Are you tired of having the same kind of sandwiches for lunch? Break the boredom and try our muffaletta sandwich recipe. It just might be the best sandwich you have ever tasted.
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Why This Recipe Works
- Our sandwich has a uniform filling with many multiple thin layers of meat and cheese.
- We use a round sesame muffaletta bread that is baked fresh and is sturdy enough to hold the heavy ingredients.
- We press the sandwich to make it easier to eat and allow it to rest in the fridge so the bread can absorb the juices from the homemade olive salad.
- We use our own olive salad recipe that has homemade giardiniera or pickled vegetables in it.
Our muffaletta sandwich recipe uses quality ingredients that can be found in large grocery stores in the U.S. Let's talk about the key ingredients.
- Bread: For a truly authentic muffaletta, use muffaletta bread. It is hard to find, but you can make our very popular recipe and you will be thrilled with the end result.
- Olive Salad: You can order this online, or make your own with our recipe for olive salad. Just make it the day before assembling the sandwich as it needs the time for the flavors to meld.
- Meats: To keep the cost and ingredients down, we only used two different kinds of very thinly sliced Italian meats: mortadella and sopressata. If you would like a third use capicola, this meat is a bit harder to find.
- Cheese: We used thinly sliced provolone, but you can also add swiss to the mix.
- Oil: We used the oil from the olive salad and brushed that on the muffaletta bread. You can also use olive oil if don't have enough oil from the olive salad.
How to Make
- Cut a 10 inch round loaf in half horizontally, then hollow out the top and bottom halves. Reserve the bread pieces for croutons, bread crumbs, or just a snack.
2. Brush the hollowed out halves with olive oil and any extra oil from the olive salad.
3. Here comes the fun part! Fill in each half of the loaf with olive salad.
4. Add a layer of mortadella on top of the olive salad.
5. Add a layer of provolone cheese.
6. Next, do a layer of soppressata. Repeat the layers until all the mortadella, provolone, and soppressata is used up.
7. Carefully flip the top half onto the bottom half to make the sandwich. Using a cake lifter helps move the sandwich around easily.
8. Wrap it tightly with plastic wrap so it doesn't dry out and place on a large cutting board.
9. Place it in the fridge to keep it cool, and weigh it down with a heavy cast iron skillet or pot to help compress the layers so it is easier to eat.
10. After a couple of hours or overnight, unwrap the muffaletta and slice into four wedges which is traditional, but honestly it is easier to eat if it cut into 16 wedges.
The good news is you don't have to visit New Orleans to get a bite of this delicious muffaletta. Follow our tips on assembling this sandwich, get your cheese and meat from your local deli, and use our recipes for homemade muffaletta bread, olive salad and giardiniera and you too can have a taste of N'awlins in your kitchen.
Rumor has it that the owner of Central Grocery in the French Quarter invented it in 1906. Salvatore Lupo would watch fellow Silicians eat their lunches of Italian pickled vegetables, meats, cheese, olive salad, and bread.
He decided it would be easier and quicker to eat lunch if all those ingredients were layered into a hearty sandwich. He also compressed it by weighing it down to improve the flavors and to make it easier to eat. This had instant success with the local Silicians and now with the tourists.
Central Grocery Store sandwich has 3 types of meat: ham (capicola), salami, mortadella, and 2 types of cheese: provolone and Swiss. They also make it on a 9 inch round Italian sesame loaf and serve their special olive salad which has pickled vegetables.
Traditionally, they are meant to be served cold, but you can allow the meat to warm up to room temperature, or you can bake the sandwich for 30 minutes to heat it though and melt the cheese.
Serve with kettle cooked potato chips, pickles, black olives, giardiniera and Barq's root beer.
Make Ahead: Yes, you certainly can. Muffaletta actually tastes even better when it can sit overnight! It's best to eat between 2 to 24 hours after it has been assembled. It also travels well in a cooler, so it's great for picnics or tailgating.
Leftovers: Store any leftover muffaletta tightly wrapped in the fridge for up to 3 days.
Freeze: You can store the homemade muffaletta bread, before you assemble the sandwich, in the freezer, but we don't recommend freezing this sandwich because cured meats will lose their tenderness and flavor.
- Want a thinner sandwich? Use ½ pound of each meat and cheese.
- Want to other meat and cheese choices? Try Capicola (spicy deli ham) and Swiss.
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- Slice the muffaletta loaf in half horizontally with a long bread knife. Put the bottom half on a large cutting board, and put the top half on paper towel.
- Tear out chunks of bread to make a hollow in each half, leaving a one inch rim. Be careful not to take out too much bread, or the bread will get soggy and flimsy. Put all the bread chunks in a bowl to snack on or in a freezer bag to use as croutons or bread crumbs.
- Brush the olive oil on both of the hollowed out halves with a pastry brush. Also brush on some of the oil from the olive salad to give it additional flavor.
- Put half of the olive salad in the hollowed out part of the bread on the bottom half. Repeat for the top half.
- On top of the olive salad, start with a layer of mortadella, then provolone, and then sopressata. Repeat until the meat and cheese are gone, roughly 6 layers.
- Carefully flip the top half of the bread on top of the bottom half. Keep the paper towel on the bread while flipping it to make cleanup easier.
- Tightly wrap the muffaletta in plastic wrap so it doesn't dry out. Use a cake lifter to help move it. Keep the sandwich on the large cutting board for ease when moving it.
- Place the cutting board and the sandwich in the fridge to keep it cool, then put a heavy cast iron skillet or dutch oven weighted down with tin cans on top of the muffaletta. This will compress it.
- Leave the muffaletta sandwich weighed down in the fridge for a minimum of 2 hours or overnight.
- When you are ready to eat, unwrap and cut it into 16 wedges, as you would cut a pie. To be authentic, cut it in quarters, but it's way too much to eat. Serve cold with plain potato chips, pepperoncini, giardiniera, dill pickles, black olives and root beer.
- If you would like less meat and cheese, just reduce the amount to ½ a pound.
- Want to change up the meat and cheese? Capicola (spicy deli ham) and Swiss are also popular choices.
Our muffaletta sandwich recipe was originally published on August 10, 2018 and was republished on May 13, 2022 with new photos and refreshed content.