Make this easy Olive Tapenade for your next party spread, sandwich, or pizza garnish! It comes together in minutes and has endless possibilities.

Happiness can be found in bowls of tapenade.

At this exact moment, I cannot decide whether I would rather have it on crostini, garnishing a soup, or slathered on a sandwich.

Or maybe as a dip for fries? Or for vegetables?

A platter with various vegetables, tapenade and hummus.

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Be sure to choose mild olives that have been cured in brine.  I love Kalamata and Lucques olives but picholines and Niçoise olives are also great choices. Use one kind or a combination of a few of your favorites.

Haven’t you always wanted to sample all kinds of different olives at your grocery store’s olive bar?  Now is your chance!

Tapenade surrounded by vegetables.


Capers have different packaging methods; you can buy them brine-packed or salt-packed.  The salt-packed ones have a more mild (and I think preferable) flavor although I like both.  If you forget to rinse them, however, the flavor can be overpowering at times.

Olive tapenade in a white bowl.


Anchovies add a fantastic savory, umami flavor to dishes. However, if you don’t want to buy and handle anchovies, you can use anchovy paste. Enjoy the flavor, get used to the mental aspect of them, without having to touch them. (Just like tomato paste in a tube, it keeps indefinitely in the refrigerator).

Homemade Olive Tapenade in a white bowl on a platter with various vegetables.

Homemade Olive Tapenade

Make this easy Olive Tapenade for your next party spread, sandwich, or pizza garnish! It comes together in minutes and has endless possibilities.
4.99 from 84 votes
Prep Time 5 mins
Cook Time 5 mins
Total Time 10 mins
Servings 6 servings (½ cup each)
Course Appetizer
Cuisine Mediterranean
Calories 136


  • 1 1/2 cups pitted, brine-cured olives
  • 1 teaspoon anchovy paste or 2 anchovy filets, minced
  • 3 tablespoons capers rinsed
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons parsley coarsely chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic roasted if desired (see notes)
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (from 2 lemons)
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup olive oil


  • In a food processor, combine olives, anchovies, capers, parsley, garlic, lemon juice, and ¼ teaspoon pepper. Pulse 2 to 3 times until coarsely chopped.
  • Drizzle in olive oil and pulse a few more times until a chunky paste forms, scraping down the sides as needed.
  • Season to taste with salt and pepper and serve at room temperature.

Recipe Video


  1. To roast the garlic, preheat oven to 400 degrees. Cut the top off a bulb of garlic so the cloves are exposed. Set the bulb on a piece of foil large enough to wrap the bulb. Top the exposed cloves with olive oil and wrap the bulb tightly in foil. Bake for 45 to 60 minutes or until a knife slides easily in to the middle of the bulb.


Calories: 136kcalCarbohydrates: 3gProtein: 1gFat: 14gSaturated Fat: 2gCholesterol: 1mgSodium: 674mgPotassium: 41mgFiber: 1gSugar: 1gVitamin A: 223IUVitamin C: 5mgCalcium: 26mgIron: 1mg
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  1. So simple and oh so good.

    I only needed a small amount since there is only two of us and I wanted to spread it on homemade Italian subs so I cut the recipe back to 1/3 scale. I didn’t have a whole head of garlic to roast so I just used a teaspoon of jarred, minced garlic and it was just fine.

    I did drain off a little of the oil after I made it since I was also going to use a vinegar and oil blend on the sandwiches. But, the oil didn’t go to waste. I was also making a small side of pasta salad and just incorporated the olivey-delicious oil into the salad. This will be my go-to olive spread recipe.5 stars

  2. Looking for some tasty food options, love olives and garlic, no tomatoes if poss or just a dash of it. Thankyou.

  3. Do you have any recommendations on which store-bought pitted, brine-cured olives, anchovy paste/anchovy filets, and capers to get?

    1. Hi Amy! I typically buy whatever my grocery store has and I’ve never had any problems. Capers in particular seem exactly the same no matter which ones I buy. I do love any products from Mezzetta though, so their capers are a safe bet. Anchovy paste, Amore brand is the only one I’ve ever found locally and tried. It’s great! And for brine-cured olives, most Kalamata olives are brine-cured and they all taste very similar. Mezzetta is a good brand again. I hope this is helpful! Sorry for the delay in my reply. I had to go see what was at the store to know what I usually buy. :) Thanks again and take care! -Meggan

  4. Hello. I randomly came across this and I immediately started drooling. Very much appreciate the detail in the steps.5 stars

  5. This is a wonderful recipe, I didn’t roast my garlic and actually added a few more cloves. I wonder if I should have added the juice from the jar of olives. I used what I had already on hand which was Kalamata Olives. This was just delicious!5 stars

  6. I made this. I pulsed with a stick blender not a food processor and left it chunky and rustic. Needed no salt or pepper but I had used a mix of green and black olives from the deli in a light oil. Probably seasoned enough I am guessing. This recipe is perfect. Highly recommended fir sure.5 stars

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