Seasoned Advice is a question and answer site for professional and amateur chefs. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

I was making pesto one day and couldn't find the lid to my food processor. So first I tried mixing it all in a blender. Didn't work, the leaves wouldn't go down to meet the blade. I had this pastey pesto at the bottom and full leaves on top. Transferred it to the magic bullet thinking the blender (it's a really old blender) was just busted. Same thing.

This frustration prompted me to find the food processor lid once and for all. I did and put everything in processor and worked like a charm.

Why can't you make pesto in a blender? What's the difference in the design of a food processor and blender?

share|improve this question
up vote 10 down vote accepted

You need enough liquid in the blender for it to work; if the leaves get stuck in blender canister, they won't reach the blades to get ground up. It's mostly an issue of width of the container relative to the size of the basil leaves.

I typically make my pesto in a blender rather than a food processor, but I do the following:

  1. Pack a few inches of basil (or other herb) down in the bottom of the blender
  2. Add some oil on top to 'wet' it.
  3. Blend for a second or two 'til it liquifies.
  4. Pack some more basil in there, shoving it down into the liquid, with a few pinches of salt.
  5. Blend again.
  6. Repeat 4&5 until you have all of the basil in there.
  7. Add the nuts & oil until you get the consistency you want.

I pull it at this point, as I get better results freezing it without cheese, and just stir in the grated cheese separately.

share|improve this answer

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.