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 50 votes
Prep Time 5 mins
Cook Time 5 mins
Total Time 10 mins
Servings 6 servings
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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Meggan Hill

I’m the Executive Chef and head of the Culinary Hill Test Kitchen. Every recipe is developed, tested, and approved just for you.

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  1. 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. 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.

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

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

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

    1. 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!

  4. This post immediately grabbed my attention, Meggan, as we’ve just spent the last week apartment-hunting, too. Looks like we’re going to have to delay again for a few months, but that’s another story. Anyhow, love olive tapenade and it’s great to have a good recipe for it. I’m keen to give this a go for sure. :-)5 stars