Italian Spicy Olives

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Flavoured with garlic, herbs and chili, these Italian spicy olives are juicy and packed full of flavor. They make a terrific appetizer, the perfect finger food for cheese boards or parties.

They’re also easy to make, economical, and versatile!

Top view of a white bowl full of Italian spicy olives.

I can finally enjoy my garden (summer doesn’t last very long here in London!), and I’m all about delicious Italian appetizers and party food ideas perfect for al fresco get togethers.

Today I’m sharing these tasty Italian spicy olives, a typical Calabrian appetizer called olive schiacciate (crushed olives) because traditionally they are squashed with a meat tenderizer or a hammer (I’m not kidding!).

Friends, if spicy is your thing and you love BOLD flavors, this recipe is for you!

Firstly, whipping up these spicy olives is a no brainer and takes 5 minutes flat, from start to finish.

All you have to do is mix good-quality olives, possibly Italians, with olive oil, vinegar, herbs, garlic and chili, to make a marinade full of flavor.

Done. Your Italian spicy olives are ready.

Serve them with crispy breadsticks, Italian focaccia, crusty panini rolls or focaccia with tomatoes, and beer or wine only (no fancy cocktails!).

Remember these spicy olives are… spicy, make sure to keep the wine flowing! : )

List of the ingredients

  • Mixed olives
  • Olive oil
  • White wine vinegar
  • Fresh garlic
  • Fresh chili (dried chili, optional)
  • Herbs (thyme and oregano)
Top view of the ingredients to make these spicy olive over a white background.

How to make these Italian spicy olives

(Note: this is a quick description, the full recipe is at the bottom of the page)

  • Slice the garlic and the fresh chili.
  • Place all the ingredients in a large bowl and toss until well combined.
  • Let it rest for at least 30 minutes before serving. Done.
Top view of the sliced garlic and chili, and a glass salad bowl full of mixed spicy olives.

Recipe notes

Ingredients to make spicy olives

Olives: I used Italian nocellara olives from Sicily mixed with Kalamata olives and Spanish green olives. Choose whichever you like best, pitted or un-pitted, both are fine.

Olive oil: in this recipe you can use either extra virgin olive oil or simply olive oil if you wish. The garlic and the chili flavors are predominant, so you can save your gourmet extra virgin olive oil here, better if you use it for salads!

Vinegar: for a touch of acidity. You can use red wine vinegar instead of white.

Garlic: plenty of garlic.

Herbs: dried oregano, fresh thyme, bay leaves and also fennel seeds work very well in this Calabrian recipe.

Chili: yes, a lot of fresh chili, and you can add also extra chili flakes if you wish. But if hot and spicy is not your thing, you might look for other recipes. : )

Salt: only if needed. Taste and adjust the seasoning once the olives are well combined with the rest of the ingredients.

Close-up of a white bowl full of mixed Italian spicy olives served with bread and taralli.

How to store these spicy olives

Place the olives and their marinade in a glass airtight container or in a glass jar, and keep them refrigerated for up to 10 days. No, they’re not freezer-friendly.

Note: once you store the olives in the fridge, it’s absolutely normal for the olive oil to become thick and cloudy. Just bring the olives back at room temperature before serving.

Close-up of the spicy olives showing the marinade made with olive oil, chili and herbs.

Olives are so versatile!

Olives are delicious key ingredients in the healthy Mediterranean diet and they’re very high in powerful antioxidants.

These spicy olives are also very versatile and add tons of flavor! You can toss them in salads, quick pasta recipes, or you can simply turn them into tasty and inviting appetizers. Here a few ideas:

I love olives so much that I’ve rounded up my fav olive recipes in this collection that features also olive bruschetta and green olive tapenade.

Top view of a serving suggestion showing a bowl full of spicy olives on a wooden platter full of other Italian appetizers and finger food.

Looking for more classic italian appetizers? 

I’ve got you covered with this incredible collection of Italian appetizer recipes perfect for any occasion. Below a few of my favorites!

If you make these Italian spicy olives, or you have a question, let me know by leaving a comment. I would love to hear from you and get your feedback! x

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Italian Spicy Olives

Flavoured with garlic, herbs and chili, these Italian spicy olives are juicy and bursting with flavor. They make a terrificappetizer or side, the perfect finger food for cheese boards or parties.
Prep Time5 minutes
Total Time5 minutes
Course: Appetizer
Cuisine: Italian
Keyword: spicy olives
Author: Katia


  • 3 cups mixed olives (nocellara, kalamata, Spanish)
  • 2-3 garlic cloves, peeled and sliced
  • ½ fresh chili, sliced (use less chili if you wish)
  • ¼ teaspoon dried chili flakes, optional
  • 10 thyme sprigs, use the leaves
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 3-4 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 Tablespoon white wine vinegar
  • salt, to taste


  • Cut the chili into halves, deseed it and slice one half (use less chili if you prefer a less spicy flavor). Slice or smash the garlic cloves.
  • Place the olives in a large serving bowl and add the rest of the ingredients. Toss until well combined.
  • Taste and adjust the seasoning with some fine salt if needed, that depends on the olives used.
  • Transfer the olives into a glass jar or glass container and let them rest for at least 30 minutes before serving. Serve them at room temperature.


Storage: place the olives and their marinade in a glass airtight container or in a glass jar, and keep them refrigerated for up to 10 days. No, they’re not freezer-friendly. 
Once in the fridge, the olive oil becomes thick and cloudy, that’s absolutely normal, all you have to do is bring the container back at room temperature. 

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