Super simple. The hardest part of this is gathering the components – the jars, the olives, the cheeses, the herbs, the labels – but once they are all at hand, making a dozen jars of stuffed olives will take an hour or two, and when done, you are all prepared with hostess gifts for the season!

Ingredients and Materials:

Olives – choose large pitted olives; buy enough to fill the number of jars you have.

Herbs – your choice. Experiment with different combinations of the following, or just use what you know you love: mustard seed, dried rosemary, thyme, oregano, sage, freshly milled black pepper. You can’t go wrong. To further spice it up (carefully) add caraway seed, hot pepper, finely minced garlic and cumin seed. Pre-mix the herbs in a small bowl.

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Cheese – for stuffing. You need only a small amount; very little will fit inside an olive. I used homemade Indian paneer cheese, but I wanted to distribute the olives immediately. If you want a longer shelf life, use a dry or semi-dry cheese like parmesan, sharp cheddar, or feta. You can also use cream cheese, farmers cheese, queso fresco, or goat cheese, except that these are rather soft and require a different technique for stuffing (use a knife to press the cheese into the hole). Whatever you like; it’s your creation! I cut the cheese into little sticks just a bit bigger than matchsticks. I started out making them too large, and cut them down bit by bit until they were a fourth as big around as when I started. It is easy to slide the cheese sticks into the olives. If the cheese sticks are too long, just snap them or cut them off so they fit perfectly in the olive.

Glass jars – use wide mouth jars so the olives will be easy to remove from the jar, and so people can admire how good they look when the lid is removed. I used Kerr wide mouth pint jars; they fit two levels of olives. Fill the jar with olives one by one, standing them on end until the bottom of the jar is filled. You will want to make sure they are packed nice and tight, so the last couple of olives you will be squeezing in. Once the bottom row is filled sprinkle in some of the herbs and spices, then proceed with the next row. My wide-mouth pint jars took two rows of upright olives. Sprinkle more herbs and spices over the last row, then add olive oil within an inch of the top. The top row of olives does not need to be covered with oil.

Close tightly with the two-piece lid. Then affix a round label to the lid (shape 11 is perfect for the Ball and Kerr wide-mouth lid) and add a Treasury hang tag and a ribbon if you wish. There you are. A savory gift, ready to give out to guests, friends, hosts and hostesses.

Guidelines for Simple Gifts:
• Plan ahead. Think about and decide what you want to do well in advance so you can do the shopping portion of the giftmaking along with other errands. Have all materials and ingredients on hand when it is time to make the gift.
• Packaging. Pretty packaging makes any gift special. Arm yourself with a supply of small boxes or cellophane bags and ribbon. We also recommend having your own personalized tags or labels on hand. Use generic wording so they can be used on a multitude of items. For example, mom’s tags and labels say “with love from Grammie.” With no reference to what the item is, they can be used on anything!
• It is not the item itself that is special; it is the idea that you think enough about a person to prepare something personally for them. Sometimes your gift doesn’t even have to be handmade; but hand-assembled. Follow this monthly series and you will see examples of both.

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Avatar photo Jeanne Williamson (138 Posts)

Jeanne and her husband David launched My Own Labels in January of 2000. It was a spin-off of their successful graphic design firm, plus it allowed Jeanne to incorporate her love of baking, making, sewing and creating. Today David and Jeanne continue to be the heart of the operation both creatively and practically.


  1. Don’t you need to keep these refrigerated once you have opened the can or bottle of olives? I was looking for something to ship to my family and I really like this idea.

    • Raye, thanks for the question. As long as you keep your olives immersed in olive oil in your jars, they will keep in the refrigerator. If you are using a fresh cheese like Paneer or cream cheese, they will keep for up to a week. If you use an aged cheese like Parmesan, you can keep them for up to two weeks. Be sure your recipients know to use them right away.
      Please let me know what you make and how it turns out!

  2. You don’t say what the amount of spices are..(no Tsp..Tbs.)
    I want to make them but since there are no measurements,
    i’m a bit leary…

    • Hi Sandy,thanks for your comment. I guess I am an adventurer in cooking; I don’t mind throwing things together without recipes. Here’s a guideline to help you come up with a good proportion of herbs/spices for these stuffed olives:
      Use as much as you feel is right, and keep in mind you want the end result to look like the amount of herbs you can see in the jars pictured. If your herb combination looks about like that, it will turn out good. Be sure to use herbs that you really like. I hope this helps!

  3. Would it be possible to seal these in mason jars by canning in boiling water? I would love to give these as gifts but I’ll be traveling for Christmas and I’m afraid the olive oil will leak all over my suitcase.


  4. […] 12. Trust me, once you’ve had homemade grissini (breadsticks) you’ll never go back to shop-bought. And serve cones of these parmesan grissini to your guests and I’ll be amazed if there’s any more than crumbs by the time they get home! By Country Living (pic by Catherine Gratwicke) 13. Not only are stuffed olives completely delicious, but did you know they were pretty easy to DIY? Perfect combination. By Evermine Occasions […]

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