Best Salami for Charcuterie Boards, Sandwiches, and More

The best salami is just as good in a sandwich as it is on a charcuterie board. And, after tasting nearly 30 types of salami, we can also tell you that, unfortunately, the best salami is not from the supermarket but from Amazon. That said, we also found some of the best salami brands available at a grocery store near you—including the best salami for sandwich making, the best Genoa salami, and more. 

Salami is an oft-overlooked deli meat. It’s much more versatile than you think. Salami is a spectacular component in a brightly acidic chopped salad with red onions, pepperoncini, and Italian dressing. It’s iconic in pasta salad. It provides necessary meatiness to a briny artichoke and olive antipasto. It’s even good on a pizza.  And, of course, the best salami is also delicious eaten plain with some red wine and Parmesan cheese. But let’s be honest, most of the time we pair it with nothing at all—just our bare hands in the middle of the night, straight out of the fridge.

In our search for the best salami brands, we looked for quality. As far as flavor, we want salami to be fatty and salty, yes, but it should also taste like meat. Porky notes are important; we don’t want salami that tastes like a weird, homogeneous meat mixture. Additional flavors from pepper, fennel, paprika, and chili peppers are also welcome. Here are a dozen salamis we’ll be stacking our sandwiches with in the very near future.


Trader Joe’s Chianti Red Wine Artisan Salami

Best with Parmesan

Trader Joe’s Chianti Red Wine Artisan Salami

I was so pleasantly surprised by this cased salami. It has a wonderfully bitter, sweet, and aromatic red wine flavor. And the pork flavor is really strong, as well. Trader Joe’s Chianti Red Wine Artisan Salami is winey with a strong meat flavor. This would go great with some sharp, salty, hard cheese like Parmesan or even some sharp cheddar. — Danny Palumbo

Credit: Merc / Instacart

Rating:

7/10

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Oscar Mayer Hard Salami

Best Budget

Oscar Mayer Hard Salami

Honestly, for the price? This is some of the best salami. I was ready to scoff at Oscar Mayer Hard Salami, but this is a fatty, salty cold cut that’s some of the best salami for sandwich making. It’s hard salami, so it’s supposed to be a little bit drier than Genoa, but it still maintains a nice, soft texture that will go great with cheese and bread. Oscar Mayer’s hard salami is deliciously smoky and salty. It may not be as high quality as some of the salamis on this list, but it’s hard to differentiate it from other pre-sliced salamis, and the price is great. If you’re looking for the best type of salami for sandwiches, these big slices are a good pick. — Danny Palumbo

Credit: Merc / Instacart

Rating:

7/10

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Creminelli Wild Boar Salami

Best Game Meat

Creminelli Wild Boar Salami

This is salami that I brought home with me, and I’ll tell you why: It has all the wonderful funk of game meat without any of the offputting tang. This Texas wild boar salami is tamed with salt and fat. The flavor is really great and subtle. It’s definitely some of the best salami for charcuterie board making. Plus, you can feel good about purchasing a product that’s both sustainable (wild boar are an invasive species in Texas) and delicious. — Danny Palumbo

Credit: Merc / Instacart

Rating:

7.5/10

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best italian dry salami

Best Italian

Columbus Italian Dry Salame

When we say this is the best Italian salami we tasted, we mean Italian-style. Of course, there are many types of Italian salami—including Genoa salami and sopressata—but this one is a Milano style salami, made with pork, black pepper, spices, and red wine. It has a wonderful pepper kick and a slight hint of garlic. And the red wine gives it an additional bitter, funky flavor, too. This dry salami is also a tad sweet, which helps tame the other bold flavors. Of all the Columbus salami products we tried, this was our favorite. — Danny Palumbo

Credit: Merc / Instacart

Rating:

7.5/10

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Trader Joe’s Salame Di Parma Mild Salami

Best with Mustard

Trader Joe’s Salame Di Parma Mild Salami

There are a lot of different flavors here that work in unison to produce a pleasantly mild, salty, and fatty salami. Trader Joe’s Salame di Parma melts in your mouth, but it still maintains a nice, rippable texture that you can sink your teeth into. This salami is oily, substantial, and spiced—the type of thing that pairs excellently with some zesty Dijon mustard and pickles. This is definitely some of the best salami for a cheese board, but I’d also let some slices of this sit out at room temperature for a bit and serve them on Triscuits. — Danny Palumbo

Credit: Merc

Rating:

8/10

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Fiorucci Uncured Sliced Hard Salami

Best Fatty

Fiorucci Uncured Sliced Hard Salami

Fiorucci Sliced Hard Salami is so fatty that it’s a treat. It’s also really toothsome and tastes like pork, not some mysterious and suspicious meat mixture. You can rip these slices apart with your teeth like an animal. The main selling point, though, is the wonderful fat. Truly, when you eat salami at close to room temperature it becomes so decadent and smooth. You might be saying, “Room temperature salami?!” Yeah, you can eat it at room temperature. I almost prefer it that way. Don’t leave it out too long, but overall, I feel when salami is served cold, it detracts from the wonderfully decadent texture and flavor. I described this one as “meat butter.” Do with that information what you will. — Danny Palumbo

Credit: Merc / Instacart

Rating:

8.5/10

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Boar’s Head Sliced Hard Salami

Best Hard Salami

Boar’s Head Sliced Hard Salami

Boar’s Head Sliced Hard Salami has the proper amount of fat for a hard salami, as in, a lot of it. The pork flavor of this salami is really strong, and it’s also nice and salty like you’d expect. Boar’s Head feels decadent without being too heavy. It’s the best hard salami to fold up for appetizers, or to throw on a sandwich. Lots of wonderful versatility with Boar’s Head hard salami. — Danny Palumbo

Credit: Merc / Instacart

Rating:

8.5/10

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Applegate Uncured Peppered Genoa Salami

Best Peppered

Applegate Uncured Peppered Genoa Salami

If you really love cracked black pepper (like I do) then this is definitely the best salami you can buy at the grocery store. It has so much pepper around the outside. Even though it’s sliced very, very thin you still get a ton of black pepper flavor in every bite—but it’s not spicy. You can jam a whole slice of this salami straight into your mouth for a roller coaster of meaty, fatty flavor followed by zing and zip from the black pepper. — Justine Sterling

Credit: Merc / Target

Rating:

8.5/10

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Applegate Uncured Genoa Salami

Best Genoa Salami

Applegate Uncured Genoa Salami

Applegate Uncured Genoa Salami is nice and salty, with aromatics like garlic and pepper. Weirdly enough, this salami also contains swiss chard powder, an addition I’d never spotted in a list of ingredients. I suppose it’s there to add some extra bitterness and earthiness. Anyway, Applegate’s texture is just delightful. Salami should melt in your mouth, taste porky, and have subtle hints of added spices. This accomplishes all three, making it the best Genoa salami we tasted. Use this confidently to make one of the best salami sandwiches. — Danny Palumbo

Credit: Merc / Instacart

Rating:

8.5/10

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Olli Antipasto

Best Selection

Olli Antipasto

This selection of four different types of salami from Olli is like a prepackaged charcuterie board. All you need to do is add some crackers and maybe a handful of cornichons. There’s Genoa salami (very thick cut, super meaty, and fatty in just the right way—it melts in your mouth rather than getting stuck in your teeth), Toscano salami (about the size of the palm of your hand, very thinly sliced, and delightfully seasoned with fennel pollen), Napoli salami (imbued with the flavor of applewood smoke), and Calabrese salami (another thick cut selection, but this one is spicy). Personally, the Toscano was my favorite. The fennel pollen flavor really makes the savory, meaty flavor of salami pop and it’s totally unique. But I’d count all of them as some of the best salami we tried. Thanks, Olli, for taking away all the stress of building a charcuterie board. Now, if only Olli could also handle childcare. — Justine Sterling  

Credit: Merc / Instacart

Rating:

9/10

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Foustman’s Fennel and Pepper Salami

Best Spiced

Foustman’s Fennel and Pepper Salami

The fennel and pepper flavor in this salami is excellent; it smells and tastes like Italian sausage. Fennel and pork is a classic dynamic duo, and the fennel’s anise-like, peppery notes complement the salty and fatty pork extremely well. This is some of the best salami to splurge on—it tastes like high quality farm raised pork. Not only is it some of the best salami for charcuterie boards, but I’d also cook with this—add it to a hash, or use it as a base for a nice pasta sauce like arrabbiata. Foustman’s salami is the pricey side, but $15 for a stick of salami this good is reasonable. — Danny Palumbo

Credit: Merc / Amazon

Rating:

9/10

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Foustman’s Hot Toscano Salami

Best of the Best

Foustman’s Hot Toscano Salami

Foustman’s is a hot seller on Amazon and a family owned business in the Bay Area of California specializing in artisanal salami. Apparently, San Francisco is the perfect temperature for curing meats, so salami is quite popular there. All of Foustman’s products are superbly rich and flavorful, but the hot Toscano salami really warmed our hearts. This tastes just like Calabrian chiles—there is such a wonderfully tangy heat embedded into every tiny morsel of this artisanal pork sausage. There are some subtle garlic notes happening here, too. The flavor of this sausage is just off the charts. I think it’s the best salami for snacking, and although it’s quite small for a sandwich, you can throw it on pizzas, dice it up to put into pastas, or just go to town with it on some fancy crackers and cheese. It’s available on Amazon, and via their website, with free shipping on orders over $25. — Danny Palumbo

Credit: Merc / Amazon

Rating:

9.5/10

Sporks

Other products we tried: Gallo Italian Dry Salame, Columbus Genoa, Columbus Peppered, Oscar Meyer Cotto, Dietz & Watson Genoa, Boar’s Head Bianca D’Oro Stick, Boar’s Head Genoa Stick, Foustman’s Lamb + Garlic, Busseto Dry Salami Nuggets, Columbus Reduced Sodium Italian Dry Salame, Busseto Italian Dry Salami Herbs and Spices, Busseto Italian Dry Salami Black Pepper, Gallo Salame Light Italian Dry, Boar’s Head Uncured Peppered Salame, Beretta Salamini Jalapeno, Beretta Salamini Milano, Beretta Salamini Calabrese


About the Author

Sporked Staff

The Sporked Staff tastes everything and anything. They are obsessive about groceries and finding the best of any type of food or drink, from frozen fried shrimp to Dijon mustard to gummy candy. And they're always on a hunt for the best new products. When they aren't eating professionally, they're eating recreationally. And often they're browsing grocery store aisles, just for fun.

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  • Applegate uses swiss chard powder as a curing agent (celery powder is also common) because those vegetables are high in natural nitrates/nitrites. Is it truly “uncured”? That’s for you to decide.

    https://www.meatpoultry.com/articles/19106-to-cure-or-not-to-cure

    Reply
  • Pickles, salami, cheese… are we going to get an Official Sporked Charcuterie Board Suggestion?

    Reply