How Long Does Pesto Last (And Why)?

Exact Answer: 1 To 2 Weeks

Pesto is a green sauce that originated in Genoa, Italy. The sauce traditionally consists of ingredients like crushed garlic, European pine nuts, coarse salt, basil leaves, and hard cheese such as Parmigiano-Reggiano which is also known as Parmesan cheese, or Pecorino Sardo, all mixed and blended with olive oil.

How Long Does Pesto Last?

On average, the shelf life of pesto comes out to be around 1 to 2 weeks. However, many factors can either increase the shelf life of pesto or decrease it as well. One of the major factors among all the factors that determine the shelf life of pesto is its storage conditions. When stored in a suitable place, pesto can go long for weeks, whereas, if not stored under proper storage conditions, it will go bad within a couple of days.

If you have purchased a readymade pack of pesto then it would come in sealed packaging. With sealed packaging, one can even store the pesto either in the pantry or the fridge as well. A sealed pack of pesto can easily go for about 2 to 3 weeks on average.

Whereas, if you have bought the readymade pesto but have opened its sealed packaging then it gets really important to store it in the refrigerator. When you open a pack of pesto and store it in the pantry, its shelf life is about 1 to 2 weeks. On the other hand, an opened pack of pesto when stored in the fridge can last for about 2 to 3 weeks.

Moreover, if the pesto is homemade then it has a very small shelf life. When stored in the fridge, homemade pesto can last for about 5 to 7 days.

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Storage Conditions Of PestoShelf Life
Unopened readymade pesto2 to 3 weeks
Opened readymade pesto1 to 2 weeks
Homemade pesto5 to 7 days

Why Does Pesto Last That Long?

In general stores, one can easily find pesto either in readymade form or powder form. The shelf life of pesto majorly depends on the temperature and storage conditions you keep it in. If you pick up a readymade pesto from any grocery store, you can just simply store it in your pantry for one to two weeks even after its best before date and it will not go bad. However, once opened, it is important to store the pesto in the fridge or it will go bad within days.

Moreover, the reason why homemade pesto has a really short shelf life is that homemade pesto has no added preservatives, unlike readymade pesto. Readymade pesto has artificially added preservatives that increase its shelf life for up to weeks. While this is not the case in homemade pesto and thus it goes bad in a very short period.

Apart from that, fresh or sealed pesto begins to change its color and turn brown when pesto is exposed to air. The change in color starts from the top area that is not submerged in olive oil. Although the olive oil keeps the pesto fresh for a longer time, once you see the olive oil or the basil leaves changing to a browner color, then the flavor is affected and the pesto goes bad. The flavor becomes off. Although dry or powdered pesto has a longer shelf life, dry packaged varieties also turn brown when kept too long.

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Moreover, the pesto in powdered form has a comparatively longer shelf life. The reason behind that is because powdered pesto mix is less reactive with atmospheric agents as compared to prepared pesto. Thus, to increase the shelf life, one can store the pesto in powdered form and then prepare it when needed.


In general, pesto has a shelf life of about 1 to 2 weeks only. However, many ways can help you increase the shelf life of pesto. One of those ways is to store the pesto in an airtight container. To store it in such a way, you can pour pesto from the opened jar into another container which you can seal to make it airtight.


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