Easy Spanish Marinated Olives Recipe (Mojo Picón)

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by Maggie Turansky

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If you’re looking for a quick and easy appetiser to enjoy during an aperitivo hour, then these Spanish marinated olives are an excellent option. Served along with some Basque-style Gildas and/or some blistered padrón peppers and a glass of Spanish red vermouth over ice, I honestly can think of nothing better.

There are few things that I love more about my travels in Spain than sitting down at an open-air cafe, ordering a drink and being brought a dish of flavourful, marinated olives. And being away from Spain, it’s rare that I find olives that have quite the same flavours as those you can find on the Iberian peninsula.

When browsing a Spanish market, the kind of olives I covet beyond all else are mojo picón style. These green olives are marinated in a spicy sauce that makes them absolutely irresistible. So if you’re looking to jazz up a jar of boring green olives, then this recipe is a great choice for you.

Marinated Spanish Olives
Mojo Picón

How to Make Spanish Marinated Olives

This olive marinade is incredibly easy and comes together in a matter of minutes. So it’s important you have everything prepped and ready to go when you need it.

Key ingredients for this marinated olives recipe
Key ingredients for this marinated olives recipe

First off, add some spices to a heatproof bowl. For these mojo picón olives, I call for chili flakes, smoked paprika and whole cumin seeds. Together, the flavours are excellent.

Also, add in a couple of sprigs of fresh rosemary and a strip of lemon zest that you’ve removed from the lemon with a vegetable peeler.

Adding the spices, rosemary and lemon zest to a bowl
Adding the spices, rosemary and lemon zest to a bowl

Now, add a few cloves of crushed garlic to a small pan along with some extra virgin olive oil. Place the pot over medium heat.

Gently heat the olive oil and allow the garlic to infuse into it. As one side of the garlic cloves brown, flip over so you can brown the other side.

Adding the garlic and infused oil
Adding the garlic and infused oil

Once the garlic is golden brown all over, pour the hot oil and garlic over the spices, lemon zest and rosemary.

Now, to the bowl, add your olives. Use high-quality green olives here. In Spain, the typical variety would be manzanilla but those can be tough to find outside of Spain.

Adding the olives to the marinade
Adding the olives to the marinade

Castelvetrano olives are an acceptable substitute. Just make sure that they have the pits in and are just in a brine – no other flavours have been added to them.

Over your olives, pour in a bit of sherry vinegar. Then stir to combine and allow to sit until they’re completely cooled – at least one hour.

Mixing the olives and marinade together
Mixing the olives in the marinade

The olives keep getting better and better the longer they sit in the marinade, so you can even cover and refrigerate them for several days and serve them when needed – they’ll be great!

Marinated Spanish Olives

Spanish Marinated Olives (Mojo Picón)

This quick marinade is an excellent way to elevate a boring jar of olives. Using classic Spanish spices and flavours, these pair perfectly with some manchego cheese or a glass of vermouth on ice.
5 from 3 votes
Servings 4
Prep Time 10 minutes
Resting Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 10 minutes


  • ½ tsp chili flakes
  • ½ tsp whole cumin seeds
  • ½ tsp smoked paprika
  • 2 sprigs fresh rosemary
  • 1 strip lemon zest removed from a lemon with a vegetable peeler
  • 45 ml (3 tbsp) extra virgin olive oil
  • 4 cloves garlic peeled and crushed
  • 200 g (1 ½ cups) whole green olives with pits such as manzanilla or castelvetrano
  • 45 ml (3 tbsp) sherry vinegar


  • In a medium, heatproof bowl, add the chili flakes, cumin seeds, smoked paprika, rosemary and lemon zest.
    Adding the spices, rosemary and lemon zest to a bowl
  • Add the olive oil and garlic to a small pot and set over low heat. Allow the oil to heat up gently and the garlic to infuse in the oil. Flip the garlic cloves over so they brown evenly – remove from heat immediately once browned and pour over the spices in the bowl.
    Adding the garlic and infused oil
  • To the bowl, add the olives and vinegar. Stir to combine using a heatproof spatula. Allow to cool completely at room temperature and let stand in the marinade for at least 1 hour before serving (see notes)
    Mixing the olives and marinade together



Stored in an airtight container, the olives will last for several weeks in the fridge and they just keep getting better with time.


Calories: 173kcal | Carbohydrates: 3g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 18g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 13g | Sodium: 786mg | Potassium: 54mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 0.4g | Vitamin A: 399IU | Vitamin C: 2mg | Calcium: 37mg | Iron: 1mg

Disclaimer: Nutritional information is automatically generated and provided as guidance only. Accuracy is not guaranteed.

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These mojo picón olives are the perfect addition to a tapas dinner or as an excellent appetiser with drinks. They’re easy to make and absolutely delicious.

Are you looking to make some marinated Spanish olives? Have any questions about this recipe? Let us know in the comments!

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Maggie is the creator behind No Frills Kitchen. She is a world traveller, home cook and recipe developer who loves to experiment with new cuisines and techniques at every chance she gets. No stranger to improvising and making do with the equipment and ingredients she has available, she is passionate about sharing her knowledge with others. Read More

5 from 3 votes (3 ratings without comment)

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