This olive tapenade is like a flavor explosion in your mouth! Imagine the briny goodness of olives mingling with the tangy bite of capers, the sweet richness of sun-dried tomatoes, and the zesty brightness of citrus all coming together to create the perfect party appetizer or afternoon snack.

At the heart of this dish are the olives, of course, but it’s the combination of different varieties that really takes it to the next level. When everything is mixed together, you get a dip that’s perfectly balanced — light and refreshing yet packed with intense, savory goodness.

Whether you’re in need of a last-minute appetizer (this recipe comes together in a flash) or a make-ahead option (it keeps beautifully in the fridge, allowing the flavors to mingle and deepen over time), this olive tapenade is bound to become a staple in your culinary repertoire.

olive tapenade in a bowl with toasted bread in the background

Why You’ll Love Olive Tapenade

Who couldn’t love the allure of briny olives, mingling with capers, sun-dried tomatoes, and a burst of citrusy deliciousness?

  • Olive tapenade is incredibly versatile — use it as a dip, a spread, or even a topping on your favorite fish, meat, or veggies.
  • You’ll be hard-pressed to find a recipe for something so flavorful that takes so little hands-on prep time.
  • This tapenade is so balanced, with salty and briny flavor mingling with the delicate olive oil and bright lemon.

Easy Ingredients You’ll Need to Make Olive Tapenade

This recipe keeps things completely uncomplicated. Just head to your local grocery store and grab a few staples, and you’re all set to whip up this dish!

  • Drained kalamata olives – Be sure to either pit the olives or buy them unpitted.
  • Drained manzanilla green olives – When slicing the olives try to make sure that they are uniform in size.
  • Drained capers – Draining all of the olives and capers is key to making sure that the tapenade is not too watery or salty.
  • Sundried tomatoes – These add bright color and flavor to the tapenade.
  • Garlic cloves – Fresh garlic adds a punch of flavor to the tapenade. Make sure that the pieces are small so that there aren’t uneven chunks in the mixture.
  • Fresh parsley (Italian flat leaf) – This ingredient adds bright flavor and color. 
  • Fresh basil – Basil adds fresh flavor to the tapenade.
  • Ground black pepper – Grind it freshly, if possible, when preparing the dish. 
  • Salt – You can use any variety you like but sea salt or kosher salt are both good options.
  • Extra virgin olive oil – This helps to bring all of the flavors and textures together. Be sure to use a high quality oil. 
  • Lemon juice – Citrus helps to bring out all of the flavors and add balance.
olive tapenade in a bowl with crostini on a plate

Flavor Variations

The beauty of this recipe is that it’s incredibly versatile and open to all sorts of creative interpretations! Feel free to get crafty and put your own unique spin on this classic spread. Here are a few ideas for inspiration:

  • Cumin
  • Cayenne
  • Flavor-infused olive oil
  • Herbs
  • Paprika
  • Anchovy fillets or anchovy paste
  • Fresh thyme
  • Lemon zest
  • Fresh herbs
  • Other types of olives
  • Red wine vinegar
  • Garnish of chopped hard-boiled eggs

How to Make A Tasty Tapenade

You may have never seen a recipe as easy as this delicious and drool-worthy olive spread!

  1. Place all olives, capers, sun dried tomatoes, garlic, parsley and basil into the bowl of a food processor. 
  2. Pour the olive oil and lemon juice in.
  3. Sprinkle the salt and pepper over top. 
  4. Using the pulse function, mix the ingredients until they are combined and minced. 
  5. Transfer to a serving dish or storage container.

Tips and Tricks

This is a super simple traditional tapenade but there are still a few ways to make sure you get the very best results.

Avoid over-processing. Make sure to use the pulse function in intervals and monitor the consistency so that the ingredients do not become pureed. 

Lightly pack the herbs. Do not densely pack them when measuring so that their flavors do not overwhelm the other flavors. 

Use high quality ingredients. Since there are few ingredients and the recipe is freshly made, each ingredient should be able to shine and the best way to achieve that is by using fresh, high quality ingredients.

Serving Suggestions

  • Crostini, pita, baguette slices, or crust breads
  • Dip for crackers, pita chips, or fresh veggies
  • Put it on protein (baked salmon, roasted chicken, or your favorite plant-based alternative) 
  • Make it your sandwich spread
  • On a charcuterie board or cheese board
  • Over Greek salad
  • Make tasty dips with creamy avocado, goat cheese, or other soft cheeses

Common Questions About Olive Tapenade

What is olive tapenade made with?

Olive tapenade is a combination of olives and capers with olive oil and various spices and herbs. It’s slightly chunky though the pieces should be fairly uniform.

What do I serve olive tapenade with?

Olive tapenade is a great dip for crackers, pita, chips, or vegetables. You can also spread it on sandwiches, add it to soups and sauces, or mix it into other dips like hummus, whipped feta, or a simple sour cream.

What does olive tapenade taste like?

Like olives themselves, the tapenade is slightly salty and briny. If there’s an addition of citrus, like the lemon juice in this recipe, it can have a bright flavor as well. 

More Delicious Dips and Spreads

Dips and spreads are perfect for any occasion, whether it’s a casual gathering with friends or a cozy night in. Here are some more mouthwatering recipes to try out:

a platter with a bowl of easy olive tapenade and toasted crostini
a bowl of easy olive tapenade

Easy Olive Tapenade Recipe

5 from 2 votes
Author: Food Dolls
Servings: 8
Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 15 minutes
This recipe uses a mixture of kalamata and green olives, capers, sun dried tomatoes, garlic and herbs!

Ingredients  

  • 13 oz drained kalamata olives pitted
  • 6 oz drained manzanilla green olives pitted
  • 2 oz drained capers
  • 4 oz sun dried tomatoes packed in olive oil
  • 2 cloves peeled garlic
  • 1/2 cup loosely packed Italian flat leaf parsley
  • 1/2 loosely packed fresh basil
  • 1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • salt to taste
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tsp fresh squeezed lemon juice

Crostini

  • 1 loaf baguette or artisan loaf
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste

Instructions 

  • Place all the ingredients in a food processor. Pulse until the mixture is well minced and combined.
    13 oz drained kalamata olives, 6 oz drained manzanilla green olives, 2 oz drained capers, 4 oz sun dried tomatoes packed in olive oil, 2 cloves peeled garlic, 1/2 cup loosely packed Italian flat leaf parsley, 1/2 loosely packed fresh basil, 1 tsp freshly ground black pepper, salt to taste, 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, 2 tsp fresh squeezed lemon juice

Crostini

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
    1 loaf baguette or artisan loaf, 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil, salt and pepper to taste
  • Slice bread into 1/2 inch pieces. Add to a sheet tray and drizzle olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Toss together until the bread is coated in the olive oil.
  • Arrange in a single layer on the sheet tray. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until nice and golden and toasted.

Video

Equipment

Notes

This tapenade is delicious on crostini and crackers.
If you don’t have a food processor you can use a blender.

Nutrition

Calories: 92kcal | Carbohydrates: 0.4g | Protein: 0.1g | Fat: 10g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 7g | Sodium: 0.4mg | Potassium: 6mg | Fiber: 0.1g | Sugar: 0.01g | Vitamin A: 1IU | Vitamin C: 0.2mg | Calcium: 3mg | Iron: 0.1mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Like this recipe?Please leave a comment!
close up image of a bowl of easy olive tapenade

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Meet Alia & Radwa

Welcome to Food Dolls! We’re so glad you found us. We are Alia and Radwa, sisters who want to share simple and easy recipes with you. We hope you find recipes here that you enjoy making as much as we do! Learn more about us!

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