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Bologna vs. Mortadella — What's the Difference?

By Tayyaba Rehman — Updated on November 1, 2023
Bologna is an American deli meat derived from Mortadella, which is a finer Italian sausage with larger fat chunks, often with added pistachios.
Bologna vs. Mortadella — What's the Difference?

Difference Between Bologna and Mortadella

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Key Differences

Bologna is a simple, Americanized version of the traditional Italian Mortadella. Both are similar in that they are made from ground meat and fat, but Bologna is typically made to a lower standard, often without the characteristic large pieces of fat and sometimes without the traditional spices that define Mortadella.
Tayyaba Rehman
Nov 01, 2023
While Bologna is often seen as a cheap, pre-sliced lunchmeat in the United States, Mortadella is a gourmet item in Italy, with a protected status. Mortadella originates from Bologna, Italy, and is known for its high quality and rich flavor, which includes a blend of spices like myrtle berries and often incorporates pieces of pistachios.
Tayyaba Rehman
Nov 01, 2023
In Bologna, the sausage is usually smoked and has a finer grind, while authentic Mortadella is never smoked and features visible chunks of pork fat. Bologna can be considered a distant cousin of Mortadella, created to suit American tastes and manufacturing processes.
Tayyaba Rehman
Nov 01, 2023
Bologna is more commonly found pre-packaged in grocery stores across America, used in sandwiches and sometimes fried. Mortadella, however, is more likely to be sliced to order at deli counters and savored for its delicate flavor and texture.
Tayyaba Rehman
Nov 01, 2023
Bologna can be made from chicken, beef, pork, or a combination thereof, and is known for its pink color and homogenous appearance. Mortadella, on the other hand, is predominantly pork-based and has a more varied appearance due to the inclusion of lardons.
Tayyaba Rehman
Nov 01, 2023
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Comparison Chart

Origin of Name

Named after the American interpretation
Named after Bologna, Italy
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Nov 01, 2023

Texture

Fine, homogeneous texture
Contains visible chunks of fat and sometimes pistachios
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Nov 01, 2023

Flavor

Mild and sometimes smoky
Rich with a blend of spices like myrtle berries
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Nov 01, 2023

Preparation

Often smoked
Never smoked, cooked in a heat chamber
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Nov 01, 2023

Use

Common in sandwiches, often pre-sliced
Sliced to order, eaten on its own or in sandwiches
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Nov 01, 2023

Compare with Definitions

Bologna

A type of smooth-textured American sausage.
I made a Bologna sandwich for lunch.
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Nov 01, 2023

Mortadella

Originating from Bologna, Italy.
Authentic Mortadella from Bologna has a distinct flavor.
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Nov 01, 2023

Bologna

Made from various meats, such as beef, pork, or chicken.
This Bologna is made from 100% beef.
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Nov 01, 2023

Mortadella

Eaten sliced and cold.
I enjoy Mortadella best when it's thinly sliced.
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Nov 01, 2023

Bologna

Can also refer to the city of Bologna, Italy.
We plan to visit Bologna next summer.
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Nov 01, 2023

Mortadella

May contain spices like myrtle berries.
The Mortadella had a subtle hint of myrtle berries.
Tayyaba Rehman
Nov 01, 2023

Bologna

A cheaper alternative to more expensive deli meats.
Bologna is more budget-friendly than turkey breast.
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Nov 01, 2023

Mortadella

A large Italian sausage or cold cut.
Mortadella is often studded with pistachios.
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Nov 01, 2023

Bologna

Bologna (, UK also , Italian: [boˈloɲɲa] (listen); Bolognese: Bulåggna [buˈlʌɲːa]; Latin: Bonōnia) is the capital and largest city of the Emilia-Romagna region in Northern Italy. It is the seventh most populous city in Italy with about 390,000 inhabitants and 150 different nationalities.
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Mar 12, 2018

Mortadella

Contains cubes of pork fat.
The cubes of fat are characteristic of Mortadella.
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Nov 01, 2023

Bologna

A large sausage of finely ground pork or other meat, usually served as a cold cut.
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Mar 12, 2018

Mortadella

Mortadella (Italian pronunciation: [mortaˈdɛlla]) is a large Italian sausage or luncheon meat (salume [saˈluːme]) made of finely hashed or ground heat-cured pork, which incorporates at least 15% small cubes of pork fat (principally the hard fat from the neck of the pig). It is traditionally flavoured with black pepper grains, but modern versions can also contain pistachios or, more rarely, myrtle berries.
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Mar 12, 2018

Bologna

A seasoned Italian sausage made from beef, pork or veal.
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Mar 12, 2018

Mortadella

A heat-cured Italian sausage usually made of ground pork and cubes of pork fat and flavored with wine and spices.
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Mar 12, 2018

Bologna

Synonym of baloney.
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Mar 12, 2018

Mortadella

A smooth-textured Italian pork sausage with lumps of fat, flavoured with spices; eaten cold.
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Mar 12, 2018

Bologna

A city of Italy which has given its name to various objects.
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Mar 12, 2018

Bologna

A Bologna sausage; also informally called baloney.
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Mar 12, 2018

Bologna

The capital of Emilia-Romagna; located in northern Italy east of the Apennines
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Mar 12, 2018

Bologna

Large smooth-textured smoked sausage of beef and veal and pork
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Mar 12, 2018

Bologna

Often used as lunchmeat.
Bologna is a staple in many American kids' lunches.
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Nov 01, 2023

Common Curiosities

What makes Mortadella unique?

Mortadella contains spices like myrtle berries and visible chunks of fat, and sometimes pistachios.
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Nov 01, 2023

What is Mortadella?

Mortadella is a traditional Italian sausage known for its rich flavor and chunks of fat.
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Nov 01, 2023

Can I substitute Bologna for Mortadella in recipes?

Yes, but the flavor and texture will be different due to Bologna's simpler seasoning and finer texture.
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Nov 01, 2023

Is Bologna the same as Mortadella?

No, Bologna is an American adaptation of the Italian Mortadella with differences in ingredients and preparation.
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Nov 01, 2023

Is Mortadella smoked?

No, Mortadella is not smoked; it's cooked in a heat chamber.
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Nov 01, 2023

Why is Bologna cheaper than Mortadella?

Bologna is produced on a larger scale with less expensive ingredients and processes.
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Nov 01, 2023

Are there different varieties of Mortadella?

Yes, including some with different spices and additions like pistachios.
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Nov 01, 2023

What meats are used in Bologna?

Bologna can be made from beef, pork, chicken, or a combination.
Tayyaba Rehman
Nov 01, 2023

Is Mortadella only made from pork?

Traditional Mortadella is primarily made from pork.
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Nov 01, 2023

What is Bologna?

Bologna is a type of American deli meat similar to the Italian Mortadella.
Tayyaba Rehman
Nov 01, 2023

How is Bologna typically served?

Bologna is often served in sandwiches or fried.
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Nov 01, 2023

Can Bologna come from Bologna, Italy?

No, Bologna as a meat product is American, despite its name suggesting an Italian origin.
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Nov 01, 2023

Is all Bologna made in Bologna, Italy?

No, American Bologna is not made in Bologna, Italy, and is quite different from its Italian counterpart.
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Nov 01, 2023

Does Bologna have protected geographical status?

No, unlike Mortadella Bologna, American Bologna does not have geographical protection.
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Nov 01, 2023

Can Mortadella be used as lunchmeat?

Yes, it is often served cold and sliced in sandwiches.
Tayyaba Rehman
Nov 01, 2023

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Author Spotlight

Written by
Tayyaba Rehman
Tayyaba Rehman is a distinguished writer, currently serving as a primary contributor to askdifference.com. As a researcher in semantics and etymology, Tayyaba's passion for the complexity of languages and their distinctions has found a perfect home on the platform. Tayyaba delves into the intricacies of language, distinguishing between commonly confused words and phrases, thereby providing clarity for readers worldwide.

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