Muffaletta Sandwich

A well-made muffaletta sandwich with olive spread, deli meats and cheese is one of life’s culinary delights! It’s easy to make a muffaletta recipe yourself at home and it’s hard to beat this classic New Orleans sandwich. This show-stopping sandwich is guaranteed to satisfy even the heartiest appetite.

A homemade muffaletta sandwich, full of deli meats, olive salad and cheese, on a cutting board with the ingredients in the background.

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Traditional muffaletta is the perfect combination of tasty ingredients. Boasting homemade olive spread along with delicious Italian deli meats and cheese, this is the ultimate sandwich if you love Italian food.

A classic New Orleans muffaletta sandwich cut into slices ready to eat. You can see that it is packed thick with Italian deli meats, olive salad and cheese.

Why You’ll Love this Muffaletta Sandwich

  • Easy:  The homemade olive mixture simply entails mixing together ingredients. The only other steps are to cut the bread, add the olive spread and layer the meats and cheeses! The only difficult part is waiting in anticipation while the muffaletta sandwiches are chilling!
  • Versatile:  A classic muffaletta sandwich recipe can be adapted however you wish, so feel free to use any types of meat and cheese in place of the suggested ones.
  • Satisfying:  Even the hungriest belly will be happy after enjoying this great sandwich.
Close up of a slice of a muffaletta sandwich. You can see that it is packed thick with Italian deli meats, olive salad and cheese.

Muffaletta Olive Salad Sandwich Ingredients

Some consider this to be the king of all sandwiches because it’s so rich and filling. But what goes into this special sandwich that feeds a crowd? You will need muffaletta bread (or just use focaccia) along with several types of deli meats and cheese. I used mortadella, capicola, genoa salami, deli ham or prosciutto cotto, provolone cheese and mozzarella cheese.

Ingredients to make a muffaletta sandwich on a wood table.

You also need giardiniera, green olives, kalamata olives, garlic, parsley, roasted red peppers, capers, extra-virgin olive oil, and dried oregano for the homemade olive salad. It’s one of my favourites along with slow cooker Italian beef sandwiches.

A classic New Orleans muffaletta sandwich cut into slices ready to eat. You can see that it is packed thick with Italian deli meats, olive salad and cheese.

Muffaletta Olive Salad

The muffaletta olive salad used in a New Orleans classic muffaletta sandwich is one of the key ingredients to the flavour. The olive salad is made from an Italian giardiniera. You can made it using a giardiniera recipe or you can find this pickled vegetable mixture in the condiment section of your local grocery store.

Preparing the olive salad spread for the muffaletta sandwich recipe.

If you would like it finer, you can pulse the ingredients in a food processor or blender briefly. Letting the olive salad rest overnight in the fridge will improve its flavour, so plan to make it a day ahead. While the sandwich is being compressed, the olive salad’s juices will slowly get absorbed into the bread.

Adding the olive salad spread to a muffaletta loaf to make a sandwich.

How to Make a Muffaletta Sandwich

For more detailed instructions, with weights and measurements, jump to the printable recipe card.

Make the olive salad:  Simply mix all the olive salad recipe ingredients together.
Prepare the bread:  Cut the bread and spread the olive salad mix on the cut parts.
Add the fillings:  Add the Italian cold cuts and cheese in layers.
Let it chill:  Chill the muffaletta sandwich wrapped in plastic wrap in the fridge for several hours, weighed down to prevent it from falling apart later.

Making a muffaletta sandwich on a cutting board. Layering on Italian meats and cheeses.

Substitutions and Variations

As already mentioned, you can use any kind of meats and cheeses, although many New Orleans muffalettas include cold cuts like ham, salami and mortadella, along with provolone cheese and Swiss cheese. If you are looking for another option, you could try these pressed Italian picnic sandwiches.

A homemade muffaletta sandwich, full of deli meats, olive salad and cheese, on a cutting board with the ingredients in the background.

Use round Italian bread or substitute focaccia or ciabatta if you can’t get a round loaf of Sicilian bread with sesame seeds (the traditional choice for a muffaletta recipe). You can also use a gluten-free loaf of Italian bread. A round loaf of bread is the signature look for this classic sandwich.

Close up of a slice of a muffaletta sandwich. You can see that it is packed thick with Italian deli meats, olive salad and cheese.

And then you have giardiniera (a pickled vegetable mixture) and a tasty spread with chopped olives. You can adapt a classic muffaletta sandwich recipe however you want. Use any combination of Italian meats and cheese. You can also use a different kind of marinated olive salad and either a homemade or store-bought Italian giardiniera.

A classic New Orleans muffaletta sandwich cut into slices ready to eat. You can see that it is packed thick with Italian deli meats, olive salad and cheese.

The key to a good muffaletta is the quality of the ingredients in it. It is important to pick ones you love best to ensure it comes out delicious!

Overhead view of a  homemade muffaletta sandwich, full of deli meats, olive salad and cheese, on a cutting board.

What to Serve with a Muffaletta Sandwich

The muffaletta olive salad sandwich, invented by Salvatore Lupo at Central Grocery in the French Quarter of New Orleans. It really doesn’t need any accompaniment because it’s hearty and filling. If you want something on the side though, a vegetable-based salad, polenta fries or a few chips would work.

Close up of a slice of a muffaletta sandwich.

Storage Instructions

  • This sandwich will keep for a couple of days in the refrigerator if you have leftovers, but it’s best served on the same day when it’s freshest.
  • Another idea is to freeze the sandwich, although the bread texture won’t be as good when it thaws out, so I recommend keeping any leftovers refrigerated instead.
A classic New Orleans muffaletta sandwich cut into slices ready to eat. You can see that it is packed thick with Italian deli meats, olive salad and cheese.

Best Muffaletta Sandwich FAQs

Is it spelled muffaletta or muffuletta?

When fresh bread, olive salad, deli meat, and cheese are layered, this is known as a muffaletta, although you’ll see it spelled as muffuletta sometimes. Since the word is derived from the Sicilian dialect and spelled out like it sounds, either spelling is acceptable. The word itself translates to mean “soft and spongy bread” since Italian round bread is the traditional choice.

What occasion would a muffaletta sandwich recipe be good for?

Since this isn’t your typical sandwich, it’s ideal for special occasions, or events such as parties, picnics, tailgating and game day. It’s perfect for a crowd and whether you make it for Mardi Gras celebrations, a birthday or other party, or simply because this sandwich is so good, you won’t regret making it.

Close up of a slice of a muffaletta sandwich.

Muffaletta Sandwich Recipe

A homemade muffaletta sandwich, full of deli meats, olive salad and cheese, on a cutting board with the ingredients in the background.

Muffaletta Sandwich

5 from 54 votes
Course: Appetizer, Lunch, Meals
Cuisine: American, Italian
Keyword: Mardi Gras
Prep Time: 1 day
Total Time: 1 day
Servings: 10
Calories: 871kcal
Author: Bella Bucchiotti
A well-made muffaletta sandwich with olive spread, deli meats and cheese is one of life’s culinary delights! It’s easy to make a muffaletta recipe yourself at home and it’s hard to beat this classic New Orleans sandwich.
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Ingredients

Olive Salad Spread

  • 1 Cup giardiniera chopped
  • ½ Cup green olives pitted, chopped
  • ¼ Cup kalamata olives chopped
  • 3 Cloves garlic minced
  • 3 Tablespoon parsley leaves chopped
  • 3 Tablespoon roasted red peppers chopped
  • 1 Tablespoon capers
  • Cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 Teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 Teaspoon oregano dried
  • 1 Teaspoon black pepper

Sandwich

  • 1 Loaf Muffuletta bread or focaccia
  • ½ Pound mortadella
  • ½ Pound capicola
  • ½ Pound genoa salami
  • ½ Pound ham
  • ½ Pound provolone
  • ½ Pound mozzarella

Instructions

  • Prepare olive spread. Combine all ingredients and place in a sealed container overnight. If you would like it finer, you can pulse the ingredients in a food processor or a blender briefly.
  • Place bread onto a parchment paper lined tray.
  • Cut the bread in half and spread olive spread evenly over both sides. If not many air pockets in the bread or if it is a really thick loaf, you may want to hollow out a small amount of the bread.
  • Evenly layer the sliced meat and cheese over each side of the bread and close the sandwich. Place another sheet of parchment paper over the top then weigh down with a cast iron pan. Refrigerate for 4 to 5 hours or overnight. If leaving overnight, I recommend wrapping in plastic wrap.
  • Slice and serve.

Nutrition

Calories: 871kcal | Carbohydrates: 51g | Protein: 37g | Fat: 56g | Saturated Fat: 19g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 5g | Monounsaturated Fat: 23g | Cholesterol: 130mg | Sodium: 2943mg | Potassium: 346mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 582IU | Vitamin C: 6mg | Calcium: 307mg | Iron: 1mg
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The nutrition information provided are only estimates based on an online nutritional calculator. I am not a certified nutritionist. Please consult a professional nutritionist or doctor for accurate information and any dietary restrictions and concerns you may have.

Introduced by Italian immigrants and now more popular than ever, the delicious muffaletta sandwich boasts cold cuts, cheese, pickled vegetables, and olives, for a fantastic flavour.

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Bella Bucchiotti

Bella Bucchiotti of xoxoBella is a storyteller, food lover, dog mom and adventure seeker living on the Pacific coast. She shares her passion for recipes, dogs, sustainability, adventures, travel and philanthropy, in hopes of encouraging followers to run the extra mile, try new recipes, visit unfamiliar places and stand for a cause. Bella lives with Type 1 Diabetes and Celiac Disease.

Bella Bucchiotti is a freelance food, travel, and lifestyle writer for MSN and the Associated Press Wire.

Welcome to xoxoBella! I am Bella Bucchiotti and I am a recipe developer, content creator and writer. Here you will find delicious recipes, travel inspiration, crafts, pet tips and more.

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Recipe Rating




  1. Tracy wrote:

    5 stars
    My favorite sandwich! YUM!

    Posted 2.14.23 Reply
  2. Brooke wrote:

    5 stars
    This was perfect! We absolutely love Central Grocery and I was able to pull this sandwich off almost as good as if we were there! Easy to follow and great tips about the olive spread marinating overnight as well as weighing the sandwich down.

    Posted 2.14.23 Reply
  3. Addison wrote:

    5 stars
    This was such a quick and easy lunch to make! Love all the meat and protein too.

    Posted 2.14.23 Reply
  4. Keri wrote:

    I loved this sandwich. The olive spread really adds a unique, salty flavor. Definitely saving this recipe to make again!

    Posted 2.14.23 Reply
  5. Ksenia wrote:

    5 stars
    I am just drooling looking at your images! I made the pickled veggies spread and used it in a salad, and it worked amazingly well. Going to try it in a sandwich tomorrow!

    Posted 2.14.23 Reply
  6. Melissa Ringstaff wrote:

    5 stars
    This recipe was everything my sandwich dreams were made of. Thanks for such a great recipe!

    Posted 2.14.23 Reply
  7. Sara wrote:

    5 stars
    I could eat this every. single. day. SO good!!! Next time I’m going to double everything so that we have enough for leftovers

    Posted 2.14.23 Reply
  8. Debra wrote:

    I fell in love with sandwich many years ago and now enjoy making it myself. Only difference is, I prefer mine hot!

    Posted 7.17.23 Reply
  9. Belinda wrote:

    5 stars
    This is the best Italian sandwich ever. I could eat this every day!

    Posted 10.24.23 Reply
  10. Ashley R. wrote:

    5 stars
    This recipe was a winner! Loved it.

    Posted 2.8.24 Reply