Substitute For Mortadella

Mortadella is a tasty, large Italian smoked sausage. Manufacturers use four primary ingredients to make mortadella; ground beef, pork, pork fat, and seasoning. 

Mortadella originated from Bologna, Italy, but it is now popular worldwide. Most people eat it raw after cutting it into thin slices, while others prefer adding it to dishes like chicken salads and sandwiches.

Mortadella is readily available in most grocery stores. However, you may come across a recipe that calls for it when you have none in stock, or you generally don’t enjoy its flavor. 


The good news is that there are several substitutes you can use in its place. They include; bologna, thüringer, olive loaf, fleischkäse, galantine, Lebanon bologna, landjager, chicken mortadella, and vegan mortadella.

This article discusses the various mortadella substitutes and how to use them in your recipes.

We will also look at the factors you should consider when selecting a mortadella substitute. Read on.

How Long Does Deli Meat Last? Click to Read.

The Substitutes

Mortadella is not too tricky to substitute. Below are some alternatives you can use in its place and how to use them.



Bologna is arguably the best mortadella substitute. There are several bologna varieties in the market. I recommend using high-quality bologna for the best results. 

This Italian sausage’s texture and flavor are similar to mortadella. However, it is slightly spicier and saltier in comparison. This will be your best bet if you don’t mind spicy sausages. It contains spices like garlic, coriander, and pepper.

Like mortadella, bologna is pretty versatile. You can use it in pasta dishes, pizza toppings, toasted sandwiches, cold sandwiches, and appetizers.

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Also called Thuringian, Thüringer is an excellent replacement for mortadella. This sausage is made from beef.

It also contains curing ingredients, salt, and spices. Like mortadella, it is smoked, and its flavor is somewhat a cross between mortadella and summer sausage.

This substitute contains garlic, pepper, caraway, marjoram, and salt. Therefore, its flavor is not mild. It is pretty spicy.

You can eat Thüringer raw or cook it. You can also use it in most dishes that call for mortadella. Just be sure you are comfortable with the level of spiciness. 

Olive loaf


This fine-textured meat makes for a good mortadella alternative. Manufacturers make it using a mixture of beef and pork.

Like mortadella, the olive loaf is pre-cooked. Often, they are thinly sliced and sold as cold cuts.

Olive loaf and mortadella also have similar textures and flavors. Since olive loaf contains olives, it is the perfect replacement for mortadella.

I highly recommend using this substitute in sandwiches. You can also serve it on your cheese platter because it has a neutral flavor. It complements most cheese varieties. 

Olive loaf also makes for great toppings. Try adding it to your pizza for a delicious flavor.



Fleischkäse, also called Leberkäse, is a famous German sausage. Although it is more common in Germany, Switzerland, and Austria, you can also find it in the United States.

Leberkäse contains ground beef, pork meat, bacon, and onions. Most people describe it as a meatloaf rather than sausage.

Compared to mortadella, Leberkäse is quite flavorful. It also has a distinct, pleasant aroma.

You can use this alternative in most recipes that call for mortadella.



Galantine is another ideal substitute you can use in your recipes.

It originates from France, and initially, manufacturers combined chicken meat with pork fat, veal, herbs, spices, and truffles during the manufacturing process. Afterward, they would stuff the mixture in chicken skin and wrap it in bacon.

Unlike mortadella, galantine is heavily seasoned. Therefore, it is more flavorful. It also has a higher fat content.

You can use galantine as a mortadella replacement in your recipes. 

Lebanon bologna


Lebanon bologna is fermented, cured, smoked, cold cut with a slightly acidic, sweet, and savory flavor.

The flavor and structure are similar to salami, but its aroma is more robust and smokier.

Unlike mortadella, Lebanon bologna has a rich flavor. I highly recommend using it in cold sandwiches. Top it with olive oil and a splash of balsamic vinegar for the best results. 



Landjager is another ideal substitute. It is a German sausage with a distinct savory flavor and smoky aroma. Additionally, it is peppery.

People often eat landjager raw. However, you can also bake or grill it. I highly recommend using this alternative as a pizza topping.

You can also use it in pasta dishes and sandwiches or serve it with cheese, tomatoes, and olives.

Chicken mortadella

Chicken mortadella is ideal for those who prefer chicken meat to beef or pork. The two have a similar texture.

Chicken mortadella has a mild flavor profile. It is also less fatty. You can use it the same way you use mortadella in your recipes.


Vegan mortadella

If you are vegan or vegetarian, your best bet would be vegan mortadella. The best part is you can easily make it at home using a few essential ingredients. Here is how to do it.


  • 1 can cooked white beans.
  • 7 ounces extra-firm tofu.
  • 1 cup green olive slices.
  • ½ cup pistachio nuts.
  • 3 tablespoons tapioca flour.
  • 4 tablespoons water.
  • 2 tablespoon beetroot juice.
  • 2 tablespoons agar agar.
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder.
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper.


  1. In a pot, mix water with agar agar and heat it. Stir until the two ingredients combine entirely and set the mixture aside.
  2. Place all the other ingredients, except olives, in your blender and blend until you achieve a smooth consistency.
  3. Transfer the blended mixture to a bowl and add the agar agar mixture and olives. Stir until the ingredients thoroughly combine.
  4. Transfer the mixture to a non-stick pan and heat on low until it achieves an elastic consistency.
  5. Remove from heat and allow it to cool.
  6. Once it cools, shape it into a large sausage and freeze it for four hours.
  7. Let the vegetable mortadella defrost and serve immediately.

When refrigerated, vegetable mortadella lasts for up to one week.

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Factors to consider when choosing a mortadella substitute


Mortadella is an excellent addition to various dishes, including pasta, cold sandwiches, fried sandwiches, and pizza. You can also serve it as an appetizer accompanied by tomatoes, cheese, and crackers.

Generally, mortadella has a mild but profound flavor profile because of its ingredients. The spices manufacturers use during manufacturing are not too dominant, so the sausage is primarily fatty and savory.

You will need a substitute that has a mild and deep flavor. Bologna, Leberkase, and olive loaf fit this description perfectly if you prefer a bold flavor, use galantine, Lebanon bologna, thüringer, or landjaeger.

If you prefer chicken meat, use chicken mortadella and if you’re on a plant-based diet, use vegetable mortadella. You can make homemade vegetable mortadella in a few hours.


Mortadella is a delicious sausage. Most times, you will get the pre-sliced version at local grocery stores. 

If you need to substitute mortadella, I highly recommend using bologna, thüringer, or olive loaf.

These three substitutes make for great replacements and are readily available in the United States. The only notable difference in your recipe would be the texture of the deli meats.

Fleischkäse, galantine, Lebanon bologna, landjager, chicken mortadella, and vegan mortadella are also suitable replacements that work well in most recipes. Remember to pay intention to the role you want the substitute to play in your dish to select the ideal one.

Let me know which substitute you prefer in the comments below.

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