While most how-to's for frozen pesto cubes use ice cube trays, I've found that muffin tins work much better because the size is just right.
Why Freeze Pesto
Making pesto with the remainder of the summer's basil has become a tradition in our household. I love pesto because of its versatility—not only is it great with pasta, but it makes a tasty topping for pizza and can even be used as a sandwich spread.
Freezing pesto is the perfect way to enjoy a little bit of summer for at least a few months into fall and it's a good timesaver when you need a quick dinner.
My basil was determined to start flowering, no matter how many times I clipped the buds off of it, so I decided last weekend it was time to make our annual ginormous batch of pesto.
In the past, I've frozen it in bags, Tupperware, and ice cube trays. The ice cube trays worked well, but they didn't really match the serving size we'd typically use. This year I did something different and used mini muffin tins.
I've used regular sized muffin tins for freezing sauces and broth and the mini muffin tins hold just the right amount of pesto for one or two people (depending on what you're using it for, of course!).
Pesto Recipes for Freezing
You can use this freezing method to store any type of pesto - whether store bought or homemade. If you're making your own homemade pesto, here are a few of my favorite recipes:
- This 100% vegan pesto.
- Arugula Pesto from these paninis!
- The Garlicky Kale Pesto from my fave garlic bread.
- Flavorful sun dried tomato pesto!
- The Spinach Miso Pesto from these Udon Noodles.
Or check out 15 more creative pesto recipes here.
How to Freeze Pesto
Start by putting your pesto into the mini muffin tins. Because the pesto has olive oil in it, there's no need to grease the them. Just freeze overnight, until the pesto is completely solid.
Pop the cubes out of the muffin tins with a butterknife.
Store in a freezer bag for up to six months.
What to Make with the Pesto Cubes
Stir frozen pesto cubes into hot pasta or toss with roasted potatoes; allow to thaw or heat in a microwave if you want to use them on a pizza or sandwich. Another way I love to use these cubes is in minestrone soup—just toss one in before serving. Not only does it give the soup a fresh, vibrant flavor, but it cools it down too so you can eat a little sooner.
Want some more ideas for how to use your frozen pesto? Here's a few!
- 3 cups pesto homemade or store bought, adjust quantity to fit your muffin pan if needed
- Scoop the pesto evenly into the cavities of a mini muffin tin. You do not need to grease the pan first, as the oil in the pesto is sufficient to keep the pesto cubes from sticking.
- Cover the tray with plastic wrap, and freeze overnight.
- Use a butter knife to pop the pesto cubes out of the muffin tin. Store them in a freezer bag, in the freezer, for up to 6 months.
- When you are ready to use the frozen pesto, you can simply allow them to thaw at room temperature or heat in the microwave.