Is Pepperoni Pork? Your question answered and more!

The name “pepperoni” is derived from the plural term peperoni, which is the plural form of the Italian term peperone, which means bell pepper. Pepperoni dates back to the early 1990s, and it is believed that the first reference to it was made in 1919. There is also a correlation between this word and peperoncino – an Italian term. So is pepperoni pork?

Almost all pepperoni is made from a blend of pork and beef. This is a mixture of ground pork and beef. However, there are other varieties, such as those made solely from beef or pork; one can even find turkey pepperoni. This meat is usually well spiced and has a salty and almost tangy taste.

The best place to find good quality pepperoni is from a local butcher shop, and you will find the various options we have mentioned.

Although there are different types, pork is certainly the more popular option and is prevalent in more types than other meats are. I

f you are wondering about the contents of pepperoni, we’ve got you covered, so be sure to read on.

Is Pepperoni Pork?

When looking for elements to add to your diet or are simply curious about the contents of what you are consuming, it is important to find these things out and have a better understanding.

So is pepperoni made from pork, or are there other elements at play or different variations?

In America, pepperoni is a raw sausage usually made from equal parts beef and pork; however, at times, there are those made purely from pork.

If made purely from beef, it is known as beef pepperoni.

There is also pepperoni made from other meats such as turkey, and this will have a slightly different taste and dietary components.

As mentioned, the primary and most readily available options are a mix of pork and beef or the two used in isolation for pepperoni.

The sausage is usually raw and needs to be cooked (often as a topping for pizza).

Pepperoni loses about 30% of its mass while undergoing the production process, and it has a fat percentage of roughly 30-40%.

What is pepperoni made of?

Typically, as mentioned, it is made from a blend of beef and pork; spices such as paprika and chili pepper and salt are added to help preserve and flavor the meat.

The mixture is usually made from cured meats, and it is characterized as a particularly soft and light smoky meat with a reddish hue.  

There are also other types of pepperoni such as turkey and even that produced from deer meat.

However, venison pepperoni is rather expensive and is considered more of a delicacy than a potential standard pizza topping.

The only problem with this type of pepperoni is that it is not easily available, and usually, you will need to order it online. 

Can You Freeze Pepperoni?

If you happen to have purchased pepperoni in bulk or simply do not intend to use it immediately, there is the option to freeze it to prolong its retention of quality and ward off any inkling to go bad.

However, you do not need to freeze pepperoni; instead, you can simply leave it in the refrigerator. It will keep for an extended time, even if not frozen.

You can store it in its original wrapping or cut it up and keep it in a sealed container before putting it in the fridge or freezer.

If the pepperoni has not yet been opened, you can refrigerate or freeze it almost indefinitely, and certain brands are even good for pantry storage for up to 6 weeks. 

In terms of how long it will remain preserved in the freezer is anywhere between 8 months to a full year.

If the pepperoni is exposed to heat, light, or oxygen, it is more susceptible to spoilage.  

Difference Between Pepperoni And Salami

In short, pepperoni is a type of salami – so all pepperoni (also known as pepperoni sausage) is salami, but not all salami is pepperoni.

Pepperoni is an American (and found elsewhere) variant of spicy salami, and as mentioned, it is made from pork or beef (primarily), which has been cured and seasoned with spices. 

Pepperoni is soft and smoky meat with a bright reddish tint that darkens when cooked, and it is primarily used in thin slices as a topping for pizzas. 

Salami is also often made from pork, but other variations include duck and wild boar.

The meat is ground, and then various spices are added to achieve the desired flavoring.

Salami is typically covered in a fine white casing, which is a benign mold that aids in curing the salami; this is removed before the salami is eaten.

Is Pepperoni Gluten Free?

If you purchase pepperoni, which is made in the traditional sense, you are in luck as it should be gluten-free.

The problem arises, though, with modern techniques of processing this product, gluten is often used to aid as a binding agent.

So you cannot merely assume that all pepperoni is gluten-free; rather, make sure to scan the ingredients for any mention of gluten.

What If You Are On A Vegan Or Vegetarian Diet?

You’re covered here, too; however, it must be noted that almost all plant-based versions of this meat contain gluten.

This is due to their primary ingredients, one of which is wheat gluten.

If gluten is not a concern for you, then you will be surprised by what usually looks and tastes like “real” sausage.

The main reason for this is that the seasoning and spices are the same as the meat-based ones.

Is Pepperoni Healthy?

Pepperoni does not have many ingredients; however, one of the prominent components for most is the high salt content.

If it is the case where you cannot afford to have a high sodium content within your diet, you can find options that have a lower quantity of salt – be sure to ask your local butcher the next time you visit.

Is Pepperoni Halal And Are There Halal Options Available?

Store-bought pepperoni is not Halal. There are different options to select from nowadays, and you are not limited to pork or pepperoni with a mixture of pork in it.

You can purchase beef, turkey, venison, and vegetarian options to accommodate you.

Is Pepperoni Cooked?

Pepperoni is not cooked before purchase, but rather it is cured with salts.

The two primary salts (sodium nitrite and nitrate) are present to add flavor to the meat, but primarily to preserve it and ensure it is safe for consumption.

This sometimes means that you do not necessarily have to cook it to eat it, and storage in the refrigerator is not always required. 


So, to sum up, pepperoni is typically made from pork or at least a combination of pork with beef.

Therefore, if you are vegan, vegetarian, or looking for something halal, we recommend looking at some of the other options available to you.

There are also other ingredients that one should be aware of, such as the high salt content.