Spicy marinated olives

One of my most popular gifts from the kitchen!

I’m a big fan of gifting edible treats on just about any occasion. Show up at a party with a nice bottle of wine and something yummy the host can either put on the table or tuck away to savour later and you’re sure to be invited again. These olives are really easy to prepare and packed with flavour. Best of all, they’re like two gifts in  one: you can eat the olives after they’ve marinated for a week or so, then use the remaining spiced olive oil in cooking, on pizzas, or anywhere you want a little flavour pop.


  • 1 litre (about 750 grams) green olives with pits
  • 3 cloves garlic, halved
  • 1 lemon
  • 3 sprigs fresh rosemary
  • 1 teaspoon (5 mL) freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 – 2 teaspoons (5 – 10 mL) crushed red pepper flakes (depending on how spicy you like things)
  • 2 teaspoons (10 mL) dried thyme leaves
  • enough good quality olive oil to cover


  • Place olives in a colander and rinse under cold running water. Toss to shake off excess moisture.
  • With a very sharp knife or a vegetable peeler, cut six strips of lemon zest (avoiding the white pith as much as possible), approximately 3 inches (7.5 cm) by 1/2 inch (1.25 cm).
  • In 3 canning jars (approx. 2 cups/500 mL each – or use one large jar), place a layer of olives.
  • Add a sprig of rosemary, a strip of lemon zest, half a garlic clove and a sprinkle of black pepper, red pepper flakes and thyme.
  • Repeat layers, packing jar fairly tightly but leaving a little air space.
  • Pour olive oil over the olives and seasoning, filling jar to within 1/4 inch (.5 cm) of the top.
  • Put lids on jars and let sit at room temperature, out of direct sunlight, for 7 – 10 days before serving.
  • For longer storage, after two weeks remove garlic cloves (which may develop toxic bacteria in low-acid solutions) after 10 days and store olives in oil in the fridge for up to six months.

Makes 3 jars.

Author: Paula Roy

Welcome to my kitchen! I love simple dishes prepared with passion and am always seeking to find new methods to make food as fun and flavourful as possible. If you enjoy this space be sure to check out my Rogers TV Ottawa cooking show, Paula Roy's Favourite Foods, available on local cable, streaming and a dedicated playlist on Rogers TV's YouTube channel.

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