These Spicy Marinated Olives Will Level Up Your Hummus

I remember when I first fell in love with an olive. Not just any olive, mind you: a perfectly ripe, meaty Cerignola olive, which I devoured in the sunshine on the coast of Italy. My previous olive experience had been the run-of-the-mill black olives found on any grocery store aisle. But this experience was something altogether different, and when I returned home, I ran to the nearest specialty grocer to grab my own jar of Cerignolas. I’ve been hooked ever since.

Thankfully, those leveled-up green olives are now pretty easy to find at any good grocery store. In addition to Cerignolas, I’ve added Castelvetranos and Halkidikis to my list of favorites. Which means I’ve always got multiple jars of good olives in my fridge, and I’m often on the hunt for delicious new ways to incorporate them into my recipes. Enter: these simple marinated olives: a 5-minute recipe that will elevate any spread you’re serving this summer.

assembling marinated olives recipe

This marinated olives recipe combines the rich, buttery taste of Castelvetrano or Cerignola olives with the zesty punch of lemon and the aromatic allure of za’atar. Perfect for a Mediterranean-inspired gathering or a casual snack, these marinated olives are delicious on their own—and even better piled onto hummus and scooped up with crusty bread.

camille styles smiling holding bowl of marinated olives
bowl of marinated olives with hummus_marinated olives recipe

Making these marinated olives couldn’t be easier. You’re going to infuse some olive oil with garlic, chile, za’atar, and lemon zest. Then you cook it together over low heat until the garlic begins to sizzle. Add lemon juice and vinegar, then pour it over the olives and let cool.

That’s pretty much it! Once the olives are nice and flavorful, you can use them to top hummus, tahini, baba ganoush, or simply enjoy them on toasted bread.

dipping bread into marinated olives with hummus

Tips for the Best Marinated Olives

  • Choose Quality Olives: Castelvetrano or Cerignola olives are ideal for their mild and buttery flavor, but feel free to experiment with your favorite varieties.
  • Adjust the Heat: If you prefer a milder flavor, you can reduce the amount of fresno chile or substitute with a milder pepper.
  • Make Ahead: This dish can be prepared a day in advance, allowing the flavors to meld beautifully. Just keep it refrigerated and bring to room temperature before serving.
  • Pairing: Serve with warm bread or crispy pita for a delightful appetizer.
family dining outdoors_marinated olives recipe
marinated olives recipe

This marinated olives recipe is not just quick and easy but also incredibly versatile. The combination of olives, garlic, chile, and za’atar creates a combination of flavors that feels elevated, and reminds me of being in the Mediterranean. The lemon zest and juice add refreshing acidity that balances the richness of the olive oil and hummus. Garnished with fresh parsley leaves, this dish is as gorgeous as it is delicious.

Scroll on for the recipe, and head over here for more of my favorite appetizers and snacks for hosting.

marinated olives with hummus in a bowl


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These marinated olives that will transport you to the Mediterranean. Spoon them over creamy hummus and serve with crusty bread.

  • 1 cup pitted green olives, coarsely chopped (I use Castelvetrano or Cerignola)
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 1 fresno chile, thinly sliced
  • 2 teaspoons za’atar
  • Zest and juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • Hummus
  • Parsley leaves, for garnish

  1. Place the olives in a small bowl. In a small skillet, combine the olive oil, garlic, chile, za’atar and zest. Cook over low heat, stirring, for about 5 min until garlic begins to sizzle.
  2. Remove from heat, and add the lemon juice and red wine vinegar. Pour over the olives, and let cool.
  3. To serve, spoon the olives over the hummus, and garnish with parsley.
  • Prep Time: 5
  • Cook Time: 5
  • Category: appetizer

Keywords: marinated olives

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