Where Does Pepperoni Come From – History of Pepperoni

Pepperoni is a slightly spiced processed pork product that is universally accepted and loved in the world. It is a mainstay ingredient in many dishes, with the famous pepperoni pizza being at the top of the list. Pizza manufacturers rely on this versatile product to make delicious pepperoni pizza in the US and worldwide. But where does pepperoni come from?

Where does pepperoni come from

The tasty pizza satiates customers worldwide and is not of Italian origin, but it is an American product. It has a unique history which is one of the primary reasons it is a mainstay for many tasty dishes. 

It is a mixture of beef and cured pork with an additional seasoning of paprika and chilli pepper. In America, it is a version of salami. It is soft, a bit smokey, and bright red. 

Where Does pepperoni come From? History

In the early 20th century, a flow of Italian immigrants into the United States combined Southern Europe flavour traditions with local American ingredients. It was first mentioned as a topping in New York City, in 1919, and then it started to be used in several Italian delis and pizzerias across lower Manhattan. 

Pepperoni means big peppers because their earlier versions were full of bell peppers. It’s different from other cured Italian traditional meats in many ways: 

  • It has finer grains, unlike most Italian meats. 
  • Softer than the normal salamis
  • Italian meats have a natural gut casing, while pepperoni has an artificial case.

Pepperoni is from the word bell pepper, and for Americans, it is a kind of salami Picante, a generic term for “spicy salami” in Italy. When the gas pizza oven was commercialized, world war, two veterans, and pizza began to popularize the dish. 

Where Does pepperoni come from? Popularity

In the mid-1980s, the pizza industry was new, and only 30% of Domino’s pizza orders were pepperoni while today, there are over 50%. Ezzo‘s began to produce it from a mix of beef, pork, and fermented spices, then dried up. 

It was pre-sliced and meant to be a pizza topping, and it gained popularity before eventually becoming America’s favourite pizza topping. In 2008, Ollie Wagner designed a pizza emoji that was inspired by the appealing red spots. 

Pepperoni Dishes

With its unique, distinctive, and highly desirable salty, smoky but slightly sweet flavours. It can be added to several dishes, making it so popular in the US in the following delicacies. 

  • Pepperoni rolls: A West Virginian classic, which is distinctly Appalachian type of pepperoni calzone. They are an exciting kind of food enjoyed in the south and mid-Atlantic parts of the United States.
  • Cheese boards: In most cheese boards, it provides a spicy balance to most high-quality cheeses’ creaminess. It is a common addition to several party snacks, like antipasto and skewers.
Pepperoni Pizza
  • Grilled sandwiches: In most delis, it is a part of the hot sandwiches as it is a high-quality ingredient and flavour you can add to paninis, melts, and other heated sandwich offerings across the nation.
  • Pizza: On pizzas, it is used topping for both thin and deep-dish pizzas incorporated in pepperoni. 

Making and Serving Pepperoni

Although it is a mixture of pork and beef, sometimes turkey meat is also used as an alternative. It is reddish colour in colour due to the nitrate curing and heme myoglobin in the flesh. The curing protects it from botulism and any other microbiological decay.

Besides being a pizza topping, it can also be used in cheese snacks in convenience stores. In Nova Scotia, deep-fried pepperoni is a typical dish served in pub food with a honey mustard dip.

There might not be a known reason why it is an American favourite, but the only reason that can explain is its spicy nature and the way it curls, collecting grease. 

After the meat is cured, the casings are tied to form link ropes and then refrigerated to solidify and shape for twelve hours. They are then hung to dry in a smoke chamber to add preservation and smoky goodness.  Once the meat is dry, the links are then packaged individually or sliced then shipped to the nearest grocery store.

Pepperoni Pizza

Pepperoni America’s Favorite

In America, pizza is known to have descended from Naples’ light pizza, and it was topped with cheese, anchovies, and mushrooms. However, after the emergence of American toppings, it became the saucy, spicy, and delicious beast today.

In 1894, the US Government’s Yearbook of Agriculture gave it the first mention, as a dry sausage, although used as a pizza topping. The term pepperoni came into use after the first world war, and it remained in the Italian-American marketplaces.


Where does pepperoni come from? The word is borrowed from bell pepper, an Italian word. It is an American type of salami consisting of beef and pork mixed and spiced with paprika and chillies. It is characterized by its soft, smoky, and bright red use on pizza toppings. 

READ MORE: How to Make Fluffy Pancakes from a Box

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