Best Olives for Martini Drinkers: Shake (or Stir) It Up with the 8 Best Martini Olives

The best olives for Martini making are more than just a pretty garnish. They’re big, they’re meaty, they soak up the gin or vodka and transform into one of life’s great bites—a perfect, briny chaser after a spirited sip. And a lot of the time they’re stuffed with something. Because who wants a boring Martini with a plain old olive? I, a seasoned Martini drinker, tasted 21 different olives in order to find the best Martini olives.

Here’s my Martini olive philosophy: They can’t be tiny (what is this, an airport bar?). They can’t be bland. There must be three (two is bad luck). Bonus points if the brine is good enough to make a drink for a Dirty Martini lover—that means it can’t taste old and it can’t be too oily. The best olive brine for a Dirty Martini is vibrant and tangy. It’s practically good enough to drink on its own. 

So, with that in mind, I opened up over 20 different jars of olives to find the best olives for Martinis—because there’s nothing more disappointing than finishing a Martini and taking a bite of a mealy, bland olive. You’ll never have to do that again with this list of the best Martini olives. 

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best martini olives: Mezzetta Super Colossal Spanish Queen Olives

Best of the Best

Mezzetta Super Colossal Spanish Queen Olives

The label ain’t lying. These olives are HUGE—about two inches across. So, they certainly check the box of not being too small. In fact, to borrow a turn of phrase from Jaws, you’re going to need a bigger Martini glass. But giant Martini olives aren’t any good if the flavor isn’t there. Well, these deliver on that, too. They have a lovely tang and a buttery finish. I could snack on these olives on their own, but they’re even better when they’re soaked in a mix of vodka or gin and vermouth. They also happen to be widely available. If you want a honker of a delicious, classically pimiento-stuffed olive in your Martini, this is the best Martini olive for you.

Credit: Liv Averett / Amazon

Rating:

10/10

Sporks

Best Martini Olives: Mezzetta Garlic Stuffed

Best Garlic Stuffed

Mezzetta Garlic Stuffed

I understand that not everyone wants a garlicky Martini, but if you are at all intrigued, I beg you to try these large and in charge garlic-stuffed green olives. They are firm. They are tangy. And the garlic is pickled, zesty, and crunchy. Incredibly, the garlic doesn’t overwhelm the olive flavor (thanks to the pickling). Managing editor Gwynedd Stuart loved the textural experience while staff writer Jordan Myrick flat out said they were the best things they’ve eaten. Period. These are the best Martini olives for both vodka and gin drinkers who want to live a little.

Credit: Liv Averett / Amazon

Rating:

9.5/10

Sporks

best blue cheese stuffed olives: Pearls Specialties Blue Cheese Hand Stuffed Queen Olives

Best Blue Cheese Stuffed

Pearls Specialties Blue Cheese Hand Stuffed Queen Olives

These are the best olives for Dirty Martini lovers who, much like Christina Aguilera in her 2002 classic with Redman, like it dirrrrty. The brine is flecked with blue cheese, but it’s not too oily. The olives themselves are firm, providing a good foil to the soft blue cheese, which is wonderfully piquant. A Martini made with these olives will punch you in the head with flavor.

Credit: Liv Averett / Target

Rating:

9.5/10

Sporks

best jalapeno stuffed olives: Great Value Jalapeño Stuffed Green Olives

Best Spicy

Great Value Jalapeño Stuffed Green Olives

If you’ve never had a spicy Martini, you’re missing out. A dash of hot sauce or a splash of brine from this jar of jalapeño-stuffed olives transforms a Vodka Martini into a conversation-worthy cocktail. These budget-friendly Walmart-brand olives are stuffed with still-crunchy jalapeño, which offers some spice but not too much. You won’t be overwhelmed with heat, but you will get a ton of peppery flavor. They’re definitely the best Martini olives for heat-seekers.

Credit: Liv Averett / Walmart

Rating:

9/10

Sporks

best martini olives: Jeff’s Garden Whole Castelvetrano Olives

Best Fancy

Jeff’s Garden Whole Castelvetrano Olives

These are the best olives for Martini drinkers who want to recreate that swanky speakeasy experience from the 2010s. While Castelvetrano olives are most often used for charcuterie boards and snacking, their mild, buttery, nutty flavor makes them the best Martini olives for a 50/50 Martini (equal parts gin and dry vermouth) or a Gin Martini made with sherry in place of dry vermouth. Beware: They have pits!

Credit: Liv Averett / Amazon

Rating:

8.5/10

Sporks

best martini olives: Filthy Blue Cheese

2nd Best Blue Cheese

Filthy Blue Cheese

Filthy makes these olives specifically for Martinis. They’re made with Wisconsin blue cheese that’s extremely tangy and very creamy—creamier than the Pearls blue cheese-stuffed olives. I loved the craft feel of these olives; you can tell they were hand-stuffed. If you like a lot of salt in your Martini garnish, these are the best Martini olives for you. It’s also just fun to say “filthy.” Give it a try. Didn’t that feel good?

Credit: Liv Averett / Amazon

Rating:

8.5/10

Sporks

best martini olives: Trader Joe’s Spanish Manzanilla Olives with Pimento Paste

Best Small

Trader Joe’s Spanish Manzanilla Olives with Pimento Paste

Trader Joe’s manzanilla olives are smaller than the others on this list, so if you aren’t as big of a size enthusiast as I am, then these are the best olives for a Martini for you. That said, they still have some girth. They’re not dive bar olives. They are also mellower than some of the other brands—more gentle and rounded in their flavor. If you make your Martinis with sherry, these would be perfect, but they’d also be great in a standard Gin Martini made with a softer gin like Plymouth.

Credit: Liv Averett / Trader Joe’s

Rating:

8/10

Sporks

best dirty martini olives: Divina Buffalo Blue Olives

Best Extremely Dirty

Divina Buffalo Blue Olives

These Martini olives are a flavor-blasted garnish—the star of any cocktail to which they are added. They are so spicy and zesty, and stuffed with extremely creamy blue cheese. They’re the best olives for Martini drinkers who drink Martinis specifically so they can eat olives. As for the buffalo flavor, I asked buffalo expert, Jordan, what they thought about them. “I think it’s great,” they said. “There’s a nice mild buffalo flavor and the blue cheese is prominent without being overpowering.” Stick with vodka and don’t try to use the brine for a Dirty Martini—it’s straight-up oil.

Credit: Liv Averett / Amazon

Rating:

7.5/10

Sporks

Other Martini olives we tried: Jeff’s Garden Garlic Stuffed Olives, Santa Barbara Olive Olive Co Garlic Olive, Great Value Blue Cheese Stuffed Green Olives, Trader Joe’s Organic Italian Green Bella di Cerignola Olives, Divina Bloody Mary Olives, Specialty Selected Blue Cheese Stuffed Olives, Main and Geary, Tipsy Pimento Olives, Great Value Pimiento Stuffed Olives Jumbo Queen, Market Pantry, Trader Joe’s Colossal Olives Hand Stuffed with Garlic Cloves, Mezzetta Pitted Italian Castelvetrano Olives, Trader Joe’s Garlic & Jalapeno Stuffed Olives


About the Author

Justine Sterling

Justine Sterling is the editor-in-chief of Sporked. She has been writing about food and beverages for well over a decade and is an avid at-home cook and snacker. Don’t worry, she’s not a food snob. Sure, she loves a fresh-shucked oyster. But she also will leap at whatever new product Reese’s releases and loves a Tostitos Hint of Lime, even if there is no actual lime in the ingredients.

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