Marinated Cheese & Olives

Marinated Cheese & Olives come together in a herb- and garlic-infused dressing for a quick, attractive appetizer or a fun and easy food gift in a jar!

Marinated Cheese and Olives with text overlay.


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If you love making and giving homemade food gifts, you'll also want to check out these recipes for Chai Tea Mix EASY Homeamde Caramel Sauce, and Pecan Praline Bread!

Are you done with your Christmas shopping yet? Because I've hardly started, and I'm needing some commiseration from my fellow procrastinators here. Aside from the presents I need to buy, I also have a list of gifts to make. And let me tell you...this year, I am all about quick and easy. But of course, I still want to give homemade goodies that will be enjoyed and appreciated. And what's more fun than a food gift that you can plop in a Mason jar, jazz up with a cute tag, and call it a day? Say hello to Marinated Cheese & Olives!

Aerial shot of Marinated Cheese & Olives in a bowl and gift jar.

It can be easy to get "sugared-out" over the holidays. So if you're interested in giving a food gift that's savory rather than sweet, today's Marinated Cheese is for YOU. Because everybody loves cheese, right? And as a bonus, it only requires about five minutes of effort!

Marinated Cheese & Olives in a jar and a bowl.

How to Make Marinated Cheese

The super easy, shortcut secret here is buying ready-made ingredients and throwing them all together!

Now I realize that you're probably not in the habit of making your own cheese, and thus you typically already buy that ready-made. So when I say ready-made in reference to the cheese, I'm actually referring to the fact that you can buy it already cubed. No breaking out the knife and the cutting board...just dump it in a bowl!

As for the marinade itself, you can just pick up a bottle of your favorite oil and vinegar or Italian-type salad dressing.

Or, of course, you can make your own marinade if you choices would be either my famous homemade Greek Dressing or Italian Dressing!

Toss in some jarred Kalamata olives, dried herbs, and whole (but slightly smashed) garlic cloves. Then let the whole shebang hang out in the fridge for awhile! know a recipe is fast when peeling the skin off of six cloves of garlic is the most time-intensive step. 😉

Marinated Cheese in a jar with gift tag.

From Appetizer to Gift

This combination of mild, smooth Colby-Jack, salty olives, bright herbs, and zesty dressing is not only tasty, but it's also got eye appeal.

This combo looks so pretty piled in a bowl as an appetizer, and it's just as lovely spooned into jars with sprigs of fresh rosemary for gift giving.

And the taste? Well, it's quite addictive. Even if you don't like olives, you'll want to pick around them because the Marinated Cheese is simply delicious (just ask my kids).

Marinated Cheese and Olives, two-photo collage with text.

I hope this recipe comes in handy for you this holiday season as you hit festive parties and put together homemade gifts for friends and neighbors. It's pretty, it's tasty, it's quick and easy, and you can make it in how can you beat that?

More Holiday Food Gifts

Marinated Cheese in a jar with gift tag.

Marinated Cheese and Olives

Marinated Cheese & Olives come together in a herb- and garlic-infused dressing for a quick, attractive appetizer or a fun and easy food gift in a jar!
Course: Appetizer
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 0 minutes
Total Time: 1 day 30 minutes
Servings: 16 servings (8 cups or about 6 gifts in pint-sized jars)
Calories: 295kcal
Print Pin Rate


  • 32 ounces cubed Colby-Jack cheese
  • 1 jar (approximately 12-ounces)Kalamata olives, drained
  • 16 ounces of oil & vinegar or Italian salad dressing
  • 1 tablespoon dried Italian seasoning
  • ½ teaspoon dried crushed red pepper
  • 6 large garlic cloves, smashed
  • 6 fresh rosemary sprigs


  • In a large bowl, gently combine all ingredients except rosemary. Cover and refrigerate for at least 8 hours and up to 24 hours.
  • Divide cheese and olive mixture between 6 glass jars (such as pint-sized Mason jars), making sure there's one garlic clove in each. Place a sprig of rosemary in each jar and pour remaining dressing into jars, dividing evenly. Store in refrigerator for up to two weeks.


  • You can use your favorite variety of cubed cheese, but something mild will absorb the flavors of the marinade nicely.
  • You may use a jar of olives anywhere from 10 to 15 ounces, depending on the ratio of olives to cheese that you prefer.
  • I highly recommend Kalamatas for this recipe (as opposed to regular black olives).
  • Use a good-quality salad dressing that you enjoy (bottled or homemade), since that's a prominent flavor in this recipe.


Calories: 295kcal | Carbohydrates: 6g | Protein: 14g | Fat: 24g | Saturated Fat: 12g | Cholesterol: 54mg | Sodium: 625mg | Potassium: 107mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 609IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 400mg | Iron: 1mg
Made this recipe? I'd love to see on IG!Mention @FiveHeartHome or tag #FiveHeartHome!

Adapted from Southern Living 2010 Ultimate Christmas Cookbook. And the beautiful holiday gift tags can be downloaded at Living Locurto!

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  1. I used your Italian Dressing recipe for the marinade, your recipe calls for olive oil. When marinating the cheese/olives, the olive oil solidifies in the refrigerator. I would not recommend using olive oil for this recipe. I’m hoping the flavors still absorb in the cheese.

    1. Hi Lisa! Yes, olive oil will thicken/solidify when chilled. The flavors will still be absorbed by the cheese, much like a marinade made with olive oil can be used to flavor meat. But you will want to bring this recipe to room temperature before enjoying. 🙂

    1. I think that mozzarella balls would be lovely in this marinade and would be fine if served within a day or so of marinating. But beyond that (such as for gift giving), I'm afraid the vinegar in the dressing might start to break down mozzarella. Hope that helps!