Habanero Pesto

| Last Updated: August 17, 2019 | , , ,

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Pesto with pyrotechnic heat…

Do you taste jalapeño pesto and think “meh, done that”? Well, my friends, we’d like to introduce you to habanero pesto. Delicious pesto flavor with heat that’s much, much closer to the sun. It’s flavorful and bold – likely too bold for most, so proceed with caution, especially when considering throwing in that extra habanero. There’s a whole lot of heat here. It’s a perfect spicy dip for breads or use it as a sauce as you would a regular pesto. Just know – this is an extreme eater sauce, not one family and friends will likely love. For that, try our jalapeño pesto recipe, or our cilantro jalapeño pesto.

When dealing with extra-hot peppers like habaneros and beyond, use precaution. Chili burn at this level is serious pain. Wear gloves when handling the habaneros directly, and know what to do if chili burn occurs.

Habanero Pesto

Habanero Pesto

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  • 5 cups basil leaves packed well
  • 5 teaspoons minced garlic approximately 1 head
  • 2 to 3 habanero peppers depending on heat level desired, seeded and stemmed
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1/3 cup Parmesan cheese grated
  • 2 tablespoons pine nuts
  • 3/4 cup sunflower seeds toasted


  • Place the garlic and basil into a food processor and process until it's in paste form.
  • Add the remaining ingredients and continue to process the mix, until you have a slightly grainy pesto paste.
  • Use immediately, or for best flavor, allow the pesto to rest for one hour prior to use to allow the flavors to meld.


Two habaneros is fiery. Three habaneros is like you just threw oil on that fire. Take care with that extra habanero. Two is enough for most. Use gloves when handling these extra-hot chilies.
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Matt Bray

Matt Bray

Chief Chilihead at Cindermint
Founder of PepperScale and Cindermint LLC. Sucker for a good scotch bonnet. Spicy food super-fan. Current fiery fascination: Datil hot sauces.


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