IngredientsPantryHow to Make Tapenade Spread (Authentic French Recipe)

How to Make Tapenade Spread (Authentic French Recipe)

Tapenade is a popular Mediterranean dish that originated in the Provence region of France. It is typically made with olives, capers, anchovies, garlic, and olive oil, although there are many recipe variations. The ingredients are typically chopped, mashed, or pureed together to create a spreadable paste or dip.

Tapenade spread with toasted baguette bread slices on wood platter

Homemade Tapenade Recipe

Here is a simple recipe for olive tapenade:


  • 1 cup pitted kalamata olives
  • 2 tablespoons capers, drained and rinsed
  • 2 anchovy fillets, chopped (optional)
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste


Here are the steps to make tapenade at home.

In a food processor or blender, combine the olives, capers, anchovy fillets (if using), and garlic. 

Pulse until the mixture is coarsely chopped.

With the motor running, slowly pour in the olive oil and lemon juice until the mixture is smooth and well-combined.

Taste the tapenade and season with freshly ground black pepper, if needed.

Serve the tapenade at room temperature with crackers, bread, or vegetables for dipping.

Note: You can adjust the ingredients to your liking, adding more or less of any of the ingredients to suit your taste. You can also add other ingredients to the tapenade, such as sun-dried tomatoes, roasted red peppers, or fresh herbs like parsley or basil.

How to Serve Tapenade

Tapenade is often served as an appetizer or snack, either on its own or with bread, crackers, or vegetables for dipping. It can also be used as a condiment to add flavor to sandwiches, pizzas, and other dishes. The flavor of tapenade is rich, salty, and savory, with a slightly tangy and bitter taste from the olives and capers. It is a popular and versatile dish that can be enjoyed by both vegetarians and non-vegetarians alike.


The history of tapenade dates back several centuries and is closely tied to the culinary traditions of the Mediterranean.

The word “tapenade” is derived from the Provençal word “tapena,” which means caper. The dish is traditionally made from a combination of capers, olives, anchovies, garlic, and olive oil. These ingredients are blended or crushed together to create a thick paste or dip with a rich and intense flavor.

The origins of tapenade can be traced back to the ancient civilizations that inhabited the Mediterranean region. The Greeks and Romans, who had a strong presence in Provence, introduced olives and olive oil to the area. Olives, along with capers and anchovies, were commonly used in ancient Mediterranean cuisine. It is believed that the concept of combining these ingredients to create a paste or condiment gradually evolved over time.

Where to Buy French Tapenade in the US

Tapenade can be found at many grocery stores, specialty food stores, and online retailers throughout the United States. Here are a few places where you can buy tapenade:

  • Whole Foods Market: Whole Foods carries a variety of tapenades, including traditional olive tapenade, as well as versions made with artichokes, sun-dried tomatoes, and other ingredients. You can find them in the olive section or in the condiments aisle.
  • Trader Joe’s: Trader Joe’s carries several types of tapenade, including a classic olive tapenade, a roasted red pepper tapenade, and a fig and olive tapenade. They can be found in the grocery section of the store.
  • Amazon: You can find a wide selection of tapenade on Amazon, including many different brands and flavors. Some popular brands include Roland, Mezzetta, and Les Trois Petits Cochons.
  • Specialty food stores: Many specialty food stores, such as gourmet markets, cheese shops, and iGourmet carry tapenade. These stores may have a wider selection and more unique flavors than larger grocery stores.

No matter where you buy tapenade, be sure to check the expiration date and storage instructions to ensure that it is fresh and will last as long as possible!

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