is pesto sauce gluten free

Yes, pesto sauce can be gluten free. Pesto sauce is traditionally made with just a few simple ingredients, including fresh basil leaves, pine nuts, garlic, Parmesan cheese, olive oil, and salt. All of these ingredients are naturally gluten free, which means that if you stick to the classic pesto recipe, you can enjoy a gluten-free sauce that adds delicious flavor to your meals.

Understanding Gluten and Gluten-Free Diets

Gluten is a type of protein found in wheat, barley, and rye. People with gluten-related disorders, such as celiac disease or gluten sensitivity, must follow a gluten-free diet to avoid adverse health effects. For those individuals, it is crucial to know if pesto sauce contains any gluten.

When looking for store-bought pesto sauce, it is essential to read the labels carefully as some brands may add ingredients that contain gluten. However, if you make pesto sauce at home, you have complete control over the ingredients, making it easier to ensure it is gluten free.

Making Gluten-Free Pesto Sauce at Home

Making your own pesto sauce at home is a great way to ensure it is gluten free. Here is a simple recipe to make gluten-free pesto sauce:

  1. Gather the following ingredients:
    • 2 cups fresh basil leaves
    • 1/2 cup pine nuts
    • 3 cloves garlic
    • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
    • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
    • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  2. In a blender or food processor, combine the basil leaves, pine nuts, garlic, and salt.
  3. Pulse until the ingredients are roughly chopped.
  4. Add the Parmesan cheese and pulse a few more times to combine.
  5. While the blender is running, slowly drizzle in the olive oil until the mixture is well blended.
  6. Transfer the pesto sauce to a jar or container and refrigerate until ready to use.

Store-Bought Gluten-Free Pesto Sauce

If you prefer the convenience of store-bought pesto sauce, there are gluten-free options available. When choosing a store-bought brand, be sure to read the ingredient list to confirm that it does not contain any gluten-containing ingredients.

Here is a table featuring some popular store-bought brands of gluten-free pesto sauce:

BrandGluten-Free Certification
Cucina AnticaYes
Rao’s HomemadeYes
ClassicoNo (Some varieties are gluten free, but not all)

Cross-Contamination and Dining Out

If you are following a strict gluten-free diet and dining out, it is essential to be aware of the potential for cross-contamination. Some restaurants may use gluten-containing ingredients or share cooking surfaces and utensils, which can lead to gluten cross-contamination.

When ordering pesto sauce at a restaurant, consider asking the server about the ingredients and cross-contamination practices to ensure it aligns with your dietary needs.


Pesto sauce can be gluten free, especially when you make it at home using fresh ingredients. By understanding the ingredients and making informed choices, you can enjoy delicious gluten-free pesto sauce that adds a burst of flavor to your favorite dishes.