Fried Olives

Fried Olives are the best little appetizers in the world ~ they’re crisp on the outside, warm and juicy on the inside ~ dip them in a little garlicky aioli and you’ll be in heaven, guaranteed!

Fried Olives appetizer

My husband is a people watcher. Me, not so much. So when we go out for the occasional date night or drink, I always look for a cozy booth in the corner, while he’ll go right for the table in the middle of it all, especially when it’s a hot new place like the one we were at last night. This is the man who spent the better part of one of our anniversary dinners with his eyes riveted on the next table over… at Marlon Brando. It’s an occupational hazard of living in Los Angeles. and it has played out over and over again throughout the years, with sightings from the sublime to the ridiculous. But I digress…my point was that we had these fried olives last night and they are AMAZING. Definitely worth the all-caps effect there, trust me.


These little fried olives have to be the food of the gods. They’re crunchy on the outside, soft and smoldering on the inside. Dip them in a fresh garlic aioli and you’ll swear you’ve died and gone to heaven. There wasn’t any people watching going on after these babies hit the table, I can tell you.

Fried Olives with a lemony garlic aioli

This wonderful appetizer is put together straight from pantry staples. You’ll need a jar of small pitted olives, you can use stuffed or unstuffed. I’ve made both, but I think I prefer the stuffed, it adds a little extra flavor dimension. The olives get dredged in flour, then doused in a buttermilk or a beaten egg, and then dredged a second time in breadcrumbs. This double dunking is a little messy, but insures a perfect crisp crust.

Something transformative happens to an olive when you fry it. No kidding, these will surprise you, they are fabulous. They make the perfect cocktail nibbles, and I think it’s always nice to serve people something they haven’t necessarily had a million times before.

Unlike most fried foods, these olives reheat beautifully in a 350F oven — that’s HUGE! That means you can make them ahead and easily reheat as friends arrive. And, if you can salvage any leftovers, you can enjoy them the next day, I even microwaved them and they were great.

Fried Olives with Lemon Aioli Dip
Delicious and delicate Fried Olives are a crowd pleaser!
Fried Olives appetizer
3.84 from 43 votes

Fried Olives

Author Sue Moran


  • 1 5 1/2 oz jar of small pitted green olives or pimento stuffed olives
  • 1/2 cup plain bread crumbs
  • 1/2 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 egg well beaten, or 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • vegetable oil for frying
  • Parmesan cheese for garnishing optional

aioli dip

  • 1/3 cup mayonnaise
  • juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 1 clove of garlic finely minced
  • salt and pepper to taste


  • In a heavy bottomed pot heat a couple of inches of vegetable oil until it reaches 325-350 degrees on a thermometer.
  • While it is heating, set out the flour in a pie plate or shallow dish, and the breadcrumbs in another. Put the beaten egg or the buttermilk in a small bowl
  • Dredge the olives in the flour, and then into the beaten egg or buttermilk.
  • Toss them into the breadcrumbs and make sure they get evenly coated.
  • Fry the olives in the hot oil until they are golden, this will take about a minute and a half. Do this in batches so the oil doesn’t cool down when you add the olives.
  • Drain the olives on a paper towel, and serve hot. Toothpicks help with the dipping.
  • To make the aioli whisk together all the ingredients.
  • The olives can be reheated by putting in a 350F oven for a few minutes. They can even be briefly microwaved.
The nutritional information for recipes on this site is provided as a courtesy and although tries to provide accurate nutritional information, these figures are only estimates.


  • Can you use any kind of olive?  Probably, as long as they’re pitted, but I think a small green olive works best because it gives you just the right size bite and the flavor isn’t overpowering. Stuffed or unstuffed works.
  • Can you bake these?  I suppose it’s possible, I haven’t tried. Let me know if you try. If you don’t like fried foods you might check out one of my healtheir roasted olive recipes instead, here, and here.
  • Can you make these ahead?  Yes! Make them earlier in the day and right before you want to serve them pop them into a 350F oven for a few minutes until they’re sizzling.
  • I don’t have a thermometer, can I still make these?  Yes, but the oil has to be hot enough. To test it, drop an olive in, it should sizzle right away and fry to golden in about a minute to a minute and a half. And get an oven thermometer, they are really cheap.

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  • Reply
    October 22, 2012 at 3:04 pm

    5 stars
    These sound so interesting. I adore olives – really, really love them. This sounds perfect for me ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Reply
      Tricia @ Saving room for dessert
      November 2, 2015 at 8:01 am

      I can’t believe I haven’t made these yet – they are gorgeous and sound absolutely wonderful! I could hurt myself on these ๐Ÿ™‚ Thanks! Beautiful photos too!

      • Reply
        November 2, 2015 at 8:12 am

        The key is to make them for a group, then you definitely won’t get enough to do any damage ๐Ÿ˜‰

  • Reply
    From Beyond My Kitchen Window
    October 22, 2012 at 9:24 am

    I have never had a fried olive, but boy do they look good.

  • Reply
    October 20, 2012 at 10:04 pm

    In Italy, these are called Olive Ascolane (because they are originally from the town of Ascoli Piceno in Le Marche). However, those use larger green olives and they are always stuffed with ground meat (a combination), veggies (carrot, celery, onion) and spices before breading/frying. They have become a popular appetizer snack throughout Italy. So yes, they can indeed be stuffed. If you think these are good, look up a recipe for olive ascolane!! Soooo delicious!

  • Reply
    belleau kitchen
    October 20, 2012 at 7:36 am

    5 stars
    These are just bloody genius! Again your Friday cocktail hour is excellent!! I love LA. where abouts are you? Think we may be coming out for NYE!!

  • Reply
    October 20, 2012 at 11:17 am

    They sound delicious! and beautiful pictures.
    I must try this recipe.

  • Reply
    Bites from life with the barking lot
    October 20, 2012 at 1:48 am

    Can’t wait to try these. They look and sound amazing!!

  • Reply
    October 19, 2012 at 11:22 pm

    I have never heard of fried olives, Sue. I NEED to know what I am missing though, so I have just added olives to my shopping list. I love finding new foods this way!

  • Reply
    Nantucket Daffodil
    October 19, 2012 at 9:22 pm

    These look sooooo good…a delicious blending of salty and yum! I feel a bit out of touch…somehow I missed the big move. I am sad you are no longer close by. I have decided you are my cookbook…so thanks!

    • Reply
      Sue/the view from great island
      October 19, 2012 at 11:10 pm

      I can see how you missed our move, I’m still dizzy thinking about criss-crossing the country twice in 18 months! I hope you try these, they are really special.

  • Reply
    Averie @ Averie Cooks
    October 19, 2012 at 4:23 pm

    I need to pop a few of these babies…they look so good and perfectly pop-able! And love how crunchy they got. Perfect!

  • Reply
    Heather Schmitt-Gonzalez
    October 19, 2012 at 3:37 pm

    I’m a people watcher, too =) And I’m positive that two people could polish these babies off in no time flat. YUM!

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