How to Pit Olives

Three Methods:Using a Chef Knife for Olive PittingOlive PittersOlive-Pitting Machines

Pitting olives can be a difficult experience because the seed (also called "pit") is usually attached so firmly inside the olive. Many people try to pit olives by trying to peel away the exterior edible portion (known as the fruit), however since this causes damage to the fruit, the correct way to pit an olive is to push out the pit through the side of the olive. This can be done using basic kitchen utensils or specialized tools, depending on the amount of time you want to spend on pitting each olive.

Method 1
Using a Chef Knife for Olive Pitting

  1. Image titled Pit Olive_Find chef knife
    Find a large chef knife. If you don't have a chef knife you can use any other object with a hard flat surface.
  2. Image titled Pit Olive_Put olive on chopping board
    Put the olive on a chopping board to avoid creating a mess on your countertop.
  3. Image titled Pit Olive_Place flat knife on olive
    Place the flat surface of the chef knife on top of the olive and press down. You will feel the pit inside the olive start to pop out.
  4. Image titled Pit Olive_press down and roll
    Continue to press down on the olive and gently pull the knife towards you. This will cause the olive to roll and help in squeezing the pit out.
  5. Image titled Pit Olive_manuever pit w fingers
    Maneuver the pit out of the olive with your fingers if it still hasn't popped out. Try to take out the pit in 1 piece while causing the least damage to the fruit.

Method 2
Olive Pitters

  1. Image titled Pit Olive_olive pitter
    Purchase an olive pitter if you find pitting with a chef knife too difficult or time-consuming. This kitchen tool can pit olives using the following procedure.
    • Place the olive securely inside the small bowl at the end of the olive pitter.
    • Squeeze on the handles at the other end. This punches a small hole at the end of the olive.
    • Continue to squeeze the handles until the pit is forced out of the punched hole and drops to the bottom of the bowl.
    • Release the handle to drop the loose fruit into a separate bowl and discard the pit that is left behind.

Method 3
Olive-Pitting Machines

  1. Image titled Pit Olive_olive machine
    Consider using an olive-pitting machine if you need to pit olives quickly and frequently. These machines can be bulky and expensive and are usually only used by restaurants and food suppliers. Some machines used for olive pitting can pit over 2,000 olives per minute.


  • To avoid injury, keep the sharp edge of the chef knife pointed away from you when you pit an olive with a chef knife.


  • Never squeeze or press on an olive too hard. Applying too much pressure while pitting olives will cause the pit to break and leave hard inedible residue inside the fruit.

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Categories: Food Preparation | Cleaning Food