Simple ingredients come together in just minutes to create Tapenade; an elegant appetizer recipe!

This deliciously briny spread is made from a mixture of olives and capers with a bit of oil and some fresh flavors from lemon and basil. Great for a cocktail party, try it with a Classic Martini or best of all, serve it with a good bottle of dry wine!

Tapenade in a dish with bread slices

What is Tapenade?

Tapenade is a condiment or spread that originates from France—so it has to be good! It’s made with lots of olives and some capers along with some other flavorful ingredients (below).

It’s loved for its unique tangy and briny flavors and deliciously meaty texture. It’s also a fun recipe to experiment with once the basic recipe.

Serve tapenade spooned over crostini or with crackers or even spread it onto a sandwich for a boost of flavor.

Why We Love it So Much

  • The amazing flavor comes from great ingredients, not from spending hours fussing!
  • This recipe comes together fast.
  • Tapenade can be made ahead of time and keeps well in the fridge.
  • This tapenade recipe is so versatile, it’s simple to change or add ingredients.
  • It has so many applications and goes with so many different kinds of dishes from entrées and appetizers to salads or platters.

ingredients to make Tapenade

Ingredients and Variations

OLIVES Use green or black brine-cured olives or, for a tasty black tapenade, use ripened black Kalamata Olives. Ensure your olives are pitted.

CAPERS Don’t leave these tasty little delights out of tapenade! They can be found online, near the pickles, or in the deli section of your market.

OIL & LEMON Olive oil and lemon juice are the acid and fat component that is necessary to make tapenade have the proper balance.

HERBS & FLAVORS Garlic and fresh basil along with anchovies are all such great flavors. Try topping the spread with a thin flake of Parmesan cheese for even more deliciousness!

EXTRAS Add some chopped & pickled artichoke, roast and add red or green peppers, or spread tapenade on Easy Grilled Chicken Breast to dress it up. For a low carb or keto version, spread tapenade on a thick slice of garden tomato, it is so yummy!

 Did you know? Olives are black or green not because of variety, but based on how ripe they were when picked!

ingredients in food processor to make Tapenade

How to Make Tapenade

It’s the ingredients, not the time spent, that make this recipe so delish, so enjoy creating this super fancy appetizer in just minutes!

  1. Assemble ingredients and place in food processor.
  2. Blend (per recipe below) until desired consistency is reached.
  3. Chill and serve.

blended Tapenade

Ways to Serve Tapenade

Tapenade is usually served on Homemade Crostini or thinly sliced and toasted Homemade French Bread. Rub a clove of garlic on the toasted bread for extra flavor if desired.

Tapenade also tastes amazing on an Antipasto Platter or a How to Make a Charcuterie Board.

Use it as a tasty dip for pita chips, spread it on sandwiches, or stir a spoonful into potato salad or macaroni salad.

More Elegant Appetizers

Did you enjoy this Tapenade? Be sure to leave a rating and a comment below! 

Tapenade in a dish with bread slices
4.93 from 13 votes↑ Click stars to rate now!
Or to leave a comment, click here!

Quick & Easy Tapenade

This tasty tapenade is great with pasta, or as an appetizer spread with crostini.
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 5 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes
Servings 4


  • 2 cups mixed olives pitted
  • 2 tablespoons capers
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • ½ tablespoon lemon juice
  • 3 basil leaves
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 anchovy fillet or 1 teaspoon of anchovy paste


  • Place all ingredients in a food processor and blend until the mixture forms a coarse paste.
  • Refrigerate for up to 4 days.
4.93 from 13 votes

Nutrition Information

Calories: 164 | Carbohydrates: 3g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 17g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Cholesterol: 1mg | Sodium: 1162mg | Potassium: 40mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 287IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 40mg | Iron: 1mg

Nutrition information provided is an estimate and will vary based on cooking methods and brands of ingredients used.

Course Appetizer, Dip, Snack
Cuisine American
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Tapenade in a dish with a title
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ingredients to make Tapenade with plated dish and a title



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About the author

Holly is a wine and cheese lover, recipe creator, shopping enthusiast and self appointed foodie. Her greatest passion is creating in the kitchen and making deliciously comforting recipes for the everyday home cook!
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Recipe Rating


  1. I love tapenade and make it regularly, but have never used a recipe or wrote down what/how much I used! Since I use all the same ingredients as you, I’m going to use your measurements next time and see!5 stars

  2. I don’t have garlic or anchovies – do you think I could substitute with 1/2 tsp of garlic salt ?

    1. While I’ve never tried it, you may want to try garlic powder instead of garlic salt. For anchovies, you could omit, or add a splash of Worcestershire to get a bit of flavor.

  3. This is very close to my tapenade. I use both green and black olives and add pimiento. I use a knife vice food processor unless I’m making a lot. One of my favorites.4 stars