The Ultimate Guide to the Best Pepperoni for Pizza: Top Brands of 2024

Best Pepperoni for Pizza: A Comprehensive Guide

Pepperoni pizza is undoubtedly one of the most popular and iconic types of pizza. While you can easily order a pepperoni pizza from your local pizzeria, creating a delicious homemade version requires high-quality ingredients, especially when it comes to the star of the show: the pepperoni. In this article, we explore the key factors to consider when choosing the best pepperoni for pizza and provide a curated list of top pepperoni brands that are sure to elevate your homemade pizza experience.

Understanding Pepperoni

Before we delve into the specifics of choosing the best pepperoni for pizza, it is important to understand what pepperoni actually is. Pepperoni is an American variety of spicy sausage, similar to salami. It is typically made from a combination of cured pork and beef, seasoned with paprika and sometimes other chili peppers. The resulting sausage is reddish in color, with a soft and smoky texture. Pepperoni is most commonly enjoyed when thinly sliced and used as a pizza topping. Because of its cured nature, pepperoni has a longer shelf life than fresh meats and sausages.

Factors to consider when choosing pepperoni for pizza

There are several factors to consider when choosing pepperoni for your pizza. These factors can greatly affect the flavor, texture and overall enjoyment of your pizza. Here are the most important considerations to keep in mind:

1. Pepperoni thickness

The thickness of your pepperoni slices is a matter of personal preference and can make or break your pizza. Thin slices of pepperoni crisp up beautifully when exposed to heat, adding a delicious crunch to every bite. On the other hand, thicker slices of pepperoni result in a more chewy texture. To strike a balance between crunch and chewiness, choose slices that are neither too thin nor too thick. Alternatively, if you buy whole pepperoni sticks, you can slice them to your desired thickness, with a mix of thin and thick slices for a variety of textures.

2. Pepperoni Ingredients

The quality of the ingredients used to make pepperoni plays a crucial role in determining its taste and texture. Look for pepperoni made with high-quality meats and carefully selected seasonings to ensure optimal flavor. Also consider any dietary restrictions you may have. If you need to avoid pork, there are pepperoni options made exclusively from beef or turkey. And for those on low-sodium or gluten-free diets, there are special pepperoni varieties to meet those needs.

3. Flat or cupped pepperoni

Another important consideration is whether you prefer your pepperoni to stay flat or form little cups when cooked on the pizza. When pepperoni stays flat, its natural oils are distributed over the surface of the pizza, enhancing the overall flavor. Conversely, cupped pepperoni retains its oils, resulting in a more intense pepperoni flavor in every bite. The tendency of pepperoni to cup or remain flat is often influenced by its thickness. Medium-thick slices tend to cup well, while thicker slices tend to stay flat.

4. Fat content

The fat content of pepperoni plays a significant role in its overall flavor and texture. Too little fat can cause the pepperoni to dry out during cooking, resulting in a lack of flavor. On the other hand, too much fat can lead to an excessive amount of oil on the pizza, which can be undesirable. Look for pepperoni with a moderate fat content of about 40%, as this provides a balance of flavor, texture and oil release without drying out too quickly.

5. Spice Level

Pepperoni is available in different spice levels depending on the brand and variety. Your choice of seasoning level depends on your personal preference and whether you will be sharing the pizza with others. Opt for milder versions if you plan to share the pizza, while you can choose a spicier pepperoni if you are the only consumer. This allows you to tailor the spice level to your and your guests’ taste preferences.

6. Quantity

Consider the amount of pepperoni you will need based on your pizza consumption habits. If you enjoy pepperoni pizza frequently, buying in bulk may be a cost-effective option. However, if you only make pizza occasionally, it is best to buy smaller quantities to avoid the risk of waste.

Top Pepperoni Brands for Pizza

To help you find the best pepperoni for your homemade pizza, we have compiled a list of top pepperoni brands that offer exceptional flavor and quality. Here are our recommendations:

  1. Foustman’s Artisanal Pepperoni:
    • Family recipe with all natural ingredients
    • Available in whole sticks for slicing
    • Offers a chewy, tangy and perfectly seasoned taste
  2. Bridgeford Old World Pepperoni:
    • Made from premium cuts of pork and beef
    • Handcrafted and slow-aged for superior flavor
    • Features a slightly smoky and robust flavor
  3. Margherita Pepperoni:
    • Authentic Italian Pepperoni
    • Made with the finest cuts of pork and beef
    • Delivers a rich, traditional pepperoni flavor
  4. Hormel Natural Choice Pepperoni:
    • Made without artificial preservatives or nitrites
    • Gluten-free and minimally processed
    • Offers a mild and savory taste
  5. Applegate Naturals Pepperoni:
    • Produced from humanely raised, antibiotic-free animals
    • No added nitrates or nitrites
    • Offers a balanced and flavorful profile
  6. 32000

  7. Handmade in small batches
  8. Made with traditional Italian techniques
  9. Delivers a bold and spicy flavor
  10. Ezzo Pepperoni:
    • Known for its classic and authentic taste
    • Made with premium pork and beef
    • Offers a slightly spicy and smoky flavor
  11. Volpi Foods Pepperoni:
    • Made with high quality ingredients and traditional curing methods
    • Slow-aged for a distinctive flavor
    • Delivers a rich and robust flavor profile
  12. Boar’s Head Pepperoni:
    • Expertly seasoned with a blend of spices
    • Made with premium cuts of pork and beef
    • Offers a spicy and bold flavor
  13. Vermont Smoke & Cure Pepperoni:
    • Handcrafted with local meats
    • Free of antibiotics and added hormones
    • Has a smoky and balanced flavor

Remember, the best pepperoni for your pizza ultimately depends on your personal preferences and dietary needs. Experiment with different brands and varieties to find the perfect pepperoni to complement your homemade pizza creations.


Choosing the best pepperoni for your homemade pizza is a crucial step in creating a truly memorable and flavorful dining experience. Consider factors such as thickness, ingredients, cupping, fat content, seasoning level, and quantity when selecting your pepperoni. By understanding these key factors and researching reputable brands, you can up your pizza game and enjoy a delicious pepperoni pizza in the comfort of your own home. Happy pizza making!


Why is pepperoni the best choice for pizza?

Pepperoni’s bold and savory flavor, along with its ability to crisp up when cooked, makes it a popular choice for pizza toppings. Its heat and smoky notes complement the other ingredients and add a delicious kick to every bite.

Can I use pepperoni if I have dietary restrictions?

Yes, there are pepperoni options available to accommodate various dietary restrictions. You can find beef or turkey pepperoni if you need to avoid pork. There are also low-sodium and gluten-free varieties for those with special dietary needs.

What should I consider when choosing the thickness of pepperoni slices?

The thickness of the pepperoni slices affects the texture of your pizza. Thin slices become crispy when cooked, while thicker slices provide a chewier texture. It all comes down to your personal preference. Alternatively, you can mix thin and thick slices for a variety of textures.

Do all pepperoni slices cook up on a pizza?

No, not all pepperoni slices will cup when cooked. The tendency to cup or stay flat is often influenced by the thickness of the pepperoni. Medium-thick slices tend to cup well, while thicker slices tend to stay flat.

How do I balance the amount of pepperoni on my pizza?

The heat level of pepperoni varies from brand to brand. If you plan to share the pizza, choose milder varieties. However, if you prefer a spicier kick, choose a pepperoni with a higher heat level. This way, you can adjust the heat level to suit your taste preferences and those of your guests.

Can I buy bulk pepperoni?

Yes, if you enjoy pepperoni pizza frequently, buying in bulk can be a cost-effective option. However, if you make pizza occasionally, it is best to buy smaller quantities to avoid waste and ensure freshness.