How Many Calories Are There In Pesto?

A spoonful of pesto.

Short answer
The number of calories in pesto varies wildly between brands, but having looked under the bonnet of over 100 pesto sauces for sale in the UK, we’ve concluded that on average, shop-bought pestos contain 372 calories per 100g.

This means that a tablespoon (15g) of pesto contains around 56 calories, while our recommended serving size of 50g per person contains around 186 calories.

Long answer
Two of the most expensive ingredients in all pesto recipes are nuts and cheese, both of which are very high in calories. Their price means they are the first things that budget brands look to reduce (or even remove altogether) to cut costs. This goes some way to explaining why, broadly speaking, premium brands tend to be at the higher end of the calorie spectrum while budget brands appear nearer the bottom.

This generalisation is not always the case, though. With oil being relatively cheap (even despite Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, sending the cost of cooking oils soaring), many cheap supermarket pestos bulk out their sauces with a large amount of oil. This explains why a regular complaint about budget pestos is that they are excessively oily.

Daylesford Organic tops our list of high-calorie pestos with a staggering 654 calories per 100g. Looking at the ingredient list, you can see that they don't skimp on any of the expensive, high-calorie ingredients that budget pestos simply cannot afford to include.

At the other end of the spectrum is Sainsbury's "Light Green Pesto." Water is the sauce's second biggest ingredient, and when you spot that its pine nut content is just 1%, it's easy to see where their calorie savings have been made.

So, which is better? Well, if your waistline is your biggest concern, then clearly the low-calorie options are right for you. Next comes affordability. With some jars of high calorie, premium pestos selling for up to £7.50 and some budget pestos retailing for just 55p, the staggering price difference is even more extreme than the difference in calories.

On many occasions, though, it comes down to taste and quality. In our enviable research (yes, we really have tasted every single one of the pestos shown below), we conclude that those at the higher end of the calorie spectrum make for a much more enjoyable meal.

Pesto Sauces Calories/100g
Daylesford Organic Basil Pesto 654kcal
Filippo Berio Truffle Pesto 652kcal
M&S Truffle Pesto 643kcal
Nicolas Vahe Basil Pesto 628kcal
Sacla Black Truffle Pesto 623kcal
Olives Et Al Basil Pesto 618kcal
Puro Pesto Alla Genovese 592kcal
Seggiano Raw Basil Pesto 586kcal
Hunter and Gather Basil Pesto 571kcal
Suma Pesto Genovese 535kcal
Seggiano Tomato Pesto 525kcal
Biona Organic Green Pesto 518kcal
Suma Pesto Rosso 516kcal
Tesco Basil Pesto Cremoso 500kcal
Barilla Pesto Genovese 482kcal
Zest Vegan Basil Pesto 499kcal
De Cecco Pesto Alla Genovese 475kcal
Viani Pesto Rosso 474kcal
Jamie Oliver Italian Herb Pesto 473kcal
Filippo Berio Classic Green Pesto 460kcal
Waitrose Basil Pesto 453kcal
M&S Green Pesto 452kcal
ALDI Cucina Basil Pesto 452kcal
Sacla Organic Basil Pesto 451kcal
Gomo Pesto Alla Genovese 450kcal
Belazu Pea & Mint Pesto 445kcal
Zest Vegan Red Pesto 430kcal
Jamie Oliver Coriander Pesto 429kcal
Jamie Oliver Green Pesto 423kcal
Tesco Red Pesto 421kcal
Casalinga Basil Pesto 421kcal
Gino D'Acampo Red Pesto 411kcal
Jamie Oliver Basil & Chia Pesto 410kcal
Filippo Berio Sun-Dried Tomato Pesto 409kcal
Tesco Tomato & ;Chilli Pesto 400kcal
Mr. Organic Vegan Basil Pesto 398kcal
Sacla Black Olive Pesto 386kcal
Coppola Pesto Genovese 386kcal
Belazu Genovese Pesto 377kcal
Bonsan Organic Vegan Pesto 375kcal
Garofalo Pesto Alla Genovese 371kcal
Filippo Berio Tomato & Ricotta Pesto 369kcal
Gino D'Acampo Green Pesto 369kcal
Morrisons Green Pesto 367kcal
Lidl Green Pesto 364kcal
Tesco Free From Red Pesto 358kcal
Ocado Classic Green Pesto 356kcal
Jamie Oliver Yellow Pepper Pesto 356kcal
Tesco Finest Tomato Pesto 353kcal
Belazu Smoked Paprika Pesto 349kcal
Belazu Chilli & Basil Pesto 349kcal
Belazu Oak Smoked Paprika Pesto 349kcal
Sacla Classic Basil Pesto 347kcal
Jamie Oliver Broad Bean Pesto 346kcal
Mr. Organic Vegan Basil Pesto 344kcal
Waitrose Essential Basil Pesto 344kcal
Jamie Oliver Kale Pesto 341kcal
Casalinga Vegan Chilli Pesto 341kcal
Shore Kale & Seaweed Pesto 340kcal
Sacla Char-Grilled Aubergine Pesto 339kcal
Jamie Oliver Cherry Tomato Pesto 334kcal
Belazu Vegan Harissa Pesto 333kcal
Barilla Red Pesto 324kcal
Belazu Tomato & Sage Pesto 324kcal
Seggiano Wild Fennel Pesto 322kcal
ASDA Green Pesto 319kcal
Shore Basil & Seaweed Pesto 317kcal
Belazu Aubergine & Parmesan Pesto 314kcal
Sainsbury's Taste The Difference Pesto 312kcal
Morrisons Red Pesto 312kcal
Sainsbury's Green Pesto 312kcal
Sacla Chilli Pesto 311kcal
Sacla 'Nduja Pesto 311kcal
Cooks & Co Green Pesto 309kcal
Sacla Vegan Basil Pesto 309kcal
Tesco Finest Basil Pesto 303kcal
Belazu Truffle & Artichoke Pesto 302kcal
Sacla Sun-Dried Tomato Pesto 296kcal
Jamie Oliver Walnut & Pepper Pesto 292kcal
Tesco Classic Green Pesto 290kcal
Co-op Green Pesto 289kcal
Sainsbury's Red Pesto 284kcal
Casalinga Vegan Pesto 281kcal
Essential Red Pesto 272kcal
Belazu Saffron & Pepper Pesto 263kcal
ALDI Pesto Alla Genovese 263kcal
Waitrose Red Tomato Pesto 263kcal
Shore Red Pepper & Chilli Pesto 255kcal
Sainsbury's Red Pepper Pesto 254kcal
ASDA Red Pesto 248kcal
Sacla Pepper & Almond Pesto 247kcal
Mr. Organic Sun-dried Tomato Pesto 243kcal
Jamie Oliver Chilli & Garlic Pesto 241kcal
ALDI Pesto Rosso 239kcal
Sainsbury's Chilli Pesto 231kcal
Belazu Wild Mushroom Pesto 224kcal
Garofalo Pepper & Ricotta Pesto 211kcal
Tesco Red Pepper Pesto 199kcal
Waitrose Red Pepper Pesto 189kcal
Sainsbury's Light Green Pesto 184kcal

* These figures are accurate as of January 22, 2023.

Based on our average of 372 calories per 100g, we’ve worked out how many calories you will be consuming based on popular weight measurements.

Pesto calories per tablespoon

Pesto Calories
1 tbsp 56kcal
2 tbsp 112kcal
3 tbsp 168kcal
4 tbsp 224kcal
5 tbsp 280kcal
6 tbsp 336kcal
Pesto calories in popular gram sizes

Pesto Calories
50g 186kcal
100g 372kcal
190g 707kcal
200g 744kcal
250g 930kcal
500g 1860kcal
1kg 3720kcal