What’s the Difference Between Green and Black Olives?

Black and green olives
Photo by Jeremy Zero on Unsplash

Green olives and black olives are often viewed as separate species. And how could they not be? They are different in both color and taste. However, the truth is that green olives and black olives are actually the same plant and they come from the same tree. Green olives are olives picked at the stage when the plant reached its full size but still remains unripe. If olives are left on the tree to fully mature they develop a black color, resulting in black olives. So, the black color of olives is their actual natural color.

Despite being the same plant, there are still few differences between green and black olives. Let’s check them out.


Similar to fruit, as the olives approach their peak of ripeness, they tend to become softer. This is why the green olives are often firm and crunchier to the bite than the black olives. Also, the green olives tend to have much more meat than the black ones.


Probably the most important difference between green and black olives besides their color is their taste.  Green olives are more bitter and have a more complex flavor. Black olives come with a mellow taste and have some fruity notes to them due to ripeness. However, it is also important to note that the taste can depend on how the olives are cured.

Nutritional Content

You’ll be happy to hear that green and black olives have similar nutritional content, with both varieties being rich in healthy fats, minerals, and vitamins. Still, studies have shown that green olives come with a higher amount of antioxidants. Black olives have more calories.