Does Pesto Go Bad?

Pesto is a sauce that comes from Genoa, in the Northern Italy. It is made up of crushed basil leaves, garlic, pine nuts, olive oil and parmesan cheese and it is usually served with pasta. Also, it can be a great dip for breads or a spread for sandwiches.

In this article you will find out more about pesto and its shelf life. Also, we will show you how to store it properly and how to extend the shelf life of this sauce.

How To Store Pesto?

Pesto can be stored and prepared in different ways, with different ingredients, each of which has a different expiration date. But, generally, pesto goes bad because it contains basil which is known to go bad quickly. Unopened pesto should be kept the same way as at the grocery. It means that if you bought refrigerated pesto, you should store it in the fridge.

If you purchased the pesto from the shelf, you should keep it on the shelf. If you have already opened the package of pesto, it should always be stored in a tightly sealed container in the fridge. If you want to extend the shelf life of pesto, it is best to freeze it. It is easy to freeze or to thaw pesto and this way it will stay fresh for a month or two.

The Shelf Life of Pesto

If you have bought pesto that was refrigerated and if you keep it in the fridge, it will be fresh 3-4 weeks. You should always take a look at the date on the container. When you open the container of the pesto, you should use it within a couple of days. It is recommended to use pesto three to four days after opening.

There are also some ways to extend the shelf life of pesto. If you have covered pesto with olive oil before storing it, pesto will be fine for additional day or two. If you have made pesto at home, its shelf life will also be four or five days, but if you put olive oil on it, its shelf life will be extended for a day or two.

As for the freezing pesto, it should be kept in the freezer no longer than two months. Pesto will not go bad in the freezer, but its quality will deteriorate if it is kept too long there. It is best to freeze pesto for a month or two and then to examine its quality after it is being thawed.

This way you will also determine how long is it good to freeze pesto. If you make pesto your own, it is best not to add cheese before freezing, because cheese doesn’t freeze well. Add cheese after defrosting pesto.

How To Notice If Pesto Has Gone Bad?

You will easily notice if your pesto has gone bad. The first thing that you will notice is the color of the leaves. You should first take a look at the basil leaves and if they are brownish, it means that pesto is spoiled. When leaves lose their green color, it is an indicator that the sauce should be discarded.

Also, if you notice that pesto smells or tastes bad, it should also be discarded.


As you have seen, pesto can last only a few days after opening the package or if it is a homemade pesto. But, you can extend the shelf life of pesto by freezing it or covering its surface with an olive oil.

Have in mind that it is not good to eat spoiled foods, because it can cause many health risks.