hot Pepperoni
Packaged pepperoni
Place of origin United States
Food energy
(per 100 g serving)
460 kcal (1926 kJ)
Nutritional value
(per 100 g serving)
Protein 20.35 g
Fat 40.2 g
Carbohydrate 4 g
Cookbook: hot Pepperoni  Media: hot Pepperoni

Pepperoni (also known as pepperoni sausage[1]) is an American variety of salami, made from cured pork and beef mixed together and seasoned with paprika or other chili pepper.[2][3]

Pepperoni is characteristically soft, slightly smoky, and bright red in color.[4] Thinly sliced pepperoni is a popular pizza topping in American-style pizzerias[5] and is used as filling in the West Virginia pepperoni roll.


The term "pepperoni" is a borrowing of peperoni, the plural of peperone, the Italian word for bell pepper. The first use of "pepperoni" to refer to a sausage dates to 1919.[4]

Even if in Italian the word is plural (like the Italian word salami, plural of salame), the English word pepperoni is used as a singular uncountable noun.

In Italian, the word peperoncino (diminutive of peperone) only refers to hot and spicy peppers, or sometimes to small, sweet kinds, while peperoni refers only to sweet peppers, such as bell peppers.


Pepperoni is a cured dry sausage similar to the spicy salamis of southern Italy, such as salsiccia Napoletana piccante, a spicy dry sausage from Naples,[6] or the soppressata from Calabria.[7] The main differences are that pepperoni has a finer grain (akin to salami of Milan, a spiceless regional variant of salami), is usually softer, and is produced with the use of an artificial casing (instead Italian salami are produced using natural gut for casing and are made of pure pork). Pepperoni is mass-produced to meet the demand for the sausage.[4]


Pepperoni, Pork
Nutritional value per 100 g (3.5 oz)
Energy 1,940 kJ (460 kcal)
4 g
40.2 g
20.35 g
Percentages are roughly approximated using US recommendations for adults.
Source: USDA Nutrient Database

Pepperoni is usually made from a mixture of pork and beef;[2] halāl pepperoni is all beef. Turkey meat is also commonly used as a substitute, but the use of poultry in pepperoni must be appropriately labeled in the United States.[8]

Curing, with nitrates and/or nitrites (usually used in modern curing agents, to protect against botulism and other forms of microbiological decay) also contributes (though those compounds are quite neutral in hue) to pepperoni's reddish colour, by reacting with heme in the myoglobin of the proteinaceous components of the meat.[9]

Pepperoni sausages are commonly sold in two sizes: an inch or so in diameter for pizza and two to three inches in diameter for sandwiches. Pepperoni is sold whole, chopped, or in slices, and is commonly found in American deli counters.


Ingredients such as peppers, garlic, fennel, or mustard seeds can be included in the production of pepperoni to provide different flavors and levels of spiciness. Likewise, the type of meat used to produce pepperoni can vary. Pepperoni may be substituted by similar cured meats like Genoa salami, soppressata, or chorizo.

Pepperoni has a tendency to curl up from the edges in the heat of a pizza oven. Some pepperoni is produced in thicker slices, so that the edges curl intentionally.[10]

Use on pizza

According to Convenience Store Decisions, Americans annually consume 251.7 million pounds of pepperoni on 36% of all pizzas produced nationally.[11]

Pepperoni can also be found accompanying different types of cheeses as a cheap snack food in Canadian and some American convenience stores or gas stations. The portions of pepperoni and cheese are typically at equal lengths for ease of consumption, although it is not unusual to find packages containing small, bite sized pieces of pepperoni and cheese in many super markets across either country.

In Nova Scotia, deep fried pepperoni served on its own (usually with a honey mustard dipping sauce) is common pub food.[12][13]

See also


  1. "Difference Between Pepperoni and Salami | Difference Between". Retrieved 2018-08-24.
  2. 1 2 "Pepperoni is Raw Meat?". HOW FOOD February 2009. Retrieved 7 June 2017.
  3. Moskin, Julia (1 February 2011). "Pepperoni: America's Favorite Topping". The New York Times. Retrieved 11 May 2016.
  4. 1 2 3 Moskin, Julia (1 February 2011). "Pepperoni: America's Favorite Topping". The New York Times. Retrieved 22 April 2013.
  5. "America's Most Popular Pizza Toppings". Huffington Post. 5 October 2011. Retrieved 22 April 2013. According to a survey done by Technomic’s MenuMonitor from July to September 2011 based on 235 different pizza places in America pepperoni and plain cheese were the #1 and #2 most popular pizzas ordered.
  6. "Salumi tipici italiani: Salsiccia - Salsiccia Napoletano - Salsiccia Siena - Salsiccia Toscana". Retrieved 2016-02-04.
  7. "Soppressata calabrese". Ricette di Calabria. Retrieved 2016-02-04.
  8. Food Standards and Labelling Policy Book, USDA, pp. 133–134.
  9. Flippone, Peggy Trowbridge. "A Recipe to Make Authentic Homemade Pepperoni". The Spruce. Retrieved December 12, 2017.
  10. López-Alt, J. Kenji (December 2012). "The Food Lab: Why Does Pepperoni Curl?". Serious Eats. Retrieved April 22, 2013.
  11. "Pizza Palates Changing". Convenience Store Decisions. 2009-06-01. Retrieved 2013-04-25.
  12. Eat This Town (1 February 2016). "Nova Scotia Food Profiles: Pepperoni". Eat This Town. Retrieved 7 January 2018.
  13. Brown, Lola (2 April 2013). "You Must Try: Delicious Deep Fried Pepperoni in Halifax, Nova Scotia". Travel Mindset. Retrieved 7 January 2018.

Further reading

  • The dictionary definition of pepperoni at Wiktionary
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