How to make cute olive penguins with Christmas hats

Are you looking for a fun and delicious make-ahead appetizer to serve at your Christmas party? Look no further than these cute cream cheese stuffed olive penguins with Christmas hats! Not only are they easy to make, but they’re also sure to be a hit with all of your guests.

These little guys are sure to bring lots of smiles around when served up as part of an appetizer platter alongside other festive treats like candy cane cookies & chocolate truffles! It’s not just a snack; it’s a statement piece for your table. Perfect for a potluck office party, New Year’s bash or a kid’s party. A plateful of 10–15 penguins might just steal the spotlight from all your guests. Fun fact: adults seem to be even more amazed and delighted by this dish than the kiddos.


  • 10 large pitted black olives (approximately 10g each) = 10 x 0.35 oz = 3.5 oz
  • 10 small black olives (approximately 5 g each) = 10 x 0.18 oz = 1.8 oz
  • Cream cheese (30 – 40 g) = approximately 1.05 – 1.41 oz
  • 1 Carrot (2 cm diameter slices) = approximately 0.79 inches
  • toothpicks

Let the culinary adventure begin:

With minimal ingredients, this recipe is a breeze. I opted for carrots with a 2 cm / 0.79 inches diameter slice. Olives come in two sizes: large and small (usually specified on the jar). And of course, they must be black and pitted. You’ll need about 30 g / 1.05 oz of cream cheese for 10 penguins.

how to make christmas penguins with black olives carrots and cream cheese

Let’s set the stage for our penguins. Cut the carrot into 5 mm thick slices, so you can stick a toothpick in and keep the structure intact. If your carrot is on the larger side, just trim it down with a veggie peeler. Remember, my diameter is 2 cm / 0.79 inches.

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Slice the large olive along its length, so it can open up. This olive is about to become the penguin’s body.

Next up, fill the hollow space inside the olive with cream cheese. You can use the tip of a knife for this. Fill it as much as you like, ensuring the olive opens up, showcasing the cheese in the cut. I use about 3 g of cheese per olive. You can also use a pastry bag or a small spoon, but I happen to have the knife trick down pat.

christmas appetizers with black olives and cream cheese

Let’s make our penguin adorable. Wipe the olive with a damp cloth or napkin, removing any excess cheese that might mess up the penguin’s “feathers.”

Cut a small triangular piece from the carrot slice and trim it a bit, as shown in the photo. This element will be the penguin’s nose.

Place a small piece of carrot into the small olive.

Time to assemble our penguin. Pierce the toothpick through the head (small olive), then the body (large olive), and finally, through the carrot slice. Be gentle with the carrot, so the penguin doesn’t take a tumble when you present the dish on the table. Make 10 of these little penguins. It took me about 10 minutes.

Voilà! Your adorable olive penguins are ready to go – just pop them into the fridge until it’s time to serve up at your holiday gathering.

office christmas party snack ideas christmas penguins

You can even add a Santa penguin. Grab a cherry tomato, cut a small “hat” from it, spread some cream cheese on the cut, and place it on the penguin’s head. To make the penguins look extra fabulous and shiny, brush them with some refined vegetable oil. It won’t affect the taste, but will definitely enhance their appearance.

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cute party food black olives on toothpicks

Kids might even want to play with the olive penguins, although convincing them to eat the adorable creatures afterward might be a challenge. Look at these penguins forming groups and discussing the latest gossip — pure edible entertainment!

black olives cream cheese appetizers penguins