What Is Uncured Pepperoni

What Is Uncured Pepperoni

Uncured Pepperoni is

  • contains preservatives like nitrates and nitrites
  • have a shorter shelf life
  • contain natural preservatives like celery salt, sea salt, and beet derivatives
  • USDA mandates uncured pepperoni be labeled as “uncured” also has a statement about not using nitrites (NaNO2 – sodium nitrite) or nitrates (NaNo3 – sodium nitrate)

Almost everyone in America loves Pepperoni on Pizza. But many people do not know what style of pepperoni they have on their pizza or which type is the best for different uses.

See our article on Pepperoni Facts and Statistics – see How Pepperoni got political!

You can use it in many different dishes, recipes, or as a snack by itself. But can you eat uncured pepperoni raw? There are many other questions that people have about uncured pepperoni, including is it better than cured pepperoni.

Let’s start by looking at the different types of Pepperoni

Top 15 Different Types of Pepperoni for 2022

1. Cured Pepperoni

What Exactly Is Cured Pepperoni? Cured pepperoni is often found in the “processed meat” section of the grocery store. Salt and chemical additives and preservatives, such as nitrites and nitrates of sodium.

Top 15 Pepperoni - Infographic
Top 15 Pepperoni – Infographic

2. Uncured Pepperoni

Uses natural preservatives like celery powder.

3. Old World Pepperoni

Old world pepperoni is a better grade pepperoni made with spicy flavors, bacterial cultures, and an all-natural sausage casing. It has a stronger taste than other types of pepperoni due to the spicy ingredients and bacterial cultures, and the natural coating leads it to curl into “cups” when cooked. Old-world pepperoni may be chopped into larger, more irregular shapes, altering the food preparation and adding character to the finished product.

Top 15 Varieties of Pepperoni
Top 15 Varieties of Pepperoni

4. Turkey Pepperoni

Under US labeling rules, if you bought turkey pepperoni, it will be the only type of meat in the sausage. It doesn’t have pork in it. It still tastes very much like pepperoni made with beef and pork, and many consumers tend to use it rather than pork and beef pepperoni to trim back on the high level of fat.

5. Venison Pepperoni

This type of sausage has grown in popularity as the whole deer meat industry has. It is a naturally lean but rich-tasting pepperoni.

6. Pure Beef Pepperoni

What it means is that beef pepperoni is pepperoni made of 100% pure beef. This type of pepperoni is often called Halal pepperoni.

7. Pork Pepperoni

Most pepperoni that is marketed in the United States is made with a combination of beef and pork. There are some artisan manufacturers at some markets I have seen with a pork-only recipe, but I have yet to try as they were not offering free samples and I think that it might taste a little plain.

8. Vegan Pepperoni

Recently there has been a significant increase in the number of vegans and as a result there have been a number of vegan style products we have never seen

Vegan Pepperoni and Pizza Have Become Very Popular
Vegan Pepperoni and Pizza Have Become Very Popular

9. Lower Salt or Sodium Pepperoni

Many large pepperoni manufacturers also make a lower salt version. Often salt is used in the curing process so that’s why the content can be high. Low salt pepperoni can be purchased from Armour which was one of the original commercial makers over a century ago.

10. Gluten-Free Pepperoni

Typically Old World and homemade pepperoni are gluten free. A true pepperoni recipe is gluten-free. But many commercial makers will put additives that may contain gluten.

The best way is to read the label carefully.

11. Kosher Pepperoni

Today you can easily purchase beef only pepperoni, but you must also check the label that it is made following kosher rules. The best way is to read the label carefully. Normally it has a Kosher Certified Sticker.

12. Stick Pepperoni

This type of pepperoni is often served at a Super Bowl party with beer. Hence the name bier sticks.

You can also cut or own pepperoni sticks.

13. Diced Pepperoni

This cut of pepperoni has become a popular serving in kid’s lunches. You can make it yourself and put it in a Ziploc bag. Alternatively, you can buy them repacked in the local supermarket.

14. Julienned Pepperoni

This is a special cut of pepperoni that is used by some pizza parlor to serve “ultra Pepperoni” pizzas.

15. Cheese Infused Pepperoni

This is a new style of pepperoni that has cheese in the sausages giving it a pizza like taste. 

It is no surprise there are so many types because almost everyone likes to use it in their cooking, pasta dish, salad or maybe you just want to make a sandwich.

What Is Uncured Pepperoni
What Is Uncured Pepperoni

What Does It Mean when Pepperoni Is Uncured 

Despite its name stating it is uncured, pepperoni that hasn’t been cured is still actually cured. Different methods are also used in making the uncured variety.

It tasks longer to make an uncured pepperoni, especially if you stick to traditional methods. If you do not have humidity control then you may only be able to make it in the drier winter months – just like when the original or old-world pepperoni was made.

Uncured Pepperoni uses natural preservatives like organic sea salt, kiln-dried celery powder, natural celery juice, and some beetroot extracts. 


Because uncured meat doesn’t have any meat coloring chemicals added to it, it can look whiter than cured meat. Hence the use of natural beets.

Uncured Pepperoni tastes very similar, but because salt is used as the main curing agent it makes have a slightly saltier taste. This of course makes it pair well with cheese and in my opinion, pizza made with uncured pepperoni tastes much better.

How Can You Tell the Difference Between Uncured and Cured Pepperoni
How Can You Tell the Difference Between Uncured and Cured Pepperoni See The Cups – this typically means it is uncured pepperoni

How Can You Tell the Difference Between Uncured and Cured Pepperoni

Salt is used to keep food fresh, but it does have a lot of sodium in it, which makes it taste saltier and that is one way you can tell the difference.

As mentioned already – it needs to be clearly marked as uncured in the shop

But here is my favorite way. When you slice it to put it on pizza. Cooking a sliced uncured pepperoni will cause it to round up at the edges forming a cup – and that is how you tell the difference.

What Is the White Powder on The Uncured Pepperoni

It can either be a fine dusting of celery powder, but it is more likely to be a natural mold. But do not worry this is a good mold that can be eaten without issues. However, this is one reason why many people prefer the commercial cured variety.

Is uncured pepperoni meat safe to eat?

Whether you buy uncured or the more common cured it is already preserved, just by different methods to stop it spoiling.  A dry pepperoni stick or sausage is safe to eat, even with no cooking independent of the cured or uncured label. 

Do not confuse this with a wet sausage that needs to be cooked.

How Long Does Uncured Pepperoni Last

First look at the label to see if it needs refrigerating. A Hard pepperoni sausage that is not opened can typically last for 4-6 weeks in the larder or pantry. It will last for months in the fridge and read here to understand – can you freeze pepperoni.

Do I Need to Cook Uncured Pepperoni

No, it does not need to be cooked as it has used nature’s way to preserve and dry the meat. Uncured pepperoni is safe to eat without cooking.

What Is Best for Making Pizza Uncured or Cured Pepperoni

When making a pizza for a big group or family get-together and you want to impress them use a good quality uncured pepperoni. Uncured Pepperoni is better because the salty taste compliments the acid tomato sauce and blends well with the cheese. Plus the uncured varieties will form a cup keeping the great-tasting pepperoni juices and this is what can take your pizza to a whole new level of taste. So I would definitely say the uncured pepperoni is better.

Is Uncured Pepperoni Healthier

It tends to contain a higher level of salt and for some, this is not good, how there is also the benefit that it does not have sodium nitrite as a preservative. If you do not eat a lot of pepperonis I would consider the uncured variety healthier. But remember is not really an overall healthy food it also has lots of fats.

In the end, even small amounts of cured and uncured pepperoni can add a unique flavor and texture to any dish, even when used in small amounts. There is no right or wrong answer. It’s all about what you like.