Black Olive Penguins

Okay, everyone. Say it with me in 3…2..1…

Awwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww!!! Come on. Isn’t that the most clever things you’ve ever seen? At a recent Christmas craft event put on by our homeschool group, one rockstar mom (hi, Tonya!) eschewed the usual brownies, cookies, fudge and mints (not that there’s anything wrong with those and may I please have another serving?) and brought adorable cream cheese filled black olive penguins. I’m telling you, every single person who went past them either squealed or poked someone in the ribs to make them look at the cutest things in the world.

Even more fabulous is that these ingenious little penguins take three ingredients for the basic model and four for the fancified versions (with scarves). Sadly, my usual wait-til-the-line-wears-itself-out-then-get-food approach failed me at the craft fair and by the time I got to the buffet, the penguins had all been pilfered. I cornered Tonya and told her she wasn’t leaving until she gave me the recipe*.

*Okay. That’s not entirely true. I asked nicely, but sometimes I like to make myself sound tough. It’s to counteract the cutesy poo penguins and the overuse of superlative synonyms for adorable. I can’t lose my street cred. Word? Yes? No? Okay. No. I have no street cred. Back to the penguins.

I slept that night with visions of cream cheese filled Black Olive Penguins dancing in my head. Those penguins had to get made and get made fast. I made them for the very special event that was Tuesday happening. Seriously? I didn’t need to wait for anything. I wanted to eat them and I figured, correctly, that my Viking horde could polish off a plate of these in no time.

So. tasty.

We preferred them with green onion scarves. That little nip of onion with the cream cheese and olive really pushed the flavour into another realm. A snowy realm. Filled with penguins!

P.S. Stash these in lunch and bento boxes, take to school events, grown up parties, or just throw together a tray for the world’s most fun afternoon snack. They hold well in the refrigerator for a day or two if covered tightly, so what are you waiting for?

Black Olive Penguins
These super cute cream cheese filled black olive penguins are the hit of every party, but they make a seriously adorable late afternoon snack, too!
  • 1 can (about 16) colossal pitted black olives, drained
  • 16 (give or take) small pitted black olives, drained
  • about 4 ounces (1/2 of a standard 8 oz brick) of Cream Cheese- I like the ⅓ less fat Neufchatel here as it is softer and easier to stuff into the olives
  • 16 thin slices (give or take) of the fat end of a peeled carrot
  • 8 green onions, long green section only
  • 16 (give or take) toothpicks
  1. Cut a small triangular wedge out of each carrot slice.
  2. Use a skewer or toothpick to push the narrow end of a carrot triangle through the wide hole of each small olive until it pokes out the narrow pitted hole.
  3. Make a lengthwise slice halfway into each colossal olive. Gently hold the olive open and push as much cream cheese into the opening as you can, filling the olive. Use your fingers or a paper towel to tidy up along the edges of the opening.
  4. Place a filled olive, large hole side down, on a carrot round, lining up the white of the cream cheese with the wedge cut from the carrot round. Use a toothpick pushed down through the center to hold the "chest" of the penguin to the "feet".
  5. Push one head, "beak" side lined up with the "chest" and "feet" down onto the toothpicks.
  6. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to serve.

P.P.S. See that knife in the photo with the carrots? That is my new best friend (a Togiharu Gyotou knife) sent to me courtesy of There will be a review in the next couple days, but suffice it to say that everyone should go by one of them for themselves or as a Christmas present. Right now. The penguin says so.


  1. says

    Someone made these for the ‘quick and easy’ appetizer category
    for the local paper’s recipe contest and won. My 7 year old wanted to make them!

  2. Michelle W says

    My mom made these when I was a kid back in the groovy 70s! She also made an igloo cheese ball. They were too cute for words.

    Thanks for the memories!

  3. says

    Oh, my…I have a party to attend on Saturday and was told that I didn’t need to bring anything but IF I wanted to, I could bring a small appetizer. I think these will be the hit of the party!!!

  4. di says

    Those are the cutest little things.I love penquins. What if a person made these at a 4th of July party when it is really hot.(Food is indoors of course)

  5. says

    Heh heh, I like how you’re protecting your street cred. =) These ARE adorable, and I’m glad you balanced out their cuteness with a little toughness.

  6. 4Tunata says

    I discovered your website early this A.M. I have made your cute little penguins this afternoon. I even made the little green onion scarves. I will be taking them to our office Christmas party this evening. They are so cute.


  7. Jan says

    I made these for my Quilting Christmas Dinner Party…. they were a BIG hit! Problem was, no one was eating them, they were bringing them home they were so cute! lol

  8. Lisa says

    These are just the cutest things! I was wondering if you could use your Fromage Fort to stuff them with instead of the cream cheese or is it too stiff?

    • says

      Oh that is such a great idea! I imagine that if you made your fromage fort a little looser it would work beautifully to pipe in there and it would be a wonderful flavour boost!

  9. Linda says

    I have been making these for years. I use the toothpicks with the colored cellophane and have not tried the scarf. Thats next. You’re right people go nuts over them.

  10. wenders says

    Love this! I saw something similar years ago on some Veggie Tales DVD bonus feature, where they made some of the cast, including Bob the Tomato, Larry the Cucumber, and Jr. Asparagus, and all the Penguins. Yet, I have never made it. Guess what I’m going to do? That’s right! Head over to the grocery store to get some olives – I have everything else, and so simple, so cute – the kids (and the adults) will love them! Thank you for this post!

  11. Katte says

    I just made these! Instead of using messy cheese I cut 1 Weight watchers smokey cheese stick in 6 pieces. Sometimes it will break the big olive but they look really cute. I also used ratishes and red bell peper rounds to make hats. Thanks for the great idea.

  12. Maureen says

    I live in Norway and couldn’t find big olives so I had to use the small ones for both the head and body. They turned out just as cute. I did have to use a smaller carrot though. My mother in law thinks I’m a genius.

  13. Beth says

    I made these for a party a few weeks back and they were a HUGE hit!! So much fun.

    The first one I made was such a mess… cream cheese everywhere and much cleaning up needed. Then I put the cream cheese in a little baggie and cut out a corner and used it like a little pastry bag! The rest filled up clean and neat!!

    Thanks for posting! These put a smile on everyone’s face! :)

    • says

      Would you believe my little critters ran off with my pastry bag? I found it in the toybox two weeks after making these. I looked like Mr. Monk trying to assemble these sans pastry bag, but it CAN be done :-)

  14. Beth says

    Haha!! Thanks again Rebecca! It’s so much fun when messing around in the kitchen brings a smile to so many faces! :)

  15. says

    Hi,I’m thinking about making these for a 4YO birthday party. Therefore, the toothpicks look a little deadly in that scenario. Any way you can make these sans tiny swords? :)


    • says

      Actually, I’m not sure there is a way to make these sans toothpicks… The toothpicks are the structure behind the whole thing, holding the filled olive to the carrot and the olive “head” to the filled olive. And as for 4 year olds with toothpicks? I was okay with them using toothpicks on special occasions as soon as I was okay with them wielding their own fork. As long as I was observing, I was confident that they could observe the rules of the road: Don’t poke people, don’t walk around chewing the toothpick, the toothpick is a “fork” here/put it down when you’re done, they are not swords, etc… Of course, you know the crowd you’re serving best, and if you think it’s a mistake, trust your instinct.

  16. Susan says

    for children, I skewered the olives with a plastic cocktail pic, then just pushed the penguin parts on a pretzel stick…the penguins were just as cute, but safer for little ones.

  17. Dottie Hall says

    I saw these for the first time yesterday at a baby shower. They were the hit of the party!
    I loved them so much, I just went shopping and bought the makings of them and I am going
    to have some fun making them later today. I wish i had a camera so i could let you see mine.
    Thanks for showing us your little creations. I love them.
    Dottie Hall

  18. says

    My Daughter made these for my grandaughters penquin themed 7th birthday.. they were a big hit.. I wanted to take a picture and they were all gone.

  19. says

    This penguins are definitely such a cute idea and they’re also quite healthy too. Black olives, cream cheese and carrots are perfect for people of all ages and most especially for children. By making them look cute it’s also possible to get your young kids to eat more of them as well.

  20. choi k chin says

    Your olive penguins is sooo cute and easy to make too. I have one of those knife my is smaller and there are great knife to have I think every one should have one like you say

  21. Nelia says

    Saw these cutties n will make them on my sons bday….do you have other ideas for anything else….I did veggies-watermelon carvings but summer is over so I need to use other food crafts/ideas…tnx.

  22. says

    Hi there! Just wanted to let you know I’ve compiled a recipe round-up of Healthy Party Finger Foods on my blog today and I’ve includ ed your recipe! Come and take a look!Thanks for a sharing great recipe/instructions – they are adorable!

  23. says

    Hi just to let you know I used your idea on my blog and they have to visit to actually get the directions, I only used the picture.
    If this is of any nuisance to you, please let me know.
    And keep the lovely blog going :)
    Thank you,

  24. Debbie says

    These are so adorable! I thought of trying small fresh mozzarella balls in place of the cream cheese. Fresh basil could also be used for the scarf,


  1. […] Originally from the blog, these super cute cream cheese-filled black olive penguins are the hit of every party. AND, they have only four ingredients – olives, cream cheese, carrot, and green onions – and the toothpicks that hold them together.  I like my penguins to ice skate on a silver tray. See the recipe for Black Olive Penguins. […]

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