Can I make pesto in a blender? Will it have the same results as a food processor?

I'm teaching a kids cooking class, and the facility only has a blender. Has anyone tried making your typical pesto recipe in a blender, and did it work?

Lauren Margolis


Nancy March 9, 2015
Agree with the comments so far. If the kids are old enough (good hand-eye coordination) and you have the equipment, it might be fun to teach pesto making in a mortar and pestle.
Cav March 9, 2015
It should work fine, but beware of one thing. If you're using good Extra Virgin Olive Oil in a blender, it can take that oil and turn it bitter. That's because droplets of Olive Oil are composed of tightly bound fragments. Using a blender or hand blender or a food processor can break those droplets apart, spilling out bitter compounds into your sauce. The way to avoid this is to start the pesto with a small amount of neutral oil, such as canola. Then once the initial blend is made, transfer to a bowl and hand whisk in the Olive Oil. This also helps you get to the consistency you want.
LeBec F. March 15, 2015
cav, i've never read that before. does that mean making evoo vinaigrettes in a processor-turns out bitter taste?
i've been making processor vinaigrettes for 40 years(part canola, part evoo) but i've never been aware of any bitterness. thx.
C S. March 9, 2015
Yes, you can do it. For years I did not have a food processor and used a blender.
It will be a little more finely ground but it is fine. Marcella Hazen has you blend in some butter and the cheese by hand, once the basil, garlic, pine nuts, oil and whatever else has been blended. The kids should love the smell of it, good for you.
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