Like hot dogs, Twinkies, and tater tots, bologna—that familiar lunch meat your mom packed between a slice of cheddar cheese and two slices of Wonder Bread for lunch— is a quintessentially American food. And like hot dogs, Twinkies, and tater tots, bologna has been getting a bit of a bad rap lately.
In an age where kids bring stainless steel bento boxes with quinoa and salmon sashimi to school for lunch, bologna seems decidedly old-fashioned and the opposite of healthy eating.
But we know better. We grew up on smoky fried bologna sandwiches dabbed with mustard or mayo. And as adults, we know bologna can be so much more than a kid’s cold lunch. Don’t believe us? Just try one of these 20 recipes with bologna that will change your tune about the misunderstood meat.
1. Fried Bologna and Egg on Challah Bread with American Cheese Rarebit Sauce
We bet you won’t even recognize bologna when it’s fried, dressed up with egg and American cheese rarebit sauce, and tucked in between two slices of challah bread.
Next time someone disses bologna sandwiches, serve them this recipe for fried bologna and egg on challah bread with American cheese rarebit sauce, then tell them it has bologna and blow their mind. While this calls for “good garlicky German bologna”, just use beef bologna if you have it on hand. We don’t judge here.
2. Hot Pickled Bologna
How do you make a good thing even gooder (er… better)? Pickle it! The same principle applies to pickled bologna. It’s similar to summer sausage, but is not quite the same flavor profile.
3. Bologna Cake
This beautiful bologna cake is a tasty tower of 12, count them, 12 slices of bologna held together with layers of cream cheese. If you use homemade bologna, you get extra brownie points.
Serve at your next party and watch your guests’ faces turn from astonishment to rapture when they spread a slice onto a Ritz cracker. Top with a bit of yellow mustard and you have one very frighteningly delicious appetizer.
4. Bologna Breakfast Cups
Bake up a fleet of these mini Bologna Breakfast Cups in a muffin tin for an adorable carb-free breakfast. Toast up some white bread for dipping and really enjoy slice bologna in a new way.
5. The Grown-Up Bologna Sandwich
Don’t get us wrong; bologna is delicious with nothing but a dot of dijon mustard and two slices of squishy white bread. Maybe you use some pickle relish, maybe you add some French fries on top of it.
But when you add mozzarella cheese, fried onion strings, avocado mayo, green leaf lettuce, and Sriracha, that’s a game-changer. Change the game with this grown-up bologna sandwich, you super mature grown-up, you.
6. Smoked Bologna with Bacon
To make this meaty masterpiece, wrap a log of bologna in a blanket of woven bacon. Slice and serve Smoked Bologna with Bacon on buns, tortilla wraps, or soda crackers at your next tailgate.
To up the ante, rub the bacon outside with a little brown sugar so you get a delicious crust. Now that’s a bologna recipe you don’t see every day.
7. Bologna Burger
Step aside, beef patty. Tonight, we’re making Bologna Burgers. Some nights, you don’t want healthy recipes. That’s where bologna comes in.
8. Lebanon Bologna Wrapped Asparagus
Gussy up ordinary ol’ asparagus by grilling stalks with olive oil and thin slices of bologna. The flavorful juices of the bologna will marinate the asparagus as it grills—no additional seasoning necessary!
Serve Lebanon Bologna Wrapped Asparagus with teriyaki or pineapple soy sauce for a tangy treat. And let’s be honest. Asparagus wrapped in anything makes a fantastic tailgating snack. So easy to prep before and made for the grill, it’s an easy way to get some vegetables in the mix.
9. Egg Sandwich with Bologna, Gherkin Mayo, and Crispy Onions
Chef Eli Kulp calls this upgraded egg sandwich “The Hickory Town“, the historical moniker for Lancaster, PA. The recipe piles Lancaster county bologna, white cheddar, crispy onions, and two eggs atop ciabatta rolls or brioche buns slathered with homemade gherkin mayo.
You can swap in summer sausage or bologna sausage for this recipe, too. We just prefer simple, thick slices.
10. Nanny’s Bologna Casserole
This old-school Bologna Casserole will satiate both hunger and nostalgia pangs. For best results, serve with your favorite hot sauce.
Not feeling bologna? Just about any meat will work here, but a cubed ham steak is a nice option. When it comes to the best recipes, they’re almost always casseroles.
11. The Southern Gentleman’s Pan-Fried Bologna Sliders
The Southern Gentleman’s Pan-Fried Bologna Sliders are a miniature version of the classic southern sandwich. The simple, yet scrumptious sliders nestle thick quarters of bologna slices with dill pickles and mustard atop toasted buns.
12. Bologna Salad Recipe
There’s nothing healthy, per say, about Bologna Salad. But boy, is this blend of bologna, boiled eggs, mayo, and relish tasty on a cracker.
13. Cream Cheese & Sweet Bologna Roll-Ups
Here’s another irresistible party appetizer fusing cream cheese and bologna. Cream Cheese and Sweet Bologna Roll-Ups probably aren’t going to win any health food awards, but hey… at least they’re low-carb?
14. Pickle-In-The-Middle Bologna Wrap Appetizers
Baby dill pickles swathed in a blanket of tender bologna and creamy cheeses. These Pickle-in-the-Middle Bologna Wraps are cute and oh-so-crunchy.
15. Bologna and Cheese Roll-Ups
Something about the shape and pliancy of bologna makes it a popular choice in roll-up recipes.
Even Pillsbury is getting in on the bologna roll-up game, inspiring chefs with this Bologna and Cheese Roll-Ups recipe that bakes bologna and string cheese in flaky crescent dinner rolls.
16. Bologna Squiggles Sandwich
The Bologna Squiggles Sandwich sets itself apart from other bologna sandwiches with its whimsical way of slicing up the meat.
The recipe calls for one slice Oscar Mayer bologna, one hot dog bun, one tablespoon of Miracle Whip dressing, and a whole bushel of fun.
17. Bologna Nuggets
You can dip these crispy lil’ Bologna Nuggets in ketchup, barbecue, honey mustard, or whatever sauce your tummy craves.
18. Fried Bologna Brioche Sub with Beer Cheese and Pickled Jalapeños
This modern take on the classic sandwich showers crispy bologna with beer cheese and jalapeños. Complement the Fried Bologna Brioche Sub with fried green tomatoes and ginger peach lemonade.
19. Bologna Breakfast Quesadilla
Bologna goes south of the border. The Mexican-inspired Bologna Breakfast Quesadilla is stuffed with gooey cheese, diced and fried bologna, and scrambled eggs. Que rico!
20. Bologna and Chili Crescent Sandwiches
Another bologna triumph from our friends at Pillsbury. These Bologna and Chili Crescent Sandwiches are overflowing with chili, cheese, and—of course—our old friend, bologna.