What is pepperoni

A lot of you have heard about pepperoni. So, what is pepperoni? How to make it? What are the ways one can eat pepperoni? Throughout this article, we will answer these questions.

Pepperoni is the most popular and the number one pizza topping in the US. People consume around 0.25 billion pizzas annually. Yes, you have heard right. Of all these pizzas, about 36% come with pepperoni.

However, for pepperoni lovers, it is more than just a pizza topping. From different sandwiches to cracker topping, you will find many ways to consume this delicious spicy sausage.

History of Pepperoni

A lot of people think that pepperoni comes from Italy as it is an Italian salami. There are some spicy salamis in Italy, which offers similar flavor and color, but they are not pepperoni. So, where does pepperoni come from? Like all those meatballs, spaghetti and chicken parm, pepperoni has originated in America.

Pepperoni comes from the word “big peppers,” which refers to the bell peppers in the United States. Little information is available on the person who made the pepperoni first. But, we do know when it first came out. The first pepperoni that came to focus was in 1919, in a time when different pizzerias and Italian butcher shops started to flourish in New York City. According to many, pepperoni came from the Bleecker Street or Mulberry Street of lower Manhattan, not in the lower Italy as a lot of people think of.

Which Ingredients Does Pepperoni Contain?

What Is Pepperoni Made Of

Pepperoni is a delicious, spicy sausage mostly consumes with pizzas. There are certain ingredients and preparation manner which makes pepperoni unique and appealing. Whether it is a packaged or homemade item, most pepperonis contain similar ingredients. The variations of pepperoni use different proportions of chilies and spices. So, the most common ingredients of pepperoni are

  • Ground Beef
  • Ground Pork
  • Hog Casing
  • Sugar
  • Garlic
  • Aniseed Powder
  • Allspice Powder
  • Red Pepper Powder
  • Insta Cure
  • Salt

These are the main ingredients for most types of pepperoni. Now, you know what pepperoni made of is. However, to create different varieties, you may need to change some of these ingredients.

Nutrition Facts of Pepperoni

Pepperoni adds flavor and taste to pizzas, crackers, sandwiches and whatever food item you want to consume with it. For this reason, a lot of people take pepperoni every now and then. However, because of its high-calorie content, fat, and sodium, you should not take pepperoni every day. It does have healthy proteins and some other beneficial nutrients, including calcium, iron, and potassium. So, it’s completely fine if you take this delicious topping occasionally. Let’s find out more about what a slice of pepperoni offers. Look at the list below to know about the nutrition facts for 1 cup of pepperoni (138 Grams).

  • Calories: 696
  • Total Fat: 64 Grams
  • Saturated Fat: 24 Grams
  • Trans Fat: 2.1 Grams
  • Polyunsaturated Fat: 6.2 Grams
  • Monounsaturated Fat: 29 Grams
  • Cholesterol: 134 Milligrams
  • Sodium: 2183 Milligrams
  • Potassium: 318 Milligrams
  • Total Carbohydrate: 1.6 Grams
  • Dietary Fiber: 0 Grams
  • Sugars: 0 Grams
  • Protein: 27 Grams
  • Vitamin A: 0% *
  • Vitamin C: 0% *
  • Calcium: 2.6% *
  • Iron: 10% *

* % Refers To Daily Value of 2000 Calorie Diet

Pepperoni Prepping Method

How is Pepperoni Made

Pepperoni is, in fact, popular as a topping especially with pizzas. This is the most appealing spice in the United States. So, how can you make pepperoni? Pepperonis are solid spicy sausages that use the ground meat of pork and beef. For a less expensive version of pepperoni, some use poultry instead. To make pepperoni, you need to follow three steps, such as grinding and missing, causing the mixture, and finally, cooking and aging. Let’s find out more about each of these steps.

Grinding and Mixing

Grinding and MixingFirst, mix the pork and beef chunks with seasoning and a curing agent that particularly uses sodium nitrate. To do this, you need ground meat. You can use different meat grinders for the job. For flavor and color, you may add a little bit sugar. This sugar also acts as an equalizer and formation agent for uprising acid level as well. The meat that you want to mix should contain low acid. The acidity increases as pepperoni cures. Then, you should compound the mixture, starting with beef and finishing with sodium nitrate base.

Casing the Mixture

Casing the MixtureAfter completing the mixing, the mixture is then stuffed into casings, typically made with the track from pig or cow. The casing will then form into pepperoni mixture. The mixture is kept together in the cooking phase. A more fibrous casing is used to make the pepperoni dry. A mechanical sausage stuffer is then used to stuff the mixture. Once the mixture is completed stuffing into the casing, the pepperoni is then sectioned with string or a rope.

Cooking and Aging

Cooking and AgingTo slowly age and dry the pepperoni links, the prepared pepperoni is cooked in ovens or smokehouses at a very low temperature. The heating and drying procedure may take several days. The reason for slow cooking is to avoid the over-drying of the pepperoni links. You can use the best oven thermometers to check the temperature continuously. The casing is highly porous to absorb the heat and smoke so that the pepperoni is cooked thoroughly.

Salami vs. Pepperoni

Salami vs. PepperoniWhen you are at the deli eating your favorite pizza or a sandwich, you might find two types of meat: pepperoni and salami. So, what are the differences between them? Read more to learn more;

Originated from Italy, salami is a kind of cured sausage. Salami can be made from different types of meat including pork, beef or poultry meat and with different types of ingredients such as garlic, fat, salt and spices.

You already know what pepperoni is. It is a type of salami prepared in a similar manner. Pepperoni is usually prepared with only beef and pork. It is also sometimes called the American Salami as it has originated in the United States. So, what is the actual difference? Both represent a similar type of sausage; however, pepperoni is spicier.

Uses of Pepperoni

Uses of PepperoniWhen talking about pepperoni, the first thing that comes to our minds is pepperoni toppings. However, the uses of pepperoni are pretty versatile and you can use it for different purposes. Whether you have pre-sliced pepperoni or hard stick pepperoni, there are so many ways you can consume this delicious cured meat. The uses of pepperoni are summarized below:

  • The Most Delicious Pizza Topping
  • A Perfect Addition To Cheese Boards To Increase Taste And Flavor
  • The Taste Of Your Twice-Bakes Potato And Potato Skins If Serve With Pepperoni Topping
  • Pepperoni Is Also Chopped Into A Different Pasta Salad To Add A Spicy Italian Taste
  • Pepperoni-Cheddar Stuffed Peppers Produces Delicious Appetizer
  • Adds Flavor To The Chickpea Salad

These are the most common form of uses of pepperoni. However, there are so many other ways you can use this delicious spicy topping.

Using Pepperoni with Cheese

Using Pepperoni With CheesePepperoni contains harmful fat and sodium. For this reason, a lot of people take turkey pepperoni instead. But still, you can consider pepperoni as low card diet and hence, it does not bring harm when you add pepperoni with cheese. It is also delicious and offers a different taste.

Pepperoni offers good taste when the mixed type of cheese. However, mozzarella and pizza cheese are the best pairings to be mixed with cheese. For something delicious, you can also try cheddar, white cheddar, Parmesan, fontina and cheddar jack.  

Influence of Pepperoni in American Food Preparations

Influence of Pepperoni in American Food PreparationsPepperoni is the most appealing and popular pizza topping in the United States. It has already been mentioned quite a few times throughout this article to make you realize that how much pepperoni is influencing American food preparations.

According to the New York Times, pepperoni has successfully conquered the United States. According to the product manager of the biggest selling brand Hormel, they have sold more than enough pepperoni to tunnel the entire earth around with 40 million feet long pepperoni. There are other brands who sell a significant amount of pepperoni every year. Because of high nutrition value and excellent flavor, the homemade pepperonis are getting more attention day by day. A lot of people make pepperoni at home to consume the best quality with fewer costs.

Facts about pizza and pepperoni

  • America is a pizza loving country. Apart from burgers, it is the most popular fast food in the US.
  • It found that only 2% of American do not like pizza.
  • There are 3% of Americans who would rather take pizza than having a girlfriend or boyfriend.
  • Around 100 acres of pizzas are consumed each day and the 350 slices of pizza in every second
  • Among all these pizzas, 36% of these are served with pepperoni which is similar to
  • Around 251,770,000 lbs. of pepperoni is consumed each year.
  • These are the common facts about pizza and pepperoni. You can surely imagine how much pepperoni is influencing in American food habit.

However, apart from the pizza universe pepperoni is hard to find in restaurant kitchens. Few other popular recipes benefit from this special Italian-American flavor of pepperoni. Among them, pepperoni mixed crushed potato salads, pepperoni snow, and pepperoni vinaigrette are most delicious and appealing.

These are not all. There are other foods which getting mixed with pepperoni. A lot of people are eating raw pepperoni with sandwiches and crackers. Originating in 1919, pepperoni has influenced Americans food culture and taste in many ways.

Pepperoni and PizzaCertainly, pepperoni makes the best pizza topping. In fact, it is the most popular spicy sausage which goes almost perfect with pizzas. According to a recent study, it is found that around 252 million pounds of pepperoni is used on pizzas every year. In the United States, pizza is the second most popular fast food after burger. In 2011 pizza sales exceeded 32 billion dollars. Now you can imagine how much popular food item is pizza and pepperoni.

However, despite this huge market and popularity, pepperoni is used for other purposes. Pepperoni is not Italian sausage; still, it tastes great on different Italian foods and it tastes great with a lot of other foods as well.

Mix it with baked potato, pop into a quesadilla or make your own pepperoni pizza rolls and you will find it quite delicious to eat. You can even eat pepperoni like other ordinary meats. There is no wrong in that.

Pepperoni Pizza Nutrition Facts: Serving size: 154 grams (1\4 Pizza)

You can consume pepperoni as a pepperoni pizza. In this recipe, pepperoni is not used as a pizza topping rather it is used as an ingredient of pizza. A lot of pepperoni lovers find this pepperoni pizza highly delicious. However, nutritional benefits will be different when pepperoni is used as an ingredient. So, let’s find out more about the nutrition facts of pepperoni pizza;

  • Calories: 340
  • Total Fat: 14 Grams
  • Saturated Fat: 7 Grams
  • Trans Fat: 0 Grams
  • Cholesterol: 35 Milligrams
  • Sodium: 2490 Milligrams
  • Total Carbohydrate: 38 Grams
  • Dietary Fiber: 1 Gram
  • Sugars: 3 Grams
  • Protein: 11 Grams
  • Vitamin A: 30% *
  • Vitamin C: 6% *
  • Calcium: 10% *
  • Iron: 6% *

* % Refers To Daily Value of 2000 Calorie Diet

Is It Safe To Eat Raw Pepperoni?

Is It Safe To Eat Raw PepperoniMost of you are well aware of pepperoni. Maybe, you do not know how to eat pepperoni apart from pizza topping. Especially for raw pepperoni, most people have no idea how to consume them or if it is safe to consume. Well, it is safe to eat raw pepperoni. Let’s figure out how:

  • If you do not have any idea how to add pepperoni to other food items, make some slices and start eating. You will enjoy the taste.
  • To add flavor and taste, eat pepperoni with sandwiches as a sandwich topping.
  • Slice your pepperoni and enjoy it with your favorite crackers.
  • Another way to consume raw pepperoni is to eat with black olives and cheese
  • Make some pepperoni salad with dressing; it is highly delicious.

These are the ways you can consume raw pepperoni. However, remember that too much pepperoni can cause damage to health whatever it is raw or cooked. So, take pepperoni occasionally not as a daily food item.

Recommendations to Take Pepperoni

If you are pregnant, you know it’s important to make healthier food choices and avoid foods that are harmful to your body. It is best to avoid pepperoni for the benefits of your health and your growing fetus. However, if you are really into pepperoni follow the recommendations and stay healthy.

  • Try to take pepperoni that is not made with cured meat. Do not worry. You will find pepperoni that does not contain cured meat.
  • Avoid nitrate and nitrite based pepperoni. Read the ingredients before buying pepperoni.
  • It is wise to consume homemade pepperoni.
  • And finally, do not consume pepperoni regularly

Pepperoni during Pregnancy

You might love the spicy, tangy flavor of pepperoni, but are you worried about the side effects of eating pepperoni during pregnancy? Can it harm the growing fetus? There are a lot of foods which need to avoid during pregnancy. Is pepperoni one of them?  If these questions are bothering you, this section will answer your questions.

These are recommendations you should follow if you want to stay healthy during your pregnancy period.

Risks and Side Effects of Pepperoni

You already have learned about pepperoni and its manufacturing process. It is a spicy sausage made of hot red pepper. The hotness may harm your health if you consume it too much. However, you can still consume pizza without worrying too much. The problem may occur when you add topping with it. As for pepperoni, most pizzas topping contains mold-ripped, soft cheese variations which are highly harmful as they may cause bacterial infection to your body. So, the side effects are:

  • Some types of pepperoni contain Listeria bacteria which are the major reason to get listeriosis. The symptoms are mostly flu-like. Though listeriosis is a mild illness, it may cause serious health to your body and the growing fetus as well.
  • The raw and uncooked meat of your favorite pepperoni increases the risk of toxoplasmosis. This is occurring when certain bacteria of raw meats attacks in your body.
  • Although pepperoni is the meat product, it contains high fat. Most of these fats are saturated fat. It is wise to avoid saturated fat and concentrate more on taking healthy foods during pregnancy.
  • Many salted, cured types of meat and pepperoni contains nitrate and different nitrate based preservatives. These preservatives are highly harmful and increase the risk of cancer if consumed high amounts regularly.

These are the major risks and side effects of pepperoni if consumed regularly. However, occasional consumption may decrease the bad effects of pepperoni in your body.

Pepperoni Recipes

Pepperoni RecipesPepperoni makes a great pizza topping which is the major reason of gaining so much popularity. As I have discussed earlier, there are other uses of pepperoni as well. With the help of pepperoni, you can make different delicious recipes as well. For a spicy flavor and distinct taste, pepperoni makes a wonderful ingredient in a lot of recipes. If you love pepperoni, you will surely love these recipes. The recipes are:

  • Pepperoni Tortilla Pizzas
  • Pizza Turnovers
  • Pepperoni Pizza Grilled Cheese and White Pizza Skillet
  • Panhandle Pepperoni Chicken
  • Pepperoni Pizza Wraps
  • Tossed Pepperoni Pizza Salad
  • Russ’s Beef Pepperoni
  • Pepperoni Rolls, Pizza Dip, Bubble Ring, Puffs

These are the most delicious and popular recipe for pepperoni. Try some of these at home and enjoy a whole new method to consume pepperoni.


Pepperoni is not just a pizza topping though; it’s an experience! Nowadays, pepperoni is gone well with other food items as well. Because of its Italian-American spicy taste, it offers excellent taste when you add it with Italian foods and recipes and other food items. Even though it does not contain an exceptional nutritional value, it is quite fine to consume pepperoni occasionally.

Previous articleA Complete List of the Most Popular Salad Ingredients for Everyone
Next articleWhat does eggplant taste like? – A Detailed study on the Taste of Eggplant
My name is Sherry F. Solar and I am a Registered Dietitian, Certified Nutritionist, and Certified Personal Trainer with a private practice in Somerville, MA. I got my Bachelors of Science in Nutrition and Dietetics from Boston University and finished my Dietetic Internship at Oregon Health and Science University. After working as a personal trainer for almost five years and completing the dietetic internship, I took a detour on my career path to pursue a role as a blogger. There will be plenty of information shared on losing weight, building muscle, eating healthy, and living a happy, healthy life on my blog. I enjoy blogging and strive to share accurate information about nutrition and health knowledge. My blog is for those who are on the journey of healthy eating, and it is also for anyone wishing to attain total health all while aging with no worries. I believe that anyone can have a healthier body and a happier mind when armed with the right education, resources, and knowledge. I want my readers to know that they will learn a lot about becoming healthier and happier through this blog. I try to ensure all articles are informative and useful.


Please enter your name here
Please enter your comment!