This easy olive tapenade recipe is based on the traditional French tapenade recipe from Provence in southern France that’s made with only four ingredients – black olives, capers, anchovies, and olive oil. You could add garlic, herbs and spices, but this Mediterranean olive dip is absolutely delicious in its original form, eaten on fresh or toasted baguette slices, pinchos or crostini.
Buy some jars of Kalamata olives, capers and anchovies and keep this black olive tapenade recipe handy if you’ve got loved-ones dropping in over the upcoming holidays, as it will make you an incredibly delicious dip that you can serve with homemade crackers, cheese straws or fresh or toasted baguette slices, and it can be made in a matter minutes.
Before I tell you more about this olive tapenade recipe, if you didn’t scroll our home page before landing on this recipe, we’ve been publishing Christmas recipe collections in recent weeks, including our best Christmas cocktail recipes, best dip recipes for crackers and crudités for festive parties, best Christmas starters, best Christmas salads, and best desserts for Christmas. We’ll add more recipes and recipe compilations between now and Christmas Day and New Year’s Eve.
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Easy Olive Tapenade Recipe for the Traditional Tapenade Recipe with Only 4 Ingredients
Every time we make this olive tapenade recipe I shake my head in disbelief that for so many years we used to buy tapenade – along with hummus, and pesto, and sweet chilli sauce, and Sriracha sauce, and all the things that we make at home these days. But let’s get back to tapenade.
Olive tapenade is not only incredibly delicious and versatile (just don’t tell your French friends you’re adjusting their tapenade!), it’s also ridiculously easy to make.
Back in the day, olive tapenade was pounded in a mortar and pestle, but these days it’s typically made in a food processor, which doesn’t change the flavour, and means you can make the tapenade within a matter of minutes.
This tapenade recipe is based on the classic French tapenade recipe from Provence in southern France that’s made with only four ingredients – black olives, capers, anchovies, and olive oil – although I also add a little red wine vinegar or sherry vinegar although that’s not strictly traditional.
You could also add a little garlic, along with Mediterranean herbs and spices, although then it’s not strictly tapenade, according to the French. Whatever you do, don’t add salt, as there’s enough salt from the anchovies and capers.
But if you’re making this dip for the first time, do try the traditional olive tapenade recipe before experimenting. It’s absolutely delicious in its original form with just olives, capers, anchovies, and quality olive oil.
Tips to Making this Easy Olive Tapenade Recipe
While hailing from Provence in Southern France, olive tapenade is a quintessentially Mediterranean olive spread or dip for me, which is why I love to use the juiciest olives from Kalamata, briny capers from Pantelleria, Ortiz salted anchovies from Spain, and grassy extra virgin olive oil from Valencia.
Having said that, my best tip is to not worry too much about the origin of the ingredients – for instance, Australia produces outstanding Mediterranean style ingredients, such as olives and olive oils – just use the best quality ingredients that you can get and afford.
In France, there are two types of tapenade, black olive tapenade and green olive tapenade, but I like to combine mostly black Kalamata olives (and the brand I buy comes in a mix of shades of brown and black) and smaller proportion of green Spanish olives, for texture and colour, so the tapenade is not completely black.
Don’t blitz the ingredients in the food processor for too long. A minute or two is usually enough time to get the rustic look we go for in the images above. By all means, blend for longer if you want a smoother paste, but I think tapenade looks and tastes infinitely better when it’s more rustic and textured.
There are infinite ways to serve olive tapenade. I love to dip grissini or cheese sticks into the olive tapenade, or spread the tapenade onto baguette slices, pinchos or crostini.
Easy Olive Tapenade Recipe
- 280 g kalamata olives, pitted 220 g black & 60 g green
- 2 tbsp capers
- 2 anchovy fillets
- 60 ml virgin olive oil
- 1 tsp red wine vinegar
- Blend all the ingredients in a food processor.
- Scoop out and into a jar and refrigerate for up to 5 days if not serving straight away.
- Otherwise, transfer the tapenade to a bowl and garnish with a whole olive and anchovy.
- Serve with crackers or cheese sticks or spread onto pinchos or crostini.
Please do let us know in the comments below if you make our olive tapenade recipe as we’d love to know how it turns out for you.