Made with prepared pesto and heavy cream, this creamy basil pesto comes together in just a few minutes. This smooth sauce has a nutty flavor with notes of garlic and basil and goes great as a sauce for pizza and pasta.
Use prepared pesto from a store or make your own at home in just a few minutes with my easy basil pesto recipe. Then mix it together with heavy cream, and you have a delicious and creamy pesto sauce that can also serve as a filling for savory breads.
Ingredients for Creamy Basil Pesto
This creamy basil pesto sauce could hardly be any easier, with simple and fresh ingredients.
- Pesto. Use your favorite pesto here: homemade or store-bought both work here. Homemade will give you a brighter green, but both will taste absolutely delicious.
- Heavy cream. Heavy cream gives the pesto sauce its creamy consistency. It also softens the flavors of the pesto. You still enjoy the bright flavors of garlic and basil, but the pesto no longer overpowers the pizza or pasta toppings like plain pesto can.
You can find pesto in the dried pasta aisle at most grocery stores. Some stores also sell refrigerated pesto.
Quick Tips for Prepping Creamy Basil Pesto
As easy as this recipe is, I always like to include a few tips I’ve learned from making this recipe numerous times.
How to Make Bright Green Pesto Cream Sauce
For the brightest, greenest pesto cream sauce, you’ll have the best luck using fresh, homemade pesto.
Basil begins to oxidize after it has been cut up and exposed to air, and this is what causes pesto to go brown. The color doesn’t affect the flavor one bit, but I think we can all agree that green pesto is much prettier than brown pesto.
For a creamy basil pesto sauce that is more green than brown, use fresh pesto. Then, do your best to prevent the pesto from being directly in contact with air, even in the storage container. I like to top off my jars of pesto with a splash of olive oil or lemon juice after I use some. This locks in the freshness and doesn’t significantly change the recipe.
The Ratio of Pesto to Heavy Cream for a Pesto Cream Sauce
I like a ratio of 1:1 for this sauce, but you are more than welcome to change up the ratio to your preference.
As it is, the recipe as written softens the strong flavors in pesto (like garlic and basil) while also giving the sauce a creamy consistency. Using more pesto or less heavy cream will give you a chunkier consistency that has stronger garlic and basil flavors.
Something to note: It’s easy to stir in more heavy cream later on, if you want to try something different!
Quick Tips for Storing Leftover Creamy Pesto Sauce
Leftover creamy pesto sauce should be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to one week for ultimate freshness.
You can also store the leftovers in the freezer for up to six months. If you don’t plan to use all of the leftovers at once, I recommend freezing the sauce in lumps.
To Freeze in Single Servings
Pour about ¼ cup onto a sheet of parchment paper, then freeze uncovered until solid, about 1-2 hours. Peel the frozen sauce off the parchment paper and store in a zip-top freezer bag in the freezer.
The morning you plan to use the frozen sauce, remove a frozen lump (or two, or three…) from the freezer bag and place it in a bowl, then cover with plastic wrap. Let the sauce thaw in the fridge until it’s liquid and ready to use (a few hours)!
Dish Cleanup: Piece of Cake
I rate my recipe cleanups on a scale of 1 to 5. 1 is only a handful of dishes, and 5 is everything including the kitchen sink.
My creamy basil pesto has a cleanup rating of a 1. There’s one bowl, one spoon, and one measuring cup. It hardly gets easier than this!
Recipes with Pesto
I’m a lover of all things basil pesto here, and I have the recipes to prove it:
- Make your own pesto for this pesto cream sauce with my homemade pesto recipe
- Use this pesto in my pesto parmesan star bread for a creamier filling
- A personal favorite: Use this creamy pesto as a sauce on top of homemade thin crust pizza dough
Creamy Basil Pesto Sauce Recipe
- ½ cup basil pesto (120 ml)
- ½ cup heavy cream (120 ml)
- In a medium bowl, stir together the pesto and heavy cream.
To Use Creamy Basil Pesto as a Pizza Sauce
- Spread about ¼ cup onto a 12" round of pizza dough. Add your favorite toppings, then bake as directed according to the pizza dough instructions.
To Use Creamy Basil Pesto as a Pasta Sauce
- Add the creamy pesto sauce to cooked and drained pasta, then toss together over low heat for 1-2 minutes until combined and warmed through. Use about ½ cup per 8 oz of pasta, or one cup for a full box. Serve immediately.
Store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to one week or in the freezer for up to six months.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 131Total Fat: 13gSaturated Fat: 5gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 7gCholesterol: 21mgSodium: 83mgCarbohydrates: 2gFiber: 0gSugar: 1gProtein: 2g
The nutrition facts are estimated and may vary based on specific ingredients used.
Thanks for trying out my creamy basil pesto sauce recipe! Please consider rating this recipe so others find it, too.
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