Muffuletta. Just saying the name of that New Orleans sandwich provokes a mouth-watering, Pavlovian response in me. This muffuletta sandwich recipe is as authentic as you can get, if you don’t happen to live in the crescent city. With a tasty muffuletta mix of briny olive salad, sliced cheeses and a smorgasbord of cold cuts, this isn’t a mere sandwich. It’s a gustatory revelation.
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The Big Easy Is Famous For:
- The French Quarter
- Jug and Washboard Bands
- Bourbon Street’s raunchy, but good humored debauchery.
- Mardi Gras parades replete with a neck-straining volume of shiny beads.
- Voodoo dolls and high priestesses.
- Street performers and artists.
- Magazine Street
- The Garden District
- Fleur de Lys symbols everywhere
- and FOOD. Loads of food.
From food-stuffs like Tabasco sauce, spicy tasso ham, jarred muffuletta mix, Mardi Gras hued King cake, sugared beignets, dressed Po’ Boys and spicy brown gumbo to the bevy of local, hole-in-the-wall eateries and superior fine dining establishments serving their own version of these classics, the one thing that’s impossible to do in New Orleans is go hungry. Central Grocery is legendary for its muffuletta sandwich recipe, however, you can find this holy grail of stuffed bread at almost every outpost across the city. Last time I was there, Scott and I shared one from Cochon/Butcher. Fabulous!
Unfortunately, a pricey plane ticket is always standing between me and my craving for muffuletta sandwiches. That’s an unacceptable circumstance in my view, however, it doesn’t have to be that way. It merely takes some forethought and this New Orleans sandwich can be yours.
Ingredients For Muffuletta Sandwich Recipe
- Muffuletta Olive Salad
- Muffuletta Bread
- Deli Ham (thinly sliced)
- Genoa Salami (thinly sliced)
- Mortadella (with pistachios, thinly sliced)
- Provolone (thinly sliced)
- Swiss Cheese (thinly sliced)
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil (for drizzling)
Not to get nit-picky, but if you’ve gone to the trouble of making the muffuletta bread and the olive muffuletta mix, as well as standing in line at the deli, waiting for assistance, you want to get the building order of this sandwich RIGHT!
Proper Muffuletta Sandwich Stacking Order:
- Slice the muffs (nickname for muffuletta bread) in half, horizontally.
- Drizzle both halves with olive oil.
- First Layer: Salami
- 2nd Layer: Ham
- Third Layer: Swiss
- Fourth Layer: Mortadella
- Fifth Layer: Provolone
- Sixth Layer: More Salami
- Seventh Layer: Olive Muffuletta mix
- Top the sandwich with the other half of the muffuletta bread and press down.
- Slice your New Orleans sandwich into fourths or sixths, depending on how hungry you and your diners are.
Muffuletta Sandwich Recipe Go Withs:
Some obvious, but always welcome sides include uber crunchy potato chips (Zapp’s if you can get them), very cold Abita beer, crunchy dill pickles, your favorite slaw or potato salad, that way your New Orleans sandwich turns into an authentic Cajun meal!
If this classic Muffuletta sandwich recipe has got you jonesing for more Cajun and Creole fare, be sure to browse the end of this post for my favorite dining spots and one to avoid in the Big Easy.
More New Orleans Inspired Favorites:
- Authentic Seafood Chicken and Sausage Gumbo
- Easy Crawfish Étouffée
- Mardi Gras Grilled Oysters
- Red Bean and Sausage Soup
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- 1 10″ muff bread or other soft round boule (can also make individual sandwiches on hoagie rolls
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- ⅓ pound ham thinly sliced (I used Virginia ham from the deli
- ⅓ pound Genoa salami thinly sliced
- ⅓ pound provolone cheese thinly sliced
- ⅓ pound mortadella (Italian bologna) thinly sliced
- ⅓ pound swiss cheese thinly sliced
- 1 cup olive salad
ASSEMBLE THE MUFFULETTA:
- Carefully slice the muff or boule in half, horizontally. Drizzle the olive oil over the cut halves of the bread and lightly brush it over the loaf with a pastry brush.
- Layer 1: Salami. Overlap half of the salami to cover the bottom layer of bread.Layer 2: Ham. Arrange layers of ham over the salami, overlapping as you go. Layer 3: Swiss Cheese. Add the swiss cheese as the next layer, overlapping over on itself.Layer 4: Mortadella. Arrange and verlap the mortadella over the swiss cheese.Layer 5: Provolone: Add provolone as the next layer to the sandwich, overlapping on each piece to cover the layer beneath.Layer 6 Salami. Use the remainder of the salami to cover the provolone.Layer 7: Olive Salad: Generously spread olive salad over the salami layer evenly.
- Finish the muffuletta by topping with the remaining piece of bread and pressing down firmly on the sandwich. Cut the sandwich into fourths (for large appetites) or sixths or even eighths for smaller appetites.
- Note: a eighth of a sandwich is perfect for me, with a handful of chips — my husband can do 1/6th or even a 1/4 if he’s really hungry!
Pin “New Orleans Sandwich” For Later!
My Favorite Places To Eat In New Orleans
If this post hasn’t made your stomach grumble in hunger and that olive muffuletta mix isn’t calling your name, you might want to check your pulse. Seriously. And if it’s inspired you to book a trip, here are some of my recommendations for dining:
Restaurant Stanley – Amazing Breakfast/Brunch Spot with New Orleans inspired ingredients like boudin, tasso ham, fried oysters and soft shell crabs.
Café Du Monde – They only sell two things — Strong chickory coffee (best in a café au lait) and powdered-sugar coated sweet beignets. Get in line early – or be prepared for a twenty minute wait (still worth it).
Commander’s Palace – I put this in the Breakfast/Brunch category, not because that’s all they serve, but because you don’t want to miss the Jazz Brunch with things like Eggs Sardou, Turtle Soup, Veal Grillades and Grits, Banana’s Foster and Bourbon Bread Pudding.
Avoid: The Court of the Two Sisters – Yes, they have live music and, yes, there’s a lovely patio but that’s really all this place has going for it. I don’t like to speak ill, but this is a tourist trap. It’s an expensive prix-fixe buffet breakfast — and a poor one at that. Turtle soup was bland, étouffée didn’t have any kick and even the omelette station was not up to snuff. The food didn’t look (or taste) anything like what was presented on the website. Scott and I didn’t get through half of our meals before we decided to cut our losses, pay the tab and go. A few hours later, we made up for our poor breakfast decision with a $14 muffuletta from Butcher.
Butcher – The deli adjacent to Cochon restaurant serving hand crafted sandwiches and sides in a hip, but low-key manner. Scott and I split the muffuletta here and it was piled with meats, cheeses and olive salad with more than enough for the two of us. Nice selection of brews and dessert bars and cookies, too.
Johnny’s Po’ Boys – There is nothing fancy about this place, but the sandwiches are legit. My favorite has and always will be the Oyster Po’Boy. Make sure to get it “dressed” and don’t share with anyone. Trust me, you want it all for yourself.
Acme Oyster – Lots of options on the menu, but we gravitate toward the chargrilled oysters in the half shell. They’re hot and buttery with a cheesy blend and they don’t suck! Try it with an icy Abita.
August – fine dining. I admit it’s been a while since we’ve eaten here, but their oysters done three ways still haunts me. While I was blown away by the creativity and flavors, Scott ordered a simple steak and had to send it back three times because of cooking temperatures. My advice, look for something you wouldn’t get at any other restaurant and go with that… Scott still kicks himself for ordering a steak — I mean who does that in New Orleans?
Brennan’s – I’ve eaten here several times for dinner and have never been disappointed. This is Creole cuisine taken to a fine dining level. Next time, I may try Brennan’s for brunch — especially for the “Eggs Cardinal” and Caribbean Milk Punch!
Red Fish Grille – Casual, creative and very tasty seafood. You definitely want to try their Oyster Happy Hour or just even graze over the bar food menu, but there’s a whole lot of Cajun inspired fare to try at this Bourbon Street landmark.
Restaurant NOLA – This is one of Emeril’s restaurants and it’s so worth a visit. It’s not overly fancy and has a great vibe with familiar food, done very well. This is a true story: Scott and I were meandering around N. Peters and Decatur street (sober) when a car made a left hand turn without looking in front of them. It narrowly avoided hitting Scott, but hit me head on. I was thrown onto the hood of the car and tossed into the street. They wanted to call an ambulance for me, but I refused — because we had reservations that night at NOLA and I didn’t want to miss out. I was blackened and bruised, but a stiff cocktail and Emeril’s shrimp and grits made up for it. You have to have priorities in life.
La Petite Grocery – Located on Magazine Street and no where near the French Quarter, this James Beard Award Winning Restaurant is one that I go to EVERY TIME I’m in New Orleans. Last time I was there, The French 75 became my favorite cocktail and the crab beignets are creamy, fried bites that we still talk about.
Yes, your muffaletta looks and sounds NOLA deLISH! But please tell your readers how to pronounce it: It’s muffuLAHtta. If you pronounce it properly, it tastes even better! (And doesn’t expose you as a tourist!)
My bread didn’t turn out, but I had some back up bread in case I blew it. The olive salad and rest of it turned out fantastic. Thanks for sharing!
Thanks for the bread recipe as well. Been to ” ‘Nawlns ” twice. Loved both visits. Impossible to walk away from the French Quarter hungry and your critique of the restaurants are spot on.
Debbie B says
Fantastic. I made the bread first, I made 3 smaller loaves, yum. Then I went to get the deli meats. I had the olive mixture from Central grocery from when I visited in August. Will be fun to make yours too. Thanks so yummy. I posted in Pinterest and sending to my son’s fiancé. I took some great photos if you want to see it.
So thrilled you liked the muffuletta. Definitely want to see the pictures!
Amy Venable-Murphy says
Do you have a Veggie Muff recipe?! I know all about these spots in NOLA for this lovely sandwich, which is why I now find myself craving one come Fat Tuesday when I am not able to be in NOLA! I am making your bread and olive mixture as I write this and trying to come up with my own roasted veggie concoction to do a Veggie Muffaletta using “Lasalle’s” (my favorite little New Orleans deli in Tulsa) ingredients to go off of in the mean time:)
Hi Amy! I don’t have a vegetarian muffuletta on my site, but I do have a grilled portobello mushroom sandwich. That makes me think you could pile a sandwich with grilled or roasted portobello, a few slices of roasted red bell pepper and maybe even a slice or two of roasted eggplant along with cheese and the olive salad. That would make a very tasty muffuletta.
I’ve not yet had the pleasure of visiting NOLA, a City which intrigues me to no end… but it’s on my Bucket List. This sandwich fascinates me, as I’ve seen it on many TV shows. IMO, NOTHING can possibly be more delicious than this sandwich! Even though the ingredients add up to contain a humongous amount of sodium, chomping down & enjoying this wonderful sandwich once in a while doesn’t hurt TOO much. I made this sandwich in the past using (freezer) bread dough, and it turned out well. I wish that I could join everyone in NOLA for their Mardi Gras celebration. Perhaps next year. Thanks for this terrific recipe 🙂
You MUST visit NOLA — it’s such wonderful FOOD experience. Yes, the deli lunchmeat and olive salad do add sodium, but every once in a while is ok, right? If you want a good Muffuletta Bread recipe, it’s on my website!
Nommie nommmm!! I LOVE Muffaletta’s more than life…especially when they look like this! Would you believe I introduced this sandwich to a deli I used to work at?! I couldn’t believe they didn’t already have it on the menu, but they didn’t. Such a classic, New Orleans beauty…thanks for sharing 🙂
I’ve never been to New Orleans, but you’ve written so beautifully about it, with so much richness and detail that I want to go! The olive salad on this….my mouth is watering. Thank you for opening my eyes to this sandwich, this culture, this robust city.
Trish Bozeman says
I can’t believe I’m going to type this, but I’ve never had a muffuletta sandwich! Yours looks soooo amazing with that briny olive topping! An absolute must make recipe.
Goodness gracious this sandwich is perfection. It’s funny, a few weeks ago I was craving a muffaletta sandwich out of nowhere. I hadn’t had one in years! So I told my husband I’d put in an order at a nearby sandwich shop for dinner and he could pick them up on his way home from work. I ordered the muffaletta and was SO excited about it—but when I unwrapped it, it was a flippin’ disaster. I was missing components, and it was a total soggy mess. Needless to say, I’m holding a grudge against the kid that was working that night. Pregnancy cravings are no joke. Haha. So thank you for this masterpiece!
Wish you lived closer, Dana. You could have been my taste tester!
Marisa F. Stewart says
I’ve never been to New Orleans but we love the food. The Muffeletta Sandwich has been on my bucket list to make for a family party!! Thank you for the tips and tricks to make this authentic. I love that this is the Italian influence on New Orleans! Great photos too!
Thank you, Marisa — New Orleans cuisine is one that we return to again and again. If you can take the trip to the Big Easy, it’s well worth it!
Great Post !! Being from southern Louisiana it is rare someone get a traditional dish so right . You even served it with an Abita lol.
Thank you — I was going for authentic on this one!
I’ve always thought that making a muffuletta sandwich was super complicated, but your post made me realize that it’s totally doable! I’m not a huge fan of olives, so I might swap out the olive salad for a marinated artichoke one. Other than that, this recipe looks like a keeper! Pinned for later!
That sandwich looks amazing and would be the entire meal in between two pieces of bread. I love muffuletta but have never made it myself. Now there isn’t any holding me back with this amazing sandwich. Thank you for a great recipe!
It’s so filling that it IS an entire meal — For at least 4 people!
Sometimes you just want a GREAT sandwich. I do believe this qualifies as a great sandwich. So many wonderful fillings happening. I would make this in subs. Cut them up and happily feed a hungry crowd.
Adriana Lopez Martin says
This is my favorite sandwich has all the things I love, olives, Italian cold cuts and crusty beautiful bread with sesame seeds. Now I am so hungry and with the desire to go to New Orleans!
I’ve never been to New Orleans but this sandwich seems like reason enough to go! I’ve had one before and loved it – I hope I can recreate it with your help and I’m sure it’ll be so much better than what I had and much more authentic!
Yum! I haven’t had a Muffuletta Sandwich since we moved away from the gulf coast. Yours looks absolutely incredible. So full of flavor.
Thank you, Tara!
sue | the view from great island says
This is such a fun post, I can’t believe I’ve never visited New Orleans! This sandwich will just have to do, it looks amazing Lisa.
Sue, put New Orleans on your bucket list and make it a priority, along with the Muffuletta.
This post is definitely making me want to go back to New Orleans!!! One of my absolute favorite places to visit. And eat. 🙂 I think I could eat this olive salad all by itself. No sandwich required.