What Is Pepperoni Made Of?

Pepperoni, a spicy Italian dry sausage, is one of the most popular toppings on American-style pizza. Many ethnic meat shops and delicatessens sell it in solid sticks. In contrast, most grocery stores sell it pre-sliced in vacuum packs.

Pepperoni for pizza toppings can be as little as 1 inch (2.54 cm) in diameter. In contrast, pepperoni for Italian submarine sandwiches is frequently twice that size. Some pizza establishments utilize a larger size slice to lessen the odds of it burning in a scorching pizza oven.

What Is the Main Ingredient in Pepperoni?

What is pepperoni made of? Pepperoni is a dried, cured, seasoned beef mixed and pork sausage. To achieve the proper meat-to-fat ratio, pepperoni, like all sausages, requires the use of the proper cuts of meat.

The lean-to-fat ratio for pepperoni is roughly 70 percent lean to 30 percent fat. Additionally, you must pound the meat and fat to granulation of about 2 to 3 millimeters to achieve the proper texture—not too coarse nor too fine.

Seasonings on meat such as salt, sugar, hot and chili pepper, bell pepper, and spices like paprika and garlic powder, hot and spicy peppers are next added to the ground beef. This mixture is injected with lactobacillus bacteria, which create lactic acid, which is essential for curing the sausage casings and gives the pepperoni its distinctively tangy flavor.

A Quick History of Pepperoni

Here’s a quick and brief history of pepperoni. Italian immigration to the United States increased rapidly in the early twentieth century. These immigrants began mixing their southern European culinary traditions with American components. Lower Manhattan’s Italian-American delis first mentioned pepperoni in 1919. However, the name started to be used as a synonym for sausage among Italian-American soldiers during WWI. The word pepperoni is Italian.

Pepperoni became famous as a pizza topping after World War II, but only in New York City pizzerias. According to Colin Caplan, author of New Haven Apizza, the actual marriage of pizza and pepperoni didn’t happen until the mid-twentieth century.

In 1950, he discovered the first evidence of pepperoni as a pizza topping in a photo of a wall menu from a pizzeria called The Spot in New Haven, Connecticut. Since then, it has gradually crept into toppings menus around the country.

How Is Pepperoni Made?

Pepperoni uses ground pork and beef that have been combined with spicy salamis and flavorings. The meat is subsequently cured with salt and sodium nitrite. This step stops undesirable germs from growing on cured meat.

The color of pepperoni isn’t achieved until after the addition of sodium nitrate. The ground meat is then injected with lactic acid bacteria to reduce the pH equilibrium. Lowering the balance improves the preservation of the food for later consumption.

The ground meats mixture is then packed into casings. Fermented pepperoni is packaged and transported when they have dried completely. Some of it is sliced, while others are left whole, depending on the producer.

Types of Pepperoni on the E-Market

Pepperoni has come a long way since its invention in the early twentieth century, and there are now numerous varieties. You can buy pepperoni. There’s a pepperoni for practically everyone, thanks to various unusual ingredients and specialty cuts for almost any purpose. So let’s take a brief look at what’s out there in the brave new world of pepperoni before you salivate at the prospect of your next slice of pepperoni pizza!

Beef Pepperoni

Beef pepperoni is precisely what it says on the tin: pepperoni made entirely of beef ingredients. Halal pepperoni is another name for its organ meats. Because Muslims can not eat pork, beef is utilized as pepperoni in traditional beef pepperoni meals.

Pork Pepperoni

Almost all pepperoni offered in the United States uses a combination of beef and cured pork. In reality, the combination of meats distinguishes it from pure salami, which is produced entirely of pork. So, even if there is no such thing as pure pepperoni pork, who cares? It’s great regardless!

Turkey Pepperoni

If you buy turkey pepperoni in the US, it will be the only meat in the product according to labeling laws. Turkey pepperoni has no pork. Despite this, the flavor is strikingly similar. Many people prefer to use it instead of traditional beef and pork pepperoni to save fat and calories, and it is characteristically soft.

How To Store Pepperoni?

Suppose your pepperoni has been dry or is in the curing process. In that case, it will be shelf-stable (able to be stored at room temperature indefinitely). Meat is made shelf-stable by adjusting moisture levels and adding salt. Suppose your pepperoni isn’t stored in the chilled part of the grocery store. In that case, you can keep it at room temperature in a cool, drying room, dark pantry, or kitchen cabinet.

If the pepperoni is sold refrigerated in the store, do the same with yours, whether it’s opened or not. Are you unsure whether your pepperoni was purchased chilled or regular? Check the label or go with the safest option: the refrigerator.

Now, when you’re ready to use the pepperoni sticks, wrap them snugly in cling film and keep them in the fridge to freeze pepperoni. If you don’t cover your pepperoni with plastic wrap, it will collect odors from the fridge and dry out.

How Long is Pepperoni’s Shelf Life?

The quality of refrigerated pepperoni sticks should last a few days past the sell-by date if stored properly. If you open the package, you should utilize them within three weeks. But on the other hand, unrefrigerated pepperoni lasts longer. Because your sausages’ maintenance is through ingredients or production methods, their quality will last longer. 

You can find the best-by date on unrefrigerated sticks. If you’ve opened the package, you can keep your pepperoni for a few days past the expiration date. However, you can extend the shelf life of the unrefrigerated sticks by storing them in the refrigerator for an additional two weeks.

How to Use Pepperoni?

Some excellent things you can do with most pepperoni are:


It’s called pepperoni bread, and it’s fantastic. Suppose you chop your leftover pepperoni and cheese the day before. In that case, the batter will come together in only a few minutes. You can also throw in some spinach, mushrooms, or fried zucchini! Make sure not to use low-quality leftover meat.


Look, no one can deny that cake pops are delicious. Have you ever tried pizza pops, though? Puff pastry or canned pizza dough creates excellent pockets for filling with sauce, cheese, and other pizza toppings and uses high-quality pepperoni.


Its name isn’t the Triple Pepper Sandwich, but let’s call it that anyway. When you bake the melty Triple P in the oven, it’s very simple, though it’s even easier if you have a panini press.


Those who only eat savory breakfasts? If that’s the case, you can’t go wrong with this quick and easy pizza waffle. It’s tasty, and you can top it with whatever you like — parmesan cheese, marinara sauce, and a fried egg, perhaps?


Two faves, pepperoni pizza and lasagna? You don’t have to! They are wonderful when combined into this cheesy casserole dish. This is so good that the kids probably won’t even mind if you sneak a bunch of chopped spinach into the bottom.


If you’re watching your calories, carbs, or wheat intake, this is a healthy, crispy way to satisfy your pizza fix. You’ll enjoy these even if you don’t care about calories — they’re that amazing!

5 Interesting Pepperoni Recipes

Pepperoni and Egg Breakfast Baskets

  1. Special equipment: a 6-cup large muffin tin.
  2. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Push chunks of potato through the chute of a food processor fitted with the grater attachment to the grate.
  3. Once you shred all potatoes, place them in a cheesecloth or a clean kitchen towel and compress to remove any excess moisture. Toss the potatoes in a large meat grinder basin with the melted butter and season to taste with salt and pepper and other spices.
  4. Using nonstick cooking spray, lightly coat the muffin tin. Press the shredded potatoes equally into the muffin cups, making sure they cover the bottom and go up the sides in a thin layer. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, or until the top edges are light golden brown and the potatoes cook through.
  5. Meanwhile, combine the prosciutto, maple syrup, and some freshly ground black pepper grinds in a small bowl. Remove from the equation to get desired texture.
  6. Take the potatoes out of the oven and gently crack one egg into each cup. Bake for 6 to 8 minutes, or until the egg whites are set, but the yolk is still runny.
  7. Remove the pan from the oven and turn it on to broil. Place the maple prosciutto on a separate sheet tray and top the eggs with grated cheese. Broil for 1 minute, or until cheese melts and prosciutto crisps slightly.
  8. Serve the eggs immediately with crispy prosciutto on top.

Pepperoni Pasta Bake

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Combine ricotta, zucchini, basil, raw sausage, and egg in a medium mixing bowl; season with 1/2 teaspoon salt, pepper, and spices.
  2. In a 9-by-13-inch broiler-safe baking dish, spread 1 cup marinara. Fill each shell halfway with the ricotta mixture and arrange in an equal layer in the baking dish.
  3. Keep the remaining 2 cups of marinara on top, followed by the pepperoni and mozzarella. Cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes, or until sauce is bubbling.
  4. Heat the broiler, remove the foil, and broil for 3 minutes, or until the cheese is browned in areas. Serve with more basil on top.

Pepperoni Stuffed Mushrooms

  1. Remove the stems from the mushrooms and coarsely slice them; set aside the caps. Saute the onion, pepperoni, and mushroom stems in butter in a large skillet until soft.
  2. Cook for a further minute after adding the garlic. Remove from the heat and cool slightly before adding the bread crumbs, Parmesan cheese, Italian seasoning, and salt.
  3. Fill mushroom caps with the mixture. Place on a non-buttered baking sheet. Preheat the oven to 325°F and bake for 15 minutes.
  4. Sprinkle with mozzarella cheese and bake for 5-10 minutes, or until the mushrooms are soft.

Pepperoni Cheese Dip

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Combine cream cheese, sour cream, and 1/2 cup mozzarella cheese in a small mixing basin. Combine tomato sauce, herbs, salt, and pepper in a separate bowl.
  3. Layer the cheese mixture on the bottom of a baking dish or pie pan. Cover the cheese mixture with tomato sauce.
  4. Garnish with chopped pepperoni. Bake for 15 minutes or until the sauce is bubbling.
  5. Bake until the cheese is melted, then top with the remaining 1/2 cup mozzarella cheese.
  6. Serve with corn chips or vegetables.

Pepperoni Pinwheels

  1. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit. As if you were making cinnamon buns, roll out the prepared pizza dough on a floured board.
  2. We usually roll my paper into an 11×15-inch rectangle. Brush the surface with olive oil, then evenly pour the pizza sauce throughout the dough. Sprinkle garlic powder, half of the mozzarella cheese, and 3 tablespoons of parmesan cheese.
  3. Place the pepperoni on a paper towel-lined microwave-safe platter. Microwave on HIGH for 20 seconds, then remove and blot off any remaining grease (you can also place the pepperoni on a lined sheet and do this using the oven and oversee it for a minute or so). Sprinkle the ham and cheese evenly over the cheese, then finish with the remaining mozzarella.
  4. Roll the dough into a log and pinch the ends to seal it. Cut 12 even slices (dental floss works well) and lay on a baking pan coated with parchment or baking mat.
  5. Place in the oven for 12-15 minutes, or until the top is browned. Remove the baking sheet from the oven and top with the remaining parmesan cheese. Allow 5 minutes to cool before serving.

Final Words – What Is Pepperoni Made Of?

Hopefully, this article clarified the varieties of meat used in pepperoni and the additional ingredients used to make it. This famous Italian salami is a traditional American pizza topping that comes in various flavors to fit any diet!

If you enjoy pepperoni, there are various ways to eat it at Tuscan Pizza. This popular topping is featured on the Works and Meat Lovers specialty pies. Pepperoni is also available in strombolis, calzones, and pizza rolls.