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Can Pesto Go Bad? (How Long Does It Last)

Quick Answer

Pesto can go bad after some time as it contains perishable ingredients. Most jar pesto can last a couple of months past the expiry date, if it is unopened.

Opened pesto only lasts for up to five days in the fridge.

If your jar of pesto has been open for a while, then you may not be sure if pesto can really go off.

Or you may have just opened a jar of your favorite pesto and wondered how long you can keep it.

In this article, we take a closer look at the shelf life of pesto and how long you can store it.

Can Pesto Go Bad

Does Pesto Go Bad?

Yes, pesto can go bad after some time as it is typically made with fresh ingredients that are perishable.

Canned pesto or pesto in a jar usually can last for up to a couple of months but you should always check the expiry date on the packaging.

As this type of pesto contains preservatives, it can last much longer than fresh pesto which should be consumed within a few days.

How Long Does Pesto Last?

When you buy pesto in your grocery store, then this type of pesto can keep for a maximum of two months after its official expiry date.

However, this applies only to unrefrigerated pesto. If you buy refrigerated pesto, then you will be able to keep this pesto for a few weeks after you bought it.

Pesto starts to spoil much faster the moment when you open the jar. Opened pesto sauce can last for up to a week, if you keep it in the fridge.

If you don’t have enough room in your refrigerator, then you can easily also freeze pesto which means it doesn’t spoil as quickly as fresh or opened pesto.

Homemade Pesto

Homemade pesto doesn’t contain any preservatives so it can last only four days but you need to make sure that it is stored in a sealed container inside the fridge.

If you want your homemade pesto to last longer, then you can also freeze any leftovers.

Even though some pesto recipes suggest that you can store your pesto for longer, it’s still a good idea to eat it as soon as possible or freeze your pesto.

Unrefrigerated Pesto

When you pick up a jar of unrefrigerated pesto, then this is the type of pesto that you can keep for longest. 

Pesto sold unrefrigerated is good for up to one year, and a few months after the official expiration date.

Once you open your pesto jar, you will need to use the sauce within a week to ensure that it doesn’t go bad.

The time it takes for your pesto to spoil can vary widely depending on the brand. Just make sure that you read the label and find out how to store your pesto correctly.

If you are not sure how long you can keep your pesto, then it’s best to consume it within three days to make sure that it still tastes good.

Refrigerated Pesto

If you pick up pesto sold refrigerated, then this type of pesto has a much shorter shelf life. 

You need to keep it in the fridge at all times and make sure that you eat it within two weeks after the indicated expiry date.

Once you open your pesto, you should eat it within a week, as the ingredients inside the pesto will start to go bad.

How To Tell If Your Pesto Is Bad?

There are some clear signs that indicate when pesto starts to go bad and when it is definitely spoiled.

Color Change

Most pesto has a bright green color (although this depends on the brand). If you notice that your pesto is changing color, then it is going off.

Spoiled pesto usually turns a brown color, like rotting basil.


Another clear sign that your pesto isn’t edible anymore is when you spot mold growing on the surface of the sauce.

Rancid Smell

When your pesto has a putrid, bitter or chemical odor, then it is likely that it has gone back and you need to dispose of the pesto.

If you store your pesto for too long in the wrong conditions, then the pine nuts and the olive oil inside your pesto sauce will go bad.

It’s important that you do not eat rancid pesto as it can cause digestive problems.

Past The Expiry Date

You should always be wary of pesto that has gone beyond its expiry date, even if it still looks good.

Make sure that unopened pesto jars beyond their expiry date still smell and look fine before you eat the pesto.

How To Store Pesto?

The best way to store refrigerated pesto is inside the fridge. 

Can Pesto Go Bad (1)

If your store-bought pesto wasn’t refrigerated when you bought it, then you can keep it in a dark, cool place in the back of your kitchen cupboard or pantry.

However, once you open your pesto, you will need to store any type of pesto in the fridge.

It’s essential that your pesto jar is always tightly sealed when you don’t use it. This will ensure that your pesto doesn’t go bad so quickly as it’s not exposed to air.

A good trick to prevent pesto from turning brown is by pouring a thin layer of olive oil on top of the pesto before you put it into the fridge.

This creates a barrier between the air and the pesto which helps to keep it from spoiling for a while.

If you want to keep your homemade pesto for longer, then you can also store it inside the freezer. 

Make sure you put all the pesto inside a sealed container and place a label with the storage date and name on the container.

Final Thoughts

While pesto can go bad after some time, the exact time depends on the type of pesto and how you store it.

Unrefrigerated pesto that has not been opened can last for over a year.

Jess Smith