How long does Pesto last in the fridge? Does it Go Bad?

Craving a fresh punch of flavors? 

Pesto is your way to go. This sauce is the perfect blend of natural herbs to elevate your taste. And if you enjoy this sauce often, you might wonder: How long does Pesto last in the fridge?

Pesto contains fresh, perishable ingredients (basil, Parmesan, olive oil, pine nuts, etc.). The presence of these ingredients gives it a shorter shelf-life. It can last for (3-7 days) at room temperature and 10-14 days if stored in the fridge.

Pesto is the flavor of heaven, the perfect blend of herbs and everything fresh. Thus, it is important to consume the heavenly sauce before it goes bad. This article will discuss its shelf-life and how to identify bad Pesto. We will also look at the risks associated with consuming spoiled Pesto.

Does Pesto Go Bad?

Unfortunately, yes. Pesto is one of the sauces that go bad very quickly. It is because Pesto is made from fresh, delicate ingredients. These ingredients do not have an extended life and will only last for a short period.

Want the Pesto to last longer? Refrigerate the pesto jar.

Storing the Pesto in the fridge will extend its shelf-life to 2 weeks. Refrigerating the Pesto properly can give you an extra week past its best-by date. You can also freeze the sauce and ensure it is good for later use.

How long does Pesto last ? Shelf life of Pesto

Pesto, made especially with basil, can make anything taste delicious. But, like other sauces, it does not last very long. After the jar has been opened, Pesto will last for four to two weeks. Although, the best-by date is different for different brands.

Dish made with pesto seasoning

1. Pesto Unrefrigerated

An unrefrigerated jar of Pesto has a shelf life of about 9-12 months. However, the sauce can also last for over a year if unopened. But if you have an open pesto jar, you get 3-14 days to use the sauce. Look at the best-by date for every pesto jar, as the date varies from company to company. 

The different shelf life is due to different amounts of preservatives used by different brands. So, the shorter the product’s life, the fewer preservatives your Pesto contains.

2. Pesto Refrigerated

Have you ever bought Pesto from a refrigerated aisle? If yes, you might have noticed they have a shorter shelf life. Refrigerated pestos can last for a couple of months at the most. An opened jar of Pesto will have a shelf life of 4-7 days. This period is when the sauce will be at the peak of its flavor. Once expired, it will last for a week or two past the printed date and no more.

3. Homemade Pesto

Homemade Pesto contains the least amount of preservatives than store-bought Pesto. Thus, it has a shorter shelf-life than the ones you buy at the store. A homemade batch of Pesto lasts about 3-4 days in an airtight container. Whole storing homemade Pesto, make sure you store it in the fridge. To store the Pesto for longer, freeze the leftovers.

Also Read: How long does hummus last in the fridge?

How to store Pesto?

Apart from being versatile, Pesto is also a delicate condiment. And while you have pre-planned what you might do with the pesto jar, it can go bad. To prevent the shock of Pesto from going bad, I have a couple of tricks for you. These tricks can extend Pesto’s shelf life from days to weeks.

1. Unrefrigerated/Refrigerated Pesto 

An opened jar of Pesto thrives well in a cool, dry place. But once opened, the container must be sealed shut properly. You must also ensure the jar is cut off from high moisture content and oxygen. A fridge provides an ideal atmosphere for the sauce to survive.

Pesto is an oil-based sauce, i.e., it will go rancid if exposed to oxygen/air. So if your Pesto is exposed to air, add some high-quality olive oil. This will cut off contact of oxygen/air with the Pesto.


2. Homemade Pesto

Pesto, refrigerated or homemade, will last the longest in the fridge. To prevent spoilage, you must store the Pesto with care. Opened or unopened, always store the homemade Pesto in the fridge. Once the jar is opened, seal the container tightly and pour oil on top. This will prevent the air from entering the jar, thereby ensuring longevity.

Can You Freeze Pesto?

Freezing is the perfect way to preserve the flavor and vitality of Pesto. The first step to freezing Pesto is to use fresh ingredients. I have 2 easy ways that help me freeze Pesto for a longer time.

1. Use an ice cube tray

Ice cube tray is the most convenient way to freeze Pesto for future consumption. Fill the ice tray with the pesto sauce, and place the tray into the freezer. To ensure the cubes retain their green color, drizzle some olive oil on top of the cubes. Drizzling olive oil on the cubes will prevent the darkening of the sauce due to oxidation.

Once done, wrap the ice tray with a plastic sheet. After the pesto cubes have frozen, place them in a freezer bag. 

2. Store in glass jars

Small glass jars (half-pint or four-ounce jars) make the perfect containers for freezing Pesto. Use these airtight containers to preserve Pesto in the freezer. Pour your Pesto into the jars and screw the lids shut. Place the jars in the freezer, and voila! You have frozen Pesto.

Also Read: Can Broccoli Go bad?

Risks of Consuming Bad Pesto

Botulism, a foodborne disease, is caused by the bacteria that grow in low-acid foods. The bacteria can also breed if low-acid foods (Pesto) are not stored properly. Pesto is a low-acid condiment, which means it possesses a high risk of botulism. In severe cases, botulism can cause paralysis and death.

Botulism is a fatal form of food poisoning if you consume contaminated food. The symptoms caused by botulism can take up to 18-36 hours to appear. Common symptoms of botulism include:

  • Stomach pain, diarrhea, and vomiting
  • Weakening of the muscles
  • Dry mouth and difficulty in swallowing
  • Blurred/double Vision
  • Drooping eyelids and slurred speech
  • Heavy breathing

In case you experience the above symptoms, seek medical help immediately!

How to Tell if Pesto Is Bad?

Pesto comes with its telltale signs of spoilage. And it can go bad faster than some other sauces and dips. Therefore, it is important to look at the signs that indicate a bad pesto. The following signs will help you identify a bad jar of pesto sauce:

1. Its color has changed

Fresh Pesto is usually lush green (unless you have another flavor). So, if your Pesto loses the green and shows signs of brown, it’s no good. Throw it away and buy a fresh jar of Pesto.

2. There’s mold on the surface

Sauces like Pesto or salsa tend to develop mold when they go bad. And mold shouts rotten and inedible. So, if you find any fuzzy appearance on the surface, it’s game over for the Pesto.

3. It smells or tastes rancid

A fresh jar of Pesto has a fresh, farm aroma that screams herbs. So, if your Pesto gives off a bitter, putrid, or chemical smell, discard it. You can also give your Pesto a quick taste to check for quality. Toss the jar away if the taste is similar to the smell (bitter and chemically).

4. It sits in storage for too long

Does the label on the jar says 7 days, but it’s sitting for two weeks already? Well, it is time to say bye-bye to the pesto jar. You can also give the jar a quick smell and taste. If the Pesto does not smell rotten, it might be safe to consume. However, using Pesto past the given date will increase the chance of getting sick.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q1. How long does jarred pesto last after opening?

Ans. An open jar of jarred pesto will keep fresh for about 5 to 7 days when refrigerated properly. Pesto can also be frozen to extend its shelf life: Place pesto in covered airtight containers. Place the pesto container in the freezer until you want to use it.

Q2. How long can I store fresh pesto?

Ans. Pesto, placed in an airtight jar, can be stored in the refrigerator for about a week. You can also freeze pesto to extend its life for up to 6 months.

Q3. Can pesto go bad in the fridge?

Ans. An open pesto jar can last 7 to 10 days in the refrigerator. An unopened pesto jar can stay fresh for 5 to 7 days past that date. However, if stored longer, pesto can go bad in the fridge.

Q4. How long is pesto good for once opened and refrigerated?

Ans. If refrigerated, pesto can retain its freshness for up to eight months after opening it. If it is frozen, homemade pesto lasts 3-4 months. But when it is refrigerated, it is only good for 5-7 days.

Q5. How do I know if the pesto has gone bad?

Ans. A spoiled pesto begins to change color from green to brown or black. The herby aroma of pesto will also be replaced by a sour and rotten smell. If you see signs of mold, toss away the pesto away.

The Bottom Line

Pesto is a versatile sauce; however, it does not have a long shelf life. Thus, to get the best flavor, consume the sauce before it goes bad. If you have more sauce than you can handle, freeze it. This will keep the sauce fresh and make it last for longer. In case you see signs of spoilage, do not consume the sauce. Consuming contaminated sauce will likely make you sick. Therefore, if you plan to use the sauce later, store it properly.

Share your love
Archana Bisht

Archana Bisht

A foodie with a flair for talking non-stop. You can find me hogging down food or browsing Pinterest for more recipes in my free time. My favorite cuisine is Italian. That being said, I am an excellent pasta cook and love experimenting with ingredients. You can also find me petting strays and feeding them every chance I get