be used in various ways beyond pasta:

  • Pasta dishes
  • Sandwich spreads
  • Marinades for meats and vegetables
  • Salad dressings
  • Dips and appetizers

Nutritional Information and Health Benefits of Pesto

Pesto offers several nutritional benefits:

  • Caloric content and serving sizes: Be mindful of the calorie count in each serving.
  • Health benefits of basil and other ingredients: Basil provides vitamins A, K, and C. Olive oil and nuts offer healthy fats.
  • Nutritional comparison: Homemade vs. store-bought: Homemade pesto typically has fewer preservatives and can be tailored to dietary needs.
  • Allergy considerations: Be aware of nuts and dairy in traditional pesto.


Proper storage and handling of pesto are essential to enjoy its fresh flavor safely. By following these tips, you can extend its shelf life and get the most out of this delicious sauce. Share your experiences and tips for storing pesto, and enjoy the culinary delight it brings to your meals.

For additional insights, visit How to Keep Your Pesto Green on Bon Appétit.

For more tips on preserving food, check out Delicious Chicken al Pastor Chipotle Recipe and explore Perfect Chicken Cutlets Recipe on Soft Recipes.

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