What is Old World Pepperoni?- Why does it Curl on Pizza?

Old World pepperoni sounded interesting and my mind straight went to a question what is old world pepperoni and how is it different from regular pepperoni.

So here is everything you need to know about Old World pepperoni.

Pepperoni is the most popular topping used in the US and we have pepperoni pizza to thank for this popularity.

 While there are many toppings commonly found in pizzas, there is no denying that pepperoni is one of the most common toppings because of its light and thin texture. 

Despite having a world of more people trying to be healthier, there is no denying that pepperoni pizza businesses are still booming because of the classic taste and flavors.

 More than 1/3 of today’s pizzas ordered in America have pepperoni toppings. You can even make a Pepperoni Pizza at home and it tastes amazing especially if you use the Best Pepperoni Slices.

It is almost like the default pizza topping for most Western countries that love pizza.

 Pepperoni might seem very simple, and it might look like there is no heavy work done to make it, but it does have its own different classifications and types.

 Here, we will see where it is all rooted and know what an Old World pepperoni is.

We will be comparing it to some of the more common pepperonis that we see in our pizzas nowadays.

Old World Pepperoni


Brief History about Old World Pepperoni

 Before you try to learn anything about the Old World pepperoni, you need to know the history to better understand how it came to be the way it is.

Pepperoni, contradictory to common belief, is not an Italian ingredient.

It is a type of sausage that was from America developed by Italian immigrants in the past.

 Brought by immigrants in the USA in the 19th century, some may argue that it is still an Italian ingredient.

However, America is the labeled country of origin of this pepperoni.

Initially, pepperoni was a European-style salami developed by immigrants to turn into the pepperoni that we know now. They added fresh ingredients and upgraded the recipe to make the difference in taste that we have now.

There is no agreed statement on where the name pepperoni originated even if you ask famous brands.

Some may say that it came from the Italian word that means small peppers or chilis that gives the pepperoni its taste.

So there is no clear origin of this ingredient unless you specify the type. You can easily know where to buy as there are many brands that have pepperonis, pepperoni brands can differ in taste and quality.


What Is Pepperoni?

To understand what is Old World pepperoni, you also need to know the pepperoni’s general definition.

So here, we will take a brief look at what consists of a true pepperoni.

By definition, pepperoni is a cured sausage made with a mix of cured pork and other meat types. It is also known as salami because of its similarities in ingredients.

Salami Sausage

In its simplest form, you season the cured meat with pepper, paprika, salt, and other spices.

It is kept in a skin casing that has since improved and made with artificial skins.

You can preserve the cured meat mixed with spices in different ways.

Some may smoke the pepperoni while others dry them, cure, or you can freeze pepperoni to preserve the meat and spices.

Either way, pepperoni is an air-dried meat seasoned with different spices of which some give its bright red color.

It is made with finely ground meat and gives off a smokey flavor. If you are wondering where to buy pepperonis, there are a lot of brands nowadays that even make pepperonis with great flavors.


What Is Old World Pepperoni?

Now let us get into the real deal and see what is Old World pepperoni.

First off, it is a unique type of pepperoni, and if some restaurant advertises it, you will be able to see if it is true.

Old World pepperoni is a different type of pepperoni considering how it looks vs classic pepperoni.

When cooked, it usually curls inward instead of laying just flat on the pizza.

Old World Pepperoni on a Pizza

You will also recognize Old World pepperoni from its deep red color vs classic pepperoni which is really noticeable.

There are also some different colors, such as the white one from the casing developed for this pepperoni.

Old World pepperonis are thicker slices and not-so-even cuts vs classic pepperonis.

 It comes in a case that is a thin, papery coating that develops a protective cover from growing molds on it.

This also gives the Old World pepperoni a different texture that is quite chewy.

The casing is edible, but some people would prefer removing it because of the unusual texture it gives off.

As for the spices, the Old World pepperoni usually uses black pepper, mustard seed, and fennel. Those are not the common spices that you will find vs classic pepperonis on your pizza.

You can distinguish the  Old World pepperoni from the common pepperoni because of its unique taste as well. It gives off a fresh taste from the spices used in making it.

The spiciness can sometimes be weaker or stronger depending on the ingredients you add aside from the three basic spices.

Old World pepperoni can also have a meatier taste to it and I think it tastes so much better on a pizza vs classic pepperonis.

If you buy from the pepperoni’s traditional makers, you will find that the flavor is spicier.

That is because they use a lot of paprika and chili along with some black pepper and fennels.

Old world Pepperoni Brands and where to buy them

Some of the few brands that I recommend where to buy old world pepperoni are Bridgford, Private Selection, Cassano’s and, Hormel.

Kroger is a good place if you are wondering where to buy but this is not always my first choice. You can also visit Pepperoni Palooza’s online sites for you to buy from.

 While Bridgford is my favorite, the other ones are great too.

Private Selection only has 130 calories per serving while Cassano’s has a cheap price for the quality of the pepperoni it sells.

Private Selection has a very consistent flavor that is not really distinguishable but has a slightly unique taste to it.

Bridgford is considered by many as the top seller like in Publix while Cassano is a close competitor so you can try them all and see which one you like most.

Old World Pepperoni Vs. American Style Pepperoni

 Despite both of these pepperonis originating in America, these two types are from different eras.

One is more developed than the other, but it does not mean it is automatically better.

There are not many differences between these two types of pepperoni if you just look at them.

American Pepperoni on a thin crust Pizza

However, there are some details that you might miss when you take a taste test between them.

Here, we will look at the major differences between the Old World Pepperoni vs. regular pepperoni or the American pepperonis to see where to buy and which pepperoni you should get.


The American-style Or Regular Pepperoni

The regular pepperoni that we use today is a pepperoni type that involves much less processing.

The pepperoni content, such as the meat and the other spices, is stored in an artificial casing.

The casing makes them more intact, and so the shape of the pepperonis is more even. 

The ingredients are uniform throughout the pepperoni, and the thick consistency helps it stay straight.

The regular pepperonis are very easy to slice, which also gives them uniformity in thickness.

In terms of color, the regular pepperoni has a bright red color, almost in the orange realm. This is because of the light spices used that do not have many colors in them. 

The taste of the regular pepperoni is specific to the meat used. The spice is usually between mild and medium, so regular pepperoni is not a very spicy topping for pizzas.

Marcos Pepperoni vs Regular Pepperoni

Since Marco’s pepperoni is old world pepperoni they are thick ,small in size and curl when cooked just like the regular old world pepperoni we discussed above.

Regular pepperoni on the other hand is thinner and hence does not give as much flavour as the old world pepperoni does to a pizza slice.


Why Was The American-style Or Regular Pepperoni Developed? 

The American-style pepperoni originated because people were not sure about the Old Wold pepperoni’s content.

The ingredients were more transparent, and so you get to know what you eat.

There are also some people concerned about the amount of fat in Old World pepperonis and the species of mold that develops on the casing of the Rustic or Old World pepperoni when processed.

 So, the regular pepperoni is best for commercial selling where they want the shelf life of the pepperoni to last and at the same time want to sell less for more money.

The Old World Pepperoni/ Roni Cups

Most people who still support the Old World pepperoni industry say that the Old World pepperoni tastes better because of the natural casing. Although it depends on your taste.

The color of the Old World pepperoni ranges from bright red to dark red color.

This is made possible by the mixture of fresh cured meat and a lot of red chilis, giving its spiciness.

 If you love spicy pizzas, then the rustic or Old World pepperoni is the perfect topping for your pizza.

It gives off a spicy taste, which is why it does not appeal to all people.

This pepperoni can also be hard to slice because of its thick coating.

It can also curl when to cut into thinner slices, which means it is harder to distribute evenly on the pizza you have. You can see the curling of the pepperonis with Marco’s or Buddy’s pepperoni pizza.

Old World Pepperoni

Why Does the Old World Pepperoni Curl?

 The Old World pepperoni curls up when cooked, which actually looks great. I was intrigued by Old world pepperoni curls and that is what made me try it for the first time.

However, it is a very common occurrence, and you should not worry about the curling event.

 When the pepperonis curl, the top of the disc-like pepperoni cooks or even burns faster than its bottom.

However, it is hardly noticeable because of the bacon-like characteristic of pepperoni.

 Speaking of bacon, the Old World pepperoni goes on pizza toppings because of its rich bacon flavor.

The texture, even when cooked unevenly, can melt in your mouth just like bacon.

 There are two major reasons why the Old World pepperoni curls up when cooked. You can even observe this in Buddy’s or Marco’s famous old world pepperoni pizza.

Marco’s and Buddy’s old world pepperoni pizza has the perfect combination of spice and mild taste with the cheese in it. Marco’s Pizza and Buddy’s is perfect for those who love the curling pepperoni on their pizza with a little spice.

Here, we will give you a brief explanation of why each reason gives the curling property of this pepperoni.


The Thickness

 Curling in rustic or Old World pepperonis is almost inevitable.

The first reason why it curls is all about the slices’ thickness, which balances or topples down, cooking them evenly.

 The thickness of the slices determines the heating factor of the pepperonis.

The thicker the slice, the more likely it will curl since the bottom cooks for longer than the top.

The heating rate relies on the slices’ thickness, but it is inevitable since the top part of the pepperonis will cook faster.

As the top part cooks, the sides of the pepperoni shrinks, curling it.


The Casing

 We already know that you can differentiate these two types of pepperonis through their casing alone.

The regular or American-style pepperoni uses a stronger, more stable, artificial casing.

 The rustic or Old World pepperoni uses a natural casing that shrinks when heated.

The meat center will touch the pizza surface as the pepperoni rim curls upward when you cook it.

The casing shrinks inward and upward, which creates a cup in the middle of the circular slices.

This means that the pepperonis shrink as well but not as fast as the casing does, so it curls.


Beef Pepperoni Vs. Pork Pepperoni

Even if you stick with rustic or Old World pepperoni, you still have to choose between meat types used in making the Old World Pepperoni.

So let us see the main difference between beef and pork pepperonis.


Beef Pepperoni 

If we stick to the more common way of making pepperonis, it is usually a mix of pork and beef.

However, in this case, it is only made with beef, and it has its benefits and downsides.

You can usually find Beef pepperonis in American pizzas. It gives a richer taste of meat when put in pizzas, giving you a better chance of putting other ingredients that will combine with it. 

You will see that beef pepperoni, in states like West Virginia, usually go in pepperoni rolls or even sandwiches which is a big difference to the one more common in pizzas.

It gives off a much more delicious smoky flavor compared to pork pepperonis.


Pork pepperoni 

The pork pepperoni is also a common type of pepperoni in American pizzerias.

It has the best ingredients, such as spices that enhance either the spiciness or the meaty flavor.

 Since it has pork, it gives off more fats, which can help contradict some tangy flavors from garnishes and other spices you can use to make pizzas.

Two different types of meat used for Old World pepperonis allow other people to choose what they prefer; this is obvious with Muslim people who do not eat pork.

Old World Pepperoni Pizza Recipe


  • 250 grams of pizza dough ball
  • 150 grams of mozzarella cheese
  • 50 grams of old-world pepperoni
  • 10 grams of parmesan cheese
  • Pizza sauce


Step 1: Knead and shape the dough

Place the dough on a flat floured surface and then start kneading the dough. If it has been frozen, you need to let it rest at room temperature for at least an hour to make it easier to knead.

Knead the dough and start by pushing it outwards to form a circle until it gets to the shape that you want your pizza base to be.

Step 2: Put the sauce on the dough

Once you have shaped the dough to the right shape, place your pizza sauce in the middle of the dough and then spread it with a ladle in a circular motion.

Leave about half an inch of space without sauce on the edge of the pizza dough.

Step 3: Sprinkle the cheese

Put the parmesan cheese first on top of the pizza sauce and then sprinkle the mozzarella cheese over it. Do not put too much as it can make the pizza crust soggy when cooked.

Step 4: Place the pepperonis

Carefully place each pepperoni slice on top of the pizza. Make sure that the old-world pepperoni slices are distributed evenly.

Step 5: Cook the pizza

Preheat your oven to the highest heat for at least 15 minutes, you can do this while you are preparing the pizza.

Place a pizza stone in the oven while it is preheating. Use a pizza peel to lift the pizza off of the table and then put it directly on the pizza stone.

If you are using a pizza oven (900 degrees Fahrenheit or higher), allow the pizza to cook for 60 to 90 seconds, or cook the pizza in a convection oven (500 degrees Fahrenheit) for 10 minutes.

Step 6: Serve And Enjoy!

Once the cheese has melted and the pizza crust starts browning, remove the pizza from the oven and then let it rest for at least 2 minutes.

Garnish the pizza with fresh basil (optional) and then serve the pizza while it is still warm. Enjoy!


What Can You Cook With Old World Pepperoni? 

Pepperoni is a very versatile type of food and aside from pizzas, you can also cook other recipes with it. Here are some of the best recipes you can make with pepperoni.

We all love pepperoni pizza but it can be hard to think of other recipes that you can make with pepperoni.

Leftover pepperonis are one of the most common ingredients that are leftover when I cook pizza. That is why I figured to try out pepperoni recipes that I can make at home.

These recipes are really simple. You do not need too many ingredients and you only need your basic home cooking utensils and equipment so I really recommend these recipes.

1. Pepperoni Rolls 

This is the West Virginia Snack that we have mentioned earlier.

It consists of bread dough that wraps the many pepperonis inside, filled with cheese and other ingredients.

 It was initially made as a snack for miners in 1920 and then developed as a regular snack.

It is a simple yet elegant food that is very easy to prepare and make.


2. Grilled Sandwich

You can never go wrong with two loaves of bread and cheese.

You can upgrade this simple recipe with Old World pepperonis to get that meaty taste with gooey cheese.

You can make it with any type of grilled meat, but it seems perfect with the Old World pepperoni.

It gives a nice spice to the food you can then counter by the bread’s cheese.

3. Pepperoni Pasta

4. Pepperoni Pizza Casserole

5. Pepperoni Pasta Bake

6. Pepperoni Pizza Quesadilla

7. Pepperoni Baked Macaroni

8. Pepperoni Fettuccini 

9. Pepperoni Crisps

10. Pepperoni Bread

11. Pepperoni Penne



You can also make a cheese board that includes Old World pepperonis or any way to celebrate National Pepperoni day on September 20.

It is a very versatile food that you can put in almost any recipe to enjoy the meaty and spicy taste.

The Old World pepperoni is a very delicious pepperoni that fits perfectly with pizzas and other foods, including bread or dough.

It is spicy enough for people who love spicy food. If you want to taste Old World pepperoni in a pizza, I recommend Marco’s Pizza Pepperoni Magnifico or Davanni’s Old World Pepperoni pizza.

If you want an authentic pepperoni that can go with your pizza or other recipes, you can go with the Old World pepperoni as it is very delicious food for any recipe.

RELATED POSTS- Best Pepperoni For Pizza
Can we freeze Pepperoni Slices

If you like the post, do not forget to share it on social media!


Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *