Muffuletta Sandwich Recipe (just like in New Orleans!) - Olivia's Cuisine (2024)

Muffuletta is an Italian sandwich on steroids! A classic New Orleans invention that consists of a wide and round bread, a marinated olive salad, cheese and charcuterie. Perfect to feed a crowd, this sandwich is the epitome of epic!

Whether for picnics or for quick lunches, sandwiches are always a great call. From a Classic Reuben Sandwich to the nostalgic Sloppy Joe, you will find a plethora of delicious sandwiches here on the blog!

Muffuletta Sandwich Recipe (just like in New Orleans!) - Olivia's Cuisine (1)

This post is sponsored by Mezzetta. All opinions are my own!

Muffuletta: a sandwich that feeds a crowd!

Since vacations are out of the question right now, I figured I would take us on a foodie staycation. Destination: New Orleans (in your kitchen, obvs!).

Being the food lover that I am, New Orleans is one of the top destinations on my bucket list, and one that I was hoping to get to this year.

Since I probably won’t be able to get there anytime soon, I made one of its most iconic dishes: the Muffuletta sandwich.

A sandwich that lots of people mistakenly think is Italian. And while it is Italian in spirit, such sandwich doesn’t exist in Italy! Only in New Orleans.

And now in your kitchen!

Muffuletta Sandwich Recipe (just like in New Orleans!) - Olivia's Cuisine (2)

What is Muffuletta?

Muffuletta (muff-uh-LAH-tuh) – also known as Muffaletta – is a classic New Orleans sandwich that consists of a large wide bread, filled with layers of a marinated olive salad, cheese and Italian charcuterie.

In Italy, muffuletta is the name of the bread itself: a round and flat Sicilian sesame loaf. It is commonly eaten on All Soul’s Day.

The name is believed to be a diminutive form of muffe (which means “mold” or “mushroom”), perhaps due to the bread’s shape resembling a mushroom cap; or from muffola (which means “muff, mitten”).

Where was the Muffuletta invented?

This sandwich originated among the Italian immigrants of New Orleans.

It is said to be created in 1906 at the Central Grocery in New Orleans by its owner, Salvatore Lupo, a Sicilian immigrant.

Legend has it that Salvatore noticed that his customers – workers and farmers who came to his store for a quick lunch – had a hard time juggling and eating their bread, meat and olives – which he sold separately – so he started putting everything together, creating an antipasti sandwich.

The sandwich eventually came to be known as Muffuletta, the name of the sesame-seed topped bread, baked in abundance by the Italian immigrants in the Quarter.

The store, which is now owned by Lupo’s grandson, still exists and sells lots of Muffulettas. However, nowadays the sandwich – as well as the olive salad, sold as a condiment by itself – can be found all over New Orleans.

Muffuletta Sandwich Recipe (just like in New Orleans!) - Olivia's Cuisine (3)

Ingredients for the Muffuletta Olive Salad

OLIVES – Use a green and a black variety. My favorites are Castelvetranos and Kalamatas.

GIARDINIERA – Giardiniera is a mix of pickled vegetables in vinegar or oil. You can make your own or buy it in a jar.

SHALLOT – I prefer shallots than onions here, because they are milder and will let the olives shine. You can use onions if that’s all you have!

GARLIC – To make the garlic oil, which will be used in the salad and to brush the bread later.

OREGANO – Fresh or dried.

OLIVE OIL – The best one you can afford! Extra-virgin, pretty please.

VINEGAR – I use sherry vinegar, but red or white wine vinegars can be used instead.

SALT AND PEPPER – Go easy with the seasoning. Depending on the olives you are using, your olive salad might already be salty enough!

Muffuletta Sandwich Recipe (just like in New Orleans!) - Olivia's Cuisine (4)

Sandwich Ingredients

Here’s what you’ll need to assemble your Muffuletta:

OLIVE SALAD – Made with the ingredients listed above. If you can, let it marinate in the fridge overnight for the flavors to blend.

BREAD – A large loaf of Muffuletta bread, preferably freshly baked.

GARLIC OIL –Olive oil mixed with minced garlic. For brushing the bread.

CHEESE – Provolone is traditional, and I also like to add fresh Mozzarella.

MEAT – Whatever cold cuts you like. My recipes calls for five cuts – because I’m extra – but most sandwich-makers will use a combination of three cuts. I use Genoa salami, Soppressata (hot or sweet), ham, Prosciutto di Parma (my favorite) and mortadella. Other popular choices are pepperoni, bologna, capicola and coppa. Make sure to ask your charcutier to slice your meats as thinly as possible!

How many ounces of meat goes in a Muffuletta sandwich?

There is usually at least 1.5 pounds (24 ounces) of meat in a muffuletta.

Here we are taking this sandwich to the next level of epic, so we have 5 types of meat and 2 pounds total!

What kind of bread is used for muffuletta?

Muffuletta bread is a large, round and flat loaf covered in sesame seeds. It has a soft crust and a texture that is soft but stands up to all the oil in the olive salad without getting soggy, like somewhere between focaccia and ciabatta.

Unfortunately, finding this bread outside of New Orleans is quite difficult. Your best bet is making your own, and there are lots of recipes for that online! The one you see in my photos is made by moi and if you ask nicely, I might post the recipe in a separate post. 😉

If bread baking is not your thing, then you could use focaccia or ciabatta to make a non-round muffuletta.

I find that a round Italian bread or sourdough have the right shape, but their crust is too hard for this sandwich.

Muffuletta Sandwich Recipe (just like in New Orleans!) - Olivia's Cuisine (5)

Which kind of olives to buy?

Buying olives can be a little intimidating. There are so many to choose from!

Should you go to the olive bar? Or straight to the pickled food aisle? And which kind of olives should I buy to make Muffuletta olive salad?

My recommendation: grab some Mezzetta olives at your local supermarket!

Mezzetta is the number one producer of specialty peppers and olives in the United States. Their mission? To produce the best quality products from the finest available ingredients and make them available at an affordable price!

Plus, their olives don’t sit at an olive bar – exposed to all kinds of germs – all day.

For this recipe, I use their Castelvetrano olives – which are meaty, buttery, and not too salty – and their Kalamata olives – which are rich and fruity.

Make sure to buy them pitted, so you don’t have to pit them yourself!

Muffuletta Sandwich Recipe (just like in New Orleans!) - Olivia's Cuisine (6)

How to make a Muffuletta Sandwich

Making a muffuletta is a little more time consuming than assembling your everyday Italian sub, but it is so worth it!

I recommend you make the olive salad a day ahead, so you can let it marinate overnight. It can keep well in the fridge for a week (some people say a month), so if you could double the recipe and have olive salad available for when your next muffuletta cravings hit!

Don’t skip brushing the bread with garlic oil and toasting it, as that adds a lot of flavor and texture.

And, finally, even if you can’t wait for the sandwich to compress, you should let it sit for a little bit before digging in, as the muffuletta gets better as it sits around at room temperature!

Recommended tools: food processor, bread knife, cutting board.

Muffuletta Sandwich Recipe (just like in New Orleans!) - Olivia's Cuisine (7)

Here’s how I make Muffuletta. As always, you will find the printable (and more complete) version of the recipe at the end of this post!

Step 1: Make the olive salad

  • Make the garlic oil by mixing the olive oil and the minced garlic. (Photo 1) Reserve.
  • Place the olives, fresh oregano and giardiniera in the food processor. Pulse until coarsely chopped. (Photo 2)
  • Transfer the chopped mixture to a bowl and add half of the garlic oil and remaining ingredients. (Photo 3) For best results, cover with plastic and refrigerate overnight (or up to a week).

Step 2: Assemble the sandwich

  • Start by halving the loaf and brushing the insides with the remaining garlic oil. Toast until golden brown. (Photo 4)
  • Spread the bottom cut surface generously with half of the olive salad. (Photo 5)
  • Layer all the soppressata (Photo 6), followed by the ham (Photo 7), provolone (Photo 8), mozzarella (Photo 9), mortadella (Photo 10), prosciutto (Photo 11) and Genoa salami (Photo 12).
  • Spread the remaining olive salad (Photo 13) and close the sandwich. (Photo 14)

Step 3: Wait!

  • Wrap the sandwich tightly with plastic wrap. (Photo 15) Place something heavy – like a heavy book or a marble tray – on top of the sandwich, for one hour, to compress it. After one hour, turn it around and repeat for another hour.
  • Cut the sandwich into 4 wedges and serve!

Olivia’s Tip

  • While you could serve the sandwich immediately after assembling, wrapping it and letting it compress with the weight of something heavy, means that the olive salad’s juices will get absorbed into the bread and that each bite will be magical!
Muffuletta Sandwich Recipe (just like in New Orleans!) - Olivia's Cuisine (8)

How to serve Muffuletta

This sandwich is traditionally served cold (as in room temperature), but there are some places that will heat it up if you ask.

As for sides, the muffuletta is quite filling, so you might not need anything to go with it. But if you must, some potato chips are always a good call!

Other frequently asked questions

How long can Muffuletta sit out?

The USDA says that it’s dangerous to eat cold cuts that have been allowed to sit out at room temperature for more than two hours. So you should serve (or refrigerate) the sandwich as soon as you’re done waiting for it to compress.

How long will it keep in the fridge?

The sandwich will keep for 2-3 days, but the bread will likely get stale.

Can a Muffaletta be frozen?

While I prefer to enjoy my sandwiches with fresh bread, they can be frozen!

If freezing, wrap the wedges tightly in plastic wrap and put them in a larger freezer bag. That way you can defrost individual portions (one wedge) at a time.

When ready to eat, defrost overnight in the fridge.

Did you make this recipe? I love hearing from you! Please comment and leave a 5-star rating below. You can also take a photo andtag me on Instagramwith #oliviascuisine.

Muffuletta Sandwich Recipe (just like in New Orleans!) - Olivia's Cuisine (9)


Servings: 8

Prep Time: 15 minutes mins

Additional Time: 2 hours hrs

Total Time: 2 hours hrs 15 minutes mins

author: Olivia Mesquita

course: Sandwiches

Muffuletta is an Italian sandwich on steroids! A classic New Orleans invention that consists of a wide and round bread, a marinated olive salad, cheese and charcuterie. Perfect to feed a crowd, this sandwich is the epitome of epic!

4.20 from 5 votes

Print Recipe Pin Recipe Rate Recipe


For the olive salad:

  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 1 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup pitted Castelvetrano olives
  • 1 cup pitted Kalamata olives
  • 2/3 cup Giardiniera, Italian-style pickled vegetables
  • 1 shallot, minced
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano, or 1 teaspoon dried
  • 2 tablespoons sherry vinegar
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

For the sandwich:

  • 1 large Muffuletta bread
  • 1/2 pound Genoa salami, sliced thin
  • 1/2 pound ham, sliced thin
  • 1/2 pound provolone cheese
  • 1/2 pound fresh mozzarella
  • 1/4 pound mortadella, sliced thin
  • 1/2 pound Prosciutto di Parma, sliced thin
  • 1/4 pound soppressata, hot or sweet


Making the Olive Salad:

  • In a small bowl, combine the olive oil and minced garlic. Let it sit for at least 15 minutes.

  • Place the olives, giardiniera, shallot and oregano in your food processor. Pulse a few times until coarsely chopped.

  • Transfer the olive mixture to a bowl. Add half of the garlic oil and vinegar. Stir until throughly mixed.

  • Taste and season with salt and pepper as needed. For best results, cover with plastic and refrigerate overnight (or up to a week).

Assembling the Muffuletta:

  • Split the bread in half and brush each cut side with the remaining garlic oil.

  • Heat a medium-sized skillet over medium heat, and toast the bread directly in the pan until crisp and golden brown, about 1-2 minutes per side.

  • Place the bottom part of the bread, cut side up, on a cutting board. Spread half of the olive salad, making sure to include the juices.

  • Layer all the Genoa salami, followed by all the ham. Then, layer the provolone cheese, mozzarella cheese, mortadella, prosciutto and soppressata. Finish with the remaining olive salad.

  • Close the sandwich and wrap it tightly – two or three times – with plastic wrap.

  • Place the muffuletta top side up on a cutting board and put something heavy (like a big book or a heavy pot) on top of it, to compress it. Let it rest for 1 hour. After 1 hour, turn the sandwich upside down and continue compressing for another hour.

  • Cut the sandwich into wedges and serve.


Muffuletta Bread

If you can’t find muffuletta bread, there are several recipes online for you to make it yourself. If that’s not an option, you could use focaccia or ciabatta instead, but the sandwich won’t be round.


Leftovers can be refrigerated for 2-3 days. The olive salad will keep well for up to a week or two.


You can freeze this sandwich for up to 3 months. Wrap each wedge tightly and then place them in a freezer bag.

When ready to eat, thaw overnight in the fridge and then let it come to room temperature before enjoying!


Calories: 900kcal, Carbohydrates: 14g, Protein: 43g, Fat: 75g, Saturated Fat: 22g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 49g, Cholesterol: 130mg, Sodium: 3007mg, Fiber: 2g, Sugar: 2g

Author: Olivia Mesquita

Course: Sandwiches

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Muffuletta Sandwich Recipe (just like in New Orleans!) - Olivia's Cuisine (2024)


What is a muffuletta sandwich from New Orleans? ›

A muffaletta is a famous italian sandwich invented in New Orleans with cured meats (ham and salami), provolone cheese, olive dressing and great bread. The olive dressing sports chopped green and black olives with onions and olive oil and spices, and the bread is a round sesame-seed roll big enough for sharing.

What is the New Orleans version of a submarine sandwich? ›

A Po'Boy is New Orleans version of a submarine sandwich that is filled with meat or seafood or sometimes both, and then topped with lettuce, tomatoes, pickles, and mayo. When ordering this sandwich at a restaurant, if you want all these toppings, you order your sandwich "dressed."

What is a key component of a muffuletta? ›

The muffuletta–a mammoth sandwich of round sesame bread layered with Genoa salami, ham, mortadella, cheese, and olive salad–is a signature dish of New Orleans.

Is a muffuletta served warm or cold? ›

Like many sandwiches, muffulettas are best served warm. However, this optimal temperature isn't merely a matter of preference — it also plays a crucial role in bringing the whole sandwich together. Warming your muffuletta melts the cheese, which is most commonly sliced provolone.

What is the New Orleans signature sandwich? ›

The traditional-style muffuletta sandwich consists of a muffuletta loaf split horizontally and covered with layers of marinated muffuletta-style olive salad, salami, ham, Swiss cheese, provolone, and mortadella. Quarter, half, and full-sized muffulettas are sold.

Does muffaletta go bad? ›

A: Giardiniera/Muffalata – Use a fork to scoop out the product so as to keep the level of oil higher within, avoid any foreign objects inside as well and you will have four years from the sell by date on the jar.

What is a Louisiana po-boy sandwich? ›

This Louisiana staple varies depending on the restaurant and town, but typically, a classic poboy includes toasted French bread stuffed with some type of fried meat, and the sandwich is “dressed” with tomatoes, romaine lettuce, pickles, mayonnaise and a generous spread of hot sauce for a Creole “kick.”

What is the traditional sandwich in Louisiana? ›

A po' boy (also po-boy, po boy derived from the non-rhotic southern accents often heard in the region, or poor boy) is a sandwich originally from Louisiana. It traditionally consists of meat, which is usually roast beef, ham, or fried seafood such as shrimp, crawfish, fish, oysters, or crab.

What is the original muffuletta sandwich? ›

A Muffaletta sandwich is a type of Italian-American sandwich that originated in New Orleans, Louisiana. It is typically made using a round loaf of Italian bread, such as focaccia or ciabatta, that is sliced horizontally and filled with layers of cured meats, cheeses, and olive salad.

What is a fun fact about muffuletta? ›

This legendary sandwich was invented at one of the city's oldest markets, the Central Grocery. Sicilian immigrants working at the nearby farmer's market would buy salami, ham, cheese, olive salad and Muffuletta bread (a soft round loaf that the sandwich takes its name from) and eat them separately.

What side dishes go with muffalettas? ›

Make it a meal by pairing your homemade muffulettas with French fries, a cup of gumbo, or one of our best Cajun Side Dishes. Try one of these tasty options: Cajun Corn and Bacon Maque Choux. Fried Okra.

What does muffaletta mean in Spanish? ›

The muffoletta (or muffuletta, moffoletta, muffoletto, muffulietta, depending on the dialect) derives its name from Sicilian dialect that means 'soft and spongy bread'.

What is a substitute for muffaletta bread? ›

Substitute 2 to 3 seeded and stemmed pepperoncini in its place. Muffuletta rolls are difficult to locate outside of New Orleans. If unavailable, use ciabatta or focaccia in its place, or any good bread with a relatively soft crust.

What is the difference between Giardiniera and muffuletta? ›

Muffuletta is primarily made up of a mix of olives, while giardiniera is made up of vegetables.

What is muffuletta spread made of? ›

Recipes vary, but pretty much all of them contain chopped olives; chopped pickled celery, cauliflower, and carrots (giardiniera); garlic; olive oil; and vinegar.

What kind of bread is a muffaletta made of? ›

If you have never heard of Muffuletta Bread, it's basically a white bread that has been shaped into a flat disc and topped with sesame seeds before being baked in the oven. It's actually a type of Sicilian sesame bread that was brought to New Orleans by Italian immigrants.

What's the difference between a po-boy and a muffuletta? ›

New Orleans is home to both po'boy and muffuletta sandwiches, but aside from their hometown, the two iconic sandwiches don't have much in common. Most po'boys consist of fried shrimp on crusty, hoagie-style bread, while muffuletta sandwiches are made of Italian cold cuts and cheese on flat, sesame-crusted bread.

How to eat muffuletta? ›

This simple muffuletta spread is reminiscent of a classic New Orleans muffuletta sandwich. It can be served on crackers, toasted bagels, or crostini. It's also a nice addition to a pasta salad, a cheese board, or spooned onto grilled fish, pork, or chicken.


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