Marinated Olives with Garlic, Thyme and Rosemary

This easy recipe for Garlic, Thyme, and Rosemary Marinated Olives is perfect for simple holiday entertaining! These olives would also make a great gift.

marinated olives recipe

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Easy Marinated Olives

When you are hosting a dinner party, it’s tempting to overextend yourself making a variety of appetizers. Usually a few little nibbles before dinner are all you need. One of my favorite things to serve when having cocktails before dinner is marinated olives.

It doesn’t take much to transform good olives into great ones. With just a little olive oil, some crushed garlic, aromatic herbs, and lemon peel, you have an easy make-ahead appetizer for entertaining.

Marinated Olives Ingredients

You need few ingredients to make these marinated olives, but they’re all the right ones. In addition to the olives, you’ll need good quality olive oil and garlic.

Fragrant thyme and rosemary lend a complex flavor and aroma to the salty olives that is intensified by the pure bright flavor of lemon zest. For a little Provencal twist, I add a shot of Pastis (anise-flavored liqueur) to mine for a delicate and subtle anise flavor.

What Types of Olives Should I Buy?

You should choose a variety of good quality olives, favoring high quality un-pitted olives over lower quality pitted ones. An assortment of olives is what you are after: large and small, green and black.

The exact varieties of olives you buy are up to you. Choose whichever you like best, and if you’re unsure which to buy I suggest asking for help (most grocery stores have a deli counter with olives, pre-made salads, and more. Try asking for help there).

How to Make Marinated Olives

The olive oil is gently heated until the garlic turns golden and the rosemary and thyme release their fragrant oils. The mixed olives are stirred in and left to marinate in the herb and oil mixture, becoming more flavorful with time.

recipe for marinated olives

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How to Store Marinated Olives

This marinated olives recipe can easily be doubled and the olives stored in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks. Make a few batches to serve, to gift, or eat straight from the jar.

Make sure to save the leftover infused olive oil for dipping bread.

Is it Normal for Olive Oil to Solidify in the Fridge?

Yes, that’s completely normal. If the olive marinade hardens in the fridge, simply set the marinated olives on the counter to come to room temperature before serving them.

Tips for Making Marinated Olives

If you don’t purchase already pitted olives, remember to put out a small dish so guests have a place to put the pits when they are eating these marinated olives.

Once you’ve made these marinated olives a few times, feel free to play around with the ingredients. You could try making these olives with infused olive oil or different herbs, for example.

Also note that you’ll want to buy an organic lemon since you’ll be using the peel in these marinated olives. You don’t want any chemicals sneaking into your appetizer!

More Easy Appetizer Recipes:

Looking for some more easy appetizer ideas to serve along side this recipe for Marinated Olives with Garlic, Thyme and Rosemary? Check out some of these favorites. Then,  browse the recipe index for even more tasty ideas!

Take advantage of summer’s colorful and delicious produce and make this Roasted Tomato Crostini with Walnut Almond Pesto and Goat Cheese. Tomato, cucumber, onion, garlic, lemon, and oregano make up this Greek take on the classic Pico de Gallo.

Greek Pico de Gallo is a great fresh appetizer!

Classic hummus is transformed into this Roasted Salsa Verde Hummus with the addition of roasted poblano, jalapeño, tomatillo, onion, cilantro, and lime.

These Shrimp-Stuffed Mushrooms have a wonderful depth of flavor from all of the delicious ingredients: portobello mushrooms, shrimp, fresh basil and rosemary, extra virgin olive oil, parmesan cheese.

This simple White Bean Bruschetta is a quick make-ahead appetizer to help simplify holiday entertaining and potlucks.

Make these tasty Rosemary Cheese Bites to serve along side cheese at your next party.

Learn How to Plan a Cheese Tasting Party — it is so simple and one of the easiest appetizer party ideas! Guest will love bringing their favorite wines to pair with cheese.

Asparagus Prosciutto Puff Pastry Pizzas might sound fancy but they are super simple to prepare and packed with the flavors of fresh asparagus, prosciutto, sun dried tomatoes, ricotta, and parmesan.

If you plan on making Hard Boiled Eggs for Deviled Eggs, make sure you buy your eggs ahead of time. Older eggs are easier to peel!

In this Spiced Pomegranate Apple Cider Mulled Wine, fresh pressed apple cider, tart pomegranate juice, and Tempranillo pair with mulling spices and fresh fruit. It is the perfect holiday inspired cocktail to pair with appetizers.

What are your favorite appetizers to serve at parties?

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Marinated Olives with Garlic, Thyme and Rosemary

Marinated Olives with Garlic, Thyme and Rosemary

Yield: 4 servings
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Additional Time: 1 days
Total Time: 1 days 15 minutes

With just a little olive oil, some crushed garlic, aromatic herbs and lemon peel you can prepare these Marinated Olives with Garlic, Thyme and Rosemary. They are the perfect, easy, make-ahead appetizer for entertaining.


  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed
  • 3 sprigs of fresh thyme
  • 1 sprig of fresh rosemary, leaves removed from the stem
  • Peel of half a lemon, cut into thin strips
  • 10oz mixed olives
  • 1 Tablespoon Pastis (or alternatively add 1/4 tsp dried fennel seeds with the other herbs to the oil)


  1. In a medium skillet, heat the olive oil, garlic, thyme, rosemary and lemon peel over medium-low heat for about 2 to 3 minutes until the garlic and herbs become fragrant.
  2. Add the olives, toss to coat and gently heat until warmed through.
  3. Add the Pastis and take off the heat.
  4. Transfer to a jar to cool, then cover and refrigerate for 1 to 3 days to marinate if not using immediately.
  5. Remove jar from refrigerator an hour or two before serving and bring to room temperature.
  6. Alternatively, gently re-heat the olive mixture in a small saucepan over low heat until warmed through and serve.
  7. Scoop the olives into serving bowl and drizzle a bit of the warmed oil over the top.


This recipe can easily be doubled and the olives stored in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.

Nutrition Information
Yield 4 Serving Size 1
Amount Per ServingCalories 209 Total Fat 21g Saturated Fat 3g Trans Fat 0g Unsaturated Fat 18g Cholesterol 0mg Carbohydrates 6g Fiber 3g Sugar 0g Protein 1g offers recipe nutritional information as a courtesy and is an estimate only. This information comes from online calculators. Although makes every effort to provide accurate information, these figures are only estimates.

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Click to save this recipe for Marinated Olives with Garlic, Thyme and Rosemary to Pinterest. 

About the Author:

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Sylvie Shirazi is a freelance food photographer and food writer. On her blog, Gourmande in the Kitchen, she celebrates the joy that food brings to our lives every day.

Her motto is “cook simply.” She believes that good food isn’t fussy or pretentious; it’s simple, it’s real and it’s made with love for those we love. Through her blog, Sylvie hopes to inspire others to follow their instincts, trust their taste buds, and find a sense of confidence in the kitchen.