Warm Marinated Olives-An Easy Festive Appetizer

Warm Marinated Olives-An Easy Festive Appetizer

Warm marinated olives are a truly spectacular appetizer despite their seeming simplicity. If you like olives, you will love these. Gentle heat makes the olives intoxicatingly fragrant with the scent of spices and herbs and citrus peel adds bright, fresh notes to really elevate them.

Warm marinated olives is a fragrant recipe with herbs, spices and citrus
Warm marinated olives is a fragrant recipe with herbs, spices and citrus

Canadian Made Mediterranean Food

I’ve partnered up with Canadian Sardo Foods once again to give you some awesome and easy holiday dishes. Watch for more throughout the month culminating in a giveaway between Christmas and New Years!

I truly love Sardo’s olives and antipasti for a couple of reasons. First is that they process their Mediterranean style products here in Canada. Second is that they are awesome, high quality pantry staples that last a long time in cupboard or fridge making it quick and easy to throw something together. These are ready to eat so you can enjoy the olives, marinated shrimp and other antipasti without having to do anything except open them. I’ve done a number of easy recipes using their products including an awesome Chicken and Sundried Tomato pasta and Roasted Red Pepper Soup. Anyhow, back to our recipe.

Make Ahead Appetizer

I first tried warm olives in a lovely little Italian deli style restaurant and I was hooked. I was so surprised how something so simple could taste so complex and exciting. Even more exciting is that these are really easy and fast to prep ahead of time and simply warm for a few minutes right before serving.

Citrus anise and chili flavour these Italian style warm marinated olives
Citrus anise and chili flavour these Italian style warm marinated olives

Trending: Grazing Boards

Warm olives are a simple but sophisticated hors d’oeuvres. These can stand alone with an apertif or bubbly or you can make them part of something bigger. A little crusty bread, a little feta cheese or charcuterie and you have a snacking platter worthy of hosting anyone. Go even bigger and you have a grazing board.

Grazing board with warm marinated olives and spicy Sardo shrimp
Grazing board with warm marinated olives and spicy Sardo shrimp

Grazing boards are so popular now and for obvious reasons. They are simply charcuterie and/or cheese plates on steroids. Add in fruit, crackers, jam, mustard, nuts…but these olives will be the star of the show!

Warm Marinated Olive Variations

I’ve used my favourite Italian influenced flavours but there are so many ways you can change this up. In addition to whole olives, you can add cocktail onions, capers, caper berries, or Marcona almonds. Try different spices and herbs too, like cumin, herbs de Provence blend, warming Mexican or African spices and of course any fresh herbs go well. Think of lemon and dill or sage with toasted garlic or parsley with mint.

Quick Tips For Warm Marinated Olives

Use good quality whole olives for this recipe. I used Sardo’s party mix olives because I like the different flavours and textures but their Kalamata, Calabrese or Sicilian olives all work well too.

To keep the olives warm, I suggest pre warming a stoneware bowl or other heavy serving bowl that will hold the heat for awhile.

Do You Love That Serving Board?

Have you checked out my shop yet? Earlier this year, after much lamenting over not being able to find the serving dishes, linens etc for my food photography, I took the plunge and opened a shop! Now I have all the props I want and access to wholesalers to find what I need.

In this blog post, I used this awesome Canadian made, solid maple serving board. We carry these in a few color combinations and sizes at www.westcoastkitchengarden.com, we hope you’ll pop over and check it out.

Sending my love to you all and hoping you are keeping well in the craziness of 2020/

ox Sabrina

Warm marinated olives is a fragrant recipe with herbs, spices and citrus
5 from 11 votes

Warm Marinated Olives

Easy, sophisticated, fragrant and comforting, a warm dish of olives is the perfect small bite with an aperitif or as part of a larger grazing board. Mixed olives, citrus zest, herbs and spices come together to make this Italian happy hour favourite. This is easily multiplied for a larger party or cut in half to serve 2.

Course Appetizer, Christmas, Holiday, Snack, Spice Blend
Cuisine Italian
Keyword anise, appetizer, canape, Chili flakes, Easy, easy appetizer, Fast, fennel, Italian, Lemon, Marinated, Olives, orange, rosemary, s d’oeuvres, Warm, zest
Total Time 15 minutes
Servings 2 cups
Author Sabrina Currie


  • 1/3 c Olive oil
  • 1 tsp Anise seed (or fennel seed)
  • 1 clove Garlic, thinly sliced
  • 1 Sprig of Rosemary about 3-4" long
  • 1/2 tsp Chili Flakes (or to taste)
  • 1 tsp Each, orange and lemon zest
  • 1 Bay Leaf
  • 2 c Olives-(500ml container) Party Mix, Kalamata, Calabrese or Sicilienne, drained
  • Wedge of 1/4 lemon or orange to squeeze over at the end (optional)


  1. Preheat an oven safe bowl in the oven set to warm.

    Heat small sauce pan on low and gently toast anise seed until fragrant. Add olive oil and garlic, warming until fragrant and garlic is translucent but not coloring.

  2. Add remaining ingredients including drained olives and continue to warm on low approximately 3-5 minutes or until warmed through. Be careful not to let it get too hot, you do not want to cook the olives at all, only warm them.

    Squeeze the juice of 1/8-1/4 orange or lemon over and transfer to pre warmed bowl right away and serve warm.

    Put a small dish out for pits.

    Citrus anise and chili flavour these Italian style warm marinated olives
Easy Make Ahead Appetizer Olives and Spicy Shrimp
Easy Make Ahead Appetizer Olives and Spicy Shrimp

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