We are reader-supported. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn a commission. Learn more about our review process.

Nerdy Science in the Kitchen

Substitutes For Olives



If you’re looking for substitutes for olives, your search can finally come to an end! We have 10 delicious olive replacements that can add a unique taste to any dish.

Whether you have run out of olives or you simply don’t like them, we have a variety of substitutions that you can choose from according to your needs.

We have mentioned how these replacements differ from olives in texture and flavor. You’ll also get to know the nutritional benefits of these substitutes and what dishes will be suitable for their use.

substitutes for olives

1. Capers

pickled capers in a jar
Pickled capers in a jar

Capers are edible flower buds grown in the same areas as Olives. They are the best substitutes for green olives.

Even if they are smaller and have a stronger smell, they taste similar. Capers have the same salty, sour flavor with meaty notes. Since you get them pickled, you can add them to recipes that call for a strong taste.

These buds are also heavy on Protein, Fiber, Vitamin A, and Vitamin E, so you’re getting a healthy replacement. You can use these just like you’ll use olives. Chop them roughly and use 1 tablespoon of capers to replace 1 tablespoon of green olives.

Capers can act as Castelvetrano olives substitutes. You can use them instead of Picholine olives as well.

Their lemony taste will go great with the other ingredients in a salad or pasta sauce, and they’ll take your martinis to the next level. However, if you dislike olives, Capers might not be the best option.

But don’t worry. You can try other items on our list for your recipe.

2. Artichoke Hearts

artichoke hearts cut in half
Artichoke hearts cut in half

Artichoke is a green vegetable shaped like a pine cone. The inner part has leaves that overlap, similar to cabbages.

This is the edible part before the flower blooms. Artichoke has a meaty center called the heart. It has a slightly bitter taste with hints of umami and a meaty texture that can replace green or black olives.

You can also use it in dressings in place of Kalamata or Picholine olives. When adding Artichoke to your meal, make sure you put in some vinegar and salt for the acidity.

These will bring out the distinctive flavors of this vegetable. You can eat the Artichoke in jars immediately, while the canned form needs to be cooked along with the other ingredients.

There are several health benefits you can get from Artichoke hearts. They are rich in vitamin C, vitamin K, folate, and fiber.

3. Anchovies

smoked spiced anchovies
Smoked and spiced anchovies.

Anchovies are small, salty fish that off the same effect as the salt in olives. A small number of anchovies will be enough to substitute Nicoise olives.

You should use these in recipes that require a long cook time. It removes the fishy smell from your broth and makes it more appetizing.

Even if you chose to add whole Anchovies in your sauce, their taste wouldn’t overpower the meal.

We recommend that you chop them up for pasta sauces or toppings for pizza. You won’t find them as crispy as olives, but they can have a somewhat similar texture.

Let’s not forget about the nutritional benefits!

Anchovies are packed with calcium, vitamin A, potassium, and omega fatty acids. Before putting them in any of your meals, keep in mind that some people are allergic to these fish.

4. Pickled Peppers

pickled peppers
Pickled peppers in a jar

Pickled peppers are great olive replacements. They don’t just give a rich taste but also bring tanginess to your meals. Pickled peppers have a savory flavor but are not as salty as olives.

You can use them in sandwiches, salads, and on top of pizza. If you’re making a sauce, throw some of these in to add color. They work well as garnish too.

If you’re not fond of the spiciness, you can go for pickled peppers with milder flavors. They are amazing sources of vitamin C and act as anti-oxidants.

These qualities make them healthy olive alternatives.

5. Mushrooms

mushrooms on a cutting board
Mushrooms on a cutting board.

If you dislike olives’ strong flavors and scents, mushrooms are perfect for you!

They have the same fleshy texture as olives, but their taste and aroma are more subtle. They are the best substitutes for Gaeta olives.

However, if you like having some added saltiness, you can always opt for pickled mushrooms. They go well with pasta, salads, and pizza toppings.

Unlike Artichokes, mushrooms will give a better texture to your dish. Even if you use button mushrooms, you’re sure to get outstanding results.

Plus, mushrooms have lower calories than olives, and they are richer in Protein. This information might come in handy if you’re trying to cut down the carbs.

6. Pickled Tomatoes

pickled tomatoes in jars
Pickled tomatoes in jars.

Unlike pickled peppers, pickled tomatoes are much milder. They are good alternatives for olives if you don’t like anything too spicy.

While pickled tomatoes are salty, they are also sweet with hints of fruity flavor. This taste makes them great substitutes for Kalamata olives.

These will be excellent if you’re looking for something a little saltier than the other options. Pickled tomatoes come in brine and can act as alternatives for Nicoise olives.

They have a buttery texture with the same nutty taste. This option is versatile, which means you can use it for sandwiches, pizza, salads, cheese platters, dips, and sauces.

Pickled tomatoes have a similar texture to sun-dried tomatoes, so you can use them alternatively if you run out of olives.

7. Pickled Onions

pickled onions in a jar
Pickled onions in a jar.

Want something with a pungent taste? Try pickled onions!

They can bring in some heat as well as their sweet and salty flavors. Use them in sandwiches and salads along with some cheese for best results.

However, you can also add them to pasta, dips, dressings, salsas, and any chicken or fish-based meal.

You can even use pickled onions to garnish your steaks or pizzas. They’ll add a unique flavor and also some nutrients. Onions are full of vitamin C and potassium, which keep your digestive system healthy.

We know that you won’t get the same texture, but the taste is enough to take any of your meals to the next level!

8. Blue Cheese

blue cheese on a wooden background
Blue cheese on a wooden background.

As surprising as this may seem, blue cheese is one of the best olive alternatives.

However, the cheese will get pungent as the aging process goes on. You’ll still get a salty, meaty taste. You can use blue cheese on pizzas, sandwiches, salads, and appetizers.

Blue cheese is full of calcium that contains anti-obesity mechanisms. These mechanisms help reduce fat from the body and make it easier to lose weight.

9. Sundried Tomatoes

sundried tomatoes in a wooden bowl
Sun-dried tomatoes in a clay bowl.

Sundried tomatoes are dried in the sun… duh! They have a salty and sweet flavor and a chewy texture.

They can be used as toppings for pizzas as well as in salads and pasta. You should be careful about the quantity you put into your dishes since sundried tomatoes can overpower the other ingredients.

Before using, you’ll have to hydrate these tomatoes. You can do that by putting them in a heat-proof bowl and pouring in some water.

Then you just need to microwave them for a few minutes and drain them. Finally, blot them with paper towels and add them to your dish.

Even though you have to do a few extra steps with this option, you’ll nonetheless get a unique flavor and texture. Besides, who wouldn’t want a delicious olive alternative rich in vitamins and anti-oxidants!

10. Dill Pickles

dill pickles in a jar
Dill pickles in a jar.

Dill pickles have a sweet and sour flavor. Unlike the soft bite of olives, dill pickles are more on the crunchier side.

You can’t get as creative with these as you can with the other options. Since these pickles aren’t as versatile, we recommend that you blend them into dips instead of using them as toppings.

Even though they’ll bring a different consistency to your dish, you should use them for the delicious flavors they can add.


Can I substitute Spanish olives for Kalamata olives?

Yes, you can substitute them for Kalamata olives since both have similar flavors. Spanish olives are small, green olives from Spain. They are also known as Manzanilla olives.

They have a nutty taste with some bitterness and a peppery finish. Kalamata olives are brown, almond-shaped olives that have a similar bitterness.

Both can be used interchangeably in dishes, but try using Castelvetrano olives or black olives if you want some other alternatives.

What is the best substitute for olives?

Capers are the best olive substitute.

They might be smaller than olives, but they have a taste the same and can add color to your recipes. You can use them in the same amount as you’ll use olives.

Plus, you can even use these in your martini if you don’t have olives around. If capers are not what you prefer, you can experiment with the other options and see what you like!


These substitutes are for both people who want an alternative similar to olives and for those who don’t enjoy their nutty flavor.

You can go for the pickled veggies if you want something tangy and overpowering. Or, you can choose mushrooms since they have a mild flavor.

Keep in mind that these have different tastes and textures, so make sure to use them accordingly when you’re cooking!

Kitchen Professor author
About the Author: Adeena Tariq

Adeena is a freelance content writer and cooking enthusiast from Pakistan. She is currently a business student, and when she wants a break from her studies, writing on her favorite topics and cooking yummy dishes are her favorite things to do.

Leave a Comment