The best black olives should be meaty, briny, nutty, salty, and delicious. Black olives should taste fatty and oleaginous. They should always feel like a decadent little snack, not a thing you simply pick off of your salad. Conversely, bad black olives have some notable off-putting qualities. Olives that were too waterlogged, mushy, and bland didn’t make the list. So, what were the best black olives? Check out the results.
Danny Palumbo here, self described “big time olive guy.” My sadistic palate seeks out briny, oily olives like my dog seeks out chicken bones in the trash can. There are few things black olives won’t improve; they’ve become an integral part of my three favorite foods: pizza, pasta, and sandwiches. Take an Italian hoagie, add some olive tapenade, and you have one the best sandwiches in America. Olives on a pizza slap harder than they’re given credit for, and pasta puttanesca (a top-five pasta dish for me) is nothing without the bright, tangy, mouth-smacking flavor of olives. And, of course, black olives all on their own are just so damn briny and delicious. They’re an acquired taste, yes, but once you acquire it, you’re hooked.
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- DeLallo Large Ripe Pitted Black Olives
DeLallo large black olives feel fancy (ripe, firm, and buttery) without costing too much. The flavor here is just so deeply delicious. They’re also nutty, unctuous, and almost kind of funky? Quite honestly, I never knew canned black olives could have this much depth of flavor. As soon as I tasted one, I immediately went to look at the nutritional facts, and yep—this is the only black olive on the list that contains saturated fat. You can really taste it too. These olives feel opulent, like something royalty eats in their castle overlooking a kingdom. DeLallo olives are rich and fancy without being too uptight and expensive. In short, they strike the perfect balance of tasty and accessible. That’s why they’re the best black olives.
Credit: Liv Averett/DeLallo
- Lindsay Extra Large Black Olives
Lindsay is a trusted brand in the canned black olive extended universe, and it’s easy to see why. All of their black olives possess a uniform excellence. The large black olives we tried are briny, yet meaty and firm. Sometimes olives have that aforementioned mushy, overcooked texture to them. But with a firm olive, you can really enjoy the meaty, fatty flavor all the more. These olives are advertised as mild and nutty, and they absolutely are. One thing I’ve gleaned from this taste test is that I definitely forgot just how nutty black olives can be. I often think of salty, tangy Kalamatas or watery, flavorless generic-brand olives, but Lindsay fights against those stigmas. The texture here is incredible, I just wish they were a little more on the unctuous side like DeLallo. Though it’s not the best black olive, it’s a close second. You can count on Lindsay products.
Credit: Liv Averett/Vons
- Sprouts Medium Ripe Pitted Black Olives
Ah, these olives satisfy the part of my palette that seeks a strong, mouth-smacking saltiness and an oily, slick taste. I actually exclaimed “I’ll eat this whole can right now” as soon as I tried one of Sprouts medium ripe pitted olives. The taste here is assertive, a quality I look for in my food (especially when you’re tasting so much at your job). Sprouts medium ripe pitted olives have a slightly fruity, tangy, rich flavor that I keep coming back to. It inches towards Kalamata territory, but never quite gets there.
Credit: Liv Averett/Instacart
- Lindsay Organic Sliced Black Olives
Too many sliced black olives clump together and possess that really mushy, flavorless texture, but not Lindsay. Lindsay’s plump, meaty olives are perfect to buy pre-sliced and canned. It’s that same classic Lindsay taste—nutty, slightly salty, and unctuous—but with some additional earthiness here too. I tasted these alongside Lindsay’s Extra Large olives, and they do taste slightly different. The organic nature of these brings a bit more flavor. These are the best sliced black olives by a wide, wide margin.
Credit: Liv Averett/Vons
- Market Pantry Small Pitted Ripe Olives
For a grocery store brand olive, these impressed. Market Pantry’s olives are salty and kind of tangy. There’s a little extra brightness here that I think plays well with the fatty, oily nature of the olive. For Target brand (repeat: Target brand) black olives, these are super rad. There’s no wateriness or blandness, just great olive flavor, baby. If you’re at Target shopping for pillows or seeing the optometrist, hey, pick up some black olives too.
Credit: Liv Averett/Target
Best of the Best
Other products we tried: Sprouts Sliced, Kroger Large, Kroger Medium Pitted, Great Value Medium Black Pitted, Pearls Olives To-Go, Signature Select Sliced, Lindsay Large, Signature Select Sliced, Sprouts Large Ripe Pitted, O Organics Sliced, 365 Sliced, 365 Medium.
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