How long does pesto last in the fridge? (2024)

Do you have a pesto jar in your fridge that you're not sure how much longer it will last? Or maybe you've made a big batch and don't know what to do with the leftovers. Learn more about pesto’s shelf life along with tips on how to extend the shelf life of pesto!

How long does pesto last in the fridge? (1)

Jump to:
  • How long does pesto last?
  • How long does pesto last in the fridge?
  • How long does pesto last in the freezer?
  • Things that affect the shelf life of pesto
  • How can you tell if pesto has gone bad?
  • Tips to extend shelf life of pesto
  • How to freeze pesto?
  • Botulism
  • FAQs
  • My favorite pesto recipes
  • 💬 Comments

This post contains helpful tips and tricks! If you're in a rush, please use the "Jump to Recipe" above!

How long does pesto last?

Pesto (especially homemade basil pesto) is one of those magical ingredients that can make just about anything taste delicious. But, like all other sauces and dips, has a short shelf life. It typically comes in four forms:

  • Store bought, refrigerated: this is typically sold in the refrigerated section of your grocery store.
  • Store bought, canned: this is unrefrigerated and typically found in the pasta and sauces section of the grocery store.
  • Store bought, powdered: this is a powder packet that is also unrefrigerated and found in the pasta and sauces section of the grocery store.
  • Homemade pesto that you can make at home (e.g., like my traditional basil pesto, nut-free, vegan kale pesto, pea shoot pesto or even broccoli pesto)

How long does fresh pesto last?
Pesto that is available in cans (in the store) generally tend to have a lengthier shelf life and may be kept for months before being consumed. Comparatively, refrigerated, prepared pesto tends to stay fresh for a shorter period of time, and homemade pesto has the shortest lifespan of all varieties.

After that, the flavors will start to deteriorate and it will lose its bright green color. To understand more about the nuances of how long pesto lasts, and learn how to make it last even longer, read the rest of the post! Feel free to use the table of contents above to skip to the section you want.

How long does pesto last in the fridge?

Pesto will typically last longer in the fridge, regardless of the type. The National Center for Home Food Preservation suggests it should be made fresh and stored in the fridge for no more than 3 days. However, it may be frozen for longer term storage.

However, the actual shelf life in the fridge will depend on its form.

Type of PestoOpenedUnopened
Store bought, refrigerated7 to 14 days1-3 weeks
Store bought, canned5 to 7 days4-6 weeks
Store bought, powdered7-14 days6 weeks (pantry)
Homemade< 3 daysNA

How long does pesto last in the freezer?

To maximize shelf life of pesto, it's best to freeze it. This can prolong the shelf life to a couple of months versus a couple of weeks for most forms.

Type of PestoOpenedUnopened
Store bought, refrigerated3-4 months6-8 months
Store bought, canned3-4 months6-8 months
Store bought, powdered3-4 months6-8 months
Homemade3-4 monthsNA

Things that affect the shelf life of pesto

There are just two main things you need to be aware of:

  • The ingredients used
  • The container it's stored in

Ingredients

There are three ingredients that might affect the shelf life of pesto:

  • Nuts: All nuts contain oils, which can go rancid. The higher the percentage of oil, the faster it will go rancid. When you use nuts, you are combining two ingredients that have a shorter shelf life.
  • Basil (or other herbs): Like nuts, herbs easily decay, because they are mostly made up of water. Since it's mostly made of herbs, depending on the freshness and quality of herbs, the pesto can be more likely to spoil.
  • Oil: Oil is the other key ingredient with high potential to go rancid.

As a result, choosing the freshest ingredients is the best way to prolong the life of the pesto.

How long does pesto last in the fridge? (2)

Container

The container used to store pesto really does affect it's shelf life. If you're looking to store it in your fridge, be sure to use an airtight container or plastic freezer bags. A container that is not airtight will cause it to oxidize and turn brown.

If you're looking to store your pesto in the freezer, be sure to use freezer-safe containers. A container that is not freezer-safe will cause the pesto to lose its flavor.

How can you tell if pesto has gone bad?

As much as we might try, occasionally, I've made pesto, only to have it spoil a few days later. It's such a shame when that happens! However, it's easy to tell if it's gone bad based on four indicators: mold growth, color, smell, and taste.

Mold growth

Mold growth is the most obvious sign that your pesto has gone bad. If you see mold growing on the surface, it's best to discard the container right away.

Color

You can tell that pesto has gone bad if it changes color from green to brown or black. Once you notice it's changed its color from green to brown then it's time to say goodbye to your condiment.

Smell

Another thing that's a surefire way to tell it's has gone bad is the smell. If it's gone bad, then it will have a sour, almost chemical smell. This is because the olive oil and nuts have gone rancid. So, give it a good sniff, before you decide to use it to avoid any problems. If it doesn't smell good, then don't use it.

Taste

If pesto tastes sour and a bit harsh (or watery and bland), then it's time to throw it away. If you're not sure whether it's still good, taste a small amount first and then decide. When in doubt, always better to be safe!

Tips to extend shelf life of pesto

Pesto is versatile, but it can be expensive to buy in the store. And even more painful if it goes bad after you've made lots of delicious plans with it. By learning a few tricks, you can extend the shelf life, making it last for weeks instead of days.

Unrefrigerated pesto

If you have unrefrigerated pesto (i.e., if you bought it in a can at a store) at home, it will last longest if kept in a cool, room temperature, dry area. Once opened, seal the container tightly to keep out high moisture content and oxygen. You can also always throw it in the fridge to be sure.

Because it's an oil-based sauce, it will spoil and go rancid after a while if exposed to air. So if you see it start get exposed to air, you can top the jar with some high quality olive oil to cut off contact with air.

Good news is that store-bought pesto will come with instructions on the label. Be sure to follow these instructions for optimal freshness!

Refrigerated or homemade pesto

Pesto will last the longest in the fridge, but it needs to be stored properly to prevent spoilage. Always store it in the fridge, even if it hasn't been opened yet. Once you have opened the jar, be sure to seal the container tightly and top it off with oil to prevent exposure to air and spoilage.

How to freeze pesto?

Freezing homemade or commercial pesto helps extend its shelf life even further. To do this:

  • Pack it into small freezer-safe plastic containers or heavy-duty freezer bags, leaving some headspace for expansion (approximately ½-inch headspace).
  • You can also freeze it in ice cube trays and then transfer the cubes to a freezer-safe bag or sealed container once they're frozen.
  • You should put a label on the freezer-safe bag with the name and use date so you can keep track of how long it's been in the freezer.

When frozen, pesto lasts somewhere between six months (homemade) to eight months (store-bought).

Botulism

Pesto is a low acid food (because both fresh basil and oil are low acid foods), which means there is a risk of botulism if it's not stored properly. Botulism is a serious foodborne illness that can cause paralysis and even death. Botulism causing bacteria typically grow in low-acid foods that are stored improperly.

Causes

Botulism is a serious and potentially fatal form of food poisoning. It is caused by the c. botulinum carrier, which is found in soil and contaminated food. The bacteria produce a toxin that can cause paralysis of the muscles, including the respiratory muscles.

Botulism can occur in two forms: food-borne and wound. Food-borne botulism is the more common form and occurs when contaminated food is eaten. Wound botulism occurs when the bacteria enter an open wound and produce the toxin.

Symptoms

Symptoms can take up to 18-36 hours to appear, and they include:

  • Nausea
  • Stomach pain
  • Diarrhea
  • Weakening of the muscles
  • Dry mouth
  • Blurred Vision
  • Double Vision
  • Drooping eyelids
  • Slurred speech
  • Difficulty in swallowing, moving eyes, and breathing

If you have the symptoms of botulism, seek medical attention immediately.

FAQs

Does pesto go bad?

Unfortunately, yes. Since it's made from fresh and perishable ingredients such as basil, Parmesan cheese, olive oil, and pine nuts, it will only last for a short period of time in the fridge. But with proper storage, pesto can last in the fridge for up to two weeks.

Can old pesto make you sick?

The short answer is yes. While pesto can last a really long time in the fridge when properly stored, it all depends on how you store it. So, if pesto doesn't look, smell or taste like it should or has mold growth, toss it.

Does adding lemon juice to pesto increase shelf life?

Adding lemon juice to pesto does indeed increase its shelf life! Lemons are high in acidity, and this helps to preserve the pesto by preventing the growth of bacteria. So if you're looking to extend the life of your pesto, a little squeeze of lemon juice is a good way to do it. With the addition of lemon juice, you can expect your pesto to last for up to two weeks. But if you're looking to keep it fresh for even longer, you can always freeze it.

My favorite pesto recipes

To start with, you might want to check out a few types I have on the blog:

  • Basil Pesto (and variations!)
  • Broccoli Pesto
  • Kale Pesto Sauce (Vegan with Nut Free Options)
  • Pea Shoot Pesto

Then, use it up in some delicious and versatile recipes:

Pesto Salad Dressing (Vinaigrette, Creamy Versions!)

This simple basil pesto salad dressing can be made as a vinaigrette or as a creamy version! Super simple to make, and can brighten any dish - whether it's a salad or pasta!

Get Pesto Salad Dressing Recipe

Tortellini Pasta Salad with Pesto Vinaigrette

This quick and easy tortellini pasta salad recipe is the perfect summertime side. Made with <10 simple ingredients, it comes together in just 20 minutes!

Get Tortellini Pasta Salad Recipe

Trenette al Pesto

Originally from the Liguria region, this Trenette al Pesto is a delicious and quick pasta with basil pesto, potatoes and green beans. Hearty and comforting!

Get Trenette al Pesto Recipe

Broccoli Pesto Pasta

Delicious, 30 minute broccoli pesto pasta with toasted lemon zest, roasted broccoli, and cherry tomatoes. Serve with whipped ricotta for an easy weeknight dinner!

Get Broccoli Pesto Pasta Recipe

How long does pesto last in the fridge? (2024)

FAQs

How long does pesto last in the fridge? ›

Short answer

How long can pesto stay in the fridge? ›

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.

Can you eat pesto after 14 days? ›

Does pesto go bad? Unfortunately, yes. Since it's made from fresh and perishable ingredients such as basil, Parmesan cheese, olive oil, and pine nuts, it will only last for a short period of time in the fridge. But with proper storage, pesto can last in the fridge for up to two weeks.

How long does pesto last in the fridge once opened on Reddit? ›

1-3 weeks is the recommendation. But it will actually last untill the oil goes rancid or grows mold on top. I can tell you I have far exceeded the 3 weeks, and the pesto was fine.. So I'm not crazy!

How long does Costco pesto last after opening? ›

Some users on Reddit claim to have used the Costco pesto for up to four months, but officially you should go by the date on the jar for safety's sake.

Does pesto turn brown in fridge? ›

If, on the other hand, the jar has been opened and left in a fridge for a day or two, it's most likely that the change in colour is simply a result of oxidation.

Is pesto good for you? ›

Because its ingredients include olive oil, nuts, and cheese, pesto can be high in calories and fat. However, the fat is primarily unsaturated and may have heart health benefits. Pesto is also full of antioxidants that can help protect your cells from damage.

Can I eat 4 day old pesto pasta? ›

It's perfectly safe to reheat pesto pasta, provided it has been refrigerated within an hour of being cooked and is no more than two days old. It won't be as good as it was fresh, but in a bizarre twist, the reheating process can even make it healthier for you.

Can I freeze pesto? ›

While you can freeze pesto in full-batch amounts, it is also convenient to freeze pesto in smaller portions to be used as quick flavor-enhancers (without being the full flavor force of the dish)—swirl in soups or stir into salad dressings, or add a dollop to a bowl of rice.

Can you use pesto a week after opening? ›

This may seem like a short time window, but it helps ensure that you enjoy the highest-quality pesto. While the sauce is generally okay to eat up to two weeks after opening and refrigerating, you may notice a significant drop in its flavor and texture after that three-day mark.

How long is Barilla pesto good for? ›

Refrigerate unused portion. Best if used within 5 days of opening.

Why should Kirkland pesto not be heated? ›

PESTO SHOULD NEVER BE “COOKED”. If you cook Pesto Sauce, you change the make up of the fresh basil and cause it to turn darker in color. It is best to warm it up and use it at room temperature. If it needs to be thinned out, you can do so by adding a little water, chicken stock, cream or white wine.

How to tell if pesto has gone bad? ›

If you see a dramatic change in color, such as the sauce getting much darker, or if you smell a rancid or funky odor, then you can assume the product has spoiled. In these cases, it's best to discard the pesto and open a new jar instead of eating it.

How long can I keep home made pesto in the fridge? ›

FAQ: How Long Does Homemade Pesto Last? You can store this basil pesto in a jar or sealable container, then tightly seal and refrigerate for up to 1 week or freeze for up to 2–3 months. Let it thaw at room temperature or in the refrigerator.

Can I freeze an opened jar of pesto? ›

Here is a quick one on how I like to freeze pesto. The short version is that I put the fresh pesto in a decent Ziploc back, cut a corner of the bag (1/2" size hole) and squeeze like icing into ice cube trays. Freeze the trays and then transfer into freezer bags.

How do you store pesto for a long time? ›

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. 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 to use pesto from a jar? ›

Swirl into soup before serving, add a spoonful on the side of roast chicken and salad, or dollop over your favourite lasagne. If you've only got a scraping left, pour a little extra virgin olive oil and red wine vinegar into the jar, screw on the lid and shake to make a salad dressing.

Can you leave pesto pasta out of the fridge? ›

The basic ingredients of a classic pesto are basil, pine nuts, Parmesan cheese and olive oil. The reason for refrigeration after opening a jar mostly is because of the cheese. Unrefrigerated cheese can become quite toxic over time. If you're talking about a matter of 4–6 hours, I think you'd be okay.

How long does Gotham Greens pesto last? ›

Our pesto sauces can also be stored in the freezer for up to six months to extend the shelf life. We recommend storing our basil on a counter away from direct sunlight and other sources of heat. Do I need to wash my greens?

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