5 Best Substitute For Mortadella

Mortadella Substitute

Mortadella is an Italian sausage known for its unique blend of finely hashed pork, rich flavors, and a distinctively creamy texture. Originating from Bologna, Italy, it has become a beloved staple in deli meats worldwide. Mortadella, with its characteristic spices and fat inclusions, often pistachios or olives, offers a slightly sweet and richly flavored culinary delight that is hard to resist.

However, due to reasons such as dietary constraints, regional availability, or personal preferences, finding a suitable alternative to mortadella might become a necessity. The best substitutes don’t just mimic mortadella’s qualities; they should also be able to hold their own, bringing their own unique flavors and textures to your dishes. This article presents five such alternatives—Bologna, Prosciutto, Salami, Turkey Breast, and Chicken Mortadella. Each one of these substitutes provides a robust flavor profile and culinary versatility, making them excellent stand-ins for mortadella in a variety of dishes.

What is Mortadella?

Hailing from Bologna, Italy, mortadella is a large Italian sausage traditionally made from finely hashed or ground heat-cured pork. It’s seasoned with myriads of spices, notably myrtle berries, and sometimes studded with pistachios or olives for an extra flavor punch. The delicate, slightly sweet, and richly flavored meat is often served thinly sliced, making it an indispensable part of antipasto platters and delicious sandwiches.

Quick Deli Dive: Substitutes For Mortadella

  1. Bologna
  2. Prosciutto
  3. Salami
  4. Turkey Breast
  5. Chicken Mortadella

Best Substitutes For Mortadella

Let’s unpack the flavors and unique characteristics of these mortadella substitutes, providing you a detailed roadmap to navigate your deli meat journey.

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Bologna, another product of Italian culinary genius, stands as an ideal substitute for mortadella. Originating from the same region as mortadella, Bologna shares similar preparation techniques. It’s finely ground, typically from pork, and is studded with lard, which mirrors mortadella’s creamy texture and richness.

The flavor profile of Bologna is slightly more subtle than mortadella. It’s not as robust, but it complements a variety of ingredients, making it versatile for various dishes, from simple sandwiches to elaborate appetizers. One of Bologna’s standout qualities is its smooth texture, comparable to that of mortadella, which is instrumental in enhancing the overall eating experience.

Lastly, the availability and affordability of Bologna can’t be overstated. It’s a staple in many grocery stores and is a cost-effective alternative to mortadella. Bologna sandwiches, a classic lunchtime treat, could offer a taste reminiscent of a mortadella panino, especially when paired with fresh bread and complementing condiments.


If you’re on a quest for a more gourmet option, look no further than prosciutto. This dry-cured ham, another Italian treasure, is noted for its delicate and subtly sweet flavor. Despite a different processing method, prosciutto shares mortadella’s thin slicing method, resulting in a melt-in-your-mouth experience.

The texture of prosciutto is tender, and its taste carries a savory note, with a hint of sweetness that marries well with other ingredients. When used as a mortadella substitute, prosciutto delivers a distinct, complex flavor, elevating your dish’s sophistication level.

However, the cost of prosciutto might be a hurdle for some, given its high-end status among deli meats. But it’s a worthy investment if you’re seeking an indulgent alternative that brings a touch of luxury to your meals. Imagine a thin slice of prosciutto draped over a warm slice of focaccia – pure culinary bliss.

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Salami, a fermented and cured sausage, is another fantastic substitute for mortadella. Its flavor spectrum, ranging from mild to spicy, offers a diversity that can cater to different palates. Its robust, tangy flavor can be a unique twist if you’re looking to replace the subtle sweetness of mortadella.

Texture-wise, salami presents a firmer feel due to the curing process, which can add a pleasant chewiness to your dishes. Its visual appeal is not to be underestimated either. The fat marbling on a slice of salami can add a tantalizing touch to your food presentations.

In terms of pairing, salami’s robust flavors allow it to stand firm against strong-tasting ingredients. Whether it’s in a rustic sandwich or elegantly laid out on a charcuterie board, salami can hold its own, proving its worth as an excellent alternative to mortadella.

Turkey Breast

For those who prefer a lighter and healthier substitute, turkey breast stands as a viable option. This lean meat is often used in deli slices and shares a similar serving method to mortadella, making it an easy swap. Turkey breast carries a mild flavor, which makes it a versatile substitute, ready to mingle with a range of ingredients.

Being a low-fat option, turkey breast is a go-to for health-conscious individuals. Its protein-rich profile and lower calorie content make it suitable for those monitoring their dietary intake. While it may lack the rich fat content and distinct flavor of mortadella, a well-seasoned turkey breast slice can prove to be a satisfying replacement.

Pair it with whole-grain bread, a slice of cheese, and fresh veggies, and you’ve got yourself a nutritious and delicious sandwich that comes close to the experience of a mortadella sandwich.

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Chicken Mortadella

Lastly, for those who love the flavor of mortadella but are looking for a poultry-based alternative, chicken mortadella is the way to go. It mirrors the flavor profile of traditional mortadella but uses chicken as the primary ingredient. It offers a milder taste, with the same signature spices making it an excellent option for those who wish to stick close to the original.

Chicken mortadella holds a similar creamy texture to its pork-based counterpart, thanks to the inclusion of chicken fat. It’s perfect for sandwich lovers who crave the smooth, melt-in-your-mouth quality of mortadella but want a chicken-based variant.

Additionally, chicken mortadella is often more readily available in regions with dietary restrictions on pork. So, whether it’s for a picnic sandwich or a party platter, chicken mortadella can step up as a reliable and tasty substitute for the classic mortadella.

Substitutes for Mortadella: Nutritional Profile

Here is a comparative look at the nutritional values of these substitutes for a ¼ cup serving:

Deli MeatCaloriesFat (g)Carbs (g)Protein (g)Fiber (g)Gluten
Turkey Breast6010130No
Chicken Mortadella145113100No

(Please note these values may vary based on brands and preparation methods)

Final Thought

Mortadella, with its distinct flavor and creamy texture, may seem irreplaceable. However, with options like Bologna, Prosciutto, Salami, Turkey Breast, and Chicken Mortadella, you can certainly find a substitute that fits your palate and dietary preferences. So, the next time you’re preparing a meal and find yourself without mortadella, remember this guide and confidently reach for an alternative. Buon appetito!

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