The Best Store-Bought Pesto Money Can Buy, According To Reviews

Pesto remains a versatile addition to your kitchen arsenal, lending its aromatic flavors to pizza, sandwiches (pesto caprese panini, for instance), pasta, and more. Who doesn't love nuts + garlic + cheese? Pesto is a typical condiment — probably the most famous of Ligurian cuisine. The original recipe involves the use of seven ingredients: olive oil, basil, garlic, pine nuts, salt, Parmesan and pecorino cheese. Some of the pesto brands featured in this tasty topic take their own unique approach to the classic seven ingredient pesto recipe while others follow the more traditional route. 


For the basic home cook seeking to elevate their dishes effortlessly, navigating the array of store-bought pesto options can be both exciting and overwhelming. Following extensive research and reviews, including years of cooking with pesto myself, I've put together a non-exhaustive ranking. Fortunately, amidst the numerous choices, there are a few that consistently earn praise from discerning palates. You might recognize a few of these well-known, highly-rated pesto brands, while others might surprise you!

10. Rao's Homemade Basil Pesto

Rao's Homemade Basil Pesto is a decent contender and has a valid reputation. Rao's history began in 1896 as a restaurant in New York, however this brand falls low on the list due to its retail $4.99 price tag and small quantity. An additional negative aspect to consider is that the ingredient list includes some unfavorable additions. By incorporating cheaper ingredients such as cashews, sunflower oil, and sugar, Rao's homemade basil pesto does not fall into the premium category, earning a low spot on this list.   


Some customers on Amazon described their experience using Rao's basil pesto as nothing special and not a great value especially considering the price tag. The price and incorporation of cheap ingredients, as well as sugar, seem to be a constant moment of contention for users across the board. However, Rao's other products have better reviews, such as their tomato sauce.

9. Alessi Pesto

In the jarred pesto category, Alessi is one of the most popular brands as well as a decided improvement over Rao's. The ingredients seem quite straightforward, bumping Alessi's up a notch. However, the color is a tad off-putting, leaning into a more brown hue rather than the bright green most associated with traditional pesto. That being said, a pleasurable aspect of Alessi's is that the ingredient list is noticeably simple. The promising ingredient list includes basil, pecorino cheese, garlic, pine nuts, and Alessi's white balsamic vinegar


The addition of acidity is what leaves Alessi's pesto further down on the list, distracting from the essence of a great pesto. While it is a unique effort, we can appreciate the fact that the addition of white balsamic vinegar is Alessi's own recipe. Overall, when Alessi's pesto was tasted by an Amazon customer, there was an appreciation for the use of real extra virgin olive oil instead of using cheaper seed oils. There was also an appreciation for the inclusion of pine nuts.   

8. Barilla Pesto

With Barilla Pesto, consumers will find the comfort and prestige of a cherished brand. Too bad Barilla's ingredient list falls short and lacks the use of pine nuts. Barilla's pesto is pleasurable to the average palate and is not overwhelmingly cheesy or garlicky. Perhaps it is not the most beautiful packaging, but the label is clear in what it has to offer. The retail price point of $3.64 positively convinces consumers to buy Barilla and it is largely accessible to find in the majority of supermarkets. 


A Quora reviewer speaks on the neutrality of Barilla referencing the less than favorable approach of trying to please a wide net of consumers, reflecting in the final quality of the product. While Barilla remains a decent option for a lot of people, it still falls into the industrial product category that doesn't give you a unique taste. 

7. Trader Joe's Vegan Kale, Cashew & Basil Pesto

Trader Joe's vegan kale, cashew and basil pesto takes on a slightly different approach with the addition of cashews and kale — an innovative recipe within the pesto community. Priced at less than $4 per container, this pesto is a fantastic option for the dairy-free and vegan crowd. What adds to its uniqueness is the fact that kale, not basil, takes the lead as the main ingredient, offering a distinct flavor profile that deviates from the traditional basil pesto, adding a new layer of depth. Creamy cashew butter takes the center stage in this pesto, replacing the need for Parmesan. Trader Joe's vegan pesto offers an 8 ounce container that is a decent quantity for the price. Score!


Some Pinterest reviewers users used the platform to express an overall positive experience, especially on the bright aesthetic to the flavorful composition. Those with food intolerances or restrictions especially were giddy about the inclusion of Trader Joe's vegan pesto alternative.

6. Saclà Pesto

In the realm of pesto, while many top-notch premium varieties occupy the refrigerated aisles, don't overlook the shelf-stable options. Take, for instance, Saclà brand, which pioneered mass-produced pesto and now spans 50+ countries. With origins dating back to 1939 in the Piedmont region of Northern Italy, Saclà pioneered a decent amount of supermarket products. What sets this pesto apart from the others is its generous inclusion of basil, boasting a remarkable 36%. 


This abundance of basil yields an unmistakably intense and fresh aroma. However, it's worth noting the addition of sunflower seed oil, a cheese mixture, and cashews keep Saclà brand from being a top choice. The use of cheap ingredients creates potential drawbacks. However, the bright green hue due to the abundance of basil draws in the consumer. In fact, a Home Tester Club reviewer positively sells their Saclà experience as a second-best option to real fresh basil pesto.

5. Giovanni Rana Basil Pesto

Next up in our refrigerated pesto category — Giovanni Rana, a historical family-owned brand from Verona, Italy. When thinking about fresh, chilled pestos, one might wonder: Are they really worth the added cost? Giovanni Rana's bright pesto offers the freshness you'd expect, complete with visible whole pine nuts. A drawback of being a perishable product is that it has a relatively short shelf life. However, Giovanni Rana pesto offers an adaptable line, including options with or without garlic. 


Giovanni Rana's creation is more than just a pesto; it's a sensory experience. From its visually bright presentation to its delightful flavor profile, it hits the mark on overall experience, making it one of the top choices in this list. One influenster reviewer praised the extremely fresh flavor profile and how versatile it is. From adding a spoonful into pasta, topping veggies or as a marinade for chicken.

4. Cento Organic Basil Pesto Sauce

Cento Organic Basil Pesto is the only pesto on this list that claims the organic label. Well known within the country for supplying high-quality San Marzano tomato sauce, Cento has achieved a reputation for excellence, consistently earning rave reviews. Cento uses fresh premium basil, olive oil, as well as the addition of savory Grana Padona and Pecorino Romano cheeses. When it comes to aesthetics,  Cento's basil pesto presents a departure from the smooth, creamy textures often associated with its counterparts. Instead, its rougher texture stands out, making it an ideal choice for enhancing meats or elevating deli sandwiches. 


What sets Cento apart is its departure from the typical overly pureed pesto, giving it a less industrial pesto mouthfeel. According to some Amazon reviewers, Cento offers an unmistakable rich Italian flavor. Of course reviewers boasted the organic label and the high quality of ingredients used. With the organic label and premium basil claims, Cento has a justified price tag of $6.11.

3. Mezzetta Basil Pesto

Mezzetta Artisan Basil Pesto has an impressive long-standing company history, rooted in San Francisco since 1935 and spanning over four generations of family recipes. With 89 years of experience under their belt, Mezzetta has earned an admirable reputation as a family brand. Priced at $4.69, Mezzetta upholds its commitment to quality by utilizing premium ingredients without compromise, despite its accessible price point. 


Mezzetta basil pesto blend features a harmonious mix of Parmesan cheese, olive oil, basil, pine nuts, and an intriguing medley of spices, including rosemary extract. While it deviates slightly from the traditional recipe with the inclusion of almonds and rosemary extract, Mezzetta's unique twist adds depth and character to typical pesto. According to one reviewer on Amazon, Mezzetta is highly adored due to the use of real olive oil and not sacrificing for sunflower seed oil. Customers boast the wonderful flavor of olive oil. Overall, the color, texture, and flavor earn Mezzetta a spot near the top.

2. Buitoni Basil Pesto

The last (but not least) best pesto money can buy is Buitoni pesto coming in at $5.49 for 7 ounces. Buitoni basil pesto is a take on a classic pesto blending basil, Parmesan and Romano cheeses, olive oil, pine nuts and walnuts. The story of Buitoni begins in the small town of Sansepolcro, Italy, dating back to 1827. It is clear that Buitoni uses only high-quality ingredients and this pesto gets rave reviews. Based on ingredients alone, it is clear why Buitoni is placed above Mezzetta in this ranking. Buitoni pesto seems the most well balanced and as true to a quintessential pesto recipe that you can find at the supermarket. 


An enthused Kroger customer reviewed Buitoni as one of the best pestos they have ever bought, and continually returned to purchase Buitoni. Reviewers on Amazon praised the fresh and green vibrancy, balanced flavor profile as well as the pine nut flavor. Additionally the quality to price ratio seems justified. 

1. Methodology

There are a plethora of pesto brands spanning across supermarket shelves throughout the U.S. and abroad, and unfortunately, it wasn't possible to include them all. To determine the best pesto from around the country, I examined well-known pesto brands that are frequently mentioned across the internet, online forums, and social media. Additionally, I included pesto brands I've personally experienced. Out of those, I primarily looked at Amazon, Pinterest, and Reddit ratings and chose the top contenders that capture the essence of Italian pesto. Most reviewers based their reviews and ratings on things like texture, color, quality, consistency, cost, and overall experience. To find and select relevant information for pesto brands that I have not personally tried, reviews were done with the help of relevant articles and official website reports available. This list includes pesto brands you can find at grocery stores within the United States. I ranked the pesto brands with truly simple ingredients, balanced flavors, and pleasurable visual aesthetics at the top of this list.