Food ingredients

What is Old World Pepperoni [Interesting Facts]

I haven’t met anyone who doesn’t like pizza (yet), which is probably why it is ranked one of the best appetizers. There are so many options available, and old-world pepperoni pizza has recently become the go-to option for many.

Old world pepperoni is an irresistible pizza topping. It tastes as amazing as it looks. If you’ve never tasted it and are wondering what it is, this article is for you.

We will discuss everything you need to know about this wonderful ingredient. Let’s dive in.

What is it?


Old world pepperoni is a salami made from pork and cured beef.

It is usually bright red in color as it is seasoned with paprika and chili. The paprika gives old world pepperoni a classic smoky flavor.

When cooked, it curls up.

This characteristic sets it apart from regular pepperoni. When the pepperoni curls up, the edges cook up quicker and turn crispy.

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How old world pepperoni is made


Manufacturers make it by mixing ground pork, ground beef, salt, spices, and sodium nitrate.

Additionally, they inject the meat with lactic acid bacteria. The bacteria lower the PH levels and preserve the pepperoni.

Once the meat is ready, they stuff it into collagen or natural casings and cook at low temperatures.  After that, they dry the pepperoni for approximately 20 days.

A brief history of pepperoni


Pepperoni emerged in the United States in the early 1900s when Italian migrants began opening pizzerias and butchers. So Italian migrants may be the ones that introduced this amazing topping to Americans.

Initially, pepperoni was only used as toppings for pizza in Italian delis. However, with time, manufacturers made subtle changes to the meat to make it more appealing.

This resulted in American-style pepperoni, which has artificial casing and finer ground meat.

Difference between old world pepperoni and regular pepperoni


Compared to regular pepperoni, this is much thinner with a tough texture. Additionally, it is brighter in color.  You will notice that it is harder to slice through.

Regular pepperoni also doesn’t curl up when cooked, and neither do the edges turn crispy. So if you like your pepperoni a little bit crispy, you should buy old world pepperoni.

Another difference is that it is spicier compared to regular American-style pepperoni. It is also smaller in size.

Despite these differences, the two have several similarities.

Where to buy old world pepperoni


Here are a few places you can find it

  • Pizzerias

Before buying a whole sausage, you should consider buying pizza topped with this.

Most pizzerias have old world pepperoni pizza on their menu. If you like it as a topping, you can proceed to buy the whole sausage.

  • Specialty stores, butchers, and delis

You can buy old world pepperoni at specialty stores, butchers, and delis.

Most retailers stock it, but if you don’t get it in stock, you could request the store manager to get it for you.

  • Online

You could buy old world pepperoni online. I have come across several credible vendors who stock it. This is an ideal option if you live outside New York.

Choosing the best old world pepperoni


To be safe, choose one that is deep red in color. It is a little difficult to predict how your old world pepperoni will turn out when cooked, but the deep red one almost always tastes amazing.

How to store

If you buy it in bulk, you should freeze them for them to last longer.

All you need to do is chop the pepperoni into slices, place the slices in different bags, and then place the bags in a freezer bag, seal and then place the freezer bag in your freezer. Quite simple, right?

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Old world pepperoni uses


Most people think that they can only use pepperoni on pizza. However, this is not the case. You can use it in several recipes.

Here is how you can use old world pepperoni.

  • Serve it with accompaniments.

If you want to enjoy the rich, spicy, bacon-like flavor, serve it with accompaniments.

For example, try serving it with toasted bread, cheese, and macaroni. You can also add it to your potato salads and sandwiches.

  • Make a snack.

The next time you want to make a midnight snack, top your tortilla chips with old world pepperoni, sweet peppers, cherry tomatoes, oregano, black olives, mozzarella cheese, and onions to make nachos. You’ll love it.

  • On cheeseboards.

Another way you can enjoy sliced pepperoni is by serving them alongside crackers, cheeses, fruits, and baguette on your cheeseboard.

The flavor complements that of creamy cheese.

  • Serve with potato skins

Potato skins always taste amazing when topped with bacon. Try using pepperoni instead of bacon. You’ll never go back. The pepperoni perfectly complements potato skins.

Why old world pepperoni curls when cooked


One unique feature about it is that it’s edged curl up when cooked.  When the edges curl up, they form a small lip. The lips cook faster than the base and usually have a crunchy bacon-like flavor.

So why exactly does it curl up when cooked? Two factors contribute to the curling;

  • Old world pepperoni casing

The natural casing is made from sheep gut which shrinks when exposed to heat. This explains why it curls when cooked.

  • Thickness

First, it is quite thick. Therefore, the bottom part of the pepperoni heats up slowly compared to the top part.

Thus, the top part shrinks at a faster rate and pulls the edges upward. As a result, the sides of the pepperoni cook quicker and become crispy.

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Is pepperoni the same as salami?

Pepperoni and salami have several similarities, but they are not the same. Both of them contain pork and beef. Additionally, they have the same appearance.

Compared to salamis, pepperoni is way spicier. Additionally, it is primarily used as pizza toppings.

Note that the term salami refers to a variety of sausage sticks. Although salami is occasionally used as pizza toppings, its widespread use is in antipasto platters and sandwiches.


My favorite old world pepperoni recipe

If you want to make your pizza at home, I recommend using this recipe. My pizza always turns out amazing.

The pizza has a rich flavor that you will fall in love with.

You will need:

•             4 cups all-purpose flour

•             2 teaspoons dried yeast

•             ¼ cup olive oil

•             ½ teaspoon salt

•             ½ teaspoon sugar

•             1 ½ cups warm water

•             ½ cup pasta sauce

•             ½ cup red pepper

•             ¼ cup grated parmesan cheese

•             ½ cup old world pepperoni



  1. In a bowl, place the two teaspoons of dried yeast, add the warm water, and let the mixture sit for 5 minutes.
  2. 2.Add flour, sugar, salt, and oil to the mixture.
  3. Massage the mixture until it forms a dough, and then cover the dough with a damp cloth. Let the dough sit in a cool place for 30 minutes.
  4. Knead the dough once more as you preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  5. Grease your pan
  6. Use a rolling pin to roll the dough to a flat pizza shape and place it on the pan.
  7. Spread your pizza sauce over the base.
  8. Add the Parmesan cheese and any other toppings you like.
  9. Add the old world pepperoni slices.
  10. Place the pizza in the oven and remove it when the base turns golden brown and the cheese melts. Enjoy!

Fast facts about old world pepperoni and pizza

  1. The origin of old world pepperoni can be traced back to the United States. However, there is a debate between Americans and Italians on who invented pepperoni.
  2. Americans eat approximately 251.7 million pounds of pepperoni.
  3. 3.Most Americans prefer having pepperoni as a pizza topping.
  4. 4.Old world pepperoni is reportedly a descendant of Italian salami.
  5. 5.Old world pepperoni s made from both beef and pork. However, some manufacturers make pepperoni from 100% beef to cater to those who don’t eat pork or don’t like pork. Likewise, some manufacturers make the pepperoni from 100% pork.
  6. 6.Pork pepperoni is juicier than beef pepperoni due to higher fat levels. Most people prefer it to beef pepperoni.



This is a versatile ingredient that you should consider stocking up on.

You can use it to make tasty pizza when you have guests over or satisfy your pizza cravings. Alternatively, serve it with the accompaniments we discussed above.

Whichever way you decide to use old world pepperoni, you are bound to enjoy it. The crispiness combined with the vibrant spicy flavor will make you fall in love with it. I love old world pepperoni on my pizza, potato salads, and sandwiches.

If you have never tried old world pepperoni, you are missing out. Try it today and let me know how you like it.

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