Homemade Olive Tapenade Recipe

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 Recipe

Make this easy Olive Tapenade for your next party spread, sandwich, or pizza garnish! It comes together in minutes and has endless possibilities.
5 from 17 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Appetizer
Cuisine: Mediterranean
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 10 minutes
Servings: 6 servings
Calories: 162kcal
Author: Meggan Hill


  • 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 coarsely chopped parsley
  • 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.



  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: 162kcal
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  1. Leslie

    Spectacular! I only had 1 T capers, but it’s still bright and briny and so delicious! I can’t wait to serve it on my Italian subs tonight. Thank you!5 stars

  2. Kat

    This was so good. Thank you! 5 stars

  3. Deirdre Fourie

    I have about 3kgs of olives – a mixed bunch, small, large, black and green. My idea was to bottle them – have been doing it for years. This batch however is really not the greatest for bottling. If I make Tapenade, how do I ensure its going to last before I can give away to family and friends? Any advice would be appreciated!

    1. Meggan

      Hi Deirdre, I am not an expert on canning, so I can’t give you specifics on what to do. However, I know you have to be very careful when canning with garlic. I would recommend freezing it after making it. Just be sure to leave some space at the top of the container because it will expand a bit. -Meggan

  4. Riets Brits

    I would like to thank you for your recipe. I will just left the anchovies out because I don’t have any in my grocery cuboard. These people that calls other dirty names should stay off this page. They seriously have a personality problem. We are talking about food here, you know. God gave us the ability to produce some food to survive. Please stay off this page, we don’t need people like you!5 stars

  5. Tanya

    Delicious!!!! How long should this last in the fridge?5 stars

    1. meggan

      Hi Tanya! I would say 4 days. It could be longer, but I like to follow CDC guidelines for leftovers which is 4 days (and there are no preservatives to extend its life). I hope this helps! Thanks! -Meggan

  6. Milton

    If you’re scared of handling some sardines or anchovies, I seriously doubt your culinary prowess. You sound like a scared bitch. Pass!

    1. Rusti

      MIlton, you sound like a sexist bastard. Of course, your mother named you Milton so she obviously didn’t love you enough to be ashamed of you.

    2. meggan

      I wrote that post before I wen to culinary school. While there, I learned to break down whole rabbits, eat raw scallops, and do all sorts of other things I didn’t know I was capable of. People grow and change, Milton. YOU, however, will always be the bully who went on the internet and called a random stranger a scared bitch because she used to be afraid of anchovies. PASS! -Meggan

  7. Cindy C.

    I just made this and it turned out very salty, even though I added no salt. I rinsed the capers but now I’m wondering if I should have also rinsed the olives -? Also, I was able to get 3 tablespoons of lemon juice out of only one lemon.

    1. Linda

      I would leave out the anchovies to greatly decrease the salty taste in rhia recipe. It is still fantastic!

    2. meggan

      Hi Cindy, you can always add more lemon juice if something is too salty. You could definitely rinse the olives although I would probably not, but then again I love super salty food. And this is an inherently salty spread. I think you could try rinsing the olives next time, that might make it fit your taste preferences better. And it sounds like you found the juiciest lemon ever! -Meggan

  8. Joe

    Nothing takes 5 minutes, but really good.  You can adjust flavor as you go adding additional anchovie fillets.  Highly recommend it.5 stars

  9. kendra McAllister

    Received my first food processor for Christmas and made this! Picky husband approved! Thanks for making it easy to follow and the helpful notes!5 stars

  10. Michelle

    Can this be made ahead and stored? Wanting to add this to an antipasti table at my daughter’s wedding. I am looking for recipes that can me made a couple days before the big date.

    1. meggan

      Hi Michelle, yes! I would make this up to 3 days ahead. Anything with garlic, you have to be wary of botulism so I wouldn’t make it more than 3 days ahead. But you’ll be totally fine with 3 days. I hope this is helpful. Congrats to your daughter, I’m so happy for all of you! :) If you need anything else please let me know.

  11. Dana Tomlinson

    Can’t wait to try this olive tapenade..,will serve w/pita chips & fresh veggies!!
    Grazie mi amico!!5 stars

  12. Donna

    I did make it and it was delicious! I am going to make it again this weekend. It’s great with pita chips and vegetables, and the leftovers I mixed in with quinoa. I am going to try it without the anchovies next time. I am still looking for an easy substitute for the anchovies. Someone mentioned plum paste, but I have not seen the plum paste in my local stores. Is there anything else that would be a good substitute?5 stars

    1. Sarah

      Sun dried tomatoes from a jar are a great addition – they have plenty of umami themselves. I sub out the oil for the oil from the jar as well sometimes.

  13. Jennifer

    I just made this!! It’s so good!! Keeper for sure :)5 stars

  14. janet peters

    This looks delicious and I have the ingredients, but have any of your reviewer actually made it? I’d like the review of someone who has made it.
    Many thanks! Jan

    1. meggan

      Hi Jan! I looked through the comments and no one who has made it has commented. Except for me, of course. It is always more helpful when the comments are from people who have actually tried the recipe! Sorry about that.

  15. Pulling at my heart strings. I can eat olive tapenade by the spoonful!5 stars

  16. What a photos ! This is one of those dishes that you immediately paste to your “to do ” list. Thank you so much !5 stars

  17. Hey there, Meggan. Just wondering… how many anchovies should I add to the tapenade? It’s not listed. Thanks for sharing your recipe.

    1. meggan

      I am so sorry about this!! It’s 3 anchovy filets. Updating the recipe right now. :)

  18. Amanda

    Looks amazing but how many anchovies did you use? The amount is not listed.

    1. meggan

      Hi Amanda, I am so sorry!!! I clearly got my wires crossed typing this recipe out. The amount is three anchovy filets, rinsed and patted dry. I actually meant to move that to the “notes” as an optional ingredient so this could be vegan-friendly! I’ve made, and enjoyed, this recipe both with and without the anchovy filets. Thanks for finding the typo so I may fix it right away!

  19. marlafamilyfreshcooking

    This looks fabulous!5 stars

    1. Thank you so much, Marla! It’s definitely a treat for an olive-lover!

  20. Pragati

    Simple but Yummy! I like adding red peppers, sweet peppers i.e…and no anchovies of course!5 stars

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