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This Gluten Free Pesto Recipe is a classic Italian sauce, perfect for pasta, salads and more! Made with fresh basil, hard cheese, pine nuts, oil and garlic, this recipe only uses five ingredients this pesto recipe is super quick and easy to make.

gluten free pesto recipe
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Pesto has to be one of my favourite, all-time cooking ingredients when it comes to both taste and convenience.

I lived many of my student days enjoying a pesto pasta dish and I still cook with pesto on an almost weekly basis.

Herby, cheesy and nutty, this simple sauce is made using only a handful of ingredients.

You can add it to gluten free pasta dishes, risottos, salad dressing, omelettes, soups or meats – the list really is endless.

It stores easily in the fridge for several weeks and you can even freeze it in portions ready to defrost and use as needed.

I love making homemade pesto and once you’ve tried it I just know you’re going to love it too!

gluten free pesto

Is Pesto Gluten Free?

Pesto is an Italian sauce traditionally made with non-gluten-containing ingredients, so yes, in theory it should be gluten free.

Usually pesto is made with basil, hard cheese, garlic, pine nuts and olive oil, all of which are gluten free.

I’d always recommend double checking any packaging as sometimes it may carry ‘may contain’ warnings which are not suitable for people with coeliac disease.

Sometimes you find pesto labelled ‘gluten free’ in the free from aisle which is what confuses many gluten free people.

However, it is important to remember it is a ‘free from’ aisle, not a ‘gluten free’ aisle.

Those pestos are usually vegan pesto – as pesto typically contains dairy – but they can be certified gluten free as well.

It doesn’t mean normal pesto isn’t safe (it often is – and it’s cheaper too). It just means those pestos are certified gluten free.

But if you make my gluten free pesto recipe you’ll save the pennies and have a pesto that’s completely free from gluten anyway!

gluten free pesto recipe

Gluten Free Pesto Ingredients

There’s a full printable recipe card below with the quantities, but here are the main ingredients you’ll need to make this pesto recipe:

  • Fresh Basil – To make delicious pesto I always remove the stalks from fresh basil and use only the leaves. The stalks can make the best a little more bitter. Basil is a really simple herb to pick up in the supermarket or you can grown your own too.
  • Toasted Pine Nuts – If you can only buy pine nuts which aren’t toasted, I recommend toasting them in a dry pan for 3-5 minutes, tossing them until they go golden. This is what creates the beautiful flavour in pesto, it’s not the same when they’re not toasted.
  • Parmigiano Reggiano – This is my favourite hard Italian cheese to use in a pesto recipe but you can use whichever you prefer. You might like to use parmesan cheese instead. If you’re making this recipe vegan/dairy free, use a vegan alternative or some nutritional yeast instead.
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil – I always use a good quality olive oil when making pesto as it makes such a difference. Always ensure it’s extra virgin olive oil.
  • Garlic – I use whole garlic cloves but you can use pre-chopped garlic or even a garlic paste if that is more convenient.

Variations on my gluten free pesto recipe

Made the original recipe and now want to mix it up a bit? Some ways you can ‘jazz’ up your pesto include adding:

  • A handful of sun-dried tomatoes.
  • Some roasted red peppers.
  • Some chopped red chilli or chilli paste
  • A handful of spinach

It’s always exciting to experiment with recipes and this one is super simple. Let me know in the comments if you find a dreamy combination!

gluten free pesto

How can I use gluten free pesto?

Pesto is probably one of the most versatile cooking ingredients and once you have some in the fridge, dinner will never be boring!

Some of my favourite ways to use gluten free pesto is:

  • Stirring it through cooked gluten free pasta and topping with grated cheese for a super simple dinner. You could add roasted veg or cooked chicken too.
  • In my Tuna Pasta Salad recipe to create a yummy gluten free pesto pasta salad with flakes of tuna and punchy olives.
  • Stuffing chicken breasts with gluten free pesto and mozzarella to make my Air Fryer Pesto Chicken. This is a really quick meal and always goes down a treat.
  • Mixing some pesto with extra olive oil and drizzling it over Smashed Potatoes – this is a great side dish and perfect for BBQ season too.
  • Adding to a tomato sauce for a lovely flavour when making pasta. Often I whip up a sauce with tinned tomatoes and pesto for a simple yet tasty meal.

However you use your pesto, it’s sure to become a regular ingredient in your kitchen.

My gluten free pesto recipe

This easy gluten free pesto recipe makes enough for a large pasta dish, enough to feed 6-8 people.

It will store in the fridge for a couple of weeks as long as you follow the instructions in the recipe card below.

If you make this recipe and love it, please do let me know by tagging me on my Instagram or using #theglutenfreeblogger. I love seeing your creations!

And please do leave a review to let others know you loved it too! It would mean the world to me.

gluten free pesto recipe
Yield: 12

Gluten Free Pesto

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 5 minutes

This easy gluten free pesto can be whizzed up in bulk at home and used for weeks in pasta, salads and more. A simple recipe using a food processor.


  • 60g fresh basil leaves
  • 40g toasted pine nuts
  • Good pinch salt
  • 35g grated parmigiano reggiano
  • 150ml extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves


  1. Add all of the ingredients to a food processor and blitz until smooth. Scrape the sides of the blender down if necessary so you don't have any lumps or big leaves!
  2. If storing, pour into a tub and cover with extra olive oil (this will stop the pesto losing colour). Store in the fridge for up to 2 weeks - every time you use some, ensure the top is covered with oil before storing again.

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 137Total Fat: 15gSaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 12gCholesterol: 3mgSodium: 64mgCarbohydrates: 1gFiber: 0gSugar: 0gProtein: 1g

Need more gluten free recipe inspiration?

Here are some more easy gluten free sauce and condiment recipes you can try out once you’ve made this Gluten Free Pesto recipe.

If you do make this recipe please let me know! I’d love to see your photos using #theglutenfreeblogger, share them in my Facebook group or tag me on Instagram. 

If you have any recipe suggestions, please let me know in the comments what you’d like to see next!

Like this Gluten Free Pesto recipe?

Make sure you follow me on Pinterest and pin this recipe card below for later!

Is Pesto gluten free?
Pesto recipe - gluten free and dairy free option

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About Sarah Howells

Hi, I'm Sarah! Diagnosed with coeliac disease 20 years ago, I'm on a mission to create the best gluten free recipes since sliced bread. No fruit salads or dry brownies here.

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