5 Finest Olive Substitutes You Can Completely Rely On

One of the most versatile food items out there surely is the olive. With the diversity of usage that it comes with, it has become a staple for most kitchens. From its bright colour to its sleek shape, it is a great choice for a chef to add some distinct taste to a recipe. What sets it apart from others is its variety of flavours. 

It offers them everything from sweet to sour and from salty to bitter. But, what if you can find olive anywhere in the kitchen and realize that you forgot to restock them? Can you opt for an olive substitutes? Well, you sure can!

What makes olives so special?

Food enthusiasts love olives for varied reasons. Filled with great nutritional content and offering a distinct flavour, olives are used in numerous ways. From adding them to your omelettes to sprinkling them on the salads and from sipping them with your drink to making them a part of your pizzas, olives are surely a great way to make your food a lot more nutritional.

Olive Substitutes

Olive oil – can it also be substituted?

Like olives, olive oil is also one of the most widely used products, which is consumed due to its amazing health benefits. However, when it is not available, it is possible to substitute it with other items with similar tastes and nature. For instance, vegetable oil and canola oil are healthy choices. You can interchange them for dressing your salads, frying the fish or cooking the regular meal. 

If you are a fan of baking, you can use butter without hesitation. Olive oil is a healthier choice. Three-quarters of butter can be substituted with the prescribed olive oil in the recipe. Olive oil’s consumption compared to butter is far lesser!


5 Enormous Olive Substitutes to Go With

An olive substitute for cooking is not hard to find. If your frozen stock of olives has finished and you can’t get the fresh ones immediately, there are numerous options you can go for.

1. Capers

Capers can easily be used to substitute olives! They are so identical to the olives that no one would ever realize you have used Capers instead of them. Taste-wise, the flavour of both capers and olives is similar. Hence, whether you want substitutes for olives in cooking or an olive substitute for matini, opting for Capers would surely be a good idea. 

Capers are unripe buds of the caper bush, which are green in colour owing to being unripened. They originate from Italy and are a staple in the Mediterranean cuisines. Nonetheless, people all across the globe opt for it and make them a part of their regular dishes. It can work as the perfect olive substitute in salads for you whenever you are short of olives!

You can use capers just the way you use olives. However, as they are strong in taste, it would be better to use them sparingly. It means to keep its usage limited, or else your dish would turn out to be sharp. You can use them straight out of the jar. Cleaning and drying them with the help of a paper towel after rinsing would surely make them safer for usage.

Olive Substitutes - Capers


2. Green Peppercorns

Green peppercorns work as great substitutes for olives and capers when nothing is available. They offer the same spice level as olives do without causing any bitterness, making them a great olive substitute in the recipe.

Olives tend to make your dish a bit salty if you are way too generous in using them. It tends to affect the overall flavour, being a bit off-putting. However, green peppercorns, no matter how much you stuff your dish with them, don’t make it salty or bitter! 

They can work as great substitutes for olives in pizza because of the freshness they exude. They are not sharp compared to the black pepper, nor are they astringent. Hence, they surely add to its flavour, taste, and fragrance once added to the pizza.

Olive Substitutes - Green Peppercorns


3. Mushrooms

What makes Mushrooms the best olive substitute in salads is their ability to taste just like olives! They taste buttery and creamy, just like the olives do. It is why most people grab them to adorn their salads when they cant find olives anywhere!

However, one quality in Mushrooms is a little different from the olives. It is their aroma! The mushrooms are a little mellower than the olives, both fragrance and taste. If you are a fan of sharp flavours, you can go for the flavoured pickled mushrooms, and they will give a sour, salty flavour to your salad.

Whether it’s the salads, fish, pasta or sandwiches, you can easily replace olives with mushrooms and make them taste heavenly! Mushrooms act as the best substitutes for olives in pizza. For that, add a ½ cup of mushrooms against a cup of olives, and you will get the same taste!

Pro tip: Adding mushrooms instead of olives may give a bit of an acidic feature to the dish. To remove that, a dash of vinegar would work great!

Olive Substitutes - Mushrooms


4. Pickled tomatoes

Tomatoes can be your saviour in a lot many ways! Tomato is that one thing that is readily available in most houses. The moment you realize you are out of olives, you will surely have tomatoes lying somewhere around the house. It will become your go-to olive substitute in the recipe.

The savoury flavour of tomatoes makes them a perfect alternative to the olives. If you don’t like spicy food, adding tomato instead of olives would be a great idea. Pickled tomatoes are a combination of sweet and sour, which give a distinct taste to the dish.

Cheese sandwiches are the most appropriate ones for this substitution. You can easily skip olives and place tomatoes instead of them, and they will give your sandwich a great flavour.

Furthermore, if you have to make a sauce to dip the sandwich in, tomatoes turn out to be great substitutes for olives in the sauce.

Olive Substitutes - Pickled tomatoes


5. Blue Cheese

If you are a cheese lover, you may already know that blue cheese tastes somewhat like olives. Believe it or not, the blue cheese cubes work as a great substitute for olives in martini. Suppose you have both the blue cheese and olives, stuff a bit of cheese into the olives and have it with the martini. You would be amazed by how delicious it tastes.

What makes blue cheese similar to olives is its ageing process. As it ages slowly, it develops a meaty and earthy taste, which is a speciality of olives. Hence, if you can’t wait to have salads or sandwiches but have no olives to add to them, blue cheese would work great as an alternative. 

A dip or a sauce is a staple food for many people. They can’t do with a sauce, and the unavailability of olives makes them uncomfortable. Using blue cheese instead of olives helps bring some thickness to the sauce. However, make sure not to go overboard while adding the cheese to your dish, as it may end up becoming unexpectedly clumpy and way too creamy for your comfort.

Olive Substitutes - Blue Cheese

Substitutes Substitute Ratio Most suitable for
Capers Two capers for every one olive Stew, Pizzas, Sandwiches, soup 
Green Pepperoni Three tablespoons with half a cup of olives Pizzas
Mushrooms Sparingly Salads, 
Pickled Tomatoes 2 parts of pickled tomatoes with 1pa Tapas, Salads
Blue cheese Martini, Sandwiches


Frequently Asked Questions

What can replace olives?
Many items can replace olives, but you need to choose the right one according to the dish you are preparing. For instance, when replacing olives in martini, blue cheese works great. In salads, mushrooms are a good option, while capers can generally be used as a great alternative to olives in all the recipes. Finding substitutes for olives in martini gets easier with the availability of blue cheese cubes.
What can I use instead of olives and capers?
If you don’t have either olives or capers, the green peppercorns are the most viable option to go for. They offer a taste similar to both these items but are a bit darker in colour!
What do capers taste like?
Capers taste just like olives with a lemony tang and a hint of saltiness. However, they also have some tartiness that gives them a distinct flavour. They are great substitutes for olives in sauce.
Can you add water to the olive jar?
While brine curing olives, you can put water into a jar of olives. For that, you need to mix ¼ cup of kosher salt, half a cup of vinegar and 4 cups of water. Submerge olive onto this mixture and place a cheesecloth on the top. It will make sure that the olives remain under the water for long.
What do green olives taste like?
Green olives taste a little bitter. However, once mixed with some garlic and cheese, their taste becomes more bearable.



Olives taste heavenly good and are filled with great nutritional values. However, you can easily substitute them with other items when you are short of them. All you need to consider is keeping the quantity appropriate as the alternative may add to the saltiness or sourness of the dish!

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