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Roasted Olives with Feta Cheese

5 from 4 votes

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Roasted olives are one of our favorite easy party snacks. Here, we’ve paired them with creamy baked feta, citrus, and herbs for a simple yet impressive appetizer that everyone will love.

A white baking dish filled with baked feta and roasted green olives, with pita bread in the background.

Let’s get this party started

I order roasted olives every time I see them on a menu, and I know I’m not alone.

They’re such a perfect snack: salty, tangy, buttery, with a hint of smokey char. And they’re so easy to make at home!

Here, I’ve dressed them up with creamy baked feta, punchy garlic, and bright lemon zest for loads of Mediterranean flavor. If you close your eyes, it’s almost like you’re being transported to Souther Italy or a Greek island.

This is the kind of recipe that you’ll find yourself making over and over again. It’s perfect whether you’re looking for an appetizer to impress your friends at a holiday party, a casual snack that pairs perfectly with a beer or spritz, or just an alternative to eating olives straight from the jar.

It’s super versatile, too! This recipe stands on its own as an appetizer or snack, but you can also use it as a flavorful topping on salad or pasta.

Serve these roasted olives with some crusty bread, crackers or pita chips and watch them disappear!

What you’ll love about this baked feta appetizer


  • Make it in One Pan. Everything roasts together in one pan, which doubles as a serving vessel. That means fewer dishes to wash!
  • Versatile. These roasted olives are right at home at a fancy holiday cocktail party or a casual backyard barbecue. They’ll be your signature dish!
  • Great for Pantry Clean Out. You know that jar of fancy olives you’ve been hoarding for no reason? This will be its purpose.
Ingredients for making a roasted olive with feta appetizer.

Ingredients You’ll Need

This is a super simple appetizer recipe that replies heavily on pantry staples. It’s great for entertaining surprise guests!

Pitted Olives. There’s nothing worse than chomping down on a hard olive pit, so make sure to use pitted olives for this recipe. More on specific olive types below!

Feta Cheese: I like making this recipe with a big block of feta, but you can use crumbled feta if that’s all you can find.

Lemon Zest. For a pop of bright, citrusy flavor. You could also use orange zest here.

Garlic. a few cloves of thinly sliced garlic adds a pungent flavor to the olives. It gets crispy and delicious in the oven!

Oregano. It just goes so well.

Olive Oil. A drizzle of olive oil over the top of the feta will help it brown. If your olives came packed in oil, you can use that. otherwise, grab your everyday bottle.

A word on olives.

It’s important to use good quality olives here. This isn’t the time for standard pimiento-stuffed olives or black olives. Grab a jar of something special. My favorite are Sicilian castelvetrano olives, which are big and buttery, with a slightly crisp, meaty texture.

You can also use a mix of kalamata, niçoise, picholine and green olives. DeLallo and Mezzetta both make great olive blends, as do some store brands. You can also take a trip to the olive bar to make your own mix!

Feta in a white baking pan.
Roasted olives and feta, ready to go into the oven.

How to make it:

  1. Place the feta cheese in the middle of a small baking dish and pour the olives around it.
  2. Tuck the garlic slivers and lemon zest into the olives.
  3. Drizzle everything with olive oil and sprinkle with oregano.
  4. Bake until the olives are warmed though and the feta begins to brown.
  5. Serve hot with plenty of bread!

Busy Foodie Tip: I like to use my countertop oven to cut down on the preheating process and conserve energy! You can also make this in a 6-inch baking pan set in your air fryer.

Tips and Substitution Ideas:

Instead of feta, try making roasted olives with soft goat cheese or brie.

My favorite feta is the kind that comes packed in brine. The added moisture makes it so creamy! But I know that can be hard to find sometimes, so it’s totally ok to work with what you can get. As you can see in these photos, I frequently have to use a lower quality store brand feta.

Try roasted garlic for a milder flavor than fresh garlic.

Use orange zest instead of lemon zest for a slightly different flavor.

Add crushed red pepper flakes or cracked black flavor for a little bit of heat.

Use fresh herbs, like oregano, rosemary, or fresh thyme in place of dried herbs.

Use store-bought marinaded olives for even more flavor. I love the Trader Joe’s marinaded olive duo with lemon and herbs.

Frequently asked questions about baked feta with olives

Can I make this ahead of time?

This recipe is best served immediately, which the feta is still warm. It doesn’t keep well, since the block of baked feta gets a little hard once it’s refrigerated.
You can prep it up to 3 days ahead of time and bake it just prior to serving though!

What if I have leftovers?

Leftovers aren’t great as an appetizer, but they are delicious stirred into pasta or spooned over grilled chicken or fish. You can also use them to top a pizza!

Can I use crumbled feta?

Yes! Just keep an eye on it which it’s in the oven, since it may brown a little faster.

What is the texture of the feta like?

Since this recipe doesn’t have a lot of moisture in it, the feta won’t melt the way it does when you make baked feta pasta. Instead, it will keep its shape and will still crumble, but will be softer inside with a rich, milky flavor.

Baked feta with olives and lemon zest.

Roasted Olives with Feta Cheese

Roasted olives are the perfect way to get your guests' appetites going. Creamy feta and tangy lemon zest complements the buttery olives perfectly. This recipe is so simple, you'll wonder why you haven't made it sooner!
5 from 4 votes
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Course Appetizer
Cuisine Mediterranean
Servings 6 people
Calories 169 kcal

Ingredients
  

  • 8 ounces feta cheese
  • 2 cups pitted olives preferably castlevetrano
  • 1 clove garlic thinly sliced
  • 1 lemon zested
  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • ½ teaspoon dried oregano
  • cracked black pepper

Instructions
 

  • Heat your oven to 375ºF.
  • Pat the feta dry and place it in the center of a small baking dish.
  • Drain the olives and pour them around the feta, filling the dish evenly.
  • Tuck the garlic slivers and lemon zest into the olives. Drizzle everything with olive oil and sprinkle with oregano and black pepper.
  • Bake for 15 minutes, or until the olives are warmed through and the feta begins to brown.
  • Serve warm.

Notes

See the blog post above for more guidance on the types of olives to use and some popular variations and substitutions! 

Nutrition

Serving: 1servingCalories: 169kcalCarbohydrates: 5gProtein: 9gFat: 14gSaturated Fat: 4gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 7gCholesterol: 20mgSodium: 1040mgPotassium: 25mgFiber: 2gSugar: 2gVitamin A: 180IUVitamin C: 1mgCalcium: 28mgIron: 0.3mg
Love this recipe?Mention @TheBusyFoodieLauren or tag #busyfoodie!
By on October 9th, 2022
lauren

Hi, I'm Lauren!

I love to cook -- but even more importantly, I really like to eat! I have a demanding day job that keeps me busy, so time is precious. I'm a culinary school graduate and five-time cookbook author who's all about finding ways to make delicious, restaurant-quality meals at home on a tight schedule. Read more...

4 thoughts on “Roasted Olives with Feta Cheese”

  1. 5 stars
    There is NOTHING better than pairing olives and feta together. This was so delicious and the first appetizer gone at my football party. Will be making it every single time!

    Reply
  2. 5 stars
    Olives and feta are among my favorite things and this appetizer is amazing! So good! I want it for dinner with a slice of crusty bread!

    Reply

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