Food Preservation

Does Pesto Go Bad? How Long Does Pesto Last in Fridge?

In this article, you will know the answer to the query “Does Pesto Go Bad? How Long Does Pesto Last in Fridge?“.

Pesto is probably your favorite food and you can’t get enough of it if you’re reading this.

Perhaps you are also curious about the shelf life of pesto and whether it can go bad.

Does pesto go bad? You may have asked store vendors, online experts, and chefs this question. The answer is unfortunately yes!

Fortunately, the pesto sauce (homemade recipe) is so tasty that it’s long gone before it reaches its expiration date – there aren’t any left.

However, pesto sauce must be properly stored, especially if it is homemade without preservatives.

Here’s everything you need to know about the sauce you love.

What Is Pesto anyway?

There is a reason pesto is one of the most popular pasta sauces, as well as a popular sandwich spread (source).

Fresh homegrown basil leaves are combined with olive oil, pine nuts, coarse salt, parmesan, and parmesan cheese. It has a limited shelf life since it’s made with oil-rich ingredients.

Although the sauce was made in ancient Rome, its current recipe was developed centuries later in Genoa.

Pesto derives from the Italian verb that means “to crush or pound” (source).

It is most commonly used with pasta around the world. The result is that there are countless pesto pasta recipes available online.

As well as boiled potatoes, tomatoes, and sliced beef, pesto is often served with sliced boiled potatoes. In spite of this, pesto has no strict definition of when and where it should be used.

The sauce is commonly used on a variety of foods, as a dipping sauce (like salsa or guacamole), and on sandwiches, among others.

In most cases, chefs will agree to let you use it on whatever food you like. Whatever the cuisine, it doesn’t matter if it’s Mediterranean, French, or Asian.

Whenever something tastes good, enjoy it! It’s that simple.

How to Store Pesto Sauce Properly?

A refrigerated and an unrefrigerated pesto are available on the market.

There are typically tins or jars of unrefrigerated pesto on the market. It can be stored on a shelf at room temperature until you are ready to use it.

The shelf should be away from sunlight, there should be no heat source nearby, and the area should be dry.

When you open it, you should store it in the refrigerator. When the container has been used, seal it tightly back up. Find a food container and pour the pest into it before refrigerating if it is in a tin.

You should always keep refrigerated pesto in the refrigerator if you buy it. It’s important to keep it sealed at all times. Pour it into a sealable food container if the container cannot be sealed.

Homemade pesto should always be kept in the refrigerator tightly sealed. 

Add olive oil on top before sealing the container and refrigerating to preserve its top quality for a few more days.

The pesto needs to be frozen if you want to extend its shelf life beyond its recommendation. In particular, homemade pesto that is nearing the end of its shelf life should be served this way.

Spread it into manageable portions, seal the containers, and write down the date on each one.

The life of homemade pesto can be extended by up to four months when frozen, while the life of store-bought pesto can be extended by up to eight months when kept frozen.

Does Pesto Go Bad? How Long Does Pesto Last In Fridge?

The pesto that has not been refrigerated usually has a best-by date on its label. It is possible to use the sauce even months after its expiration date if it has not been opened.

It will still be safe to use the sauce for seven to ten days after you open it past its expiration date.

In contrast, the sauce purchased from the refrigerator has an imprinted use-by date.

Despite being past its expiration date, the sauce can still be used for a week or so if it remains unopened. It is important that you finish the contents within five to seven days after opening the container or tin. 

Typically, homemade pesto does not contain any preservatives and keeps well in the refrigerator for five days.

As it doesn’t contain any preservatives, nothing prevents it from going bad. It is a direct result of that that the period is short.

It is important to keep in mind that these are rough estimates and not fixed periods.

You should always take them with a grain of salt and check whether the pesto is still good before using it.

How to Tell if Pesto Is Bad? Pesto Shelf Life!

There are many reasons why pesto can go bad, including improper storage, constant exposure to heat, leaking containers, poor hygiene, and so on (source). There are several factors that can cause pesto to spoil relatively quickly, and each has its own effects on it.

Fresh pesto often goes bad because of water trapped in the basil leaves. Bacteria flourish in such a fertile environment.

Moreover, when you blend fresh garlic and basil leaves into a paste, their bacteria will spread further. 

The following are some of the most notable signs of spoiled pesto:

  • Rotten smell, rancid
  • Mold
  • Change of color from green to brownish
  • Doesn’t taste quite right

A simple glance, a smell, or perhaps even a small taste will suffice to determine whether it’s edible. You should discard anything you are unsure of if you are in doubt. Make sure you don’t take any chances.

It is important to keep in mind that pesto can easily spoil due to a variety of factors. Check the dates, trust your gut, and don’t take any chances.

To avoid foodborne illnesses, practice proper hygiene and food preservation techniques.

In addition, if it spoils, you can always make some more that will be much fresher or purchase one from a nearby market.

Does Pesto Go Bad? How Long Does Pesto Last in Fridge?


15 minutes


15 minutes


30 minutes


  • Pesto
  • Air-tight containers or Ziplock bags
  • Labels and markers


  • Read the guide thoroughly to learn how long it lasts.
  • Label your container with the content and date and keep track of how much you’re using!
  • Make sure to store in an airtight container in a cool, dark place (pantry or fridge).
  • If frozen, thaw in the fridge before use. Always check for signs of spoilage before use.

If you want to read more about food preservation, read here: FOOD PRESERVATION.

Ayub Khan

Ayub Khan is an accomplished culinary author with a passion for cooking and 6 years of experience. His creative ideas and valuable tips inspire readers to explore new flavors and take their culinary skills to the next level.

Rehmat Dietitian

Rehmat is a certified food dietitian having experience of 10 years in reviewing and practicing on foods different aspects.

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