This post may contain affiliate links. Please read our disclosure policy.

This roasted red pepper pesto is sweet, garlicky, and the perfect addition to pasta, pizza, and your favorite crusty bread.

roasted red pepper pesto topped with basil in a glass jar with saltine crackers on the side
Email Yourself This Recipe!
Get the recipe link sent to your inbox! PLUS, we’ll send you fresh recipes weekly!
Please enable JavaScript in your browser to complete this form.

I like to think of this recipe as the holy grail of pestos. Yes, it has basil in it, but it also has something even better: roasted red peppers. Roasting brings out the best in red bell peppers, adding a smoky flavor and making the crisp flesh tender and sweet. Combine those flavors with pesto and you’ve got yourself a sauce that you’ll want to keep on hand at all times.

Like most pestos, roasted red pepper pesto is great for tossing with pasta (try this recipe!), but why limit yourself? If you’re entertaining, you can put together an epic spread of crudités and rosemary bread with red pepper pesto, pistachio pesto, and olive pesto for dipping. Use this pesto in place of pizza sauce or swap it for the mashed avocado on a piece of toast. 

close up shot of roasted red pepper pesto in a glass jar

What You’ll Need

If you don’t count the salt, pepper, and oil (which you probably have on hand anyway!), you’ll only need 4 ingredients for this roasted red pepper pesto.

  • Red bell peppers – While you can buy roasted red peppers in a jar, making your own is best for this recipe because the end result is much more flavorful.
  • Garlic
  • Pine nuts – Pine nuts are definitely a love-it-or-hate-it kind of ingredient. Walnuts or almonds could be used instead.
  • Basil leaves – After you wash them, give them a spin in your salad spinner or pat them dry with a paper towel.
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Olive oil

Can I Add Parmesan?

A traditional basil pesto is made with parmesan cheese. If you like, you can add some grated parm before you process the ingredients, but this pesto is definitely flavorful enough on its own without it!

overhead shot of roasted red pepper pesto in a small white bowl surrounded by saltine crackers

How to Make Roasted Red Pepper Pesto

This recipe is so easy to make, you’ll never want to buy store-bought pesto again! Here’s what you’ll need to do.

Prepare. Preheat your oven to 400ºF. Cut the peppers into large pieces and place them on a baking sheet with the skin side down. Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt.

Roast the peppers. Place the baking sheet in the oven and roast the peppers for 20 to 25 minutes, or until the peppers are soft and the skin is starting to char.

Toast the pine nuts.
While the peppers are roasting, lightly toast the pine nuts in a small skillet set over medium heat.

Make the pesto. Combine the roasted peppers, garlic, pine nuts, and basil in your food processor. Turn it on and drizzle olive oil through the feed tube; continue to process until the pesto reaches a smooth, thick consistency, then season to taste with salt and pepper.

Tips for Success

Here are a few tips and tricks to make sure this recipe turns out perfect.

  • Watch the pine nuts. Nuts and seeds can burn super fast on the stovetop, so keep an eye on the pine nuts while you’re toasting them in the skillet. Stir them often, too, to make sure they toast evenly.
  • Don’t be afraid to add a lot of oil. It’s the secret to getting a rich, creamy pesto.
  • No food processor? You can make this roasted red pepper pesto in a blender instead.

How to Store

Store roasted red pepper pesto in an airtight jar in the fridge for up to two weeks.

Can This Recipe Be Frozen?

Yes, you can freeze roasted red pepper pesto, so you might want to double the recipe and keep some on hand for easy dinners. Freeze it in an airtight container or freezer bag for up to 3 months; let it thaw in the fridge or place the freezer bag in a bowl of hot water to thaw it quickly.

saltine cracker being dipped into roasted red pepper pesto
4.58 from 7 votes

Roasted Red Pepper Pesto

Sweet, garlicky and a little bit smoky, this roasted red pepper pesto is packed with flavor!
Prep Time: 25 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 1 small jar


  • 2 large red bell peppers, de-seeded and membranes removed
  • 1 clove large garlic
  • 2 tablespoon pine nuts, lightly toasted
  • ½ cup (12 g) loosely packed basil leaves
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • Olive oil
Email Yourself This Recipe!
Get the recipe link sent to your inbox! PLUS, we’ll send you fresh recipes weekly!
Please enable JavaScript in your browser to complete this form.


  • Preheat oven to 400 °F (204 °C)
  • Slice the red bell peppers into large pieces and place skin side down on a large baking sheet. Drizzle olive oil over the bell peppers and sprinkle some salt. Place in oven for 20-25 minutes until peppers are soft and the edges slightly transparent. The skin that was touching the baking sheet should be slightly blackened, too.
  • Meanwhile, lightly toast the pine nuts in a skillet on medium heat.
  • In a food processor, throw in the bell peppers, garlic clove, pine nuts, and basil.
  • Turn on the food processor and drizzle olive oil through the feed tube and mix it until a nice thick consistency. Season with salt and pepper.
  • Keep in an airtight jar for up to 2 weeks, if it lasts that long ;)


Serving: 1Jar, Calories: 459kcal, Carbohydrates: 19g, Protein: 5g, Fat: 39g, Fiber: 7g, Sugar: 9g

This website provides approximate nutrition information for convenience and as a courtesy only. Nutrition information can vary for a variety of reasons. For the most precise nutritional data use your preferred nutrition calculator based on the actual ingredients you used in the recipe.

The default measuring system for this website is US Customary. Unit conversions are provided for convenience and as a courtesy only. While we strive to provide accurate unit conversions, please be aware that there may be some discrepancies.

Like this? Leave a comment below!


You May Also Like...

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating


  1. My mum wasn’t a fan of red pesto but this converted her.

    So simple to make and tastes very yummy.

    Served it with fresh tagliatelle and stirred in a little taleggio cheese for an extra smoked nuttiness

  2. Can’t argue with you about the taste bud theory.

    I always hated peppers too; still can’t stand green ones.

    But this pesto rocks! I served it one night with some lightly buttered pasta and cheese.

    Not a single complaint from the picky eaters!!!

    Excellent, excellent pesto.

    Keep ’em coming!

  3. Mine does not look nearly as pretty thanks to the fact that my food processor is a 14-cupper so the pieces are bigger, but it tastes great and I don’t love peppers! Great use for some csa peppers.

  4. This sounds delicious! I make pesto all the time but have yet to try it with roasted red peppers! Next on my to make list!

  5. Totally agree about the taste buds, they say you start sweet, then go savoury then back to sweet as you get older. As long as I never lose the taste for good wine I don’t care.

    Love your pesto, I love pestos they transform dishes. It’s good to have a red one in the repitoire rather than the green ones all he time.

    Love your blog btw.


  6. I can’t express how good this looks! I’m going to have to make it as soon as possible. Headed over to check out the pasta right now!