Master The Basil Cream Sauce Recipe – Elevate Your Culinary Skills

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Basil Cream Sauce Recipe is a rich blend of fresh basil and creamy textures. It is an excellent addition to pasta dishes. Basil Cream Sauce often stands out when deciding what sauce to choose. In fact, its velvety consistency is great for elevating a simple meal. Yet, don’t forget its versatility. It is better to use fresh ingredients for maximum flavor. If you’re unsure how to enhance your dish, my best advice is to opt for Basil Cream Sauce.

Have you ever traveled to a quaint European town or dined in a Middle Eastern restaurant and encountered a sauce that lingers in your memory? During a recent visit to a friend’s house in Italy, I was treated to a dish that reminded me of the rich flavors I experienced on my travels. 

Basil Cream Sauce Recipe

The star? Basil Cream Sauce Recipe. Many need help finding the right balance between flavor and consistency in the myriad of sauces available. 

Yet, a waiter recommended pasta with this very sauce during a dinner in a small café in Beirut. It was love at first taste. 

It’s not too overpowering, not too mild, just the perfect blend of freshness and creaminess. 

If you’ve been searching for that ideal sauce to impress, whether it’s for a kid’s request or a sophisticated dinner party, Basil Cream Sauce is the answer. 

Taking this culinary inspiration, you’ll find that introducing it to your kitchen will solve your sauce dilemma.

What Is Basil Cream Sauce Recipe?

The Basil Cream Sauce Recipe is a sumptuous blend of fresh basil leaves, heavy cream, and often garlic and Parmesan cheese. 

This sauce boasts a smooth, velvety texture, complemented by the aromatic freshness of basil. 

It originates from European culinary traditions and has become a beloved choice in global cuisines. 

When in doubt about how to enrich pasta, chicken, or fish dishes, Basil Cream Sauce is a good idea to consider. 

In fact, its unique flavor profile not only enhances the dish it accompanies but also leaves a memorable taste that many seek out time and again.

History Of Basil Cream Sauce Recipe

The exact origins of Basil Cream Sauce Recipe are somewhat nebulous, yet its roots can be traced back to European culinary traditions. 

Italy, known for its rich tapestry of sauces, particularly in regions where basil grows abundantly, provides a strong hint. 

It is an excellent possibility that the sauce evolved from the marriage of classic Italian Alfredo sauce and the renowned pesto Genovese.

While no individual can be credited with its invention, it’s safe to say that the creative Italian chefs played a pivotal role with their penchant for blending rich creams and fresh herbs. Over time, this sauce gained popularity and secured its place in global cuisine.

Interesting Facts About Basil Cream Sauce Recipe

Basil Cream Sauce Recipe, a culinary delight, masterfully combines the freshness of basil with the richness of cream. This versatile sauce, infused with a hint of garlic and Parmesan, brings a luxurious touch to pasta, chicken, or vegetables, making it a must-have for any gourmet kitchen.

Herbal Origins

Basil, the primary ingredient, was once revered as a symbol of love in Italy.


This sauce isn’t just for pasta. It can also elevate dishes like chicken, fish, and vegetables.

Health Benefits

Basil has anti-inflammatory properties and is rich in antioxidants.

Quick Preparation

It often takes under 20 minutes to prepare Basil Cream Sauce from scratch.


Some chefs incorporate pine nuts or walnuts for an added crunch.

Cheese Choices

While Parmesan is famous, others use pecorino or asiago for different flavor profiles.

Worldwide Presence

While rooted in European traditions, many top chefs in different parts of the world now use and adapt this sauce in their recipes.


When stored properly, Basil Cream Sauce can last in the refrigerator for several days without losing its rich flavor.


What Are The Regional Adaptations Of This Sauce?

  • Italy: Often blended with traditional pesto ingredients, like pine nuts and garlic.
  • France: Infused with shallots and sometimes white wine, giving it a nuanced depth.
  • Middle-East: Occasionally mixed with ground almonds or tahini for a nuttier profile.
  • Asia: Versions may incorporate coconut milk instead of dairy, imparting a tropical essence.
  • South America: Spiced up with local chilies or peppers for a hint of warmth.
  • North America: The fusion cuisine here has seen it combined with ingredients like sun-dried tomatoes or roasted bell peppers for a twist.
  • Spain: Sometimes integrated with saffron, enriching its color and aroma.

What Will Make You Love This Basil Cream Sauce?

  • Perfect Balance: It strikes a harmonious blend of creamy richness and the aromatic freshness of basil.
  • Versatility: It’s not just a pasta enhancer. It complements meats, fish, and veggies seamlessly.
  • Healthful Components: The basil brings along antioxidants and anti-inflammatory benefits.
  • Simple Ingredients: Using just a handful of ingredients, its preparation is straightforward yet rewarding.
  • Culinary Journey: With each bite, it transports you to the picturesque landscapes of Europe.
  • Endless Variations: Its adaptable nature means you can tweak and personalize it to your palate’s delight.
  • Kids’ Favorite: Its smooth texture and delectable taste often win over the younger crowd.
  • Global Appeal: Its diverse regional adaptations ensure there’s a version to captivate every taste bud.

Ingredients List 

Fresh basil leaves2 cups
Garlic, minced4 cloves
Olive oil1/4 cup
Pine nuts2 ounces
Grated Parmesan cheese1/2 cup
Saltto taste
Pepperto taste
Light cream1 pint

Ingredient Tips

  • Basil Freshness: Use fresh basil leaves. They should be vibrant green without dark spots.
  • Garlic Punch: Freshly minced garlic provides more potent flavors than store-bought minced varieties.
  • Olive Oil Quality: A good-quality extra virgin olive oil enhances the overall taste.
  • Pine Nut Toasting: Toast the pine nuts lightly for a deeper flavor, but watch closely to avoid burning.
  • Parmesan Cheese: Opt for freshly grated over pre-packed. The flavor is notably fresher and richer.
  • Seasoning: Gradually add salt and pepper, tasting as you go, ensuring you don’t overpower the sauce.
  • Cream Choice: While light cream is specified, you can experiment with half-and-half or heavy cream for varied richness.
  • Storage: Keep ingredients, especially basil and cream, refrigerated until use to maintain freshness.

What Are The Variations Of Basil Cream Sauce Recipe?

  • Vegan Version: Replace light cream with coconut milk, skip Parmesan, or use a vegan alternative.
  • Lemon Zest: Add lemon zest for a refreshing citrus undertone.
  • Red Pepper Flakes: Introduce a hint of heat by incorporating some chili or red pepper flakes.
  • Tomato Basil Cream: Blend in sun-dried or cherry tomatoes for a tangy variation.
  • Roasted Garlic: Use roasted garlic instead of fresh for a milder, sweeter profile.
  • Nut Alternatives: Swap pine nuts with almonds or walnuts for a different nutty undertone.
  • Herbal Mix: Mix in other fresh herbs like parsley or cilantro for a layered herbal aroma.
  • Mushroom Infusion: Sautéed mushrooms can be blended in, offering an earthy depth to the sauce.

Recipe Directions 

  • Basil Pesto Preparation: Add the basil and garlic to a food processor. Start processing and gradually pour in the olive oil in a steady, thin stream. Continue processing for about 40 seconds or until the mixture starts to emulsify.
  • Add Nuts and Cheese: Introduce the pine nuts and Parmesan cheese to the processor. Blend for an additional minute until smooth and well combined.
  • Heat the Cream: Heat the cream over low heat in a separate saucepan. Allow it to simmer but not boil.
  • Combine Pesto and Cream: Carefully pour half of the hot cream into the basil pesto processor. Pulse the mixture for about 20 seconds, ensuring the cream and pesto blend well.
  • Simmer and Thicken: Transfer the mixture into the saucepan with the remaining cream. Let it simmer on low heat for approximately 5 minutes. The sauce will thicken slightly during this time.
  • Rest and Serve: Remove from heat and let it rest for 5 minutes, allowing the flavors to meld. It’s now ready to be paired with your favorite dishes.

Savor the harmony of creamy texture and aromatic basil in every spoonful of this exquisite Basil Cream Sauce.

Scaling The Recipe 

Scaling Up

  • Double or Triple: To serve more people, simply double or triple each ingredient. For instance, use 4 cups basil and 8 cloves garlic for double.
  • Batch Cooking: If preparing for multiple meals, consider making them in bulk and storing them in portions.

Scaling Down

  • Half: For smaller servings, halve every ingredient, e.g., use 1 cup of basil and 2 cloves of garlic.
  • Single Serving: If you cook for one, divide all ingredients by four. Adjust cooking time slightly, as smaller quantities may require less time.
Basil Cream Sauce Recipe

Can This Sauce Be Used As A Marinade, Dipping Sauce, Or Dressing For Salads?

  • Marinade: The aromatic basil and garlic components can permeate proteins, making it an excellent marinade for chicken, fish, or even tofu. Allow the ingredients to marinate for a few hours for best results.
  • Dipping Sauce: Its creamy consistency pairs well with breadsticks, grilled vegetables, or even crispy appetizers. When in doubt about a complementing dip, this sauce is a good idea to consider.
  • Salad Dressing: Thin the sauce slightly with olive oil or a splash of lemon juice. It can then elegantly coat greens, providing a creamy, herbaceous twist to salads.

What Are The Best Dishes To Accompany Basil Cream Sauce? 


Classic fettuccine, penne, or spaghetti benefits from its creamy richness.


Drizzle over grilled or baked chicken breasts for a flavor boost.


Light fishes like tilapia or cod can be elevated with this sauce.


Steamed or roasted veggies, especially asparagus or zucchini, become more enticing.


A spoonful can add depth to a mushroom or vegetable risotto.


These soft potato dumplings become even more delectable with Basil Cream Sauce.


Replace traditional tomato sauce with this for a creamy basil pizza.

Stuffed Peppers

Filled with rice or quinoa, the sauce adds a layer of flavor.


Especially cheese or spinach varieties, they pair splendidly.


Freshly baked focaccia or ciabatta can be dipped for a delightful treat.

Basil Cream Sauce Recipe

What Are Some Classic Dishes That Feature Basil Cream Sauce? 

  • Basil Cream Pasta: Often paired with fettuccine or spaghetti, where the sauce clings to every strand.
  • Chicken Basil Cream: Grilled or pan-seared chicken breasts lavishly topped with the sauce.
  • Creamy Basil Pesto Risotto: A luscious blend of traditional risotto infused with this basil creaminess.
  • Fish in Basil Cream: Delicate fish fillets, such as cod or tilapia, draped in the sauce.
  • Gnocchi with Basil Cream: Soft potato gnocchi coated in this sauce, sometimes with sun-dried tomatoes added.
  • Ravioli a la Basil Cream: Cheese or spinach-stuffed ravioli enhanced with this aromatic sauce.
  • Creamy Basil Lasagna: Layers of pasta, cheese, and basil cream sauce, creating a flavorful fusion.

What Are The Key Flavor Profiles And Taste Sensations That Basil Cream Sauce Offers? 

  • Herbaceous: Fresh basil imparts a signature aromatic and peppery note.
  • Creamy: The light cream offers a velvety, rich texture and mild dairy sweetness.
  • Nutty: Pine nuts, when blended, contribute a subtle nutty undertone.
  • Savory: Parmesan cheese infuses a salty and umami depth.
  • Pungent: Freshly minced garlic introduces a sharp, spicy zing.
  • Earthy: Olive oil adds a slightly fruity, grassy essence.
  • Warm: When simmered, the sauce feels comforting and homely.
  • Balanced: The interplay between the ingredients ensures no overpowering tastes, just harmonious, layered flavors.
Jar and Spoon

Can This Sauce Be Stored And Preserved For Future Use? What Is Its Shelf Life?

  • Refrigeration: The sauce can be refrigerated for up to 3-4 days in an airtight container.
  • Freezing: For more extended storage, you can freeze the sauce. Pour into ice cube trays or freezer-safe containers. Once frozen, transfer to a sealed bag. It can last up to 2-3 months.
  • Reheating: When ready to use, thaw in the refrigerator or directly on the stovetop on low heat, stirring occasionally.
  • Shelf Life: Once prepared, consuming it within the aforementioned timeframes is an excellent idea to maintain its freshness and flavor.
  • Preservation: Adding a layer of olive oil on top can act as a barrier and prolong refrigerated shelf life slightly.

What Are The Substitutes For Basil Cream Sauce?

  • Alfredo Sauce: A creamy, cheesy base that pairs well with pasta and meats.
  • Pesto Sauce: Made with basil, pine nuts, and olive oil, it offers a similar herbaceous profile but lacks a creamy texture.
  • Tomato Cream Sauce: Combines the tanginess of tomatoes with a creamy richness.
  • Tarragon Cream Sauce: Another herb-based cream sauce that provides a slightly anise-like flavor.
  • Garlic Cream Sauce: Emphasizes the pungent flavor of garlic in a creamy backdrop.
  • Herb de Provence Cream Sauce: A mix of dried herbs found in the French countryside provides a more complex flavor.
  • Lemon Cream Sauce: Introduces a citrusy zing, great for light proteins like fish.
  • Mushroom Cream Sauce: A more earthy, umami-rich alternative.
  • Chimichurri: An Argentinian herb sauce, though less creamy, offers a bright, tangy flavor.
  • Aioli: A garlic mayo sauce that can provide a creamy texture with a milder herb taste.
Basil Cream Sauce Recipe

How To Adjust The Consistency Of The Sauce? 

  • Thicken: If the sauce is too runny, continue simmering on low heat to reduce and thicken. Another option is to add more grated Parmesan or a slurry (mix of water and cornstarch) to thicken it.
  • Thin: If the sauce is too thick, gently stir in more light cream or some milk to achieve the desired consistency. A splash of olive oil can also help.
  • Blending: Sometimes, giving the sauce an extra pulse in the blender can help smooth out its consistency.
  • Temperature: The sauce will naturally thicken as it cools and thin out when reheated.
  • Taste: When adjusting consistency, taste and season accordingly to maintain a balanced flavor.

Should We Serve The Sauce Cold Or Warm? 

  • Texture: Warmth gives the sauce a smooth, velvety consistency. When cold, it may thicken and lose its desired texture.
  • Flavor Release: The aromatic compounds in basil and garlic are more pronounced when warm, enhancing the sauce’s overall taste.
  • Pairing: Most dishes accompanying Basil Cream Sauce, like pasta or grilled meats, are served hot. A warm sauce complements these dishes better.
  • Digestibility: Warm sauces can be easier to digest for some people.
Basil Cream Sauce Recipe

Nutritional Values 

This sauce provides healthy fats from olive oil and pine nuts, calcium from Parmesan, and antioxidants from fresh basil. Be mindful of the calorie content due to the cream and cheese components.

What Are The Total Calories In Basil Cream Sauce?

Basil Cream Sauce’s calorie content primarily comes from the light cream, olive oil, Parmesan cheese, and pine nuts. Considering an average serving, the sauce might range from 250-400 calories per cup.

Basil Cream Sauce Recipe

Basil Cream Sauce: where creamy meets a burst of garden-fresh basil, transforming simple dishes into culinary masterpieces.

Dietary Restrictions Of The Basil Cream Sauce

  • Lactose Intolerance: Contains cream and Parmesan, both dairy products, which may not be suitable for those intolerant to lactose.
  • Vegan: Not suitable due to the presence of dairy. Vegan substitutes would be needed.
  • Gluten-Free: Naturally gluten-free, yet always check ingredient labels for cross-contamination.
  • Nut Allergy: Contains pine nuts. Can be omitted or replaced with a nut-free alternative.
  • Low-Fat Diets: Might be unsuitable because of the cream and olive oil.
  • Low-Sodium: Contains Parmesan, which adds saltiness. Adjust or omit for strict low-sodium diets.
  • Keto or Low-Carb: Suitable, as the sauce is rich in fats and low in carbs.

Nutrition Table 

Nutrition Table

What Are The Common Mistakes While Making This Sauce?

  • Overprocessing the Basil: Blending basil too much can turn it bitter and affect the vibrant green color.
  • Too Much Heat: High heat can cause the cream to curdle. It’s better to simmer gently.
  • Not Adjusting Seasoning: Failing to taste and adjust the salt, pepper, and other seasonings can produce a bland sauce.
  • Using Low-Quality Olive Oil: This can affect the overall flavor profile. Always use a good quality, extra virgin olive oil.
  • Skipping Pine Nuts: While they can be omitted due to allergies, they add a unique flavor and texture.
  • Not Fresh Basil: Using dried or stale basil will not give the sauce its signature fresh flavor.
  • Overcooking After Combining: Extended cooking after combining the pesto and cream can lead to losing the fresh basil flavor.
  • Using Pre-grated Cheese: Freshly grated Parmesan melts better and offers a richer flavor than its pre-packaged counterpart.
  • Improper Storage: Not storing in an airtight container can quickly make the sauce lose its freshness.

What Are Some Creative Uses Of Leftover Sauce?

  • Pizza Base: Use it as an alternative to traditional tomato sauce on a pizza.
  • Sandwich Spread: Elevate your sandwiches with a flavorful layer.
  • Risotto Mix-in: Stir into a classic risotto for added depth.
  • Bread Dip: Pair with crusty bread as a tasty appetizer.
  • Omelette Filling: Add to an omelette for a creamy twist.
  • Grilled Vegetables: Drizzle over grilled veggies for enhanced flavor.
  • Savory Crepe Filling: Spread inside a crepe and add cheese.
  • Baked Potatoes: Top your spuds for a gourmet touch.
  • Soup Base: Blend into soups for added richness.
  • Fish Marinade: Coat fish before grilling for a creamy herb finish.
Basil Cream Sauce Recipe

Special Tools & Equipment Needed

  • Food Processor: Essential for blending the basil, garlic, and pine nuts to achieve the right texture.
  • Medium Saucepan: Needed for simmering the cream and combining the sauce.
  • Silicone Spatula: Useful for stirring and ensuring the sauce doesn’t stick to the pan.
  • Measuring Cups and Spoons: Ensures the right proportions of ingredients.
  • Sharp Knife: For finely mincing garlic and other ingredients if needed.
  • Grater: To freshly grate the Parmesan cheese.
  • Blender: An alternative to a food processor, especially if making larger batches.
  • Whisk: Helps in mixing and ensuring a smooth consistency.
  • Glass Jars: For storing any leftover sauce.
  • Heat-Resistant Bowl: Useful if transferring hot sauce or tempering ingredients.

Frequently Asked Questions 

Can I Use Dried Basil Instead Of Fresh?

While fresh basil is preferred for its vibrant flavor and color, you can use dried basil in a pinch. However, remember that dried herbs are more potent, so reduce the quantity. Approximately 1 teaspoon of dried basil can replace 1 tablespoon of fresh.

Is There A Dairy-Free Version Of This Sauce?

Yes! You can substitute light cream with coconut milk or any unsweetened plant-based milk. Use nutritional yeast or vegan cheese instead of Parmesan for a dairy-free version.

How Long Can I Store The Sauce In The Refrigerator?

Stored in an airtight container, the sauce can last up to 5 days in the refrigerator. Ensure it’s cooled completely before sealing and storing.

Can I Freeze The Basil Cream Sauce?

It’s possible, but the consistency might change upon thawing due to the dairy content. If you plan to freeze it, it’s a good idea to omit the cream, freeze the basil pesto portion, and then add fresh cream upon reheating.

My Sauce Is Too Thick. How Can I Adjust It?

If the sauce is too thick, you can thin it by adding a little more cream or some vegetable broth. Heat and whisk it in until you achieve the desired consistency.

Master The Basil Cream Sauce Recipe – Elevate Your Culinary Skills

5 from 1 vote
Course: Sauces


Prep time


Cooking time




Rest Time



Basil Cream Sauce Recipe, Combine basil and garlic in a processor. Slowly add olive oil. Mix in pine nuts and Parmesan. Separately, simmer cream, then blend with the pesto mixture. Combine in a pan and simmer until thickened. Serve warm over your favorite dish. Adjust seasoning if needed. Enjoy the aromatic, creamy delight.


  • 2 cups 2 Fresh basil leaves

  • 4 4 Garlic  cloves, minced

  • 1/4 cup 1/4 Olive oil

  • 2 ounces 2 Pine nuts

  • 1/2 cup 1/2 Parmesan cheese

  • Salt (To Taste)

  • Pepper (To Taste)

  • Light cream

Step-By-Step Directions

  • Prep The Ingredients
    Wash the fresh basil leaves thoroughly and pat them dry with a paper towel.
    Mince the garlic cloves.
    Freshly grate the Parmesan cheese if you haven’t already.
  • Blend Basil And Garlic
    In the food processor, add the basil leaves and minced garlic.
    Process until the basil and garlic are finely chopped but still need to be pureed.
  • Add Olive Oil
    With the processor running, slowly drizzle in the olive oil through the feed tube.
    Continue to process until the mixture begins to look like a coarse paste.
    ix in Pine Nuts and Parmesan
    Add the pine nuts and grated Parmesan cheese to the food processor.
    Blend again until the mixture is well combined and relatively smooth.
  • Simmer The Cream
    In a medium saucepan, heat the light cream over low heat.
    Bring the cream to a gentle simmer, ensuring it doesn’t come to a rolling boil to prevent curdling.
  • Combine And Temper
    Carefully pour half of the hot cream into the basil mixture in the food processor.
    Pulse for a few seconds to combine. This step helps temper the basil mixture, preventing any potential curdling when combined with the rest of the hot cream.
  • Final Combination
    Transfer the basil and cream mixture from the food processor to the saucepan with the remaining hot cream.
    Mix well using the silicone spatula or whisk.
  • Season And Simmer
    Season with salt and pepper to taste.
    Continue to simmer the mixture on low heat for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. The sauce should thicken slightly during this time.
  • Serve Or Store
    Once the desired consistency is achieved, remove the saucepan from the heat.
    Serve immediately over your preferred dish or let it cool and transfer it to glass jars for storage.

Recipe Video


  • Adjust salt and pepper according to taste.
  • If you are allergic to pine nuts, consider substituting them with almonds or walnuts.
  • Freshly grated Parmesan is preferred over pre-packed for better melting and flavor.
  • Sauce consistency can be adjusted with cream or milk.

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