• Yield: Serves 12 (makes about 3 cups)

  • Time: At least 12 hours to marinate in refrigerator total

For the best marinated olives recipe, we started with good brined olives that still contain their pits, which have a better flavor than pitted olives. For the marinade, we started with a base of olive oil and added garlic, herbs like thyme, and red pepper flakes. In addition to these basics, we liked thinly sliced shallots, which softened in the mixture and contributed their welcome allium bite, and grated orange zest for a lively citrus kick. The real surprise in our marinated olives recipe came when we added a splash of anise-flavored (or Pernod), which enhanced all the other flavors.


  • 8 ounces large, brine-cured green olives with pits

  • 8 ounces large, brine-cured black olives with pits

  • 5 large garlic cloves, crushed

  • 3 large shallots, sliced thin

  • 1/2 cup Sambuca (see note)

  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

  • 1 teaspoon grated zest from 1 orange

  • 1 teaspoon minced fresh thyme leaves

  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes

  • 3/4 teaspoon salt

  • Pinch cayenne pepper


These olives will keep in the refrigerator for at least a month and are perfect to have on hand for impromptu entertaining. (Remember to put out a small bowl for the pits.) Sambuca is a sweet, licorice-flavored Italian spirit. You can substitute ouzo.

1. Drain the olives in a colander and rinse them well under cold running water. Drain the olives of excess water.

2. Combine the remaining ingredients in a glass or plastic bowl. Add the olives and toss to combine. Cover and refrigerate for at least 12 hours. Remove from the refrigerator at least 30 minutes before serving.

Reprinted with permission from America's Test Kitchen

America's Test Kitchen
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