Gin-marinated Olives

Gin-marinated Olives Recipe

I've been on a Castelvetrano olive bender for the better part of the summer. They're plump, round Sicilian olives with vivid, tight, glossy, green flesh. Harvested young, these olives are lightly brined, with a buttery texture - even more so when warm. I promise you, they're worth tracking down. We had Josey and his girlfriend fiancé(!) Cathy over for a mid-week dinner the other night, and I decided to make this at the last minute. I tossed the Castelvetranos with a mixture of gin and olive oil, added big swatches of lemon peel and lots of herbs, then baked it all for a stretch. Feta cubes were the finishing touch. You can absolutely make this with other varietals of olives as well, if Castelvetranos are tough to come by where you live.

Gin Marinated OlivesGin Marinated Olives

Warm/hot olives continue to be one my favorite appetizers. In part, because they're flexible, interesting and delicious. And, in part, because you can take the accents, herbs, and flavors in so many different directions. Fennel seeds and orange peel is another angle I often go....other ideas!? xo -h

Gin-marinated Olives

Save the brine from the olives to make vinaigrettes, cocktails, or use as a drizzle. I used St. George Spirits Botanivore Gin here.

12 ounces drained, rinsed green olives (pref. Castelvetrano)
2 serrano peppers, halved
1 medium clove of garlic, thinly sliced
slivered peel of one lemon
6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup gin
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
a few sprigs of dried thyme, or equivalent
1/4 cup of cubed feta cheese

Heat the oven to 350F / 180C, with a rack in the center. In a baking dish, just large enough to arrange the olives in a single layer, combine them with the peppers, garlic, lemon peel, olive oil, gin, oregano, and thyme. Give a good toss, and bake for about 30 minutes, carefully jostling once or twice along the way. Remove from oven, sprinkle with the feta cubes, and let cool for a few minutes before serving.

Serves 4-6.

Prep time: 5 min - Cook time: 30 min

If you make this recipe, I'd love to see it - tag it #101cookbooks on Instagram!
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Hmmm, these sound great -- I just love Castelvetrano olives, too. The flavor is like a serious upgrade from those canned, pitted black olives I used to stick on my fingertips when I was a kid.

Coco @ Opera Girl Cooks

My favourite pizza place does an appetiser of mixed olives (including Castelvetrano and teeny baby Kalamata olives) marinated with coriander seeds, fresh rosemary and garlic. It's so good - we get it every time. I love the concept of lemon peel and the dried herbs. The possibilities with marinated olives are so many, and all are exciting!


Castelevetranos are my current favorites olives! We love serving warm olives for cocktails. Guests are always surprised by them. My current favorite combo is olives, caperberries, orange slices, and small dried chiles, and lots of fruity olive oil. But, I look forward to adding gin to my next batch!


oh, gosh, i can taste these right through the screen! and yes, double yes, on the castelvetranos. their buttery-ness is beyond the pale.

and fennel seeds and orange peel? my name's written all over that!

thanks, heidi. and congrats to josey and cathy!


I love this! I haven't tried making these with gin before, but now I really want to! I usually add olive oil, lemon peel, and whole cloves of garlic before putting them in the oven, and when they come out i add chopped fresh herbs--usually parsley but sometimes coriander or za'atar (or a mix).

Stephanie @ Eat My Tortes

Hmmm, I love olives & I love gin! These sound delicious & I think they would be the perfect thing to take to a Maui beach bbq sunset dinner. Thanks for sharing!


Your recipes are always simple to make but executed with such a level of sophistication. You truly understand the flavors you are developing and I admire that because it is hard to come by. Simply put, you are amazing, and so are these olives!

Christina @ The Beautiful Balance

I'd never thought to bake Olives. What an amazing idea. I like to marinate mine in Caraway Seeds, Lemon Zest and a touch of Coriander- i'll absolutely be trying Gin next time! Thanks lovely xx


Oh yes! Love, love, love sicilian green olives AND Gin. This one is definitely getting a run in my little kitchen.


Oh, i love that one! Olives + Gin, this what i like. Harriet you have right, the possibilities with marinated olives is huge - and all of them probably taste good.

Donald @ Tea Time

WOW, this looks absolutely amazing! I love olives, and this is a great starter for a casual dinner with friends!

Giulietta | Alterkitchen

What a great snack to come home to!

I love gin in any shape or form. I bet you could use leftover marinated olives in the bottom of a martini!


Crazy about these!!

Marie @ Little Kitchie

lol!lol!lol! omg I clicked over to Josie's site and his butt post was the 2nd big laugh I've had today! and it's only 10 am! It'll be a good day. I've had a jar of these olives for a couple months - now I know what to do with them besides eat straight from jar. Thanks!


In gin?! wow! Need to try it.

Marta @ What Should I eat for breakfast today

Hi, Heidi...

I can't wait to try these! My husband will flip! Quick question, though...Do you serve these as an appetizer? Side? Alone or with bread? I guess I'm just trying to figure out how to fit these into a meal; I'm pretty sure that they would steal the show! Thanks!

HS: Hi Molly, we just had them standing around over drinks before dinner. A little snack..


Two of my favorite things...gin and those big bright green olives. Thanks so much for this recipe.


These are some of my favourite olives. The texture is amazing. We randomly found a huge jar of them at Costco of all places. Unfortunately they were pitted (why?!?) and a little too salty, so we switched out some of the brine for fresh water which definitely helped and they are really good for throwing in a quick sauce for pasta.


Castelvetrano are one of my favorite types of olive. Buttery goodness. Since I found them in my local co-op (can you believe in small town Midwest), I try to put them in as many dishes as I can. I roast them with chicken, sunchokes, garlic, thyme (or rosemary or something else on hand), lemon zest, white wine, olive oil, a handful of picholine olives with the Castelvetrano and pinch of both pimenton and crushed pepper. I'm also a fan of marinating them with some herbs and feta but I haven't tried gin or serrano. Sounds perfect!


These sound awesome! We do this with olives using fennel seeds and orange peels like you mentioned, but then cut out the pits and smash them up to put over goat cheese on a bruschetta of sorts. I can't wait to try this recipe :)


These olives and gin - two of my favorite things! And I love the idea of baking them and sprinkling them with feta - a nice change from the standard room temp bowl of marinated olives. Looking forward to trying this!


Definitely going to try this. I'm sure you've had the warm olives at Nopa - so good. The roasted garlic cloves in that version are sooo good smeared on bread and dipped in the olive juice. Yum. Thanks Heidi!

HS: Thanks for the heads up Kendall - I don't think I've had those. Although, I have had the olives at Fat Angel - love those.

Kendall @ Neighborhood Kitchen SF

I'm headed directly to the grocery store..these sound fantastic! Have you tried them with the almond stuffed olives as well?

Kathryn Lafond

Love the gin idea - fab! I might try this with coriander seed, lightly crushed green cardamom pod and dried chili - my add-ins for homemade raspberry-pickled beetroot.. Your mixture would be lovely crushed in a pestle and mortar to make a rough dip for good, chewy bread, but using fresh thyme and oregano. Maybe adding in some artichoke hearts?


Oh wow, this sounds wonderful. I've only had warm olives once and was astounded and how good they were - they were a small black olives roasted with rosemary and garlic. Phenomenal. Will have to give your spin a try!


Brilliant, combining the best part of a martini with the nosh!

diary of a tomato

GREEN OLIVES, ALMONDS & PRESERVED LEMON! (My friends always beg for this recipe)
1/2 cup almonds, toasted till golden
1/4 - 1/2 preserved lemon
1/4 cup olive oil (good quality)
Salt& Cracked pepper
2 cloves garlic, finely sliced
1 Tab fresh Thyme, pulled off stalks
1 cup green olives, rinsed & drained

Cut a few slits in olives to help with uptake of flavours.

Mix everything together & marinate overnight. The longer the better. Warm/heat in oven before serving.

I always have a batch of these in the fridge as they keep for awhile. Take some out when guests arrive & heat in oven.




This sounds great. . . I have vermouth on hand and some excellent olives, could it be used instead of gin?


I just went out and bought the ingredients for this - truly sounds wonderful for a sultry summer evening here in Seattle!


This sounds delicious. But could you suggest a substitute for gin?


How silly of me to not think of baking them. Can't wait to try. And for the gin-I always add them to a martini, so why not like this? Can't wait for Friday!

Abbe@This is How I Cook

I'm into olives right now. I've been snacking on them like candy. I had a vacuum pack of them and I accidentally left them in the hot car. I still ate them. And now I know the joys of warm olives. I can't wait to try these.

Nik Snacks (@NikSnacks)

I want to pit the olives, bake, chop and serve on crostini or tossed with pasta. Maybe I'll try both at the cabin next week unless my arms are too tired after holding up sheetrock!


Thank you for the weekend inspiration! We just ordered a bar cart and these olives sound perfect for the cart's first night in.


so creative! this looks excellent!

petal and plume

My favorite part of a great martini is the boozey-soaked olives at the end... I did a marinated olive recipe similar to this one, but I LOVE the addition of the feta. Maybe blue cheese with chives would work as well, to simulate a blue cheese-stuffed olive? Thank you so much, I have feta in the fridge and will be trying this tonight!

Jill @ 42potatoes

Love warm olives and like the idea of crumbled cheese on top. yummy.


I love marinating olives, but have never warmed them up. Love the idea, thanks. When we marinate olives, we usually use the leftover oil to add flavor to pasta or salads made with different grains. For non-vegetarians reading this, we usually fry up some sausage and then and then stir it into the drained pasta with the flavored oil. But I am sure feta cheese or other vegetarian ingredients would work great too.

Nuts about food

I'm right there with you, sistah, on everything: the gin AND the olives.

Elissa | Poor Man's Feast

This sounds fantastic--I will have to try it soon! Castelvetrano olives are my absolute favorite olive. I "discovered" them about 6 years ago at a fancy-pants happy hour. Until recently, I could only find them at fancy delis and Whole Foods. But NOW I found them at my local Lucky, canned by Mezzetta! I mention this in case other addicts have had difficulty finding these flavorful gems.

Kati H.

Baked these on the grill last night, used chevre and herbs de provence. So good! Next time I'll add a bit more garlic because that was as good to eat as the olives!


swoon to the third power and beyond! also: i've been obsessed with these same olives myself.

i'm in oakland :) if i ever saw you on the streets of SF heidi, i'd swoon off my feet and ask for an autograph! you are a CONSTANT source of inspiration.


Those castelvetranos are the best, and this recipe looks amazing! I'm all over it, and also keen to try that gin - the ingredient list looks incredible. I had some castelvetranos at Rich Table in Hayes Valley seasoned with nori and (I think) apple. Sadly they're now off the menu, but they were so good, I almost cried. It seemed like the nori was powdered and tossed with the olives and teeny tiny chunks of apple. It seemed like it would be a weird mix of flavors, but it was completely perfect. I'm loving all these comments. Thanks for the killer recipe, Heidi.


I made these last night, and they came out kind of bitter actually. I used good gin, but the flavor was very alcoholic and 'off'. Perhaps the type of gin matters? 1/2 cup seemed like quite a lot so I used a little less, but it still seemed like the alcohol may have been to blame. Any thoughts? I love baked olives and the lemon and other seasonings seemed to come through just fine.


Oh my brain exploded when I read the title of this post. My ideal gin martini is a martini glass full of olives with some gin on top. Naturally, then, these look positively divine! I've been crushing on castelvetranos for some time now as well. There's something satisfying about gnawing the meaty flesh off its stubborn pit, and the buttery flavor is great, too.


Made this tonight and Loved! My goodness we have similar flavor DNA : ) The lemon/garlic/gin combo was perfect. As soon as I spotted the olive guy at the farmer's market I got my Castelvetranos. I halved it and used a bit of oregano, basil, parsley and a few slivers of jalepeno for the pepper. I love how the feta softens a little when you toss it with the warm olive mix. Perfetto :)

Salvegging @

The olives sound wonderful but I am really coveting the linen dish cover in the third picture! The set sold out at QUITOKEETO you think you will be offering these again? So beautiful AND useful...

Kristin | The Dinner Concierge

I just love olives! I'm going to make this recipe with my green olives I have from last fall.

Simply called food

I just turned 21 and was treated to a classic dirty martini. Can't get enough, and it's a wonder your recipe popped up just in time ;)

Irina @ wandercrush

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