Portuguese Green Olive Dip

For this Portuguese green olive dip, olives are stirred into a whipped eggless ‘mayonnaise’ made with milk, oil, anchovies, garlic, and white pepper.

A bowl with creamy green olive dip behind five slices of baguette with dip on one

When I visited A Bolota, a lovely restaurant perched on the sweeping plains of the eastern Alentejo, this dip, called patê de azeitonas verdes, was brought to our table. As I nattered away with friends, I dipped, spread, and nibbled, until I realized I alone had eaten all of it. Later, when I became friendly with the cook, Ilda Vinagre, I watched her make it and was flummoxed when she whipped up its silky base: milk “mayonnaise”—whole milk whirred into a smooth consistency with the addition of vegetable oil. I serve this as a dip with a platter of crudités, alongside crackers or bread, or, sometimes, as a topping for grilled fish.–David Leite

Atenção [Editor's Note: That means "attention")

Don’t make this in a food processor. The bowls of most processors are too large to allow the scant amount of ingredients to whip up to the right consistency. A small narrow blender or a mini chop or handheld blender works best.

Portuguese Green Olive Dip

  • Quick Glance
  • (6)
  • 5 M
  • 5 M
  • Makes 12 (2-tbsp) servings | 1 1/2 cups
5/5 - 6 reviews
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Special Equipment: A small mini chop or hand blender



In a blender, pulse to combine the 1/3 cup milk, anchovies, garlic, 2/3 of the cilantro, and the pepper. 

With the motor running, pour the oil in what the Portuguese call a fio, or fine thread. Keep whirring until the oil is incorporated and the mixture thickens, 30 seconds to 1 1/2 minutes, depending on your equipment.

Scrape the dip into a bowl and stir in the olives. Mince the remaining cilantro, sprinkle on top, and serve. If the dip thickens, you can always simply stir in a tablespoon or two of milk. Originally published July 20, 2009.

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  1. We’re attending a dinner focused on Portuguese dishes…We were assigned a Portuguese green olive dip. I searched online and found yours… but i don’t see any indication regarding advance preparation. Can it be made 2-3 days in advance?

  2. What would you think of the recipe with natural green olives? Should salt be added to the blend? Started this recipe today (Friday) for Sunday, I still have time to buy the saltier olives…

  3. Made this and it was heaven. We ate it over crispy potatoes and schmeared on gluten-free bread I’d baked for the neighbor (because gluten-free bread definitely needs something). The neighbor also happens to be allergic to eggs, so I’m pretty much a hero after offering this up. We’ll definitely continue to make this and play with new combinations. Thank you!

    1. Hi CJ. I’d say no, because I don’t think they would melt the way anchovies do, and they would give it a different flavor. That being said, I think the sauce would be great over grilled sardines!

  4. I heard you describe this recipe on the Splendid Table earlier today. I wish you’d posted a few more of the variations like the cilantro & ginger. I remember you saying something about sriracha…I’m going to play with some variations this evening. Thanks for the hint.

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