One of my Ground Bologna sandwiches on white bread, on February 28, 2016. Yeah, I like them even thicker than this.

Update, Dec. 31, 2016: Check out a new addition to this concept, Gene Sloan’s Summer Sausage Spread, the result of a comment on this recipe. It gives this kind of spread a different but very nice direction, just in time for New Year’s.

Click here to download the most current version of this recipe in a trifold format. (You may need to download and install Adobe Reader to view this recipe.)

Note, July 18, 2016: One of the techniques I’ll be trying this week is freezing the ring bologna. I’ve recently learned that when professional and better amateur sausagemakers grind meat for sausage, they freeze it beforehand. This apprears to give a better consistency in the grind. For a finer grind, they then refreeze it and grind it again. This Ground Bologna Sandwich Spread is kinda chunky, so i’ll be testing the freezing technique in case it gives a better texture for those who dislike the chunkier texture.

There’s a reader over on Serious Eats out of NYC who has a conniption-style hissy-fit every time I mention Ground Bologna Sandwich Spread. Nicknamed “izatryt”, she apparently also can’t stand Velveeta either.

I came back over here this week and searched my blog for the Ground Bologna Sandwich Spread recipe.

It was weird. I didn’t find it.

Ok, so, in that case, I may as well … oh, here it is. My family and I seriously love these eats. Seriously.

“Izzy” jes’ don’ know whut’s good for ‘er.

This is the real article here; Nehring’s Homemade Sandwich Spread, made with Koegel’s Bologna and photographed in Nehring’s own Koegel meat case.

There’s a deli/butcher shop in Burton, Michigan, called Nehring’s Market. We’re more than acquaintances with the Nehring’s, as Ralph and his wife are my younger sister’s Godparents. Ralph and his crew of cutters make a Ground Bologna Sandwich Spread that tastes almost exactly like this recipe. This recipe is what my mom’s made for decades.

Somewhere down the line, we think mom’s recipe, and what the Nehring’s crew offers in the store, crossed paths and are, in fact, of the same lineage.

Of course, ya’ gotta have good meat. Koegel’s Ring Bologna is the only stuff I’ll use.

Finding the right ring bologna is an important step as it affects the flavor of the finished spread. The most popular ring bologna, such as Ekrich and many others, have roots in the Pennsylvania Dutch communities. But instead, what you want to find is a good German ring bologna, as the Pennsylvania Dutch won’t taste the same whatsoever. Koegel was raised in the city of Durlach, Germany, in the late 1800s. When he was of age he joined one of Germany’s well-respected apprenticeship programs under the supervision of a Master Butcher. In a few years he had earned his Meister Wurstmacher designation, indicating he was a Master Sausagemaker. The product I use, shown above, is his own original recipe from the early 20th century. Find yourself a good local German meatpacker (there are many, such as at Alpine Village in Torrance, California) and use their ring bologna.

In the recipe for Ground Bologna Sandwich Spread, I included a step about skinning the ring bologna before grinding it. At the same time, the hot dogs in natural casings for the Almost Flint-Style Coney Sauce don’t get skinned before being sent through the same grinder. Shortly after finishing this version of mom’s recipe for the sandwich spread, I made a batch for Mary and I … while only glancing at the recipe for ingredient amounts. While grinding the ring bologna, I noticed the ground bologna seemed to stay inside of the grinder more than usual. I thought maybe the disks on the front of the grinder were simply stuffed so, using a butter knife, I dug all the meat out of the disassembled grinder, then finished the batch of sandwich spread.

The following day after eating sandwiches made from this batch for lunch, we had a good laugh (more Mary than myself as it was at my expense!) over having to dig large pieces of ring bologna skin from each bite of their sandwiches.

Make all kinds of good stuff, and to enhance your reputation in the kitchen, make sure you can repeat it. And be sure that I will skin the ring bologna for the Ground Bologna Sandwich Spread from now on.

This lunchtime and picnic favorite is available by the pound in some variation in just about every deli and butcher shop in the midwest. It’s simple to make: kids absolutely love helping grind the ring bologna in the meat grinder. A lot of this recipe doesn’t actually need to be measured. This is one recipe you can make ingredient-by-ingredient, tasting as you go, creating your own flavor, and using different brands and various flavors of each of the ingredients.

The original image for this post, circa 2008.

Ground Bologna Sandwich Spread

1-1/2 lbs ring bologna
2 – 3 baby sweet pickles
3 1/8″ slices from 1 medium-size Spanish onion
1 cup mayonnaise
2 tsp yellow prepared mustard
Kosher salt
1 loaf white bread

1 old-fashioned hand-driven meat grinder
1 8″ x 8″ glass dish
1 large mixing bowl
1 2-quart storage container with lid

Remove any strings or clips off the ends of the ring bologna. Cut the bologna into 4 sections for easier handling. Slit one side of each section lengthwise and remove the casing.

Install discs onto the front of the meat grinder for a fairly small grind and grind the ring bologna into the glass dish. After digging the rest of the bologna out of the grinder, dump the bologna into the mixing bowl.

Finely-chop the sweet pickles till you have about 1/2 cup, and then do the same with the slices of onion. Add the chopped pickle and onion to the bologna in the mixing bowl, then add the mayonnaise and mustard and mix it all together till it’s smooth. Taste it, adding some salt to punch up the flavor if necessary.

Transfer it to the storage bowl and refrigerate the spread until it’s ice cold. Use a fork to put a layer of spread about 3/8″ thick (my kids like it about 1/2″ thick on a slice of white bread, then close with another slice. Serve with kettle-cooked potato chips or steaming-hot French fries.


  • Koegel original-flavor ring bologna is the preferred choice. The garlic or pickled varieties also make for an interesting flavor. Other brands from other “real” meat suppliers throughout the state will taste just as good.
  • While it’s possible to grind the ring bologna in a food processor, a better texture is created using an old-fashioned hand-driven meat grinder. These are available in specialty and antique shops, commercial food equipment dealers, and the cooking section of Cabela’s in Dundee, Michigan.
  • Grandma Joyce uses Miracle Whip dressing instead of the mayonnaise.  She also grinds the pickles and onions through the grinder instead of chopping them separately. Grinding the pickles and onions also squeezes their juices into the ground bologna, which adds an interesting touch to the already tangy flavor of the Miracle Whip dressing. Oddly enough, she likes my version better, even though she insists on using Miracle Whip for her own batches!


Recipe: Most Excellent Ground Bologna Sandwich Spread — 59 Comments

  1. Fall makes me crazy for the most love foods of my childhood. This isn’t the best idea because they are not the healthiest and I am always trying to cut back and control my weight. But it doesn’t do any good to deny myself a few meals of these foods. It passes eventually. My most recent craving is for sandwich spread. I went to a wonderful specialty market found in Highland Michigan, and bought a quarter pound of their German Bologna Spread to spice up my lunches at work. I got one taste and my husband got the rest! So…I went back for more, a 1 1/2 pound container and left specific instructions that I get at least 2 sandwiches with white bread and mayo and lettuce on it. Oh heaven! Then I tried to think of ways I could make it more healthy. My food co-op gets german bologna and hot dogs, all beef and no preservatives, and 100% Certified organic through a local farmer and we have had to go to ordering because everyone loves it so much. So I came looking for a receipe and found this blog. I am going to try this recipe, love it’s simplicity! Thanks for posting!

  2. My Mother would make this in the 1950’s when she and Daddy would put all four of us into the back seat of their yellow and white 1955 Chevy Impala and drive somewhere to have a picnic. She called them “Coney Island Sandwiches” and would bake a big batch of filled raisin cookies, prepare a bowl potato Salad and a large jug of lemonade. What a way to spend a nice spring or summer day on the weekend!

  3. Here is my experience….I was going to slice some Beef Summer Sausage in my food processor. What happened was i put the slicing cutter in backwards and instead of slices, I got slivers. So I had 8oz of slivered or rough ground sausage. Do not wanting it go to waste I found this Bologna sandwich spread. But I changed the meat, and instead of Mayonnaise, I used cream cheese. And I added chopped black olives. I know it isn’t technically the same. It is however, very delicious!

  4. Thanks Gene, that sounds really good. There’s an older uncured Italian sausage called soppressata that would work great in such a recipe. I would also use kalamata olives in it as well, while keeping the cream cheese and maybe adding some chopped onion. You know, I’m going to have to make this now, thank you for the suggestion!

  5. I loved this as a kid at home! I forgot about this until recently and couldn’t recall how mom made this. Thanks Dave, for posting this! I’m going to make it again very soon!

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