marinated olives and cheese in a serving bowl

I’ve officially become a pregnancy cliche. I don’t remember craving anything in particular with either of the boys, but this little girl has me wanting ALL THE LEMONS. All the salty/sour/tangy things, really, but especially lemon.

That said, the thought of marinating olives and parmesan cheese in fresh herbs, garlic, red wine vinegar, and — lemon juice! — suddenly came to me last week, and the craving was so intense that I bought the ingredients to make them (translation: sent Ben to the store) a few hours later. Waiting 24 hours for them to marinate was torture, but this bright and briny appetizer recipe was totally worth the wait!

spoonful of marinated olives with herbs and garlic

Make Ahead Marinated Olives

Perusing the mixed olive bar at the grocery store was almost like going to the candy store before getting Celiac Disease. I say “almost” because let’s be real, nothing can compete with a wall of gummy worms. Anyway, now that “bars” (and “bulk” and “bins” for that matter) are no longer part of my culinary vocabulary, I simply DIY a marinated olive mix at home and it’s JUST as fantastic,

Herb and Garlic Marinated Olives are a cinch to assemble (pour stuff in a bag then refrigerate) plus they’re make-ahead so you won’t be scrambling the day of a party or get-together to come up with an appetizer. The flavors in the marinated olives just get better and better as they sit. Good after 24 hours but even better two or three days later.

That said, assemble these olives in the middle of the week if you anticipate weekend guests, or keep them on hand in the fridge to snag anytime you need a savory snack. Let’s do this!

marinated olives and cheese in a serving bowl

How to Make This Recipe

Start with olives, of course! You can use whatever kind you like. I happen to love Mezzetta green olives so I use a mixture of those and kalamata olives.

Two jars of olives.

Add the olives to a large Ziplock bag with cubed parmesan cheese, smashed garlic cloves, whole black peppercorns, fresh rosemary and thyme, extra virgin olive oil, red wine vinegar, and fresh lemon juice.

Ziplock bag of olives, cheese, and herbs.

Seal the bag up then gently mix to combine and refrigerate for at least 24 hours before serving — rotating and flipping the bag anytime you think about it. If you choose to make the olives three or more days ahead of time, replace the herbs with new fresh ones anytime they start to look a little sad.

Closed Ziplock bag of olives, cheese, and herbs.

When it’s time to dine let the bag sit at room temperature for at least 30 minutes, which allows the olive oil to melt, then pour the mixture into a serving bowl with olive tongs, toothpicks, or appetizer forks and go to town. I hope you love this EASY, absolutely delicious gluten-free appetizer recipe! Enjoy!

herb and garlic marinated olives and cheese in a serving bowl

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Herb and Garlic Marinated Olives

5/5 (2 REVIEWS)


Herb and Garlic Marinated Olives are an easy yet impressive appetizer recipe you can whip together several days ahead of a party or get together.


serves a crowd

  • 2 cups pitted Italian green olives
  • 1 cup pitted kalamata olives
  • 4oz parmesan cheese cut into 1/4” cubes
  • 3 cloves garlic, smashed
  • 1/2 Tablespoon whole black peppercorns
  • 1 large sprig fresh rosemary
  • 1 large sprig fresh thyme
  • 3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 Tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • juice of 1/2 lemon


  1. Add all the ingredients into a large Ziplock bag then place inside a bowl (in case of leaks) and refrigerate for at least 24 hours before eating - flipping and rotating the bag any time you think about it. Let the bag sit at room temperature for 30 minutes to melt the oil then pour contents into a serving bowl and serve with toothpicks or tongs.


  • I use Mezzetta brand olives >
  • You can make these olives up to four or five days ahead of time. Replace the herbs with fresh ones anytime they look a little sad!

This recipe is courtesy of Iowa Girl Eats,

Photo collage of herb and garlic marinated olives