Warm Olives Recipe

These warm olives constitute a simple yet savvy appetizer with just citrus, rosemary or thyme, olive oil, and chiles. Ready in less time than it takes to run and buy marinated olives from the store.

Warm Olives Recipe

Let’s be honest, shall we? Most store-bought marinated olives, despite their exorbitant price tag, just aren’t that sexy. The flavors tend to be flat, tired, drab. And yet those same simple marinade ingredients, when consumed fresh and not packaged as in these warm olives, lend a vibrancy that’s inspired, impressive, and downright impossible to stop noshing. Here’s a DIY alternative to store-bought marinated olives that takes less time to toss together than it would to drive to the store for the mundane, ho-hum jarred olives with which you—and your guests—are already way too familiar.–Renee Schettler Rossi

What Kind Of Olives Are Best?

There’s no one particular kind of olives that’s best for this warm olives recipe. Actually, choosing an array of olives in varying shapes and sizes and colors makes this exponentially more enticing than if you’d just grabbed a jar of Kalamatas. Shown in the photo above are the Cerignola, Castelvetrano, Kalamata, and Niçoise, which we consider a lovely and pleasing mix, although opt for whichever olives you fancy.

Warm Olives Recipe

  • Quick Glance
  • 10 M
  • 10 M
  • Serves 4 to 6


  • 2 cups assorted olives, rinsed and drained
  • 3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 to 3 thin strips orange or lemon zest
  • 2 small sprigs rosemary or thyme
  • Crushed red pepper flakes
  • Feta, for serving (optional)
  • Almonds, for serving (optional)


  • 1. Toss the olives, oil, orange or lemon zest, and rosemary or thyme in a large skillet. Season with red pepper flakes. Bring to a gentle simmer and keep over the heat, stirring occasionally, until warmed through, about 5 minutes.
  • 2. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the olives and seasonings to a bowl. (Reserve the oil for another use such as whisking it into a vinaigrette or drizzling it over roasted vegetables, fish, chicken, or pork.) Serve the olives warm alone or, if desired, alongside feta or almonds.
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Recipe Testers Reviews

Recipe Testers Reviews

It's really hard to go wrong with warm olives. I tend to just toss some combination of these ingredients together at random minutes before guests drop by, although it's handy and reliable to have this cheat sheet for how much of what. And be certain to do as the recipe directs and keep that olive oil handy for drizzling over all manner of things—including feta or goat cheese that you serve alongside the olives. Seriously, can't go wrong with this.

  1. I love olives and this recipe sounds perfect for the winter months and a gathering of friends. I especially like that it has orange zest, very different.

    • Renee Schettler Rossi says:

      Nods. I quite like the orange as opposed to lemon, Vicki. I think you will, too.

  2. Thanks for sharing a link to my recipe! I also love adding olives when I’m roasting cauliflower or broccoli.

    • Renee Schettler Rossi says:

      You’re very welcome, Olga. Love the notion of tossing olives in with roasted veggies!

  3. Richard Ross says:

    Are not all the packaged olives already in preserving oils, vinegars, spices, etc. ? Does the olive oil, citrus and herbs overcome those influences?Can you prep them and refrigerate for later warming and red pepper seasoning immediately before use?

    • Renee Schettler Rossi says:

      Uncle Dick, all olives are treated or cured in some fashion but not necessarily with oils or spices or herbs. For some, it’s a simple brine. For others, it’s vinegar. Still others, it’s olive oil. If you look carefully at the olives available at your store, you’ll see that many are without added flavoring in terms of herbs or spices or chiles or citrus zest. This recipe is for those relatively unadorned olives. You would not want to make this recipe with olives that are already infused with (drab-tasting) store-bought marinades.

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