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How Long Do Pesto Last? Does it Go Bad?

No matter we are having dinner or just having a snack, we always want pesto with it.

Every time you visit the grocery store, you buy a jar of pesto.

However, because of this frequent purchase, everyone does think about how long it can be stored or do pesto go bad?

Considering the ingredients included in pesto, there is no doubt this goes bad.

The ingredients contained in pesto are perishable; therefore, they are prone to spoil after some time.

However, one can provide proper storage to the pesto to make it last for a longer time.

What is Pesto?

This creamy spread is made with garlic, basil, olive oil, pine nuts, and cheese.

These main ingredients can vary according to the provider, as the sauce can also include walnuts, salt, and pepper.

The sauce originated in Genoa, Italy, but now can be found worldwide; because of this, you can get numerous different pesto recipes.

This sauce is widely used as it contains numerous health benefits.

These are rich in vitamins such as vitamins A and C, which act as antioxidants, reduce the risk of heart diseases and cancer, and prevent skin aging.

The sauce also contains a good amount of calcium and phosphorus, which makes it good for the growth and strengthening of bones.

Monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats present in pesto provide protection against cholesterol.

How Long Do Pesto Last? Does Pesto Go Bad?

While storing, people do want to know the shelf life and tips that can help them save their pesto for a longer time.

But the labeled date on the jar is not the expiry date, as one can use the sauce beyond the printed date.

Better storage can help you to increase the shelf life of the sauce without compromising the taste.

If you have purchased a canned pesto sauce, then you can expect it to last up to 4 to 6 weeks when stored in the fridge.

You can still increase its life by keeping it in the freezer for 6 to 8 months.

This is the life when the can is closed, but once it is opened, the shelf life will become shorter.

That is because they lose their potency when the ingredients interact with the outer elements.

So the shelf life of an open and refrigerated can will only be 7 to 14 days.

If the jar is kept in the freezer, then you can expect it to last 3 to 4 months after the date printed on the label.

People who like to buy powdered pesto can keep the jar for 6 to 8 weeks in the pantry and up to 6 to 8 months when stored in the freezer.

How to Tell If Pesto Has Gone Bad?

  • Mold and organic growth.

When the storage is improper, there will surely be organic growth.

That is because the sauce will get affected due to continuous exposure to air and heat.

Generally, you can see a cluster or spots over the surface of the sauce have gone bad.

Therefore if you find an old jar of pesto, you should check if there is any mold or organic growth to avoid illnesses.

  • Rotten or off smell.

When the pesto is fresh, it has a strong aroma of basil, but this does not last long if your storing techniques are incorrect.

Thus another sign that can indicate bad pesto is the smell.

One can smell the jar and see if the sauce is still edible.

If you are getting a bad odor, you should be cautious and throw it out as the sauce has become bad.

  • Discoloration.

A change that is easy to notice is discoloration, as you just need to examine the sauce closely.

When the storage of pesto is prolonged, then it will surely change its color.

At first, it will provide you with a bright green color, but as soon as it gets affected by air heat or moisture, the color will begin to dark.

Thus, if your sauce has developed a brown texture, you need to discard it as it is gone bad.

How to Store Pesto?

  • Cool and Dry Area.

The unopened sauce can be kept at any place as it is not prone to infection because it’s entirely sealed.

However, once the jar is opened, you need to provide it with a cool and dry place.

That is because excess exposure to heat and moisture will deteriorate the quality of the sauce.

Therefore you need to store it in an area that is far from direct sunlight.

  • Storage at Room Temperature.

When you buy unrefrigerated pesto, then they provide them in cans with added preservatives so that they can increase their shelf life.

So one should only store unrefrigerated cans in the pantry because open cans need a specific temperature to preserve their quality.

  • Seal the Jar Properly.

Do not keep the jar open for long, as this exposure can develop molds.

So when you are not using pesto, you need to keep it sealed.

For that, you can either use the original jar or can transfer the sauce into an airtight container for a better life.


Looking for bad signs is essential when you are using an old found pesto.

Bad pesto can increase the growth of Clostridium botulinum bacteria, which increases the risk of food poisoning.

Freezing the sauce is best as it can help you improve the pesto life and retain its original quality.

Be sure to leave a space between the sauce and the lid of the jar to avoid leakage.

How Long Do Pesto Last? Does it Go Bad?

Wondering about the expiration of your pesto sauce? Find out how long pesto lasts and if it spoils.
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Course Shelf Life
Servings 1 Serving


  • Pesto
  • Air-tight containers or Ziplock bags
  • Labels and markers


  • Store your product in an labelled container in a cool, dark place like the pantry or fridge.
  • If your food is frozen, allow it to thaw in the fridge before cooking.
  • Make sure to look for signs that your food has gone bad before eating it.
Keyword How Long Do Pesto Last
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