6 of the Best Pepperonis for Pizza Toppings

It is hard to talk about pizza without mentioning pepperoni. But have you ever wondered about the best pepperoni for pizza? Sometimes, the texture, appearance, taste, and flavor of pepperoni pizza are distractive enough to make you overlook the pepperoni on your pizza altogether.

Being a pizza lover calls for you to know the ingredients for pizza. For this reason, let us explore more about pepperonis.

Pepperoni pizza
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What is Pepperoni Pizza?

Pepperoni pizza or pepperoni pizza refers to one of the most popular American pizza varieties. Unfortunately, the Americans corrupted the Italian name pepperoni to develop pepperoni. The Italian name means a large pepper. However, its American version refers to a spicy salami made of pork, beef, and spices.

The popularity of this pizza began in the 1950s. Currently, almost all pizza lovers know about it. Also, there are other versions of the pizza, including port-pepperoni pizza and fish-pepperoni pizza.

Even though the recipe of this pizza varies among the American states, it remains a staple across the US. Common pepperoni pizza ingredients are tomato sauce, mozzarella, and pepperoni. 

To understand more about this pizza, let us first discuss pepperoni. Remember, you can use several kinds of toppings for your pizza. Sometimes, what you use as the toppings gives pizza its name.

What is Pepperoni?

Pepperoni is a sausage. Its popularity comes from the taste and texture it gives to pizza. The two aspects are almost addictive to pizza pepperoni lovers.

Regarding the taste, the sausage is slightly spicy. It also has a faded cheese, dough, and pizza sauce flavor. On the other end, the texture of the link is somewhat chewy. Such a texture complements the crispy crust well.

Toasting the pepperoni sausage makes it crispy. You can also opt to cook it further to make it crispy. Also, you can try the wide range of flavors of the sausage.

Pizzas with pepperoni have an iconic look. The sausage gives a pizza a red color with golden-brown crust edges. So, the sausage has a way of changing the appearance of pizzas.

The market is full of several varieties of pepperoni. You can opt to buy a handful of the types and freeze them. The move will give you a chance to taste most of them, especially when baking homemade pizza. That is why we came up with 6 of the best pepperonis for pizza toppings to aid your shopping.

Children Eating Pepperoni Pizza

Types of Pepperoni for Pizzas

Pepperoni has evolved into different types since its creation in the 20th-century. The differentiating factors range from specialty cuts to unique ingredients. So, what are the different kinds of pepperoni found in the market?

Meat Category


Beef pepperoni is self-defined. It contains 100% beef. Some people, especially Muslims and Jews, call it Halal pepperoni. The communities do not consume pork. So, their members sometimes use beef pepperoni to make their traditional meals.


Most pepperoni in the US market comes from a mixture of pork and beef. The combination makes pepperoni stand out from salami, a pure pork sausage. So, sometimes it is hard to find pure pork pepperoni.


US law does not allow the sale of a combination of turkey with other types of meat. Therefore, there is no pork-turkey or beef-turkey pepperoni. However, pure turkey pepperoni tastes equally good. Also, it cuts down on calories and fats.


People that prefer deer meat will often fall for venison pepperoni. However, you will find getting it a daunting task. So, be prepared to hop from one meat point to another. If you are lucky to get it, try several online recipes for preparing it.

Style or Cut Category

Diced (Cubed) 

Cubed or diced pepperoni is the latest addition to the US grocery store shelves. It comes in 0.25 inch (0.64 centimeters) cubes that are easy to use on pizza, salads, and egg breakfast.

Cup Char

Cup char pepperoni curls after heating. Most pizza lovers adore this variety of toppings. Its popularity comes from holding all creamy additions on the pizza.

Lay Flat

Lay flat is the original shape of pepperoni that most people know and love. However, it does not hold the greasy additions well on the pizza. So, the fat renders out from the pizza top, but it does not alter its deliciousness.


You can buy sticks of pepperoni and cut them into slices. You can also have it already cut in snack-stick size. The earlier sticks measure 18 x 2 inches (45.72 x 5.08 centimeters) (length x diameter). You have to slice it into your liking to add a personal touch. The second type is shorter and thinner. Also, they are ready for picking and munching.

Specialty Ingredients Category


Some pepperoni has biding agents containing gluten. If you have a dietary issue, opt for the gluten-free type. Even though there are no tests that ascertain the absence of gluten, some manufacturers put on a label indicating their pepperoni is gluten-free.


You can find some pepperoni with sodium levels below 50% of what others contain. Most pepperoni types have 0.02 ounces (0.57 grams) of sodium per serving. 

Plant-Based Category

Vegetarians and vegans also have their share of pepperoni. The common ingredients for this sausage are legumes, soy protein, wheat gluten, and vegetables. When ground, the ingredients make a meat-like blend with a circular shape similar to meat pepperoni.

Other Categories


Kosher pepperoni employs particular guidelines during its production. However, its main ingredient is beef. In addition, it is a rare sausage. So, most people prefer using its plant-based alternative.

Old World Pepperoni vs. Regular Pepperoni

The pepperoni world has two versions of the delicacy: traditional or old world and the American style or regular pepperoni.

American Style or Regular Version

The process of making the American-style version requires you to put the pepperoni content in an artificial casing. You have to distribute the content evenly and make it compact. The process results in straight uniform pepperoni sticks with constant thickness. This pepperoni is orange in color, and it is easy to slice. Also, it has a mild flavor. 

Traditional or Old World Version

This version of pepperoni uses a natural casing instead of an artificial casing that the American-style version uses. It is also similar to Italian sausages. Its color is dark to bright red. People that love spicy pizza find the traditional pepperoni delicious.

It is difficult to make even slices of the traditional pepperoni. It curls when you cut it. Its nature also explains why it also curls when cooked. The top part cooks faster than the under part because of its thickness. Also, the natural casing shrinks during the cooking process making the sausage curl.

Our Top Pick

Battistoni Cup & Char Spicy Pepperoni: Best for Spice and Nitrate-Free Pepperoni Lovers (Amazon’s Choice Award in Packaged Pepperoni by Battistoni) (Our Rating: 4.6/5 Stars)

We chose Battistoni Cup & Char pepperoni as our top pick because of their curling nature. It can hold your creamy additions in place on top of your pizza. Also, the product is gluten-free, and it comes in three flavors. Lastly, it is moderately spicy with no artificial colors and flavors.

Best Pepperoni for Pizza at a Glance

  1. Battistoni Cup & Char Spicy Pepperoni (Best for spice and nitrate-free pepperoni lovers). Our rating: 4.6/5 stars.
  2. Vermont Smoke & Cure Smoked Pepperoni (Best for vegetarian-fed pork, sodium- and gluten-free pepperoni lovers). Our rating: 4.4/5 stars.
  3. Fortuna’s 2 Stick Pack Hand Made Italian Pepperoni Sticks (Best for lovers of hand-made, smoked, and nitrate-free pepperoni). Our rating: 3.8/5 stars.
  4. Foustman’s Artisanal Pepperoni (Best for lovers of the old-world style uncured salami pepperoni) Our rating: 4.1/5 stars.
  5. Gusto, Pepperoni Sliced (Best for vegetarian-fed pork and uncured pepperoni lovers). Our rating: 4.4/5 stars.
  6. Bridgford Sliced Turkey Pepperoni (Best for turkey, low-fat, and gluten-free pepperoni). Our rating: 4.1/5 stars.

What is the Best Rated Pepperoni for Pizza?

Battistoni Cup & Char Spicy Pepperoni: Best for Spice and Nitrate-Free Pepperoni Lovers (Amazon Choice Award in Packaged Pepperoni by Battistoni) (Our Rating: 4.6/5 Stars)

Do you have a knack for eating spicy pepperoni? You will find Battistoni Cup and Char to your liking. This pork and beef pizza topping curls up on your pizza to hold your greasy additions in place. It has a bold flavor, yet not too spicy. It is also gluten-free.

  • Weight: 5 ounces (141.74 grams)
  • Brand:  Battistoni
  • Ingredients: Pork and beef
  • Strengths: Gluten-free, curls when cooked, spicy, pre-sliced, no artificial flavor or color
  • Weaknesses: Unfit for vegetarians and halal lovers
  • Sliced or whole: Sliced
  • Flavor: Spicy, pepperoni, bacon
  • Allergen information: Gluten-free
  • Size: 5 x 5 x 2 inches (12.7 x 12.7 x 5.08 centimeters)

Vermont Smoke & Cure Smoked Pepperoni: Best for Vegetarian-fed Pork, Sodium- and Gluten-Free Pepperoni Lovers (Our Rating: 4.4/5 Stars)

The main ingredient of this pepperoni is uncured vegetarian-fed pork. The pork is also from animals raised without added hormones and antibiotics. Vermont pepperoni maker smokes pork with maple wood and natural Cobb to make it special. This product is also gluten- and sodium nitrate-free.

  • Weight: 5.6 ounces (158.76 grams)
  • Brand: Vermont Smoke and Cure
  • Ingredients: vegetarian-fed pork
  • Strengths: vegetarian-fed pork, gluten-free, sodium nitrate-free, smoked, spiced
  • Weaknesses: Unfit for vegetarians and halal lovers
  • Sliced or whole: Sliced
  • Flavor: Uncured smoked pepperoni
  • Protein content: 0.32 and 0.24 ounces (8 and 6 grams)
  • Allergen information: Gluten- and sodium nitrate-free
  • Size: 5 x 5 x 1.8 inches (12.7 x 12.7 x 4.6 centimeters)

Fortuna’s 2 Stick Pack Hand Made Italian Pepperoni Sticks: Best for Lovers of Hand-Made, Smoked, and Nitrate-Free Pepperoni (Our Rating: 3.8/5 Stars)

Lovers of naturally smoked pepperoni will find Fortuna hand-made pepperoni tasty. This product is dry-cured, smoked, and nitrate-free. It comes from a blend of extra-lean pork. There is no need to cook this product because it is ready-made. You can eat it on the go.

  • Weight: 10 ounces (283.5 grams)
  • Brand: Fortuna’s
  • Ingredients: Lean pork (salami meat)
  • Strengths: Dry-cured, naturally smoked, ready-to-eat, nitrate-free
  • Weaknesses: Unfit for vegetarians and halal lovers
  • Sliced or whole: Whole
  • Flavor: Natural
  • Allergen information: Nitrate-free and gluten-free
  • Size: 8 x 2 x 0.5 inches (20.32 x 5.08 x 1.27 centimeters)

Foustman’s Artisanal Pepperoni: Best for Lovers of the Old-World Style Uncured Salami Pepperoni (Amazon’s Choice Award in Packaged Salami by Foustman’s) (Our Rating: 4.1/5 Stars)

Foustman pepperoni maker boasts of high experience in making artisanal uncured salami. The maker applied their expertise when making this old-world-style, naturally dry-cured, and all-natural pepperoni. These sticks feature a blend of turkey, lamb, beef, and pork styles. It is a product for those who like on-the-go pepperoni.

  • Weight: 8 ounces (226.8 grams)
  • Brand: Foustman’s
  • Ingredients: Pork
  • Strengths: Old-world-style, naturally dry-cured, ready-made, all-natural
  • Weaknesses: Unfit for vegetarians and halal lovers
  • Sliced or whole: Whole
  • Flavor: Turkey, lamb, beef, and pork
  • Allergen information: Artificial ingredients-free
  • Size: 8.1 x 1.6 x 0.9 inches (20.57 x 4.06 x 2.29 centimeters)

Gusto, Pepperoni Sliced: Best for Vegetarian-fed Pork and Uncured Pepperoni lovers (Our Rating: 4.4/5 Stars)

Gusto features high-quality ingredients. Its vegetarian-fed pork ingredient comes from animals raised without added hormones and antibiotics. The product is also nitrates- and nitrites-free. It also does not have gluten and dairy products.

  • Weight: 4 ounces (113.4 grams)
  • Brand: Gusto
  • Ingredients: Pork, sea salt, natural flavoring, turbinado sugar, wine, garlic acid culture, sweet paprika
  • Strengths: vegetarian-fed pork, no added hormones, and antibiotics
  • Weaknesses: Unfit for vegetarians and halal lovers
  • Sliced or whole: Whole
  • Flavor: Natural
  • Allergen information: Nitrates- and nitrites-free, gluten-free, and milk-free
  • Size: 8.05 x 5.4 x 0.9 inches (20.45 x 13.72 x 2.29 centimeters)

Bridgford Sliced Turkey Pepperoni: Best for Turkey, Low-Fat, and Gluten-Free Pepperoni (Our Rating: 4.1/5 Stars)

How about eating pepperoni with 70% less fat than its likes? That is what you get from Bridgford Turkey pepperoni. It is a high-quality alternative to the usual beef-pork versions. Also, it has undergone a natural aging and fermentation process to give it an exquisite flavor. You will find this gluten-free pepperoni a match to your liking.

  • Weight: 4 ounces (113.4 grams)
  • Brand: Bridgford
  • Ingredients: Dark turkey, salt, dextrose, water, natural flavors, paprika extracts, garlic powder, natural smoke flavor, lactic acid culture, sodium nitrite, BHA, citric acid, and BHT
  • Strengths: 70% Less fat, naturally aged and fermented, exquisite flavor, halal
  • Weaknesses: Unfit for vegetarians 
  • Sliced or whole: Sliced
  • Flavor: Natural
  • Allergen information: Gluten-free
  • Size: 7.3 x 4.1 x 3 inches (18.54 x 10.41 x 7.62 centimeters)

Your Pepperoni Shopping Guide

When shopping for the best pepperoni for pizza, you should consider a few factors. The move will ensure that you will not settle for less. So, consider the following:

Cup or Flat

Pepperoni makes your pizza presentable. You have two options when selecting this topping: cup or flat. If you opt for the cup style, you will have toppings that can collect liquid additions that you put on your pizza. A medium-thick cup style is usually perfect for holding your creamy dressings on your pizza. On the other hand, flat style acts as a cheese-sheen on your pizza.


The thickness of pepperoni determines the appearance of its slices. Thin slices result in a crunchy texture, while thicker slices offer a mouthful experience. In addition, it allows you to taste pepperoni as meat.

Amount of Fat

If fat-conscious, apply caution when selecting the best pepperoni for your pizza. Admissibly, fat makes pepperoni tasty. However, too much fat is detrimental to your health.

FAQs on Pepperoni

Q: What ingredients are in Pepperoni?

A: The pepperoni ingredients include beef, pork, turkey, spices, and flavorings. Sodium nitrate and salts are for curing it to prevent unwanted organisms.

Q: Do Pepperoni come spiced up?

A: Pepperoni is spicy. That is what makes it different from regular meat. Some of the spices that pepperoni makers use are black pepper, fennel seeds, and mustard seeds.

Q: Can Pepperoni be refrigerated?

A: After opening a pack of pepperoni, freeze it for future use. Drying is not a recommended preservation process.

Q: Should Pepperoni be cooked before putting it on pizza?

A: You can eat cured and aged pepperoni without cooking it. The two processes remove harmful bacteria from the pepperoni. Also, thin slices of pepperoni cook as you cook your pizza. So, no need to precook it.

Slice of pepperoni pizza

Our Final Verdict for the Best Pepperoni for Pizza

If you are looking for the best pepperoni for your pizza, buy Battistoni Cup & Char Spicy Pepperoni. It is best for spice and nitrate-free pepperoni lovers. Also, its curling nature makes it hold the greasy additions that you put on your pizza. So, we rate 4.6 out of 5 Stars.

Now that you know much about pepperoni, it is time to step out and make a wise selection of this pizza topping for the best results. You can also try several varieties to identify the best pepperoni pizza.