Dry Salt-Cured Olives

dry salt cured olives

Tony Robins / Getty Images

Prep: 15 mins
Cook: 0 mins
Brining Time: 504 hrs
Total: 504 hrs 15 mins
Servings: 32 servings
Yield: 1 quart
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
40 Calories
4g Fat
2g Carbs
0g Protein
See Full Nutritional Guidelines Hide Full Nutritional Guidelines
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 32
Amount per serving
Calories 40
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 4g 5%
Saturated Fat 1g 3%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 5724mg 249%
Total Carbohydrate 2g 1%
Dietary Fiber 1g 4%
Protein 0g
Calcium 31mg 2%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

This is one of the simplest ways to cure olives. The result is identical to the full-flavored, slightly wrinkled "oil cured" black olives that you can buy in specialty stores. Unlike water-cured olives, these are usually served without the embellishment of herbs or other seasonings.

There are two major methods for brining the olives: using a glass jar or crock or a muslin bag. We have provided both methods below. Regardless, the method takes at least three weeks.

These olives make the perfect snack to munch on, or put them on salads, in pasta, or on pizza.


  • 2 pounds/1 kilogram black olives (small, ripe)
  • 1 pound/0.45 kilogram kosher (or sea salt)
  • 1 tablespoon/15 milliliters extra-virgin olive oil

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

  2. Choose fully ripe, small olives for dry salt-curing. Remove and discard any stems that are still attached. Rinse the olives clean with water and drain them well in a colander.

  3. With the tip of a sharp paring knife, prick 1 or 2 small holes in each olive.

Glass Jar or Crock Method

  1. Spread a 1/4-inch thick layer of the salt over the bottom of a large glass jar or ceramic crock. Add a layer of olives on top of the salt. The layer should be 2 olives or less deep.

  2. Cover the layer of olives with more salt. Add another layer of olives. Repeat until all the olives are completely covered in salt.

  3. Leave at room temperature, stirring the olives or shaking the jar once a day and adding more salt if necessary to keep the olives covered. The olives will start to exude their bitter juices and the salt will turn into a moist paste. If it becomes totally liquid, drain the olives and return them to the container with fresh layers of salt.

Muslin Bag Method

  1. Alternatively, combine the olives and salt in a muslin bag (a clean pillowcase will work if you don't use fabric softener or other perfumed laundry products).

  2. Hang the bag over a bucket or bowl so that any liquid that leaches out of the olives during the curing process doesn't make a mess.

After 3 Weeks of Either Method

  1. Rinse the salt off of an olive, and taste it. If it is still too bitter, continue to cure the olives, adding salt to absorb the juices, and testing the flavor about once a week. When ready, olives cured by the dry salt method will be shriveled up and have a very mildly bitter but pleasant flavor.

  2. Once the olives have reached that stage, brush off or very quickly rinse off the salt. If you rinse, spread the olives out in a single layer and let them dry off completely before proceeding. This can take several hours, so leave them overnight if you like.

  3. Toss the cured olives with 1 tablespoon of extra-virgin olive oil.

How to Store

  • Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 1 month, in the refrigerator for up to 6 months, or in the freezer for up to a year.

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