Spicy Italian Tapenade

We’re not going to mess with a classic too much. This spicy Italian tapenade is made with the same delicious ingredients you’d find in a traditional recipe — olives, garlic, parsley, sundried tomatoes. But we’ve added a most certain kick of heat to this recipe. We use red serrano peppers here. But if their bright bite is a little too spicy, you could opt for the milder jalapeño pepper instead.

Spicy olive tapenade, ready to serve in a bowl

And you can play with the texture to your liking. Spicy Italian tapenade can be made smooth (like a paste) for use as a spread. Or it can be left chunky to be enjoyed as a fun-to-eat dip. There are so many ways to enjoy it. Spread it on toast and sandwiches, sprinkle it atop a salad, or smother it on top of some baked white fish. And, of course, it’s an excellent dipping sauce to accompany crackers and sliced raw vegetables.

Note, we don’t include salt in this recipe. It’s delicious enough without it. But if you prefer to add some, add to taste once the tapenade has been made.

This recipe is best enjoyed immediately — the taste is at its most intense. But you can store it for up to three days in the fridge, using an airtight container. That’s perfect if you’re planning for a party or simply want to enjoy this recipe over a long weekend.

See it being made:

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Spicy Italian Tapenade

Spicy Italian Tapenade

A classic recipe, enhanced with a little heat
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Course Appetizer
Servings 8 servings
Calories 87 kcal


  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 cup black olives
  • ¼ cup parsley chopped
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 serrano pepper seeds removed, chopped
  • 2 sundried tomatoes
  • ¼ cup olive oil


  • Preheat the oven to 300 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Place the garlic clove onto a small tray and bake for 20 minutes.
  • Add the olives, parsley, lemon juice, sundried tomatoes, roasted garlic, and chili pepper to a food processor and turn on high. Stop regularly to push down the sides. Process to your preferred consistency.
  • Add the olive oil and stir thoroughly with a spoon.
  • Transfer to a serving bowl and enjoy with crackers, veggie sticks, or as a sauce or topping.


If serrano peppers (10,000 to 23,000 Scoville heat units) are too hot, try using jalapeño peppers instead (2,500 to 8,000 SHU.)


Calories: 87kcalCarbohydrates: 1gProtein: 1gFat: 9gSaturated Fat: 1gSodium: 265mgPotassium: 40mgFiber: 1gSugar: 1gVitamin A: 236IUVitamin C: 4mgCalcium: 13mgIron: 1mg
Keyword Jalapeno Pepper, Serrano Pepper
Did you make this?Mention @PepperScale or tag #PepperScale so we can see what you made!

UPDATE NOTICE: This post was updated on July 1, 2023 to include new content.
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