Does Pesto Go Bad? how to Make it last longer

logo by Editorial Staff | Updated on August 3rd, 2022

Pesto recipes vary from region to region.

Traditionally used to dress pasta, it can also be eaten as a dip with bread or vegetables.

clear glass jar with green kush inside

Adding cheese to the dish will make it creamier and saltier, so do so if you enjoy those flavors. It’s best served after the pasta has been cooked, but it’s good on any pasta.

Nuts and garlic are typical ingredients in pesto recipes.

One thing that we all worry about is making pesto and then not being able to finish it before it goes bad. Here are some ways to keep your pesto fresh for as long as possible!

The size of the container is what bothers me the most about store-bought pesto.

Most of the time, a single container is enough for a single dish. That leaves me with a half-empty jar in the fridge that I must remember to use.

What Exactly Is Pesto, and How Is It Made?

Pesto is a famous sauce that you either love or despise. Pestare, which means “to crush,” inspired the name of this Italian sauce. Pesto gets its name from the fact that it is made by crushing all of the components.

While there are several pesto recipes and variants, the typical pesto recipe calls for basil, pine nuts, garlic, Parmesan or Pecorino cheese, olive oil, and salt.

Pesto is traditionally made by pounding all ingredients in a marble mortar and pestle. The mortar’s first components are garlic and pine nuts. Basil leaves and salt is added after the garlic is mashed to a pulp.

The last item added to the mixture is cheese, coupled with virgin olive oil, which improves the sauce’s texture.

However, if you have a blender or a food processor, you can make pesto considerably faster. If you don’t have time to create your pesto, you can buy it.

Does pesto go bad?

Like any other sauce created from fresh, fatty ingredients, Pesto goes bad at some point.

Pesto has a short shelf life because of the high concentration of oils in olive oil and pine nuts, which can become rancid faster than other components.

How Long Will Pesto Last?

Pantry Fridge
Pesto (sold unrefrigerated, unopened)Best-by + 1 – 3 months
Pesto (sold unrefrigerated, opened) 7 to 10 days
Pesto (sold refrigerated, unopened) Use-by + 5 – 7 days
Pesto (sold refrigerated, opened) 5 – 7 days
Pesto (homemade) 4 – 5 days

Shelf life of commercially packaged pesto unrefrigerated.

On the label, there is normally a best-by date. If you keep the sauce unopened, it can easily last a few weeks, if not months, after the expiration date. Of course, it won’t stay as long as a hot sauce in good condition, but it won’t go bad a day or two after the expiration date on the label.

You can preserve the sauce for 7 to 10 days after opening the jar or container.

When it comes to store-bought pesto sold in the refrigerated section

It usually has a use-by date printed on the label. The unopened sauce should keep its quality for 5 to 7 days after the expiration date. It can sometimes remain fresh for longer periods. However, this is not always the case.

You should finish the container within 5 to 7 days of opening it. Because unrefrigerated pesto includes more preservatives than refrigerated pesto, it will last for a shorter time after opening the bottle.

Homemade pesto in the refrigerator

Homemade pesto keeps in the fridge for 4 to 5 days. Because homemade pesto normally does not contain any preservatives, nothing prevents it from spoiling, hence the short shelf life.

Of course, using a mortar and pestle to make fresh pesto for each dish would be great. However, as we all know, this is an impractical scenario.

Does pesto go bad if it isn’t refrigerated overnight?

Homemade pesto and fresh store-bought pesto should be kept refrigerated at all times, as they degrade quickly.

Any sort of pesto should always be refrigerated after opening. It is at risk of deterioration if left at room temperature for an extended period, and it should not be ingested for safety concerns.

Although many people do not have health problems from eating unrefrigerated food, it is always preferable to be on the safe side. If you insist on keeping it, make sure to inspect it for signs of rotting before putting it on your plate.

How Can You Tell If Pesto Is Bad?

There are a few things to keep an eye out for when it comes to rotten pesto.

Of course, there are the typical suspects, such as mold or organic development. Look for them on the sauce’s surface as well as the inside of the jar.

The second traditional symptom of spoiling is an unpleasant or decaying odor. If the sauce does not smell as fresh as it usually does, it is past its prime and should be discarded.

The basil leaves are next in line. If the pesto’s color has changed from green to brownish, it’s a good indication that it should be thrown.

If everything about the sauce appears to be in order, it should be fine. Give a small quantity a taste and decide if it’s nice enough to use based on that. If not, throw it away.

Finally, please keep in mind that pesto spoils quickly. If you’re wondering if it’s safe to consume anything, chances are it isn’t. If this is the case, trust your instincts and discard the sauce.

The same thing happens if it rests in the fridge for an extended amount of time, such as a week for handmade pesto. Even if everything appears to be fine with it, it is wiser to be safe and discard it. Because the initial indicators of something going wrong are difficult to detect, presuming it’s already broken is the best option.

Is it safe to eat moldy pesto?

It is frequently asked whether moldy sauce, such as pesto, is still safe to eat. No, it does not. If molds develop within the container, the same response applies.

Molds cannot be rescued if they develop on food with high moisture content and is porous. Molds can grow beyond our ability to perceive them, making it unsafe to eat the food.

Meanwhile, molds are more difficult to penetrate if they develop on a hard or dense structure, such as Parmesan cheese and other hard cheeses. In this scenario, cutting 1 inch (2,5 cm) around and below the contaminated section and eating the rest is OK.

If the pesto still appears perfectly good, try a small quantity to decide whether to retain it or throw it. If you’re still unsure, it’s best to be safe and dump the remaining merchandise.

Is it possible to get botulism from pesto?

Fresh basil and olive oil are combined to make pesto. These substances are low in acids, making them susceptible to Clostridium botulinum contamination from soil, water, and air (*). Homemade pesto should not be kept for an extended period.

Commercially made pesto has undergone rigorous procedures to ensure that undesired microorganisms, particularly botulism-causing bacteria, are destroyed. However, it is still necessary to thoroughly inspect a jar of pesto before opening it.

If the package is damaged in any way (leaked, dented, rusted, bulged, safety button is up, etc.), the product should be discarded.

How to store Pesto

Contrary to popular belief, the pesto sauce is not restricted to the pasta used. Because its flavor blends nicely with various foods, it may also be used as a dressing or in the company of other meals such as pizzas and salads.

The only way to enjoy the delicious flavor of pesto sauce is to keep it in good condition, which requires knowing how to store it properly. To achieve this goal, you must exercise caution regarding conservation practices.

Before getting into the issue, it should be mentioned that this sauce comes in two varieties, each with its preservation technique. These are the refrigerated and non-refrigerated varieties. You must pay close attention to these elements to keep your pesto sauce as fresh as possible. Everything you need to do to save each version is outlined below:

The temperature in the room

If you acquire your pesto sauce at room temperature, it’s best to maintain it that way when you arrive home.

We recommend storing your pesto sauce in a location that satisfies specific criteria, such as being dark, cold, and dry. In general, the pantry generally satisfies all of these criteria. Thus this will be your greatest option for storing it.

Once the Where Does Pesto Sauce Comes Container has been opened, it will lose its capacity to stay at room temperature and need to be refrigerated. Keep it securely wrapped in its container to avoid drying out from the cold or becoming contaminated.


There isn’t much to say about the pesto sauce you buy refrigerated, and you have to put it in your refrigerator as soon as you get it home so it can be kept.

If the container it arrives in does not enable you to keep it sealed, pour it into an airtight container to keep it secure from contaminating agents.

Can you freeze pesto?

You can freeze pesto to increase its shelf life.

Please keep in mind that freezing pesto may result in a little texture change after thawing. The pesto’s ingredients determine the quality of this sauce after defrosting and the date it was frozen.

Also, remember that the altered texture will mix well in some meals but will be evident in others.

In brief, you’ll need to experiment to see if your pesto freezes well and how it performs in your favorite foods.

If you’re wondering how to freeze pesto, consider freezing it in ice cube trays. In this manner, you can quickly defrost as much sauce as you need.

How Long Can Pesto Be Stored in the Freezer?

Pesto may be frozen for up to 6 months. If the freezer temperature is constant, the sauce may also be safe to consume after that period.

However, the flavor and texture of the sauce will decrease as it remains in the freezer for an extended period.

What Can You Make With Leftover Pesto?

If you have a lot of leftover pesto, the best thing to do is freeze it.

Even though pesto freezes well, some individuals dislike the flavor and texture of defrosted pesto. Or perhaps they do not have any more space in their cold storage.

In such circumstances, use pesto sparingly in recipes that call for much of it. This is not usually the case with pesto recipes because a fair bit of this sauce suffices.

If you don’t mind seeing pesto on your dinner table more than once, you may use it in more than one recipe.

If you have half a jar of pesto sauce left over, the simplest thing to do is put it over a piece of puff pastry.

The nicest part about this recipe is that you don’t have to spend time creating the dough because puff pastry can be found in any grocery store.

After spreading the sauce over the dough, roll it up, slice it, and bake it. Isn’t that simple? And your pesto sauce is gone, so you don’t have to throw it away.

If pesto-heavy recipes aren’t your style, you may use the sauce in a variety of foods and at any time of day.

For breakfast, make pesto sandwiches, salad with pesto dressing for lunch, and pesto-marinated chicken for supper. You’ll have hardly any pesto left after such a pesto-heavy meal plan!


Editorial Staff

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