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From top left, clockwise: muffuletta cross section, muffuletta in wrappers, olive salad, circular muffuletta loaves
Course Main courses
Place of origin Italy
Region or state Sicily
Main ingredients one muffuletta loaf,
marinated olive salad,
layers of mortadella, salami, Swiss cheese, ham, provolone.
Cookbook: Muffuletta  Media: Muffuletta

The muffuletta is both a type of round Sicilian sesame bread[1] and a popular sandwich originating among Italian immigrants in New Orleans, Louisiana using the same bread.


The muffuletta sandwich was created in 1906 at Central Grocery Co. on Decatur Street in New Orleans, LA, USA, by its owner Salvatore Lupo.[2][3] Sicilians however have been making various versions of the bread for centuries. Commonly eaten during celebration days; In Palermo it is most commonly eaten on the Day of the Dead, November 2nd.[4]


A muffuletta is a large, round, and somewhat flattened loaf with a sturdy texture, around 10 inches (25 cm) across. It is described as being somewhat similar to focaccia.[5] Bread used for the muffuletta is different from focaccia, however, in that it is a very light bread, the outside is crispy, and the inside is soft.[citation needed] It has no additional seasonings baked into it, aside from the sesame seeds.[citation needed] The bread is more like French bread, but slightly heavier. It is most akin to an Italian dough recipe. Italian dough includes flour, water, egg, olive oil, yeast, salt and sugar. French bread uses flour, water, yeast and salt.[citation needed]


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

The signature olive salad consists of olives diced with the celery, cauliflower and carrot found in a jar of giardiniera, seasoned with oregano and garlic, covered in olive oil, and allowed to combine for at least 24 hours.[citation needed]

A muffuletta is usually served cold, but many vendors will toast it. This was mentioned in the PBS special Sandwiches That You Will Like.

Seafood muffuletta[edit]

In Greater New Orleans a seafood sandwich is made with muffuletta bread and fried seafood, often including oysters, shrimp, catfish and occasionally softshell crab. The seafood muffuletta omits the olive salad in favor of the traditional dressings of a seafood po'boy, such as melted butter and pickle slices, or mayonnaise and lettuce.[citation needed]

Pronunciation and orthography[edit]

The forms muffoletta and its iterations are modern Italianisms of the original Sicilian. Like many of the foreign-influenced terms found in New Orleans, pronunciation has evolved from a phonetic forebear.

Depending on the specific Sicilian dialect, the item may be spelled:

See also[edit]


External links[edit]

  • Media related to Muffuletta at Wikimedia Commons