How to Pit Olives Like a Pro

Olives look and (mysteriously) taste better when you pit your own. So here's the fastest, easiest way to get out the pits—no special tools needed at all.

Yes, you can find different types of olives already pitted but, unless we're drinking martinis, there's something satisfying about pitting our own. The rough edges and irregular shape of a home-pitted olive are more aesthetically pleasing which makes our brain think they taste better: You eat with the eyes first, they say. Plus, unpitted olives tend to stay firmer and juicier longer than their pitted counterparts.

Here's how to pit olives like a pro

1. Working one at a time (you can build up to a few at a time once you get the hang of it), put an olive on your cutting board. Place the flat side of your knife over the olive. We like a chef's knife for this because it allots plenty of surface area.

2. Place the heel of your hand on the knife right over where the olive is sitting underneath. Put your weight into it and press down firmly until you feel the olive give way.

3. Remove the knife, set it aside, and take a look at the olive: The flesh should have flattened and broken around the pit. Use your fingers to pull the flesh apart, and separate the pit from the rest of the olive.

If you're pitting a bunch of olives at one time, be mindful and keep the flesh and pits separate. It's easy to mix them together and having a few pits sneak into a tapenade is never fun.

This method works for any type of olive you encounter. Once you master it, use the pitted beauties as a salad topper, on crispy potatoes, pasta, pizza, or whatever you like.

That said, if you're entertaining and serving olives as part of a more sophisticated spread, or alongside an aperitif, go ahead and leave them un-pitted. Hot tip: Eat one olive before guests arrive and place its seed in a small, but pretty, dish next to them. That way your guests will know exactly where to put their pits.

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