Warm Olives

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.

A metal skillet filled with warm olives, rosemary, and lemon zest.

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 homemade alternative that takes less time to toss together than it would to drive to the store.–Renee Schettler Rossi

Warm Olives

  • Quick Glance
  • (1)
  • 10 M
  • 10 M
  • Serves 4 to 6
5/5 - 1 reviews
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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.

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. Originally published February 23, 2016.

Print RecipeBuy the Martha Stewart's Appetizers cookbook

Want it? Click it.

    What You Need To Know About Choosing Olives

    • 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.

    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.


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    1. 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?

      1. 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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