Stirred through pasta or spread over bruschetta, pesto is quintessentially Italian. It’s the ultimate, fresh condiment. But can you store pesto in the freezer or will it split and taste rancid?
Can You Freeze Pesto?
Yes, you can freeze pesto for up to 3 months. The best way to freeze pesto is in ice cubes which can then be used directly from the freeze in your cooking.
Can You Refreeze Pesto? No
Does Pesto Freeze Well? Yes
How to Freeze Pesto
The best way to freeze pesto is to use an ice cube tray as your container. Just follow these instructions to freeze it efficiently:
1) Fill Ice Cube Tray
Most standard ‘slots’ on an ice cube tray are around 2 tablespoons in size. This makes them perfect portion sizes for pesto. Once you’ve knocked up a quick batch of pesto, you need to fill each ice cube slot up.
2) Seal with Oil
Now put a very small layer of olive oil across the top of each cube. DO NOT mix it in and instead leave it to sit on top of your pesto. This will act as a barrier to the air. It can help prevent the pesto from turning brown.
3) Wrap and Freeze
Once the tray is filled, and the pesto is sealed, carefully wrapped the tray in clingfilm and place it into the freezer.
4) Bag Up
Once your pesto is frozen solid, remove the frozen pesto cubes from the ice cube tray and put them into air-tight plastic bags.
Pesto can also be poured directly into bags, containers or even jars. Thawing and then re-freezing pesto can result in the pesto becoming mushy, diluted and tasteless.
That’s why having pesto cubes on hand is a neat way to both preserve and use your pesto efficiently.
You can even try using other herbs in your pesto, such as parsley, if you’re feeling experimental.
Yes, you can freeze pesto from a jar. The method above, using an ice cube tray, will work for both homemade and store-bought pesto.
When freezing pesto, whether it’s from a jar or not, remember to consider your portion sizes. You cannot refreeze pesto so make sure you freeze it in small portions which can be used one at a time.
3 Tips for Freezing Pesto
Now you know how to freeze pesto, we’ve got our 3 top tips which we strongly recommend following when freezing it to have the best results:
Use Ice Cubes
Ice cubes are the perfect portion size for pesto and are also an efficient way to freeze pesto. When you need to serve one person, grab a cube. When you need to serve two people, grab two cubes and so on…
Seal with Oil
Oil works as a very effective seal. Oxidation is an enemy to pesto, so you prevent any air from getting to it by sealing it with oil. This is the best way to freeze pesto without it turning brown.
There’s no need to defrost pesto. Just drop a cube into your pasta over a low heat and stir it until it melts and warms through.
How Long Can You Freeze Pesto?
Pesto without the oil coating can last for about two to three months in the freezer. Meanwhile, coated pesto cubes are safe to consume for four to six months before they tend to lose their colour.
You Can Freeze Pesto for up to 3 Months
How Do You Defrost Pesto?
You don’t need to defrost pesto if you are planning to cook with it. Take out your frozen pesto cubes and put them directly into your hot pot or pan. Continue stirring until your pesto regains its nice creamy texture.
Should the pesto turn a little more soggy or watery than you’d like, you can always add a couple of drops of oil. You could also try some crushed herbs or green to revitalise its texture.
If you want to use pesto as a dip, you can thaw your pesto by letting it sit at room temperature for about half an hour. If you need to speed up the process, you can toss the pesto into the microwave.
This will only take a matter of seconds so keep a close eye on it. However, it’s worth noting that microwaved pesto should not be re-frozen, either.
Can You Refreeze Pesto?
We’d strongly argue against refreezing pesto. If you refreeze pesto, it can become quite mushy and turn an unappetising brown colour. Instead, use the ice cube method we have outlined above, so you only ever defrost the portion size you need.
Does Pesto Freeze Well?
When freezing cubes of pesto and tossing it into pasta, you’ll be hard pushed to tell the difference. There can be some discolouration if oxidation occurs while the pesto cubes are in the freezer.
But if used within a few months, the flavour will still be almost as good as freshly made pesto.
If you’ve still got questions about freezing pesto or pesto in general, then these may help:
Yes, you can freeze pesto pasta… But it’s not going to freeze that well. Instead, we would advise freezing pesto on its own before boiling up some pasta and stirring through a cube or two of your frozen pesto.
You can freeze pesto directly in glass jars. There are actually glass jars that are made for the freezer. You want to make sure they have a good seal on them. Fill them up with your pesto, leaving around a thumb’s width from the top of the jar free. Cover the pesto in a layer of olive oil and then seal tightly.
Although pesto is traditionally made with basil, it can be made with a variety of vegetables. Regardless of the ingredients, most pestos can be frozen into an ice cube which can then be popped into your cooking – sundried tomato pesto is no different!
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