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Basil Pesto

12 Substitutes for Olive Oil in Pesto

There are a number of reasons you might want to substitute for the olive oil in your pesto.
Here are two of those reasons and how you can do it!
You want to make your pesto vegan
All you need to make pesto is basil, pine nuts, garlic, and Parmesan cheese. Olive oil is not an essential ingredient, so adding some water instead of olive oil will keep your pesto vegan without altering the taste or consistency too much.
Even if your recipe calls for a cup of olive oil, it should be pretty easy to replace that with just under a cup of water.
You're out of olive oil
You don't have time to go to the store and restock on olive oil, but you still want that delicious pesto flavor in your life. If this sounds familiar, you can use some water instead of olive oil in a pinch. It won't give pesto exactly the same texture as using olive oil would, but it will still taste fine.
Just use less water than you would use olive oil. For example, if your recipe calls for one cup of olive oil, use three-quarters or two-thirds of a cup of water instead.
Prep Time 5 mins
Cook Time 5 mins
Total Time 10 mins
Course Dip
Cuisine American
Servings 4 people
Calories 300 kcal


  • Canola oil
  • Grapeseed oil
  • Pumpkin seed oil
  • sunflower oil
  • avocado oil
  • Hemp seed butter
  • Almond butter
  • Cream cheese
  • Coconut oil
  • Tahini (sesame paste)
  • Walnut oil
  • Lemon juice


  • Pick any of the alternatives on this list to use instead of olive oil.
  • Prepare the rest of your ingredients.
  • Be ready to munch on your pesto dish in no time!
Keyword Substitute for Olive Oil in Pesto