Christmas Kitchen: How To Marinate Your Own Olives

Chilli Marinated Olives

Over the summer my parents had their neighbours and their house guests over for pre-dinner drinks and I helped out by adding a bowl of DIY marinated olives to the batch of Classic Cheese Straws my Mum had made. I honestly did not think that I’d done anything original, but all of the guests wanted to hear more when they asked where the olives were from, and I said that I’d flavoured and marinated them myself in just minutes.

How To Marinate Your Own Olives
How To Marinate Your Own Olives For Your Next Party

This little kitchen hack is so easy it is not really a recipe. Next time you’re having people over (for drinks, for mezze) instead of relying on supermarket flavours or the same old from your local deli or market stall, put your spice cupboard to work. Marinating your own olives at home is as easy as combining plain jarred olives with some of your favourite aromatics, and will make a great addition to your Christmas drinks parties – or just family time when you’ve opened a bottle of bubbly – we demolished this batch during a family game of Monopoly!

How To Marinate Your Own Olives This Christmas

Just because it is what was in the cupboards in France, here we have Aleppo Chilli and Rosemary Olives, and Cumin Seed and Lemon. Typically I like to do something zesty, and something with a bit of a kick, either from fresh chopped chilli, dried chilli flakes or chilli infused extra virgin olive oil – infused oils are king here; to get garlicky oils using raw garlic might be a bit much, so garlic olive works beautifully. I also love to switch out the cumin seeds for fennel seeds. Basically, let your imagination go wild and try to pair your olives with what else you’re serving.

How To DIY Your Own Marinated Olives
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How To Marinate Your Own Olives

  • Author: Rachel Phipps
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Total Time: 5 minutes
  • Yield: Makes 2 Small Dishes 1x
  • Category: Canapés


It is so easy to add your own flavour combinations to a simple jar of supermarket olives that I promise will go down a treat at your next drinks party!


  • 1 x Jar Green Olives
  • Mixed Aromatics (See Above)


  1. Drain the olives and pat dry on kitchen towel. Divide between two bowls.
  2. Flavour each bowl differently. Citrus is best zested on the finest hole of your box grater. Fennel and cumin seeds are best lightly crushed between your fingertips to release their flavours. Try to stick to two flavours per bowl.
  3. Leave to marinate for between 30 minutes to overnight before serving.