Marinated Black Olives with Citrus & Green Peppercorns

Your family and friends will keep asking for these delicious and gorgeous looking marinated black olives and the recipe of course! There’s no easier way to impress guests than serving these, I guess. I usually put big bowls of these on the drinks table to avoid having to replenish all the time. They are usually gone within minutes and I have to bring in more!

That said, I must also say that making marinated olives at home is quite cheaper too. You only need a few ingredients in jars that you can buy for a fraction of the cost of marinated olives from delis or supermarkets.

Thinly sliced unpeeled oranges and lemons impart a deliciously sweet/sour flavour to the mix and are very tasty to eat too.
Thinly sliced unpeeled oranges and lemons impart a deliciously sweet/sour flavour to the mix and are very tasty to eat too.

Besides oranges and lemons I put my favourite ingredient, pickled green peppercorns, in the mix. These tiny jewels aren’t spicy at all but have a wonderful exotic scent. Pickles green peppercorns come in tiny jars.

Pickled green peppercorns are soft and a bit salty. The flavour is similar to black peppercorns.

If you can’t find pickled green peppercorns  just substitute whole black peppercorns. The difference is more in that you can (and should) eat the pickled peppercorns but the black ones are only used for the flavour. They are too hard to bite in. If you get lucky and find fresh black peppercorns, like I have a few times, do use it by all means! It’s fabulous!

Fresh black peppercorns I found in our local Asian shop. I got so excited I bought a lot and froze them.

The last major ingredient, is very readily available everywhere. Pickled garlic. You can use fresh garlic cloves but I find these tastier in my marinated olive mix. The flavour is quite mild too so it doesn’t overpower the other flavours.

Pickled garlics add a mild garlic flavour to the mix. Use as few or as many as you like.
Pickled garlic add a mild garlic flavour to the mix. Use as few or as many as you like.

I make many different kinds but this one is my real favourite non-Persian marinated olives recipe. It’s just of those kitchen adventures that turned out really well and has stayed a favourite recipe for many years. But there are fabulous Persian marinated olives too. I will write about that in another post. I’ll just give you a sneak peek of the picture of one type I make for now.

One of the several kinds of Persian marinated olives. This one’s flavoured with pomegranate syrup, herbs and walnuts.

Olives have been cultivated in many parts of Iran for centuries but almost all of our olives and olive oil are consumed domestically. The best marinated olives in Iran come from the Caspian Sea region where tea, rice and citrus fruit are also very important crops.

OK, I guess I should give out the recipe now. To make a big jar you will need the following ingredients. This makes about two medium jars of marinated olives.


  • I large jar pitted black or green olives
  • 1 orange (preferably organic)
  • 1 lemon (preferably organic)
  • A few cloves of pickled garlic (as many as you like)
  • 1 tbsp pickled green peppercorns (or more)
  • 1/4 red pepper, thinly sliced
  • A couple of sprigs of thyme, stalks removed
  • 1 tsp sweet smoked Spanish paprika
  • 1 scant tsp smoked or regular sea salt flakes
  • 125ml extra virgin olive oil
  • Pinch of chilli flakes (optional)
  • Method: 
  1. Wash the orange and lemon well and dry. Thinly slice one half, juice the other.
  2. Drain the olives in a sieve and put in a large bowl. Add all the other ingredients and mix well. Cover the bowl with cling film or lid and put in the fridge for at least a day but ideally for a week or two. Stir the mix several times during this time to distribute the flavours.
  3. If you are not serving within a day or two put the olive mix in clean jars and top up with enough olive oil to cover them completely. Screw the lids on and keep in the fridge. They will keep for months there if you can resist the temptation to bring them out at every meal! Enjoy!


  1. Deborah Makarios | 4th Mar 16

    Looks delicious! Would capers be a suitable substitute for green peppercorns, do you think?

    • Maryam Sinaiee | 12th Mar 16

      Thank you Deborah. Yes, caper will really be nice. I often use them. In that case add some whole black pepper corns for the pepper flavour.

  2. Steve Heikkila | 11th Mar 16

    Wow, this looks delicious Maryam. I’m definitely going to have to try to marinade my own olives now. Thanks for the inspiration!

    • Maryam Sinaiee | 12th Mar 16

      Thank you Steve. I promise you you will never go back to store-bought marinated olives again. And soon you’ll be making up your own recipes according to your own flavour preferences. Generally, you can’t ever go wrong with marinated olives.

Leave your comments here:

Leave a Reply