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Ina Garten Pesto (Easy Recipe)

If you haven’t tried this Ina Garten pesto, you haven’t lived.

Okay, that may be a bit dramatic, but it’s not too far off the mark. Just trust me and make it asap!

Homemade Ina Garten Pesto Sauce Scooped with a Wooden Spoon From a Small Glass Jar

I’ve made plenty of pesto recipes and tried various store-bought jars.

But Ina Garten’s pesto is some of the best and freshest. 

It has a wonderfully nutty-basil flavor with just a hint of cheesy goodness from the Parmesan. 

Better yet, it’s easy to make and sure to liven up any dish.

But don’t take my word for it. Let’s get cooking!

Ina Garten’s Pine Nut and Walnut Pesto Sauce

Most pesto recipes call for a blend of Parmesan, garlic, pine nuts, salt, basil, and olive oil.

It’s pretty simple to whip up at home and goes terrifically well on pasta, bread, chicken, and more.

Unfortunately, pine nuts are kind of expensive.

That’s why I love this recipe. Instead of using sub-par substitutes for pine nuts, you’ll use a mix of pine nuts and walnuts pesto sauce!

So it’s still nutty with that classic crunchy texture, but the walnuts save you a few bucks.

Thanks, Ina!

Ina Garten Pesto Sauce in a Jar


Here’s what you’ll need: 

  • Walnuts and Pine Nuts – Pine nuts and walnuts give this pesto recipe a warm, nutty flavor that pairs perfectly with garlic and basil. 
  • Garlic – Use fresh garlic cloves so the taste is as robust as possible. 
  • Basil Leaves – Again, fresh is best! They give the pesto its gorgeous green color, and it’s where the minty, peppery, licorice notes come from. 
  • Kosher Salt and Ground Black Pepper – To season the pesto. 
  • Olive Oil – One of the primary ingredients of any good pesto is olive oil. You need plenty of it, and it needs to be high-quality. Don’t try to substitute with less fatty oil – you won’t get the same results. 
  • Parmesan – Parmesan helps round out the flavor and is hugely important to the recipe. Grab a fresh block and grate it yourself.
    • Substitute Pecorino Romano in a pinch.
    • Substitute with nutritional yeast for a vegan recipe.

How to Make Ina Garten’s Pesto

Making this pesto couldn’t be simpler. Here’s what you’ll do: 

  1. Process the walnuts, pine nuts, and garlic. Use a food processor with a steel blade and process them for about 15 seconds. 
  1. Add the other ingredients. Next, add the basil leaves, salt, and pepper. Then slowly pour in the olive oil, followed by the cheese.
  1. Serve or store. You can serve the pesto immediately or store it for later use. Check out the storage instructions below for more details. 
Pasta with Home Made Ina Garten Pesto Sauce

Tips for the Best Homemade Pesto

Here are a few final tips: 

  • Toast the nuts for a stronger flavor. It takes about 3 to 5 minutes over medium-low heat on the stove. 
  • Thoroughly clean the basil leaves before using them. Wash them in a bowl of clean water, then spin them in a salad spinner to ensure they’re completely dry. 
  • Use almonds instead of pine nuts. As mentioned, pine nuts are expensive. So, toss in almonds instead, and it’ll be just as tasty.

How to Store Pesto

You have two options for storing pesto: the fridge or the freezer. 

  • To store in the fridge: Transfer freshly made pesto to an airtight container. Pour a little oil on top, seal it shut, and keep it for 3-5 days.
    • Alternatively, pour the pesto into a bowl and wrap it in plastic. The plastic should touch the surface of the pesto to keep it fresh.
  • To freeze: Transfer the pesto to ice trays or Souper Cubes. Wrap the trays/cubes tightly with a triple layer of plastic wrap and store for up to 4 months.

With either storage method, discard any leftovers after the suggested times. If the pesto’s smell or texture changes, discard it immediately.

More Ina Garten Recipes You’ll Love

Ina Garten Greek Salad
Barefoot Contessa Gazpacho
Ina Garten’s Chocolate Cake
Ina Garten’s Lemon Chicken Breasts

Ina Garten Pesto (Easy Recipe)



Prep time


Cooking time





If you haven’t tried this Ina Garten pesto, you haven’t lived. Okay, that may be a bit dramatic, but it’s not too far off the mark. Trust me, make it asap!


  • 1/4 cup 1/4 walnuts

  • 1/4 cup 1/4 pine nuts

  • 3 tablespoons 3 (approximately 9 cloves) chopped garlic

  • 5 cups 5 fresh basil leaves, packed

  • 1 teaspoon 1 kosher salt

  • 1 teaspoon 1 freshly ground black pepper

  • 1 1 -1/2 cups high-quality olive oil

  • 1 cup 1 freshly grated Parmesan


  • Pour the walnuts, pine nuts, and garlic into a food processor with a steel blade. Process them for 15 seconds.
  • Add the basil leaves, salt, and pepper, turn the processor on, and slowly pour the olive oil into it using the feed tube (while it’s running).
  • Continue to process until the pesto reaches the desired texture.
  • Add the Parmesan to the processor and process for another minute.
  • Serve immediately or store in an airtight container in the fridge for later use.


  • Use fresh garlic and basil for the best taste
  • Swap the pine nuts for almonds for a cheaper alternative
  • Stop processing when the pesto is still chunky, then add the cheese and pulse a few times to keep it textured
  • Add spinach to bulk it out further and add nutrients
  • Use nutritional yeast instead of Parmesan to make it vegan
Ina Garten Pesto

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Hey there! I'm Kim. I love running, cooking, and curling up with a good book! I share recipes for people who LOVE good food, but want to keep things simple :)

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