How Long Does Pesto Last?

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Pesto is a refreshing and no-cook sauce that tastes delicious in Italian dishes. If you love pesto and tend to store it, it’s important to know how long does pesto last? 


The shelf life of pesto depends on several factors. Store-bought pesto typically has a longer shelf life because it’s pasteurized and contains preservatives. 

Homemade pesto usually lasts up to 1 week when stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator. An unopened store-bought pesto can last up to 1-3 weeks when stored in the refrigerator. 

Pesto is a sauce made from garlic, pine nuts, basil, cheese, salt, and olive. It goes bad no matter how you store it. But you can enjoy it for longer by storing it the right way. 

This article will help you know how long a pesto lasts, depending on its type. By the end, you will be able to determine exactly how good or bad the pesto is. 

How Long Does Pesto Last?

TypesRefrigerator (Past printed date)Freezer (Past printed date)
Unopened Store bought Refrigerated Pesto 1 – 3 weeks6 – 8 months
Opened Store bought Refrigerated Pesto 7 – 14 days3 – 4 months
Unopened Canned Pesto4 – 6 weeks6 – 8 months
Opened Canned Pesto7 -14 days3 – 4 months
Homemade Pesto 5 – 7 days3 – 4 months

The table above mentions store-bought and homemade pesto varieties’ shelf life when stored properly. Compared to the commercially available pesto, homemade pesto has a shorter shelf life as it does not contain preservatives.

Therefore, if you have prepared pesto at home, you can store it in the refrigerator for a week and 3-4 months in the freezer. On the other hand, if you have purchased a bottle of pesto from your supermarket, the shelf life varies.

A refrigerated and unopened store-bought pesto lasts 1-3 weeks in the fridge and 6-8 months in the freezer. An opened store-bought refrigerated pesto lasts 7-14 days in the fridge and 3-4 months in the freezer.

However, canned pesto has a longer shelf life. Unopened canned pesto lasts for 4-6 weeks in the refrigerator and 6-8 months in the freezer. On the other hand, opened canned pesto lasts for 7-14 days in the refrigerator and 3-4 months in the freezer. 

Factors Affecting The Shelf Life Of Pesto


Despite following these general guidelines for the storage of pesto, the shelf life of your pesto depends on two factors. These include the quality of ingredients used to make the pesto and the condition of the container. Let’s take a look at them.

The Container

The container is vital in keeping your pesto fresh and safe from bacteria. Pesto should be stored in a narrow and tall glass jar as it minimizes the surface area of oxidation, thus preventing the pesto from getting spoiled.

Before pouring the prepared pesto into your container, make sure it is thoroughly cleaned and dry. A wet or moist container will spoil your pesto.

Once your container needs are fulfilled, fill your jar with enough pesto and top the surface of the pesto with an extra layer of olive oil.

The oil acts as a protective layer that helps prevent microorganisms from contaminating the sauce. It also minimizes exposure to air.

While using pesto for cooking, make sure to close the lid of the container tightly as soon as you take out the amount of sauce required. 


A couple of ingredients go into making a pesto sauce. To ensure your pesto tastes top quality and has a good shelf life, the quality of ingredients matters the most.

While making pesto at home, make sure to use the freshest ingredients like basil, nuts, cheese, oil, and herbs. This will ensure your pesto is of top quality and taste. These little factors will directly impact your pesto’s shelf life. 

How To Tell If Pesto Has Gone Bad?


The shelf life of pesto depends on several factors, as discussed above. Let’s take a look at the factors that indicate if your pesto has gone bad.


The appearance of the pesto is a good sign to check the health of your pesto. A good quality fresh pesto is bright green. If it has turned brown or has mold growing on the surface, it has gone bad.


Good quality pesto has a chunky texture. If your pesto appears watery, separated or has a slimy texture, it’s gone bad.


Give the pesto a sniff. If it has a sour, rancid, or unusual odor, it’s time to throw it away.


If the pesto tastes off, bitter, or has a strange aftertaste, it’s a clear sign that your pesto is bad, and it’s time to discard it.

How To Store Pesto?


Whether made fresh or bought from your local grocery store, pesto stored properly prevents it from going bad. Here’s how you can store your pesto to enjoy its full life.  


Pesto needs to be refrigerated at all times in an airtight container. It should be stored in the coldest part of the fridge. 

Make sure to cover the surface of the pesto with a layer of olive oil to prevent it from coming in contact with air, which can lead to spoilage. Olive oil creates an airtight seal that helps preserve the pesto.


Pesto can also be frozen to increase its shelf life. To freeze pesto, transfer it to a freezer-safe container, and cover it with olive oil. Seal the container tightly, and store it in the freezer for up to six months.

You can also freeze pesto in an ice cube tray. Place the tray in the freezer and use them at your convenience. To use frozen pesto cubes, thaw them by transferring them to the refrigerator overnight. Do not thaw the pesto cubes at room temperature to prevent the growth of bacteria.

Tips To Extend The Shelf Life Of Pesto

  1. Storage: Pesto should be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator. The surface should be covered with a layer of olive oil.
  2. Use fresh ingredients: While making pesto, use fresh, high-quality ingredients to give your pesto a longer shelf life.
  3. Make smaller batches: Make smaller batches of pesto if you don’t plan on using it frequently. This way, you can use it fresh each time and avoid wastage.
  4. Avoid contamination: Use clean utensils when scooping pesto out of the container. Don’t double-dip utensils that have been used in other foods, as this can introduce bacteria that can cause the pesto to spoil.


The shelf life of pesto depends on various factors that directly impact its quality. These factors depend on how it is made, stored, and used each time. 

Next time you buy a bottle of pesto or make it home follow the above storage methods. Most importantly, make sure to keep your bottle of pesto refrigerated at all times. 

If you have any tips regarding the storage of pesto or related questions, feel free to drop them in the comments section below. 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) 

How long can you keep homemade pesto in the fridge?

Homemade basil pesto sauce can last up to a week in the refrigerator if stored in an airtight container.

Does pesto need to be refrigerated?

Pesto needs to be refrigerated at all times.

Can we freeze pesto?

Yes, pesto can be frozen for up to 6 months.

Is it necessary to add olive oil to pesto?

Pesto should be covered with a layer of olive oil to prevent contamination.

What is the right texture of pesto?

Pesto should be chunky in texture.

What signs tell pesto has gone bad?

Discoloration, off smell, and taste indicate that your pesto has gone bad. 

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