Mini Muffaletta Sandwiches

These snappy mini muffaletta sandwiches are a great way to feed a crowd. You make one big sandwich and slice it into minis and the zesty olive salsa gives it a zip and kick that brings you back for more.

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Hand holding a mini muffaletta sandwich over a cutting board of more sandwiches.

What is a Muffaletta Sandwich

A muffaletta sandwich is a New Orleans classic, that combines Italian deli meats with cheese and a zippy olive salsa. It has Sicilian origins and was supposedly created in the Central Grocery by Salvatore “Tommy” Tusa, the proprietor. There are a few important features to consider when making a muffaletta, but overall, it is a super easy sandwich to make and it’s perfect (in fact important) to make ahead.

INgredients on a cutting board - a large sliced ciabatta loaf, cold cuts and sliced cheeses.

Ingredients for a Muffaletta Sandwich

The meats: You can really use any combination of deli meats that you like for this sandwich, but generally you should have one coarse-ground cured sausage (like salami), one emulsified sausage (like Mortadella) and one cured cut (like prosciutto or capicola ham).

The cheeses: Use relatively mild sliced cheeses like mozzarella or provolone (or both) so they don’t try to overshadow the meats. 

The bread: Traditionally in New Orleans, muffaletta is made on a round, soft-crust, medium-dense bread with sesame seeds on top. Since that bread is not found all over, you can substitute a focaccia or a ciabatta bread. What you do need is a bread that has a relatively soft crust so that it’s easy to bite into. Baguette would be too crispy.

Ingredients surrounding a mini chopper - green and black olives, capers, garlic, celery, roasted red peppers, olive oil, vinegar, spices.

The Olive Salsa

Another component critical to a muffaletta sandwich is the olive salsa that goes inside. This is where the Sicilian influence comes into play, with it’s sweet-sour flavor profile. Use a mixture of green and black olives, along with some roasted red pepper, dried spices (including chili flakes for some kick), olive oil and vinegar. I like to pulse those ingredients in a food chopper and then stir in some capers and some finely chopped celery. I stir the celery in at the end because I want to control the shape and size of the celery pieces, rather than running the risk that the celery will be left too large in the chopper… or that by the time the celery is in small enough pieces, the olives will be puréed. 

An olive salsa in a chopper. 9 photos showing how to build mini muffaletta sandwiches by layering the different ingredients.

How to Layer and Build a Muffaletta Sandwich

How you put these components together is also important. Layering the ingredients helps to blend them into a more uniform flavor, rather than distinctly different flavors. Make sure you start and end with a layer of the olive salsa so that the salsa is always right next to the bread.

Looking down on an open muffaletta sandwich on a cutting board.


A marble slab pressing a large sandwich wrapped in plastic wrap.

Making Muffaletta Ahead of Time

Finally, the last thing you need to make a perfect muffaletta sandwich is time.  You need to make this sandwich ahead of time in order to get the maximum flavor possible. The goal of putting the olive salsa next to the bread is to have the bread absorb all the liquid and flavor of the salsa. To do that, wrap the whole sandwich well in plastic wrap and then weigh it down with a heavy object – a marble serving board, a large cast iron pot, whatever you can get to balance on top. Let it sit like this for at the very least half an hour, if not longer. You can even do this a day ahead of time, letting it sit, weighed down in the fridge.

A large muffaletta sandwich on a cutting board with toothpicks inserted in the top about an inch apart.

Mini Muffaletta Sandwiches for a Crowd

Once you’ve pressed your large sandwich, it’s time to slice it. Spike sandwich picks down the center of the loaf, equidistant apart first. Then, slice between the picks and you’ll have mini sandwiches ready for people to pick up and enjoy. 

Mini muffaletta sandwiches being cut into slices on a cutting board.

Serving Ideas with Mini Muffalettas

Mini muffalettas are great finger food snacks and perfect for those occasions where people mill about and nosh, rather than sit down to a meal. So, serve it with other finger foods like some homemade tortilla chips and a black bean salsa, or Mexican street corn nachos.  You could put it next to another sandwich twist idea by making some rueben egg rolls – also easy to make ahead and just re-heat. Most importantly, serve them with a cool beverage and some bev-naps!

Mini Muffaletta Sandwiches

  • Prep Time: 20 m
  • Total Time: 20 m
  • Servings:
    makes 10 mini sandwiches


Olive Salsa:
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 cup pitted black olives
  • 1 cup pitted green olives
  • ½ cup roasted red peppers
  • 2 tablespoons capers rinsed
  • 2 stalks celery chopped
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons red wine vinegar
  • ½ teaspoon dried oregano
  • Pinch crushed red pepper flakes optional
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
  • Olive oil
  • 1 loaf ciabatta or baguette
  • ½ pound sliced mortadella cut into half moons
  • ½ pound sliced Genoa salami
  • ½ pound capicola ham
  • ¼ pound sliced mild provolone cheese cut into half moons
  • ¼ pound sliced mozzarella cheese


  1. To make the olive salsa, chop all ingredients by hand and combine in a small bowl and chill for at least an hour. Alternatively, use a food chopped to chop the ingredients, starting with the clove of garlic first. Then add the olives, red pepper and capers to the chopper and pulse until the mixture is rough chopped. Stir in the chopped celery and remaining ingredients and let the salsa sit for an hour.
  2. Cut the ciabatta bread lengthwise. Drizzle the cut sides of the bread with olive oil. Spread ½ of the olive salsa on the bottom half of the bread.
  3. Build the sandwich by layering the ingredients in the following order. Mortadella, genoa salami, provolone cheese, half the remaining olive salsa, capicola ham, mozzarella cheese and the remaining olive salsa. Place the top half of the loaf of bread on top and wrap the sandwich tightly in plastic wrap. Place a sheet pan on top of the sandwich and press it down with a heavy pot or marble board to press the sandwich. Let it sit for at least 20 minutes.
  4. Secure 10 to 12 sandwich picks along the length of the sandwich. Slice the sandwich in between the picks,
  5. Chill until ready to serve.
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Comments (1)Post a Reply

  1. 5 stars
    Have made the little sandwiches twice now using Hawaiian Rolls. They flew off the plate. Lots of compliments.

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