Easy Homemade Basil Pesto Butter (Two Ways)

Whether you’re spreading it on a slice of bread, tossing it with pasta or mashed potatoes, melting it over corn on the cob, or using it to elevate grilled meats and seafood, this homemade basil pesto butter does it all. And we’ve got you covered with two easy methods for making it, one for that fresh-from-scratch intensified flavor and another for maximum convenience!

Whipped basil pesto butter in a white ramekin with bread and basil leaves in the background.

Versatile & Flavorful Spread

What makes this basil pesto butter recipe so great is how it seamlessly blends the intense, aromatic flavors of fresh basil, garlic, Parmesan cheese, and pine nuts with the rich creaminess of butter. This combination of these simple ingredients results in a flavorful spread that has savory buttery goodness in every bite.

It’s also super versatile, you can use it in countless ways. Spread this delicious flavored butter on bread or crostini, melt it over vegetables, toss it with pasta, or use it to take the taste of your grilled meats and seafood to the next level.

Basil pesto butter in a white ramekin on a cutting board with lemon, fresh basil leaves, pine nuts, and sliced bread.

And that’s not all. It’s a quick and convenient way to add complex flavors to your dishes. And we’ve got two easy ways to show you how to make it, one from scratch for maximum fresh flavor and one shortcut method for maximum convenience.

Plus, it’s a kitchen lifesaver – freeze it, and you’ll have a stash ready whenever you need it.

In essence, basil pesto butter is the perfect shortcut to gourmet flavor, making it a beloved condiment for home cooks and chefs alike!

For more delicious recipes featuring pesto check out our easy pesto recipe for classic basil pesto, our easy oven-baked pesto crusted salmon recipe, and our quick pesto butter salmon Milano.

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What Can I Do With Pesto Butter?

Here are some suggestions to get you started on how to use this delicious pesto butter to enhance a variety of dishes:

Garlic Bread: Spread basil pesto butter on slices of bread and toast them in the oven for a delicious twist on garlic bread. Sprinkle some shredded mozzarella or parmesan cheese on top for a cheesy version.

Pasta Sauce: Toss cooked pasta with a spoonful of basil pesto butter for a quick and flavorful pasta dish. Add some grated Parmesan cheese and freshly ground black pepper to finish the dish.

Baked or Mashed Potatoes: Top a hot baked potato with a spoonful of basil pesto butter. Or, one of my favorite ways to use it is to mix some of the creamy butter into hot, mashed potatoes for a twist on traditional mashed potatoes. It adds a savory, herby note to the creamy potatoes. It’s so good!

Salmon fillets topped with small scoops of pesto butter on a baking sheet.

Grilled Meats and Seafood: Melt a dollop of basil pesto butter over grilled steaks, chicken, or fish. The flavors of the compound butter will infuse into the meat, adding a delightful herby buttery taste.

Roasted or Grilled Vegetables: Top roasted or grilled vegetables, such as corn on the cob, carrots, asparagus, or Brussels sprouts, with pesto butter after they come out of the oven or off the grill. The basil butter will melt and coat the vegetables, creating a delicious herb-infused glaze.

Grilled Cheese: Spread basil pesto butter on the inside of bread slices before making a grilled cheese sandwich. It will add a flavorful twist to the classic combination of melted cheese and toasted bread.

Omelets and Scrambled Eggs: Add a pat of basil pesto butter to your omelets or scrambled eggs while cooking for a richer and creamier texture and flavor.

If you are looking for more delicious and versatile spreads and dressings to try be sure to check out our 2-ingredient cranberry mustard recipe and our easy citrus balsamic vinaigrette.

How To Make It From Scratch

Here’s a quick and easy recipe for making homemade basil pesto butter from scratch.

Fresh basil, butter, garlic, parmesan cheese, lemon juice, pine nuts, salt and pepper on a gray background.

Ingredients

*For the full list of pesto butter ingredients and quantities see the recipe card at the bottom of the page.

  • Fresh basil leaves
  • Grated Parmesan cheese
  • Pine nuts
  • Fresh garlic
  • Salt
  • Fresh lemon juice (optional)
  • Unsalted butter

Instructions

Time needed: 15 minutes

  1. Combine the ingredients

    In a food processor, combine the fresh basil leaves, grated Parmesan cheese, pine nuts, and garlic cloves. Process the ingredients until no whole leaves remain, about 10 seconds.Basil pesto ingredients in the bowl of a food processor.

  2. Add the butter

    Next add the salt, lemon juice, and butter to the pesto mixture.Pesto and sticks of butter in a food processor bowl.

  3. Combine the pesto and the butter

    Pulse the the pesto and the butter, scraping down the sides as needed. until it is smooth and creamy. Whipped pesto butter in a food processor bowl.

  4. Store or use

    Serve the basil pesto butter immediately or store it in an airtight container and refrigerate until ready to use. And for freezing instructions, see recipe card below.

Shortcut Method

Making basil pesto butter is simple and requires just a couple ingredients via this convenient shortcut method. It’s also a great way to use up leftover pesto!

Ingredients

*For the full list of ingredients and quantities see the recipe card at the bottom of the page.

  • Basil pesto (homemade or store bought)
  • Unsalted butter

Instructions

Simply mash the pesto and softened butter in a small bowl using a fork until well combined.

That’s it folks! I mean, c’mon, what’s not to love?

A fork mashing butter and pesto in a white bowl.

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Easy Homemade Basil Pesto Butter (Two Ways)

Whether you're spreading it on a slice of bread, tossing it with pasta or mashed potatoes, melting it over corn on the cob, or using it to elevate grilled meats and seafood, this homemade basil pesto butter does it all. And we've got you covered with two easy methods for making it, one for that fresh-from-scratch intensified flavor and another for maximum convenience!
By: AllieAllie Cleveland
5 from 2 votes
Prep Time 15 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes
Course Main Course
Cuisine Italian
Servings 8
Calories 140 kcal

Ingredients
  

From scratch method

  • ½ cup fresh basil leaves
  • ¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 2 tablespoons pine nuts
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice optional
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ cup unsalted butter softened

Shortcut method

  • ¼ basil pesto homemade or store bought
  • ½ cup unsalted butter softened

Instructions
 

From scratch instructions

  • In a food processor, combine the fresh basil leaves, grated Parmesan cheese, pine nuts, and garlic and pulse until finely chopped.
  • Then add the lemon juice, salt, and softened unsalted butter and pulse until the ingredients form a smooth and creamy mixture. You may need to stop and scrape down the sides of the food processor to ensure everything is evenly combined.
  • Taste the basil pesto butter and adjust the seasonings according to your liking.
  • Serve immediately or store the pesto butter in an airtight container and refrigerate until ready to use.

Shortcut instructions

  • Using a fork, simply mash the pesto and softened butter together in a small mixing bowl until well combined. Alternatively, for the smoothest texture, use a food processor to combine.

Recipe Notes

Leftovers and storage
Serve the basil pesto butter immediately or store it in an airtight container and refrigerate until ready to use. When ready to use again, remove from the refrigerator and let sit at room temperature for a short time to allow the butter to soften before serving.
To freeze the butter, scoop small serving size portions of the pesto butter onto a cookie sheet. Then place the sheet into the freezer for about 30 minutes. Then tightly wrap the scoops of butter in plastic wrap and store in a freezer-safe container in the freezer.
To use the frozen butter, transfer to the refrigerator to thaw overnight. This preserves the best flavor and texture. If you’re in a hurry, you can let a wrapped portion sit at room temperature for a short time until it’s soft enough to use.
The pesto butter should last about 5 days in the refrigerator and up to 6 months in the freezer.

Nutrition

Serving: 1tablespoon | Calories: 140kcal | Carbohydrates: 0.8g | Protein: 2.8g | Fat: 14.5g | Saturated Fat: 8.4g | Cholesterol: 36mg | Sodium: 294mg | Potassium: 24mg | Fiber: 0.1g | Sugar: 0.1g | Calcium: 70mg

*Nutritional information is provided as a courtesy only and should be construed as an estimate rather than a guarantee. Ingredients can vary and Maplevine Kitchen makes no guarantees to the accuracy of this information.

Keyword fresh basil, fresh herb butter, fresh herbs, garlic, parmesan cheese, pasta sauce, pine nuts
Did you make this recipe? Leave a comment below and let us know how it was!
Pesto butter on a serving board with slices of bread.

FAQs

What is a good substitute for pine nuts in pesto?

A great substitute for pine nuts in pesto is walnuts. Walnuts have a similar nutty flavor and slightly softer texture, making them an excellent alternative in a basic basil pesto recipe. Not only do walnuts offer a delicious taste, but they are also more budget-friendly compared to pine nuts, which can be quite expensive.


What kind of basil is best for pesto?

The best type of basil for pesto is the classic Genovese basil which is a variety of sweet basil known for its large, tender, and aromatic leaves. It has a strong and distinct basil flavor with a sweet and slightly peppery note, making it the perfect choice for creating the traditional and authentic taste of pesto. However, if Genovese basil is not available, you can still make delicious pesto using other types of basil, such as Thai basil or lemon basil, which have their unique flavors that can add an interesting twist to the traditional pesto recipe.


How long does fresh homemade pesto butter last?

Fresh homemade pesto butter can typically last for about 4 to 7 days when stored properly in the refrigerator. Alternatively, you can freeze homemade pesto butter for up to 3 to 4 months. When you want to use frozen pesto butter, simply thaw it in the refrigerator or at room temperature, and give it a good stir before enjoying its deliciousness once again!

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