how to make pesto without a food processor

Making pesto without a food processor doesn’t have to be an impossible task. With the right technique and know-how, you can whip up delicious homemade pesto in no time. In this blog post, we’ll provide some tips on how to make pesto if you don’t have a food processor – from grinding your ingredients correctly all the way through to adding those finishing touches that will take your dish from good to great. So let’s get started with making that perfect batch of homemade pesto without a food processor.

Table of Contents:

The Basics of Making Pesto Without a Food Processor

All you need are the right ingredients, some basic kitchen tools and a bit of patience.


The main ingredient in pesto is basil. You can use either fresh or dried basil leaves for this recipe, but if using dried, make sure to rehydrate them first by soaking them in hot water for 10 minutes before blending. Other essential ingredients include garlic cloves, pine nuts (or walnuts), Parmesan cheese and olive oil. To add more flavour to your pesto, you can also add salt and pepper to taste.


Alternatively, if you don’t have any of these tools on hand, then just grab yourself an empty jar with a lid that has been thoroughly washed out beforehand. Place all of your chopped ingredients inside, along with some olive oil. Close the lid tightly and shake vigorously until everything is combined.

Tips & Tricks

When making homemade pesto without a food processor, there are a few tips that will help ensure success every time; Firstly, be sure to chop all of your ingredients into very small pieces so they blend together easily when crushed in the mortar & pestle/rolling pin/jar method mentioned above. Secondly, be sure to slowly drizzle in olive oil while stirring continuously so that everything combines properly. Finally, always taste test before serving so that you can adjust seasoning accordingly

Making pesto without a food processor is easy and doesn’t require any fancy equipment. With the right ingredients and some elbow grease, you can make a delicious pesto at home. Now let’s look into grinding your ingredients for perfect results.

Key Takeaway: Making pesto without a food processor is possible with the right ingredients, tools and tips. Here’s what you need: basil (fresh or dried), garlic cloves, pine nuts, walnuts, Parmesan cheese, olive oil and salt & pepper to taste. Also, use an empty jar with a lid or mortar & pestle/rolling pin for blending and slowly drizzle in olive oil while stirring continuously. Taste test before serving.

Grinding Your Ingredients

If you’re looking to make a delicious pesto without the use of a food processor, don’t worry. There are plenty of other options available.

Mortar and Pestle

pesto in mortar and pestle

A mortar and pestle is an ancient tool that has been used for centuries to grind ingredients into pastes or powders. It’s great for grinding small amounts of herbs, spices, nuts, garlic cloves, etc., but it can be quite labour-intensive if you’re trying to make larger batches. To use this method effectively, add your ingredients one at a time into the mortar and then use the pestle to press down on them until they are ground up finely.


If you have access to a blender or immersion blender (also known as a hand blender), these can also be used in place of a food processor for making pesto. Start by adding your ingredients one at a time into the blender jar or cup and blend until everything is well combined and smooth. Be sure not to overfill your container as this could cause it to overflow when blending.


If all else fails, you can always just chop up your ingredients with a knife. This will take some extra elbow grease, but it should still get the job done if you are willing to put in some effort. Start by chopping each ingredient separately before combining them together in whatever ratio desired; smaller pieces will result in smoother textures, while larger chunks may give more texture variety within your finished product.

Once you have your ingredients finely ground, you can move on to adding the finishing touches and creating a delicious pesto without needing a food processor.

Key Takeaway: Making pesto without a food processor is possible with other tools such as a mortar and pestle, blender or knife. Listing the ingredients separately before combining them together can help create different textures in your finished product.

Finishing Touches

pesto in a small bowl

Once you have your pesto blended to the desired consistency, it’s time for the finishing touches. Adding a few extra ingredients can really bring out the flavour of your homemade pesto.

Cheese is a great way to add an extra layer of flavour and texture. Parmesan cheese is traditional, but any hard cheese will work – experiment with different types to find what works best for you. If you’re looking for something a bit more indulgent, why not try adding some cream or mascarpone?

Herbs are also great for enhancing flavours in pesto. Basil is classic, but other herbs like oregano or parsley can also be used. For an even more intense flavour boost, try roasting garlic before blending it into your pesto – this will give it an amazing depth of flavour that’ll make your dish stand out from the crowd.

Finally, once you’ve added all those delicious extras and achieved perfection with your homemade pesto sauce – don’t forget about storage. Pesto should always be stored in an airtight container in the fridge; if left at room temperature, it won’t last as long and could spoil quickly due to its high oil content. It is also important to remember that when freezing pesto (which can help extend its shelf life), it is best done without adding cheese or cream, so they do not separate during thawing. Enjoy.


With the right ingredients and techniques, you can make delicious pesto that rivals any store-bought version. By grinding your ingredients with a mortar and pestle or by hand chopping them finely, you can create a flavorful paste that will be sure to impress your family and friends. And don’t forget those finishing touches – adding in some fresh herbs or spices can really take your homemade pesto to the next level. So why wait? Get creative in the kitchen today and see what kind of tasty results you can achieve when making pesto without a food processor.

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