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+ servings
A small white oval bowl filled with green and black marinated olives.

Marinated Olives

Course: Appetizer
Cuisine: American / Italian
Keyword: easy appetizer recipe, how to make marinated olives
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Marinating: 12 hours
Total Time: 12 hours 15 minutes
Servings: 8 people
Calories: 168kcal
Marinated olives are sophisticated yet approachable and delicious appetizers that are always a hit when served to guests. Be sure to put them together at least 24 hours in advance, and don't forget to let them come to room temperature before serving. These are wonderful by themselves, or as part of a full charcuterie board.
Print Recipe


  • Jar with lid or medium-sized glass bowl


  • 3 cups olives large, in brine, See NOTES
  • 1 tbsp oregano dried
  • 1 tsp rosemary dried
  • 1 tsp thyme dried
  • 3 cloves garlic minced
  • ½ tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1 tbsp orange zest
  • 1 tbsp lemon zest
  • sea salt coarse, as needed
  • cup extra-virgin olive oil


  • Drain olives and place them in a large bowl.
  • To the olives, add the oregano, rosemary, thyme, garlic, red pepper flakes, orange zest, and lemon zest. Add salt, as needed (See NOTES).
  • Add enough oil to coat the olives, about ½ cup. Gently stir the olives with the aromatics until they are fully coated. If possible, transfer the olives to a large jar with a lid, or a couple of smaller jars with lids. Add more oil to just cover the tops of the olives. If keeping in the bowl, cover with plastic wrap, if using jars, screw on the lids.
  • Place in the refrigerator for 12 hours, or preferably 24 hours, or up to 1 month. Before serving, allow the olives to come to room temperature, a couple of hours.
  • To serve, pour the olives with the oil into a large bowl. Use a slotted spoon to place the olives in a serving bowl. Scoop out some of the herbs, zest, and garlic from the oil and drizzle over the olives. If serving whole olives, be sure to include a bowl for guests to place the pits.



Be sure to find olives that are in brine, not any kind of oil.  You can use whole, pitted, or a combination of both.  Our favorite types of olives to use include: Black Nyon and Manzanilla.  We also LOVE Cerignola and Castelvetrano.  Kalamata and Nicoise are delicious, too. 
Be sure to taste test each type of olive you'll be using.  Some brines are saltier than others.  In most cases, you'll want to add some coarse sea salt to the marinade and then another sprinkling on top just before serving.  But again, make sure you've taste-tested first.  Don't over-salt!
The olives can be prepared up to 1 month before serving.  We highly recommend letting them sit in the marinade for at least 24 hours.  
Save the marinade oil and pour back over any olives that might be leftover (unlikely, but just in case).  



Calories: 168kcal | Carbohydrates: 3g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 8g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 791mg | Potassium: 41mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 263IU | Vitamin C: 3mg | Calcium: 42mg | Iron: 1mg