What Is Old World Pepperoni?

What Is Old World Pepperoni?

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Old world style pepperoni

Do you love pepperoni on your pizza? If so, you’ll want to learn about Old World pepperoni. This type of pepperoni is made with a different recipe and can take your pepperoni pizza to the next level.

But what is old world pepperoni and what makes it different?

Old world pepperoni is a higher quality type of pepperoni than your everyday pepperoni. Its made using spicy paprika, garlic, and other traditional spices. This combination of spices gives old world pepperoni a more complex flavor than the typical pepperoni you find at the store. When cooked the pepperoni will curl or often known as “cups”. This not only looks great but helps to add to the flavor as it keeps in the pepperoni juices.

Old world pepperoni is becoming more and more popular as people learn about it. It’s not just about the different spice seasoning or the shape. It can really level up your pepperoni pizza.

Read more below to learn more about old world pepperoni, its differences and why its so much better.

What Is Pepperoni?

Im sure you know what pepperoni is, but there are some interesting things I learnt about it whilst doing some research. For example, did you know that pepperoni is not common in Italy?

So before we go into what old world pepperoni is, let’s discuss normal pepperoni first.

Pepperoni is a type of sausage that is made with pork and beef. It is seasoned with a variety of spices and then dried. Some places might use chicken in their pepperoni as well, but this is quite rare.

The spices in pepperoni can vary depending on where it is made. However, there are some common spices that are used such as:

– Paprika

– Garlic powder

– Fennel seeds

– Crushed red pepper flakes

– Black pepper

Even though its a type of sausage, like chorizo it is normally eaten in thin slices that are placed onto the pizza.

Interestingly pepperoni is not very common in Italy. It is a more recent invention that was created in the US. So if you order a pepperoni pizza in Italy, don’t be surprised if they give you a bizarre look or a pizza that your not expecting.

You see, in Italy they have Peperoni, which is a bell pepper. There is also peperoncino, which is a hot pepper.

Pepperoni does have some spice to it, so its possibly that this is where Italian-Americans got the inspiration for its name.

One thing to note is that pepperoni is often mass produced and unlike old world pepperoni, they casing is artificial. – This is why it doesn’t curl when cooked.

What’s The Difference Between Pepperoni & Old World Pepperoni?

Pepperoni Pizza Recipe

It can be hard to tell the difference between pepperoni and old world pepperoni. This is because they tend to look very much the same.

The biggest difference is what ingredients are used, as well as it being prepared a little different.

Pepperoni usually has a bit of a spicy kick to it, however old world pepperoni is usually a bit spicier.

Old World Pepperoni also uses a natural casing, this is what gives it the curl when being cooked.

Its also not massed produced like normal pepperoni. Many believe that old world pepperoni has a bolder flavor due to the extra seasoning and a much nicer texture.

Like all pepperoni, its made in America. Its made using traditional methods for example it is fermented for longer, the meat is dried and prepared much like a sausage.

Its because it uses this traditional method that its given the name “old world pepperoni”

In summary, the biggest difference between old world pepperoni and normal pepperoni is the quality. Old world is high quality, where as normal is low quality.

If im making a nice homemade pizza on my pizza oven, im going to want to go for a high quality old world pepperoni.

It just takes the pepperoni pizza to the next level.

What Makes Old World Pepperoni Curl?

One of my favourite things about Old World Pepperoni is the curl. It looks great but it also gives you a nice little pocket of pepperoni juices.

But what makes the pepperoni curl?

Old World Pepperoni uses natural casing, more often than not this is from sheep. Natural casing curls and gives you that bowl shape because it reacts quicker to the heat.

Lower quality pepperoni uses man made casing, which can withstand higher temperatures.

Another reason why you get the curl is because old world pepperoni is usually thicker. When cooked in high temperatures, the edges curl in as the top and bottom of the pepperoni have a difference in temperature.

How Is Old World Pepperoni Made

Typically Old World Pepperoni is made from pork, beef or a combination of the two. This meat is ground and is then mixed with paprika, fennel, mustard seeds and chilli peppers. The seasoning mix is what gives the pepperoni its well-known taste. It’s then fermented and cased in beef, pork or sheep intestines, very much like a sausage. In order to get the flavour and texture needed, its then dried and cured for at least 6 weeks.

Unlike regular pepperoni which does use similar seasoning but is made in mass and uses manufactured casing out of collagen.

What Does Old World Pepperoni Taste Like?

If you like pepperoni, then you’ll love old world pepperoni.

Even though they use similar spice mixes, they do taste a little different to each other.

One of the big reasons why it tastes better is the casing. Old World Pepperoni uses natural casings, which helps give it more depth of flavour and a much better texture.

Its fermented differently and this fermentation does mean that old world pepperoni takes longer when curing. This is a good thing…

The longer the curing process, the more flavour it can develop. It becomes richer in taste and that also explains why its much darker than normal pepperoni.

Old World Pepperoni Pizza Recipe

Generally you’d follow the same pepperoni pizza recipe, regardless on the type of pepperoni you use. The main ingredient in the below recipe is the old world pepperoni.

You should be able to find some at your local deli. If not, you can always get it online by clicking here.


Old World Pepperoni?

Pepperoni Pizza Made on the Ooni Fyra Wood fired Pizza Oven

Pepperoni pizza recipe using old world pepperoni to give it that improved flavor. Additional spicy honey to compliment the pepperoni and to give it a little extra heat.

  • Author: Martyn
  • Prep Time: 5 mins
  • Cook Time: 15
  • Total Time: 20
  • Yield: 1 1x


  • 250g Dough Ball
  • Pizza Sauce
  • 100150g Mozzarella
  • 50g Old World Pepperoni
  • 10g Parmesan cheese
  • Hot honey sauce (optional)


  1. Take your dough ball and place it on a floured surface. (if you got it from the fridge, give it 1 hour to get to room temperature)
  2. Shape the dough with your hands to stretch out and form your pizza base.
  3. Spread the pizza sauce around the pizza base. Start from the centre and use circular motions out. Make sure to leave a 1-2cm space between the sauce and edge of the pizza base
  4. Sprinkle on the parmesan cheese. This gives it a little extra flavor
  5. Spread the rest of the cheese. Make sure to keep it on the tomato sauce and away from the edge. Dont add too much, as this makes the pizza greasy and heavier.
  6. Place the old world pepperoni evenly around the pizza
  7. If your using a pizza oven then make sure this has reach 750-800 degrees Fahrenheit. For a pizza cooked in your kitchen oven, make sure this has reached max temperature
  8. Bake the pizza until fully cooked (60-90 seconds in pizza oven, 10-15 mins in kitchen oven)
  9. Allow to rest for a couple of minutes, this helps to reduce the soggyness of the pizza.
  10. Drizzle a little spicy honey onto the pizza if your using it, this gives it a little extra kick
  11. Slice and enjoy.

Did you make this recipe?

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Which Animal Is Pepperoni Made From?

More often than not pepperoni is made from either pork or a combination of pork and beef. If its made from just beef then it must be called beef pepperoni. Old World Pepperoni also uses sheep, cow or pig intestines for the casing.

Which type of pepperoni curls up?

As mentioned its old world style pepperoni that curls up when cooked at a high temperature. This is because of the thickness of the pepperoni as well as the natural casing that is used.

Is Pepperoni From The New Or Old World?

It is misleading calling it old world pepperoni, as its not from the old world. It was produced in the United States in the 20th century. Funny enough pepperoni is not really known by many Italians, as its not used on pizza in Italy.

Final Thoughts

So there you have it, hopefully this article has explained to you what old world pepperoni is and how it’s produced. It is like regular pepperoni but generally its higher quality and has a much more in-depth flavour. This is due to it being cured for a lot longer.

If your a fan of pepperoni pizza then you need to give old world pepperoni a try. It takes the flavour of the pizza to the next level.

Personally I love the little burst of pepperoni juice you get when it collects in the pepperoni bowls as it curls up. Yummy!

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