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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.

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

5 from 57 votes

Muffaletta Sandwich

By: 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.
Prep Time: 1 day
Total Time: 1 day
Servings: 10

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
Like this recipe? Rate and comment below!

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 is a Canadian-based syndicated food, travel, and lifestyle writer, photographer, and creator at xoxoBella. She founded xoxoBella in 2015, where she shares her love for food, dogs, sustainability, fitness, crafts, outdoor adventures, travel, and philanthropy to encourage others to run the extra mile, try new recipes, visit unfamiliar places, and stand for a cause. Bella creates stress-free and family-friendly recipes for weeknight dinners and festive feasts.

 

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