Chewy, cheesy pepperoni bread, also known as a pepperoni roll, is easy to make from scratch and is a great snack, main meal, or game-day appetizer.
Served with a side of marinara sauce, this loaf is full of parmesan and mozzarella cheeses, zesty pepperoni, and brushed with garlic butter.
Why You'll Love This Recipe
Crowd pleaser - who doesn't love pepperoni pizza? This fun recipe turns that into the new way to enjoy pizza night or game days. It's great finger food and can sit at room temperature for a full day and will still taste absolutely amazing.
Serve it alongside these spinach feta pinwheels, which also taste great dipped in marinara sauce!
Easy - the pepperoni bread recipe uses a quick and forgiving homemade pizza dough and gets assembled in about five minutes after rising time.
Versatile - this recipe can be made into smaller logs, filled with a variety of meats and cheeses, and covered in different seasonings.
Are Pepperoni Rolls a Pittsburgh Thing?
Pepperoni bread, also known as pepperoni rolls and similarly, pepperoni stromboli, came about as a regional cuisine. Pepperoni rolls are most commonly known to have originated in West Virginia and was a convenience food eaten by the coal miners because it stored so well at room temperature.
The pepperoni bread spread to steel country in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and even upwards to Erie. Eastern WV and Western PA all have their own versions, shapes, and strong opinions on this regional cuisine.
- Yeast. Instant yeast is used in this pizza bread recipe. Active dry yeast can also be used - see the "substitutions" section for details on how to make this swap.
- All-purpose flour.
- Pepperoni. Large sandwich pepperoni slices are best for this recipe. I like to get this at the deli counter - ask them for their zestiest variety for the best flavor!
- Mozzarella cheese. Get a block of mozzarella (the low moisture kind, not a fresh ball) and shred it yourself. Pre-shredded cheese has additives that prevent it from melting nicely.
- Parmesan cheese. A coarse-grated, very sharp parmesan is best
- Melted butter. To brush onto the tops of the loaf. I recommend using salted butter for this job.
- Garlic. Fresh and finely minced.
- Seasonings. Fresh parsley, Italian seasoning, and/or red pepper flakes act as great garnishes.
See recipe card for full ingredients list and quantities.
Substitutions & Variations
While I suggest making this easy recipe as written for the first time, there are a ton of ways you can customize the homemade pepperoni rolls to your liking so that the whole family will enjoy it.
- Yeast - active dry yeast can be used in place of instant yeast, but must be activated first. If using active dry, increase the amount to 2 teaspoons.
- Cheese - another good option would be American, provolone cheese, or cheddar cheese.
- Meats - use turkey pepperoni, sausage, proscuitto, capicola, salami, ground beef, ham, bacon, or any type of meat you enjoy.
- Toppings - use red pepper flakes, everything bagel seasoning, sesame seeds, or Italian seasoning with a touch of garlic powder. It's best to brush the loaf with egg wash if using these options.
- Dough - store-bought bread dough, frozen bread dough, or pre-made pizza dough can also be used. However, making your own pizza dough (as the recipe calls for) will produce the best results.
Hot tip! You can typically buy pizza dough at local pizza shops for a small cost and it will have a delicious flavor.
- Sauces - while I love warm pizza sauce (marinara), other great dippers are garlic butter, ranch dressing, alfredo sauce, or hot sauce.
- Size - cut the dough in half, or in quarters to make smaller versions of the pepperoni bread. Turn them into pizza rolls or logs, which are super kid friendly.
How to Make This Recipe
One: Mix together all dough ingredients in the bowl of a stand mixer with the dough hook attachment and knead until the dough cleans the sides of the bowl.
Two: Transfer the dough to a large bowl (greased with olive oil), cover with plastic wrap, and let it rise in a warm place until doubled in size. Punch it down gently to remove the air.
Hot tip! Before starting assembly, preheat the oven and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Three: On a lightly floured surface, stretch or roll out the dough until it's a large, thin rectangle.
Four: Add the slices of pepperoni, overlapping slightly.
Five: Sprinkle on the parmesan cheese, then the mozzarella cheese in an even layer to fully cover the pepperoni.
Six: Tightly roll the dough from the long side (like cinnamon rolls) and pinch the seal closed.
Seven: Place the dough so it's seam side down, then tuck the edges under so the melted cheese doesn't come out (though some of it will likely make it's way out anyway).
Eight: Transfer the pepperoni bread to the prepared cookie sheet, then cut 4-5 slits into the top to allow steam to escape.
Bake the pepperoni roll for 25-30 minutes, then brush the top of the dough with garlic butter and continue baking for a few more minutes until golden brown.
This makes it taste like a mashup of garlic bread and pepperoni pizza bread! Sprinkle with fresh parsley and a bit of extra parmesan cheese.
How to Serve Pepperoni Cheese Bread
Allow the pepperoni bread to cool for about 10 minutes, then slice it into 1" thick slices using a serrated knife. Serve the pepperoni bread with a side of warm marinara sauce (or your favorite dipping sauce), and share this great appetizer with friends!
- Stretch the dough gently so it doesn't rip, otherwise, you'll end up with cheese oozing out!
- Layer the fillings until they're almost to the edges (leaving about 1cm) so there is room to tuck the edges under.
- Try to roll the pepperoni bread as tightly as possible to limit gaps between the filling and dough.
- Allow the loaf to rest for at least 10 minutes before slicing in after baking.
The best way to reheat the pepperoni loaf is in a 375℉ oven for 5-10 minutes or until the cheese just starts to melt. If the loaf has already been cut, push the pieces against each other to hold the cheese in. A piece of foil placed on the very end piece can also help to hold in the end.
After 24 hours, the bread should be refrigerated. Otherwise, it can sit out for a full day and can be enjoyed at room temperature.
Pepperoni bread is great dipped in marinara sauce and served alongside a chopped salad, soup (like minestrone or italian wedding soup), or even pasta.
Store the baked pepperoni roll at room temperature for one day, then in the fridge for an additional three to four days covered in foil or stored in a sealed container. Enjoy cold or reheat the bread in the oven or microwave.
Can you Freeze Pepperoni Bread?
Yes! The pepperoni roll can be frozen in two ways:
- Prior to baking - fully assemble the roll, freeze it on a sheet pan for 30 minutes, then wrap tightly in plastic wrap and foil and freeze for four months. Thaw in the fridge, then unwrap, cut vents into the top, and bake according to recipe instructions.
- Post baking - cool the loaf completely, then wrap it tightly in plastic wrap and foil and freeze for four months. Unwrap the loaf, thaw at room temperature, then bake at 375℉ for 10 minutes or until the cheese is melted.
More Appetizer Recipes You'll Love
- Stand mixer with dough hook attachment
- Large baking sheet
- Parchment paper optional
- ¾ cup water 110℉/43℃ (6 fl oz)
- 1 teaspoon granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon instant yeast
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 cups all-purpose flour 240g
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- 8 ounces sandwich pepperoni sliced
- 16 ounces mozzarella shredded
- ¼ cup parmesan cheese shredded or ground
- 2 tablespoons salted butter melted (28g)
- 1 clove garlic finely minced
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
- marinara sauce for dipping
- Mix together the water, sugar, yeast, olive oil, 1¾ cups (210g) flour and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook attachment.¾ cup water, 1 teaspoon granulated sugar, 1 teaspoon instant yeast, 1 tablespoon olive oil, 2 cups all-purpose flour, ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- Mix on low until combined, then increase to medium high speed and knead for about 3 minutes.
- Scrape down the sides, then add the remaining ¼ cup (30g) flour and mix on low until incorporated, then on medium speed for another minute until the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl.
- Grease a large mixing bowl and transfer the dough into it, turning the dough once to coat it completely.
- Cover with plastic wrap or a dish towel and set in a warm place to rise until doubled in size (about 1 hour).
- Once the dough has risen, preheat the oven to 375℉/190℃ and add a piece of parchment paper to a large baking sheet.
- Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and use your hands (or floured a rolling pin) to gently push and stretch the dough into a 12x16" rectangle. It will get rather thin, so try to keep it as even as possible across the entire rectangle without ripping it.
- Layer the pepperoni evenly oven the dough (the whole way to the edges), then sprinkle on the parmesan and mozzarella cheese.8 ounces sandwich pepperoni, ¼ cup parmesan cheese, 16 ounces mozzarella
- Starting from one of the long ends, tightly roll up the dough into a log and keep it seam side down. Then, tuck both edges under the log to seal,
- Transfer the pepperoni bread to the baking sheet, and cut 4-5 vents on top to allow steam to escape.
- Bake for 25 minutes in the center rack. Mix together the butter, garlic, and parsley and spread it over top of the pepperoni bread at the 25-minute mark.2 tablespoons salted butter, 1 clove garlic, 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
- Continue baking for another 10 minutes, then remove to a wire rack and cool for 5 minutes. Top with a bit more parmesan and parsley, then slice it into 1" thick slices (a serrated knife works best), and serve with warm marinara sauce.marinara sauce