One of the best herbs available is basil because it rides the line between sweet and savory, making it extremely versatile.
Fresh basil recipes can feel repetitive when all you hear is pesto or Caprese, so we’ve got some truly unique and innovative recipes with basil.
Don’t let perfectly good basil go brown in your fridge because you can’t think of a good use for it; save this list so you always know what to make with basil.
After reading these fresh basil recipes, you’ll understand the wide range of possibilities that the fresh, leafy herb can offer outside of Italian dishes!
A classic use for fresh basil, a homemade pesto can add a ton of flavor to a simple pasta dish, and it keeps for a long time in the fridge or freezer.
Homemade pesto makes any home cook feel like a pro in the kitchen.
Pesto is a surprisingly easy thing to make that can become a tasty staple in your home.
With some olive oil, pine nuts, and a few other ingredients, that green sauce can come together in a snap with a food processor.
If you don’t know what to make with basil that’s been sitting in your fridge, a Caprese salad is a quick basil dish that highlights the unique flavor of the herb.
With only a handful of ingredients, this salad bursts with an array and fresh flavors.
The creamy mozzarella cuts the acidity of the fresh tomatoes, while the basil ties it all together with a hint of mint that pleases the palette.
A drizzle of olive oil and balsamic vinegar with salt and pepper finishes the salad for a recipe that takes less than five minutes.
Thai cuisine is full of fresh basil recipes that combine sweet and savory in creative ways.
Basil Pad Thai is a popular basil dish with many components, but one of the most important to the flavor profile is the fresh basil leaves that add a subtle sweetness to the dish.
The slight sweetness of the basil is enhanced by the Thai peanut sauce often drizzled over Pad Thai for a refreshing combination of sweet and salty components.
For a twist on traditional potato salad, lemon and basil bring zest and unique flavor to everyone’s favorite BBQ side dish.
Recipes with basil are typically hot, but this potato salad offers cold basil leaves that are leafy and tasty as a topping or mixed into the potatoes.
While many use dill heavily in potato salad, the basil works to freshen up the flavor profile and add a sweet, peppery taste that works well with the potatoes.
This simple recipe with basil leaves is a fresh yet comforting combination of herbs and vegetables atop a flaky pastry.
If you’re feeling lazy on a weekday, this recipe can come together in a snap if you have frozen puff pastry on hand!
This recipe pulls double duty with fresh basil leaves as well as a pesto base for the tart, so now you know what to make with basil next time you have extra!
Basil dishes aren’t often as moist and delectable as this cake is.
While you may be frying up basil for your savory soup or adding it into some muffins, this basil olive oil cake splits the difference between sweet and savory for a pleasing result you will adore.
Olive oil cake is a traditional Italian dessert that is taken for an innovative spin in this recipe, but Italians love basil, so this match makes perfect sense.
Don’t settle for the same old baked chicken over and over again.
Next time you pull out chicken breasts from the freezer, consider stuffing them full of creamy ricotta cheese and the yummy aromatics basil leaves offer.
The cheese and basil make for a moist chicken breast that oozes with flavor and color instead of a bland salted breast that doesn’t get anyone excited for dinner.
Now, to take your breakfast to an entirely new level, you can incorporate basil into your french toast.
The combination of blackberries and basil make for a surprising flavor that adds richness to the classic breakfast dish.
Basil goes surprisingly well with cinnamon, so don’t be afraid to add a little extra on top!
If you don’t know what to make with basil, Margherita pizzas are always a crowd-pleaser, and all you need is tomatoes, mozzarella, pizza dough, and of course, fresh basil!
This is one of a few basil dishes where you absolutely cannot substitute dry basil; you lose so much of the flavor and freshness the pizza traditionally has.
Pizza is a great weeknight meal, and this recipe with basil is a fun activity for kids to participate in; they can decorate the pizza with the leafy green basil and bright tomatoes!
Lemon and basil are practically best friends, so when it comes to recipes with basil leaves, lemon is almost always a great ingredient to include.
This risotto comes to life with the addition of zesty lemon and leafy basil to create a warm, satisfying dish bursting with tanginess.
Whether you use this as a flavorful side dish or a plentiful main dish, you can’t go wrong with the combination of flavors.
The creamy risotto bursting with lemony goodness will have you making yummy noises with every bite and wondering how this isn’t already in your repertoire of easy dinners.
If you’re looking for an outstanding dessert that will have your friends and family groveling for the recipe, this is the cheesecake for you.
The sweet juiciness of the blueberries highlights the minty flavor basil can often exhibit when paired with sugary ingredients.
The vibrant blueberries are cooked and pureed with sugar for a delectable sauce that swirls into the cheesecake that has been infused with fresh basil leaves.
12. Basil Creme Fraiche Burger (The Don’t Get Creme Fraiche With Me Burger)
Alright, so for those of you who are fans of the animated TV show Bob’s Burgers, this recipe comes straight from his cartoon kitchen.
Forget your average bacon cheeseburger because this recipe has blueberries mixed into the ground beef and topped with a lemon basil creme fraiche.
You’ll never go back to basic burgers after trying this innovative creation inspired by a cartoon pun.
With the combination of umami, sweet blueberries, and refreshing basil and lemon, this recipe using basil will blow your mind on the first bite!
Bruschetta is an easy Italian dish consisting of sauteed, fresh tomatoes, basil, onions, and other herbs served on top of toasted bread, also called crostinis.
If you aren’t in the mood for a complicated recipe, bruschetta uses simple ingredients found in almost every Italian dish.
The flavor is brisk and forward because of the acidity in the tomatoes, which pairs impeccably with the freshness of the basil leaves.
If you’re in the mood for an elegant dinner, this recipe with basil serves up a wonderful salmon filet topped with an astounding relish that will become your new favorite topping.
People underestimate relishes, but they can be made from all different kinds of ingredients and bring any boring dish to life with one scoop!
Not that salmon needs any help in the flavor department, but the strawberry basil relish delivers a surprising flavor that can spice up various dishes.
The relish can also elevate a chicken breast or steak, so it goes beyond ordinary to become a memorable meal you’ll want again.
For the master bread makers out there, this focaccia is a colorful and delicious bread that your entire family will fight over.
The roasted cherry tomatoes combine sweet with a tasty char highlighted by the fresh flavors in the basil leaves.
Focaccia is a dense bread and benefits from many herbs, but basil is especially outstanding in the classic Italian bread that can only benefit from some fresh herbs like basil.
16. Italian Mojitos
This famous cocktail is ideal for hot summer’s day when a lemonade simply won’t cut it.
The classic mojito is made with mint, but the Italians love basil so much they decided to modify this recipe a bit.
All you need to start sipping on this refreshing beverage is lime, club soda, vodka or white rum, simple syrup, and of course, fresh basil leaves.
These vibrant and crispy cocktails are perfect for a day party or as a drink to keep you company as you soak up some sun outside.
Roasted tomato soup is a star on its own, but adding some fresh basil, as this recipe does, makes it even better.
A piping hot bowl of tomato soup with basil hits the spot every time, especially when the weather is frigid or the rain is coming down.
This recipe with basil leaves also utilizes caramelized onion for a deeper flavor profile that will surprise you with how rich and smokey it is.
18. Basil Ice Cream
You may be asking yourself how in the world basil can work in ice cream, but trust us, it makes a fantastic after-dinner treat!
Basil leaves have a super versatile flavor profile that can swing from sweet to savory with the help of other ingredients.
The cream and sugar lift the basil flavor to a level of sweetness that basil rarely encompasses but will leave you in awe of the herb’s flavor flexibility.
If you want easy basil dishes that don’t take a lot of prep or cook time, this peach, basil, and goat cheese salad comes together in no time and is a juicy, tasty snack or meal.
With a drizzle of honey for sweetness, this salad is perfect for those that want something on the sweeter side without feeling like you’re having dessert.
This recipe with basil uses lemon chevre, which perfectly complements the basil’s peppery yet sweet flavor!
It’s hard to improve upon Hasselback potatoes, but the addition of basil-infused butter takes this side to a whole new level of yummy.
As far as recipes with basil leaves go, this is one of the easiest to pull together on a weeknight to avoid making another boring baked potato.
Potatoes and butter are a classic, comforting side dish that warms up your soul, and the addition of basil to the butter adds a fragrant, rich flavor that kicks the comfort up a notch.
When you’re not sure what to make with basil, add it to french fries!
The recipes with basil can get fancy and complex, but this is a simple recipe using basil that almost anyone can make on a weeknight.
Fresh basil adds a lightness and flavor profile french fries don’t usually have, making them an exciting side that will liven up any meal.
Basil and whisky are a match made in heaven, and once you have this cocktail, it will become a regular in your home.
Whisky sours are a refreshing and zingy cocktail beloved by many, but adding some basil and honey creates a warm, pleasing flavor that will delight your taste buds while taking the edge off!
The lemony, fragrant cocktail will quickly become one of your favorite fresh basil recipes.
Recipes with basil leaves may seem few and far between, but there are many ways to get creative with this herb.
This is just one of many sandwiches you can add basil to, creating an interesting and new flavor you probably haven’t had before.
Many Thai dishes utilize eggplant and basil, and it may surprise you to know it’s an incredibly profound combination that many people are unaware of.
Enjoy this fresh summer sandwich or press it into a panini for a warmer meal in the winter months.
24. Basil Hummus
Hummus can be made with almost any ingredient making it a super versatile dish.
Basil blends in perfectly with chickpeas to create a middle ground between pesto and hummus for a flavorful dip you can snack on all day long.
You can add some lemon to freshen up the flavor and make it zestier, or you can include some garlic for a more savory, sharp flavor.
If you’re looking for sweeter recipes with basil leaves, look no further than these sweet and simple shortbread cookies that offer a unique twist on a classic cookie.
If you’re struggling with what to make with basil that you’ve had for a while, these cookies are a great way to utilize the herb in a different way than you normally would.
Humans can only eat so much pesto, so these cookies are perfect if you’re trying to break up the monotony of savory fresh basil recipes.
You will never ask yourself what to make with basil as long as you have this list of fresh basil recipes that break out of the box and exemplify how many different ways basil can be used.
This little leaf offers loads of flavor in any dish and a surprisingly rich flavor that other herbs like parsley lack.
Never settle for a half-hearted pesto or melancholy Caprese again when basil brings you a world of recipe options at your fingertips.
Whether it is a refreshing cookie, a healthy salad, a satisfying pizza, or even a striking cocktail, there is always something you can add basil to that will be enhanced by the minty, fresh flavor.
- Homemade Pesto
- Caprese Salad
- Basil Chicken Pad Thai
- Lemon Basil Potato Salad
- Basil Tomato Tart
- Basil Olive Oil Cake
- Basil and Ricotta Stuffed Chicken
- Blackberry Basil French Toast
- Margherita Pizza
- Lemon Basil Risotto
- Blueberry Basil Cheesecake
- Basil Creme Fraiche Burger
- Fresh Bruschetta with Basil
- Salmon with Strawberry Basil Relish
- Roasted Cherry Tomato and Basil Focaccia
- Italian Mojitos
- Basil Roasted Tomato Soup
- Basil Ice Cream
- Peach and Basil Salad
- Basil Butter Hasselback Potatoes
- Parmesan-Basil French Fries
- Honey Basil Whisky Cocktail
- Eggplant Basil Sandwich
- Basil Hummus
- Lemon Basil Shortbread Cookies
- Choose one or more options from our list of fresh basil recipes here!
- Create your new favorite dish.
- Pat yourself on the back for making food at home for you to enjoy!
- Share and comment! Did you make any tweaks, so it’s all your own?