Pepperoni is the most popular pizza topping across the nation. From college dorms to family pizza nights, pepperoni pizza is America’s favorite pizza. The spicy smokiness of the little red circles combined with melted cheese and a chewy crust is what pizza is all about.
We love pepperoni pizza as much as everybody else, and it is in our regular pizza night rotation, but we realized because it’s one of the best meats for homemade pizza we always use the same pepperoni and decided to learn more about this classic pizza topping and find the best pepperoni to buy online.
What is Pepperoni?
There’s a common misconception that pepperoni is an Italian creation. It makes sense because the word pepperoni comes from the Italian language and is the plural of peperone. But peperone means bell peppers, not the pepperoni we know today.
So it may come as a surprise to learn that pepperoni is not Italian. Instead, it is an Italian-American creation that Italian immigrants made with the available ingredients to resemble salami back in Italy.
Pepperoni is a type of salami made from beef and pork. There is evidence that it first hit the food scene in 1919 and has since become a pizza staple. Just like Hawaiian pizza is not from Hawaii, pepperoni pizza is not Italian.
Types of Pepperoni
There are several types of pepperoni, and they are classified by three factors: what they are made of, the style and preparation, and specialty ingredients.
- Beef and pork
- All pork
- All beef
Pepperoni is usually made from a mix of beef and pork. Some are made with just pork, but any pepperoni made solely from beef must be labeled. For folks that love pepperoni but need to maintain a healthy diet, there is turkey pepperoni.
A new addition to the pepperoni market is made from bison. We have even heard about venison pepperoni, which we couldn’t find commercially, but there are several recipes available online that you can try if you have some venison lying around.
Style and Preparation
- Cup and char
Cubed pepperoni is easy to find in supermarkets, and it is sold prepackaged in cubes. You can throw it on a pizza or in a salad. It’s similar to chopped pancetta. Pepperoni sticks are another popular way to eat pepperoni. But you probably wouldn’t add this to a pizza.
Of course, there is the regular pepperoni that we are all familiar with from our favorite pizzerias, the flat pepperoni. And lastly, the cup and char pepperoni, which curls up when cooked, making a perfect little cup filled with greasy yumminess. This is common in Detroit-style pizza and Chicago-style pizza.
- Low Sodium
New to the market in the last ten or fifteen years is specialty pepperoni. You can find plant-based pepperoni for vegetarian and vegan diets and low sodium pepperoni and gluten-free versions.
Best Pepperoni to Buy Online
We tried all types of pepperoni to find out the best ones for a delicious homemade pepperoni pizza. Not only was our goal to find the best pepperoni but to find the best pepperoni to buy online, so you don’t have to go searching through specialty shops; instead, you can get smoky slices of pepperoni delivered to your door.
1. Battistoni Cup & Char Style Pepperoni
These pepperoni cups are spicy and fatty and curl up perfectly on a pizza pie. We love these pepperoni cups, and they are by far our favorite on our best pepperoni to buy online list.
2. Foustman’s Artisanal Pepperoni, Nitrate-Free, Naturally Cured
If you prefer your pepperoni artisanal, then Foustman’s is for you. You can cut it as thick or thin as you like and enjoy these spicy little gems. Foustman’s makes all kinds of salamis, so if you’re feeling adventurous, you can try the Lamb Garlic, 5 Alarm Habanero, or any of the other specialty salamis. We only tried the pepperoni but plan on trying more in the future.
3. Premium Pork Salami Sausage Jamonprive
They call it pork salami sausage, but it’s actually more true to pepperoni in color and taste. This pepperoni made in Spain has garlic and paprika that gives it an intense flavor. We loved this one too. We cut it thin, and it was the perfect texture on our pizza.
If you’re on a budget but love greasy pepperoni, this is the best pepperoni. Its simple, fatty flavor will satisfy all of your pepperoni pizza needs.
5. CREMINELLI Wild Boar Salami
Have you ever eaten wild boar? We hadn’t; this is our first entry into wild boar, and we love it. Creminella is a small family business that makes artisanal salamis from wild boar to whiskey cured to picante. They are revolutionizing the salami scene.
They have already won several Specialty Foods Awards. The Wild Boar salami is meaty and fatty with the right amount of salt and spice; it was great on pizza. In addition to having a great product, they are nitrate and gluten-free and boast humanely raised animals.
Pepperoni doesn’t have to be gourmet to make our list. We like these Hormel mini pepperonis. They are inexpensive and taste like pepperoni. We like these for pizza bagels or pizza canapes where a large slice of pepperoni is too much; these are perfect.
7. Boar’s Head Turkey Pepperoni
Regular pepperoni has a lot of fat and grease, which is why we love it. But if you are looking for a healthier version of pepperoni, this is a great turkey pepperoni. It’s thinly sliced and lean but still has enough flavor to be called pepperoni.
8. Buffalo Gal Bison Pepperoni
This bison pepperoni comes from Money Creek Bison Ranch in Minnesota. They have bison products like pepperoni, elk products, and even wild boar. This bison pepperoni was really good. To be honest, we weren’t sure what to expect, but it was surprisingly good. And we love supporting small businesses.
This is another good turkey pepperoni to consider if you are trying to eat healthier. It’s lower in fat and has less salt than some of the other turkey pepperonis on the market.
10. Green Slice Veggeroni Organic Plant-Based
This is a decent vegan pepperoni for pepperoni pizza. We tried a couple of other brands and were disappointed, but this one stood out. Honestly, the texture is not like real pepperoni, but it has enough flavor to work. It does come in large slices, so you will want to cut it before adding it to your pizza.
Honorary Mention for Best Pepperoni Online
Pearson Ranch Game Meat Hickory Smoked Summer Sausage
Ok, so we had to add an honorable mention here because these products are unique and yummy. And when you’re looking for the best pepperoni online, we really want to give you options. Technically it’s summer sausage, but you can slice these thin and add them to a pizza for a special taste experience. The pack has three sausages; elk, buffalo, and venison. It even made our list of Best Sausages to Buy Online for Homemade Pizza.
We tried all three on pizza, and our favorite pizza was the venison. The elk and buffalo will make a great addition to a charcuterie board. We love to travel and try new things, and this was a hit for us. Our friends enjoyed it too on our last pizza night. So we had to include it in an honorable mention in our list of best pepperoni to buy online.
What is your favorite type of pepperoni? Have you tried any on our list?