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Oct 29, 2023

Muffuletta Sandwich with Homemade Bread

This big muffaletta sandwich, stacked with deli-style meats and cheeses and spread with an antipasti salad, will feed a crowd. 

Muffuletta Sandwich on a plate.

This sandwich, made with a 14-inch wide round sesame seed-topped soft bread, has its roots in New Orleans. It was first introduced by Sicilian immigrant Salvadore Lupo, the founder of Central Grocery and Deli, which is still located in the French Quarter. 

The sandwich is piled high with multiple deli meats and cheeses, and the bread is generously spread with an amazing olive salad. 

Muffuletta Sandwich on a cutting board.

This muffuletta sandwich is perfect for serving at a casual party. Just slice the assembled sandwich into wedges and place them on a serving platter on your buffet table. It can be made ahead of time and served with a few make-ahead sides, salads, and a dessert for an easy peasy get-together. 

Ingredients For Filling This Muffuletta Sandwich: 

Typically, a muffuletta includes three kinds of meats. I used mortadella, capocolla, and Genoa salami. For the mortadella, you can substitute bologna. For the capocolla, you can substitute very thinly sliced ham, prosciutto, or other cured whole meat. 

For the Genoa salami, any other salami, especially sopressata, would be delicious. 

For the cheese, I used provolone. You could also use Swiss cheese, mozzarella, or a combination. 

Muffuletta Sandwich on a cutting board.

Olive Salad Ingredients:

For the olive salad, I used a combination of green pimento-filled olives, kalamata olives, capers, red wine vinegar, and garlic. 

I also added some gardiniera, which is a combination of pickled vegetables, such as cauliflower, carrots, celery, pearl onions, and pepperoncini. 

Roughly chop everything together in a mini food processor with extra virgin olive oil. You can make the olive salad in advance and let the flavors meld in the refrigerator overnight. 

Muffuletta Sandwich with Homemade Bread on a plate with a pickle on top.

Generously top both sides of the bread with the olive salad before piling it high with meats and cheeses. To develop even more flavor, wrap the sandwich in plastic wrap or butcher paper and let it rest for about an hour at room temperature before serving. 

About the Muffuleta Bread:

Muffuletta bread is a wide, round, and flat loaf covered in sesame seeds. It's roots are Sicilian. I understand that the famous sandwich actually got its name from the bread. It is difficult to find it ready made outside of New Orleans, which is why I decided to attempt to make it myself. If you like, you can substitute soft submarine-style sandwich bread. 

You could also use ready-made pizza dough and shape it like the sandwich bread before baking. Just bake it at 350 degrees F so that it is not too crusty. 

Muffuletta Homemade Bread on a cooling rack.

The bread should have a soft yet chewy crust and the interior should be soft but sturdy, strong enough to absorb and still stand up to the olive salad. This one is about fourteen inches across, which makes a sandwich that can serve up to twenty guests depending on how hungry everyone is and what you are serving with the sandwich. You could also divide the dough into two smaller rounds, making each easier to split. 

This bread recipe requires a couple of overnight rests, first for a poolish/pre-ferment, and second, for the shaped bread, all to develop flavor. It's a lean dough, without eggs, sugar, or oil. It's very tasty and holds up well to the fillings. 

The bread is pretty pale in color. If you'd like it to have more color on the crust, you could try raising the baking temperature a bit, similar to the Moroccan kesra, try turning on the convection function of your oven (if you have it) at the end of baking, or adding a little bit of sugar or diastatic malt powder to the dough. 

Muffuletta Bread cut side up in a pizza pan.

Assembling the Muffuletta Sandwich:

Slice the bread in half crosswise and brush the cut side of the top and bottom with extra virgin olive oil. Top each side generously with the olive salad and then line the bottom half with the capocollo, then the Genoa salami, the provolone, and finally the mortadella.  

Place the top half of the loaf over the sandwich, wrap it up, and let it sit at room temperature for about an hour so that the flavors can fully develop. If you don't have time, that's okay. It's still delicious. 

Finally, cut the sandwich into four-inch by two-inch slices and serve. 

Helpful Tools:

14-inch pizza pan, for baking the bread

Mini Food Processor, for chopping the olive salad

Related Recipes:

King Cake Spritz Cookies

New Orleans Style Beignets

Shrimp Remoulade

Chili Gumbo

Chicken, Shrimp, and Sausage Gumbo

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Muffuletta Sandwich with Homemade Bread on a blue plate.

Muffuletta Sandwich Recipe

Muffuletta Sandwich Recipe
Yield: 20 Slices
Author: Karen's Kitchen Stories
Prep time: 1 H & 30 MCook time: 30 MinInactive time: 24 HourTotal time: 26 Hour
This big muffaletta sandwich, stacked with deli-style meats and cheeses, and spread with an antipasti salad, will feed a crowd.


For the Muffuletta Bread
  • Poolish/Pre-ferment:
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 120 grams (1 cup) unbleached all purpose flour
  • 1/8 teaspoon instant yeast
  • Final Loaf:
  • All of the starter
  • 418 grams (3 1/2 cups) unbleached all purpose flour
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon instant yeast
  • 1 large egg plus two tablespoons water, beaten
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons sesame seeds
For the Olive Salad
  • 3/4 cup kalamata olives
  • 3/4 cup pimento filled green olives
  • 3/4 cup giardiniera (Italian pickled vegetables)
  • 1 to 2 pickled pepperoncini (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon capers
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red peppers
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
For the Sandwich
  • One 14-inch loaf muffuletta bread
  • 3 to 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • All of the olive salad
  • 8 ounces thinly sliced capocollo
  • 8 ounces Genoa salami
  • 8 ounces thinly sliced pecorino cheese
  • 8 ounces thinly sliced mortadella


To Make the Bread
  1. Combine the poolish ingredients in a medium small bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and let sit overnight at room temperature.
  2. The next day, in the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the poolish, flour, water, salt, and yeast, and knead until smooth. Tranfer to an oiled bowl or 2 quart Cambro bucket, cover, and let rise for one hours. Deflate the dough, fold it over itself a few times, flip it over, re-cover, and let rise for an additional two hours.
  3. Deflate the dough and form it into a ball. Cover with oiled plastic wrap and let rest for 10 minutes. Line a 14-inch pizza or cake pan with parchment paper.
  4. Stretch the dough out into a 14-inch round and transfer it to the pan. Cover with oiled plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.
  5. The next day, heat the oven to 350 degrees F. In the meantime, let the dough rest at room temperature for 30 minutes.
  6. Brush the top of the shaped loaf with the egg wash and sprinkle generously with sesame seeds. Bake for 30 minutes, until it reaches an internal temperature of 190 degrees F.
  7. Let cool on a wire rack.
To Make the Olive Salad
  1. Add all of the salad ingredients to the bowl of a food processor.
  2. Pulse a few times, until everything is roughly chopped into 1/4 inch pieces. You can also chop everything by hand and mix in a bowl.
To Assemble the Sandwich
  1. Slice the bread in half, horizontally. Brush the cut sides with 1 1/2 to 2 tablespoons of olive oil each and spread each side with half of the olive salad.
  2. On the bottom half, evenly layer all of the capocollo, Genoa salami, provolone, and mortadella. Cover with the top half of the bread and wrap in plastic wrap or butcher paper and let rest at room temperature for one hour.
  3. Slice the sandwich into 2x4 inch pieces or wedges and serve.

Nutrition Facts



Fat (grams)

19 g

Sat. Fat (grams)

6 g

Carbs (grams)

28 g

Fiber (grams)

1 g

Net carbs

27 g

Sugar (grams)

0 g

Protein (grams)

15 g

Cholesterol (grams)

37 mg
sandwich, bread
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Bread recipe adapted from King Arthur Baking

Would you like to comment?

  1. Oh yum and so happy to have this recipe! Still kicking myself for missing these in NOLA.

  2. There's a local place here that makes these sandwiches and they're "just ok". Will be trying yours with the homemade bread!

  3. This sandwich looks amazing! The pile of tasty elements is inviting. This is great for picnics too.

  4. That bread looks DIVINE! And all those layers of meat and cheese are making my mouth water.


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