Why It's Always Better To Serve Muffulettas Warm

The muffuletta is New Orleans' response to the perfect picnic sandwich. Made of Italian cold cuts, an olive salad, and cheese, muffulettas perfectly balance an array of ingredients and come together on soft, sesame-coated bread. Like many sandwiches, muffulettas are best served warm. However, this optimal temperature isn't merely a matter of preference — it also plays a crucial role in bringing the whole sandwich together.

Warming your muffuletta melts the cheese, which is most commonly sliced provolone. While melted provolone tastes great, it also serves a second purpose in a muffuletta: The melted cheese melds with the cold cuts and olive salad to create a sandwich with perfectly infused flavors. So, even if you don't eat your muffuletta while the sandwich is still hot, you'll want to warm it at some point during the sandwich-making process. 

Muffulettas still taste great at room temperature, and if you prefer, you can enjoy this sandwich cold. However, you'll want to warm it at some point so the ingredients can come together to ensure every bite is delicious and flavorful. As for the best way to melt the cheese? It's time to turn on the oven in preparation for your picnic.

How to properly warm a muffuletta sandwich in the oven

A melted muffuletta sounds like a tongue twister — but tastes like the ultimate combination of flavors. To melt the provolone — or cheese of choice — so your finished muffuletta is perfectly gooey and harmonious, wrap your stacked sandwich in tinfoil. From there, it's best to bake it in the oven at about 350 degrees Fahrenheit: 30 minutes of heat should do the trick. 

This melting process may seem like an unnecessary, time-consuming step, especially for a sandwich that can be enjoyed cold. However, it's well worth the extra effort. You want to integrate the olives, garlic, and olive oil into your cheese, and nothing merges those flavors quite like the oven does.

If you don't have access to heat, you can help your sandwich's flavors meld on their own. Your muffuletta should sit for at least 1 hour after assembly so the ingredients can seep into the bread even without heat. However, with melted cheese and toasty bread, your muffuletta will conjure the very best of New Orleans, no matter how much distance is between your kitchen and the state of Louisiana.