Elevate your next cheeseboard or happy hour appetizer with these Marinated Olives. They’re incredibly easy to make, are loaded with flavor, and pair wonderfully with a glass of wine and friends.
If you’re an olive lover, you’re going to love this recipe.
If you’re an olive nay-sayer, well, I say give these a try because you just might be surprised how quickly you fall in love with the citrusy, garlicy, herby flavors that infuse into each and every olive – taking their briny flavor to the next level.
I would say I’ve grown to love olives throughout my lifetime. I didn’t grow up eating them as a kid (with the exception of trying black olives because my cousin was obsessed, and they weren’t anything that got me too riled up).
Nowadays, I love adding them to a cheeseboard. Putting them on pizza. Popping a few in my mouth for a quick snack. And I love them, even more, when they’ve been marinated.
What’s the deal with these olives anyway?
Let me tell you, marinating olives takes them to a gourmet level.
For starters, bring out the jar at a party, or gift it to your friend, and they will be blown away by the initial presentation. It’s beautiful. The colors, the textures, the silky olive oil. It’s a showstopper.
Then, you’ve got a mix of dried and fresh herbs, citrus, aromatics (hello, my first true love garlic).
There are red pepper flakes for a little spice. Of course, you can add more if you like ’em even more spicy, or less if you don’t want to be bothered by any kick at all.
And those herbs I was talking about?
- fresh rosemary
- fresh thyme
- dried oregano
- dried bay leaves
It’s a beautiful mix of fresh and dried and they create the most comforting flavorful combination around.
The thing you must have in this recipe to take it over the top? High quality extra virgin olive oil!
Because the olives marinate in the oil, it’s imperative that it’s DELICIOUS olive oil, or the whole thing is going to turn out blah. In my pantry I like to have a less expensive olive oil for basic cooking, and then a higher quality, one-I-can-eat-by-the-spoonful olive oil for recipes where that flavor is going to be highlighted.
I can hear your hesitation with how much you use in this recipe – I hear you! It’s quite a bit and especially if it’s more spendy EVOO.
Before I tell you again that it’s worth it, I will also suggest that you go half and half on the olive oil? Like, half of the spendy stuff, half of the regular stuff? You mix and match to your comfort level, but the bottom line is: the higher the quality olive oil, the better it’s going to taste.
What kind of olives should I use?
Ah, my friend, I’m so happy to tell you yet again that you can mix and match here, too.
I love to use a mix of Greek and Italian olives, and often use Kalamata Olives and Castelvetrano Olives.
The Kalamata olives bring a briny, rich, almost smoky flavor. The Castelvetrano olives are more buttery, slightly sweet, and milder, lending themselves as the perfect pair.
What else could you add to your own olive blend? As far as herbs are concerned, you could add:
- fresh oregano instead of dried
- basil – dried or fresh
- the list could go on because there aren’t really any limits…
That’s one of the beauties of this recipe: you can adjust to your preferred tastes and what you have in the fridge or pantry.
No lemon? Use orange instead for a different Mediterranean vibe.
The Rest of the Recipe Details
Speaking of olive oil, it’s important to note that the olive oil will solidify in the fridge. This is fine.
Take the olives out of the fridge at least 1 hour before serving so they come to room temperature and your luxurious oil will be ready to spread again.
How long should they marinate? The longer the better, like, a week long the better. That way all those flavors have time to meld into each and every olive and create a beautiful herby, garlicy blend.
If you don’t have that kind of time or you know, didn’t plan that far ahead (I hear you there too!), try for 48 hours at least.
Have I made these the day of and let them sit for a few hours and then threw them on whipped feta because I couldn’t resist. Yes. Yes I have.
How long will marinated olives keep? In the fridge, they’ll keep for at least 2 weeks. Don’t forget, the longer they meld the more flavor you end up with.
Oh, and whatever you do, do not throw the olive oil out once the olives are gone! PLEASEEEEE!
Save it! Use it as you would olive oil when drizzling veggies or sautéing (remove the herbs and rind) because hello, deliciously infused olive oil. It’s like a two-for-one-recipe and you’re so so welcome.
So there they are, magical marinated olives. Be sure to leave a star review if you make them, I’d love to hear what you did with them!
More Recipes for Olive Lovers
Easy Marinated Olives
- 1 cup Castelvetrano Olives
- 1 cup Kalamata Olives
- 2 tsp dried oregano
- 4-6 fresh thyme sprigs
- 2 TBSP fresh rosemary leaves
- 1 bay leaf
- 4-5 garlic cloves sliced
- 1 lemon zested in peels
- 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes more or less to taste
- 3/4 cup high-quality olive oil
- In a 12 ounce jar, place a layer of approximately 6-8 olives, a sprinkling of the herbs, garlic, lemon, and red pepper flakes. Keep layering in the jar until the ingredients reach the top. The layering helps infuse the flavors throughout - it doesn't have to be exact by any means!
- Slowly pour in the olive oil until it completely covers the olives. You may need more or less, depending on your jar. Cover and place in the fridge to marinate for at least 24 hours, you'll have even better results the longer the olives marinade. I like to go at least 72 hours, or up to a week.
- Remove olives from the fridge 1 hour before serving to allow the olive oil to come to room temperature, as it will have likely solidified. Serve with a cheeseboard or on their own, and enjoy!