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Spanish Olives: Types and recipes


Spanish olives are the most common tapas you will find in Spain. No matter where you go, either a classy restaurant or a tapas bar, most of the times before your food is ready, the place will give you a free tapa of Spanish olives. These are delicious and you could spend a whole day eating them, so make sure you leave some room for the rest of the plates, it´s important to have in mind that these are just tapas!

What are Spanish olives?


Not going to ask you if you know what an olive is, but definitely many of you are wondering what are differences between the Spanish olives and the commmon ones? Well Spanish olives are small green olives originated in Spain, but they are extremely good. These olives are normally served in bars to share it with a drink, generally a cold beer. Sometimes these are not served as a tapa but are added to a big plate, the most common one is the salad with olives.

Spanish olives types


As you may know Spain owns the largest production of olive trees in the world, there are more than 300 million of olive trees. This means that the quality of the production is really good, but also that there is a great variety, here are the best Spanish olives:

Cornicabra olives

The Cornicabra olives are typical from Toledo, from Mora being more specific. You can find them in Ciudad Real, Badajoz and Caceres as well. The Cornicabra production is one of the highest, and it is the second type when talking about hectares, it´s cultivated in more than 28.000 Ha.

Gordal olives

The Gordal olives, also known as “Jumbo olives” are the largest type of olives in Spain, the size is huge! It´s origin is in Seville, this type of olive is soft and normally used to stuff it with different ingredients inside like cheese, fruit or peppers.

Arbequina olives

The Arbequina olives are originated in Catalonia and now a days you can find them in different regions of the world, like Australia or the United States. 

It´s light-brown colour, it is different from the rest of olives, but also the taste is unique and that is why these types of olives are normally used as a tapa and not served as part of a dish. You should also know that the Arbequina olives are one of the most famous olives in the world.

Picual olives

We needed to mention an olive like the Picual, as it´s normally not consumed as a fruit but used to make olive oil. It´s origin is from the king area of olive oil in Spain, Jaen. The Picual olive produce around 20-28% of oil by weight.

Other Spanish olives varieties

These are some of the most famous types of olives in Spain, but the list is uncountable, other types are: Loaime olive, Hojiblanca olive, Farga olive, Morrut olive, Manzanilla Cacereña olive…

Spanish olives recipe


Wish we could tell you just one recipe for Spanish olives, but there are many different ways to cook and serve this typical Spanish tapa. There are some really famous and traditional ways to serve the olives in Spain, but also some other that are not that popular, here we will tell you two of the best Spanish olives recipes:

Spanish Marinated olives

Probably one of the most famous ways to cook the olives in Spain. It´s typical from Andalusia, the south of Spain, this is the best way to make them:

Marinated olives recipe

These are the ingredients to prepare it: 

  • 2 cups of Olives, Gordal olives are normally the ones selected for this dish.
  • Lemon zest
  • 1 cup of Marcona or Blanched almonds
  • 1 or 2 garlic cloves
  • Red pepper and salt
  • 3/4 cups of olive oil

The steps to make this easy marinated olive recipe are:

  1. Mix all these ingredients together and cook it over a medium heat until the olive is hot enough, then turn it down to low heat and keep the olives for 10 minutes more or less.
  2. Pass the olives and almonds though a strainer and keep the olive to cook any time later or use it as dipping sauce.

Olives with anchovies

It is one of the most famous pinchos in Spain. It is very common to serve a pincho of olives with anchovies in celebrations and events where there are many people as it´s simple and easy to make.

Olives stuffed with anchovies recipe

  1. With the flat side of a knife, cursh the olives and remove the pits (keep the olives in perfect conditions) stuff 1 anchovy and 1 piquillo strip into each olive (it´s optional to add an almond)
  2. In a different bowl, place together the olive oil, garlic, orange or lemon zest and vinegar. Add the olives to the bowl and keep it to room temperature for 30mins – 1h 30 mins.

Where to buy Spanish olives?

If you always have the need to eat the best food possible, you will not conform yourself buying some random olives from a supermarket. You will probably need to get the best olives out there, and we are going to help you making the selection. The best places where you can buy olives from Spain are Mercado San Miguel in Madrid and Colmado Quilez in Barcelona.

If that´s not your case and you just want to try the Spanish olives, in Spain you will find olives in every supermarket you go.

Campo real olives

Decided to leave Campo real olives to the end, as these are the best olives you can find in Spain. The Campo real olives are typical from Madrid, although you can find them in Extremadura as well. You will recognize Campo real olives for their round shape, their green to brownish tones and their very firm texture. It´s a must when visiting Spain, so you cannot leave the country without trying them.

Spanish Olives benefits


Are Spanish olives good for you? Good news for you all, this is a question that many people ask, and if you are not convinced yet about trying the Spanish olives (you should be) there is another good reason for you to try them: Spanish olives are good for the heart and can also protect from cancer, so the answer is yes, Spanish olives are really healthy.

Spanish olive calories

For the ones who are only worried about the calories, the Spanish olives contain between 110 and 145 calories per every 100 grams. (Olives weight is about 4 grams)