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Quick, Easy Marinated Olives

Jul 2, 2023 | 2 comments

These super easy marinated olives take just 10 minutes, use simple ingredients and are MUCH cheaper and more delicious than store-bought. Serve as part of a grazing board, add to pasta, salads or just enjoy a bowl by itself.

Close up of a white scalloped bowl of marinated olives, with skewers on the side.

Sitting in the sun, a cocktail in one hand, a book in the other and a bowl of juicy marinated olives on the side? My idea of a perfect afternoon.

You can buy little pots of marinated olives at grocery stores, but they’re always very expensive compared to how many you get. Luckily, you can EASILY make them yourself, using regular store cupboard staples. They’re cheaper, more delicious (you can control the flavours that go into them) and will last a whole lot longer.

Marinated olives make perfect party food so I always like to have a jar in the fridge, in case of unexpected guests. A bowl of these on the table or as part of an antipasto spread or grazing board is always a crowd-pleaser. They’re also lovely tossed through pasta, salads, with pita chips, fresh bread (they’re fab with focaccia or rosemary parmesan bread), or piled on top of creamy hummus.


There are only seven easy-to-find ingredients that go into this recipe, and you can really play around to make it your own.

Ingredients for marinated olives on a grey marble background and labelled.
  • Olives. I like to use a mix of different types of olives – here I’m using Kalamata and green olives. I prefer using pitted olives (they’re easier to eat and it means the marinade can really get inside the olives.
  • Garlic. I’m a big garlic fan so am using four chunky cloves, but use less if you like (or more!)
  • Lemon. We’re using the zest of a lemon for freshness, but if you don’t have one, you can skip it. Or, use orange or lime zest if you prefer.
  • Herbs. You’ll need fresh rosemary and thyme, but you can play around with this and use what you have to hand. Flat-leaf parsley or mint also works well.
  • Chilli flakes. I love adding chilli flakes, but you can skip them if you’re not a fan of chilli, or swap them for red bell pepper flakes which are a lot milder.

How to make them

It really is as simple as mixing your olive oil, garlic, lemon zest, herbs and chilli flakes, then pouring that all over your olives. The longer you leave them to sit, the stronger they’ll be, but they’re perfectly fine to eat straight away.

Store in a jar in the fridge for up to two weeks!

Got a question?

How long will marinated olives last?

They’ll last well for up to two weeks, stored in the fridge. I like storing them in a glass jar, but a Tupperware container would also be fine.

Should I pit the olives before marinating them?

I prefer using pitted olives for two reasons – they’re easier to eat, and the marinade can really get all up inside the olive. The easiest thing is to buy a jar of pitted olives, but you can also remove the pits yourself before mixing them with the marinade.

Can I add any other ingredients to the marinade?

This is really your chance to switch things up and make it your own, based on what you like and what you have on hand. Use different herbs, add whole toasted spices (cumin, coriander or fennel seeds are lovely), pink or black peppercorns, add in a few sundried tomatoes, or swap the lemon zest for orange zest for a bit of a festive twist.

Like this recipe? Here are more quick and easy appetizers

If you make this recipe, I’d love to hear from you! You can leave me a comment below.

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Close up of a white scalloped bowl of marinated olives, with skewers on the side.

Quick, Easy Marinated Olives

  • Author: Kate Alexandra
  • Total Time: 10 minutes
  • Yield: 10 servings 1x
  • Diet: Vegetarian


These super easy marinated olives take just 10 minutes, use simple ingredients and are MUCH cheaper and more delicious than store-bought. Serve as part of a grazing board, add to pasta, salads or just enjoy a bowl by itself.


  • 325g/11oz (drained weight) mixed, pitted olives (I used Kalamata and green olives)
  • ½ cup olive oil
  • 1 lemon, zested
  • 1 teaspoon chilli flakes
  • 2 sprigs of fresh rosemary, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons fresh thyme, chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, crushed


  1. Prepare the olives. Drain your olives, then add them to a shallow bowl or plate. If you need to pit your olives, do this now (I normally just use my fingers to pry the stones out, but you could slice them in half).
  2. Mix the marinade. Add 1/2 cup olive oil, the lemon zest, 1 teaspoon of chilli flakes, 4 crushed garlic cloves, finely chopped rosemary and thyme to a small bowl, and mix to combine well.
  3. Mix the marinade with the olives. Pour the marinade into the bowl with the olives, and mix through the olives so that they’re all well coated.
  4. Serve. They’re now ready to serve! Store leftovers in a glass jar and keep them in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.


INGREDIENT NOTES: I’m using a combination of green and Kalamata olives, but you can use whatever you have and you like best. I like using a mix so they look nice and colourful when you serve them.

SUBSTITUTIONS: This is a great recipe to tweak and make your own. Swap out the herbs, use whole toasted spices (like fennel, cumin or coriander seeds), add in some black or pink peppercorns, use orange or lime zest instead of lemon or add in some sundried tomatoes, or diced feta. Sesame seeds, dukkah or za’atar are also delicious here.

  • Prep Time: 10
  • Category: snacks
  • Method: no cook
  • Cuisine: italian


  • Serving Size: 8 olives

Keywords: marinated olives


I’m Kate, the creator behind Dished. I love creating flavour packed, simple (ish) recipes for you, designed for every day and special occasions.





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  1. Kristin Himmelmann

    I don’t have plain olive oil on hand, only extra virgin olive oil. Would you ever use that in a pinch?


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