How To Make Mortadella

An open air market selling a variety of fresh meats.

How To Make Mortadella

Prep Time


Cook Time




It’s a real treat to be able to share this recipe for making homemade Mortadella from the blog of Mister Meatball, who happens to be the husband of a dear friend who’s a food writer and all around great human being. But I can’t blow Mister Meatball’s anonymity, so she, too, shall remain nameless. I love intrigue and yet, rarely get a chance for my own. This is the best part of having friends who are foodies.

At any rate, my friend recently shared a post about the Mister making homemade Mortadella. I love food and recipes with a story so had to share with our audience, with permission, of course.

For the uninitiated, Mortadella is a large, cured Italian sausage made with freshly ground pork with small cubes of pork fat. Mister Meatball flavors his with white pepper, coriander, garlic powder, anise, mace, ground caraway, black peppercorns and pistachios (unsalted). You see, Mister Meatball is the real deal. When you have your own meat grinder at home, that’s hardcore.

Your finished product should look something like this before, and after, it’s sliced in half.

A whole mortadella sausage after being ground by hand, backed and chilled in the refrigerator for two days.

Whole Mortadella. Photo: Mister Meatball.

A whole mortadella sausage, cut in half to demonstrate how it should look, after being ground by hand, backed and chilled in the refrigerator for two days.

Mortadella Loaf Sliced In Half. Photo: Mister Meatball.

To enjoy, Mortadella can be sliced and served on a sandwich, on bruschetta, eaten grilled, cut into cubes and served with pasta salad, or even sliced with cheese and made into a panini sandwich.

What you’ll need: a meat grinder, a food processor, an 8×11-inch plastic bag suitable for boiling and butcher’s twine. And now, Homemade Mortadella from the kitchens of food blogger Mister Meatball.


  • 3-1/2 pounds lean pork
  • 1 pound pork belly
  • 1/2 pound pork back fat
  • 3 tablespoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon Insta Cure No. 1 (pink curing salt)
  • 2 teaspoons white pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon coriander
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon anise
  • 1 teaspoon mace
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground caraway
  • 1/2 cup chilled red wine
  • 1/2 cup ice water
  • 3 teaspoons whole black peppercorns
  • 1/2 teaspoon whole pistachios (unsalted)


  • 1 Grinding meat is easier when it's ice cold. First, cut all the meat into slices and place in the freezer for 2 hours.
  • 2 At the same time, start getting the grinding equipment as cold as possible (I put the whole grinding attachment to the KitchenAid mixer in the freezer).
  • 3 Mix together red wine and water, and place in the freezer as well.
  • 4 When lean pork and pork belly are nearly frozen, remove from freezer, cut into cubes and mix together. Note: Do not add the back fat at this step, it will be cut into cubes later, but will not be ground.
  • 5 While the meat is ice cold, run it through a large grinding plate for a coarsely ground mixture and return to the freezer. Put the grinding attachment back in the freezer, as well as the smallest grinding plate you've got.
  • 6 While the meat and grinder are chilling, put together the spice mix. Using the spice grinder, mix salt, Insta Cure, white pepper, coriander, garlic powder, anise, mace and caraway. Make the mix as fine as possible.
  • 7 When the meat is nice and cold, add the spice mix and thoroughly incorporate.
  • 8 Grind the meat again, using your smallest grinding plate.
  • 9 Place the ground meat in the processor and add the semi-frozen wine/water mixture. Process until smooth (you may need to do in a couple of batches).
  • 10 Cube the chilled back fat, then quickly blanch by pouring a little boiling water over it.
  • 11 Also run boiling water over the pistachios and whole black peppercorns.
  • 12 Add the blanched fat cubes, pistachios and peppercorns to the meat, thoroughly mixing with your hands.
  • 13 Take an 8x11-inch plastic bag, suitable for boiling, and tie the sealed end with a cable tie; this allows for a rounded shape to form.
  • 14 Stuff the bag with the meat mixture (I did this by hand because the extruder attachment wasn't up to the task).
  • 15 Close the bag's open end with cable ties as well. Wrap the bag in butcher's twine (this helps keep the meat intact while cooking). Place in the refrigerator and let rest for several hours, or even overnight.
  • 16 The traditional way to cook mortadella is slowly in a water bath with the oven set to 170 degrees F. This is the method most people use today. Bake for 7-8 hours to reach an internal temperature of 158 degrees F, the point at which it's fully cooked.
  • 17 Note: A sous vide cooker will also work, set at 170 degrees F, and it takes less than 5 hours to cook in this manner.
  • 18 Regardless of cooking method, once the internal temperature reaches 158 degrees F, remove the mortadella from the heat source and plunge it into ice-cold water to quickly cool.
  • 19 Toss the still-wrapped mortadella in the fridge and let it set for a couple of days. This allows the maximum flavor to develop over time.
  • 20 Cut, serve and enjoy.


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