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+ servings
creamy pesto in 2 mason jars surrounded by pine nuts and fresh basil
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5 from 19 votes

Creamy Pesto Sauce

You only need a handful of simple ingredients to make this creamy pesto sauce. Mix it all in a blender and you have a delicious pesto ready in minutes. Use it on pasta, chicken, sandwiches, vegetables, and more!
Prep Time5 mins
Total Time5 mins
Course: Sauce
Cuisine: American, Italian
Diet: Vegetarian
Keyword: cream sauce recipes, creamy pesto recipes, recipes for pesto, summer recipes
Servings: 4
Calories: 357kcal
Author: Kristina



  • ¼ cup pine nuts (plus 1 tablespoon of olive oil for toasting)
  • ½ cup heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 3 cups fresh basil leaves, packed
  • 1 garlic clove
  • ½ avocado
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • cup grated parmesan cheese


  • Toast pine nuts in 1 tablespoon of olive oil for 2 minutes, until just beginning to brown. If using an Instant cooking blender, set it to the chunky soup mode for 2 minutes. Put 1 tablespoon of oil into the blender and add pine nuts. Press start to have the blender lightly toast and chop the pine nuts.
  • Add pine nuts, heavy cream, lemon juice, basil leaves, garlic, salt, and avocado to the blender. Pulse on high speed until mostly smooth, between 45 and 75 seconds depending on your blender.
  • Add the olive oil and parmesan cheese. Pulse until incorporated into the sauce, about 45-75 more seconds. For a thinner sauce, add more olive oil 1 tablespoon at a time until it's the desired consistency. For a thicker sauce, add more avocado 2 tablespoons at a time until sauce is thickened to your liking.
  • Use immediately on pasta, chicken, vegetables, or sandwiches. Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 7 days.


Creamy pesto will last for 10 days when kept in an airtight container, like a mason jar, in the fridge. The lemon juice prevents the sauce from turning brown on the top, as is common with avocados and basil. It is not freezer-friendly.
Be very careful not to overtoast the pine nuts, as they will become bitter if you do.
Basil substitutes: spinach, kale, watercress and arugula make great substitutes for basil. Use one, a combination, or half basil and half of another. A combination of basil and spinach works really well in pesta.
Pine nut substitutes: walnuts, cashews, pecans, almonds, pistachios, or sunflower seeds. If you need a nut-free pesto, sunflower seeds are a great option.
Heavy cream substitutes: whole milk + extra avocado or half and half. Milk doesn't whip up or provide the same creamy thickness as heavy cream. You'll need to add an extra avocado if using milk.


Serving: 3oz | Calories: 357kcal | Carbohydrates: 5g | Protein: 6g | Fat: 36g | Saturated Fat: 11g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 5g | Monounsaturated Fat: 18g | Cholesterol: 46mg | Sodium: 439mg | Potassium: 260mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 1491IU | Vitamin C: 7mg | Calcium: 156mg | Iron: 1mg