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How to Cure Olives with Lye - a step by step guide, that turns bitter olives into buttery delicious bites the whole family will enjoy. #curingolives #curedolives #howtocureolives

How to Cure Olives at Home

5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star 4.7 from 6 reviews
  • Author: Sylvia Fountaine
  • Prep Time: 10 days
  • Total Time: 240 hours
  • Yield: 1 quart 1x
  • Category: appetizers, diy,
  • Method: curing
  • Cuisine: American
  • Diet: Vegan


How to Cure Olives- a step by step guide, that turns bitter olives into buttery delicious bites in just 10 days, that the whole family will enjoy.


Units Scale
  • 4 cups mature green olives – Castlevetrao or Super Colossal Sevillanos
  • 3 tablespoons 100 % Pure Lye (food grade sodium hydroxide), divided
  • Water
  • Salt
  • optional additions: herbs, garlic, lemon zest


  1. Use clean, fresh, mature green olives. Do not break the skin.
  2. Rinse the olives with water and place them in large crock, glass or porcelain jar or bowl.
  3. Mix 1 tablespoon lye with 1-quart water. Pour over the olives. Soak 12 hours.
  4. Drain the olives and soak for 12 more hours in a fresh lye solution. (1 tablespoon lye, per quart water) Drain and rinse. Cut into the largest olive to see if the lye has reached the pit, and if so, the lye cure is complete. If one more lye bath is needed, drain, soak in a another fresh lye solution for 12 more hours; then drain and rinse with cold water.
  5. Soak the olives in fresh, cold water, changing the water three (or more) times a day for the next  4  days. At the end of 4 days, taste an olive to make sure that there is no trace of lye flavor remaining.
  6. Then soak the olives in a salt brine solution mixed at the ratio of 6 tablespoons salt to 1-gallon water, for 3 days.  Feel free to add a sprig of rosemary, lemon zest, and a garlic clove if you like.
  7. The olives are now ready to eat,but continue storing in the brine, they will get better as they sit.
  8. Store in a cool, dark place, preferably the refrigerator and use within two months.



WARNING: Lye can cause burns. Keep lemon or vinegar handy to neutralize any lye that splashes onto the skin. If lye gets into your eyes, bathe them in running water and call your doctor.

Olives will keep 2-3 months in the fridge.


  • Serving Size: ¼ cup
  • Calories: 31
  • Sugar: 0.1 g
  • Sodium: 336.1 mg
  • Fat: 3.3 g
  • Saturated Fat: 0.4 g
  • Carbohydrates: 0.8 g
  • Fiber: 0.7 g
  • Protein: 0.2 g
  • Cholesterol: 0 mg