Homemade pepperoni, step-by-step

People are often surprised to learn that we make our own pepperoni. Indeed, it wasn't long ago that we ourselves had never heard of making homemade pepperoni! Making pepperoni enables us to enjoy a high-quality meat for less money than we would spend to buy it pre-made.

This week's frugal tip is a step-by-step photo tutorial on making homemade pepperoni! It's easier than you think!

Tammy's Spicy Pepperoni

To begin, place your meat (I use lean ground beef) and seasonings in a large bowl. This was an 8-pound batch (I quadrupled my recipe!) because the meat was on sale this week.

The meat is kneaded so that the spices are thoroughly dispersed. Like making meatloaf! :) Then cover the bowl and refrigerate for 1-3 days, kneading once each day. Pepperoni tastes best if the spices have been permeating the meat for several days before/after cooking. :)

Next, divide the meat and form it into logs. I had to make 2-pound logs, which were thicker than usual, in order to get all 8 pounds of meat on my tray. The tray catches excess grease.

Bake the logs at 200 degrees Farenheit for about 8 hours, turning logs during bakin if desired. I baked mine overnight, so I only turned them once.

When pepperoni is finished baking, allow to cool, and slice. Slicing is the most time-consuming part of making pepperoni!

I put the sliced pepperoni in freezer bags and freeze. Then, I remove some from the bag for pizza, whenever we decide to have that. The pepperoni thaws quickly. It's very handy!

Here is our favorite pepperoni recipe: Tammy's Spicy Pepperoni. It's perfect for pizza or for a spicy snack!


What a find! Thanks for posting this one. My husband is allergic to pork so a beef pepperoni recipe is a wonderful discovery!

I'm just about to make my second ever batch of pepperoni - and I managed to get 2.2kg (alot) of mince for $2.00 tonight! Yay =) We almost never get bargains like that in Sydney..!

I love this idea. However, I'm not thrilled about the Quick Cure containing nitrites. Do you personally have any concerns about this? I know the guidelines about nitrites have changed, but I've spent so many years avoiding foods containing them, I'd be happier using salt instead of the Quick Cure. I know the color won't be the same, but if you or anyone else has substituted salt, I would be interested in knowing if you're still pleased with the results. Do you still end up with a satisfactory pepperoni?
--Jenny W.

I would also love to hear comments on whether or not regualr salt or another type would work, I'm not concerned about perfect coloring, just the health aspect of it. I also avoid nitrates.


Just writing to let you know I simply do NOT add the stuff. ALL the sausages I make are made WITHOUT the0 "quick cure" stuff. I store mine in the freezer & take out only wha t I will use in a two week period.


Sold by sausagemaker.com

Detailed Description

This is what so many of you have been asking for… a natural cure substitute to Sodium or Potassium Nitrite, that has the same capabilities and curing properties. Celery Juice Powder is specially processed to be used as a natural nitrate, which breaks down to nitrite, curing the sausage from botulism. Without effecting the final taste of a particular recipe, this ingredient does the job of a basic salt/nitrite cure and is fast-becoming a meat processing phenomena!

Each packet (Net Wt. 1.25 oz.) cures 25 lbs. of meat.

1.25 oz. of Celery Juice Powder = approximately 8 tsp.

For 10 lb. recipes use 3 1/2 tsp.

My hubby and I have been eating a lot of ground turkey. Do you think one could make pepperoni out of that?

I have made it with both ground beef and ground turkey. We preferred the ground turkey by far. I found the beef to be a little crumbly, and since we used to buy turkey pepperoni the taste is closer to what we are used to.

You need to be careful with turkey as it is very prone to spoilage. I am sure you can use Turkey, but you may want to read around for any special considerations turkey meat may require in preperation, preservation, and storage.

Same goes with the Quick Cure/Tender Quick versus Salt. The color issue doesn't bother us, but we haven't ventured away from the recipes we have for meat curing due to concerns of the meat spoiling. Food poisoning is no fun!

Tammy and I are chatting and I think we will hunt around some on this issue as it interests us as well. We don't eat much pepperoni or nitrates (I had never had pepperoni until the last couple years when we had found some turkey pepperoni at the store) so this is more of a treat on our pizzas to add some extra flavor :)

If you use regular salt, and follow all other directions, wouldn't freezing it until use keep it from spoiling, or would that do something to the taste?

What seasonings do you use? I love the idea of homemade pepperoni. My hubby loves it, to this would be a fun surprise for him.

I am wondering if you have to use the curing salt? Would the long baking time and then freezing it keep the pepperoni from going bad? Sort of like if you cooked up ground beef and froze it for a later use. The reason I'm wondering is because there are nitrites and nitrates in the curing salt and we try to avoid those for health reasons. It looks delicious and I love pepperoni so I am hoping this might be an alternative.

I can't wait to try this...thanks Tammy!

It sounds very good.I got all the ingredients this morning to try it.I can't wait.The kids are so excited about this too.

Jenny, this thread has some comments about the Tender Quick cure, which contains nitrates. :) We don't eat a large amount of pepperoni (just some thin slices on our pizza, usually!) and I figure the homemade is just as "healthy" as the kind I was paying a whole lot more for from the grocery store. ;)

Rebecca, we don't eat pork, so I always bought turkey pepperoni (which is difficult to find cheaply!). :)

Emma, how exciting!! :)

Radwinters, yes, I would imagine that ground turkey would work, as long as it was fairly lean, since pepperoni should be a dense, dry meat. You could perhaps try half a recipe (using 1 pound of meat) for a test. :) Be sure to report back with your results, if you do! ;) I'm sure others would love to hear how it goes. :)

Anonymous, here is my recipe: Tammy's Spicy Pepperoni. It gives seasonings and measurements. :) Oh, and more detailed instructions. :)

Shannon, I don't think the pepperoni would spoil if you didn't use the Tender Quick curing salt. I always freeze mine, anyway. The texture and color would be different though. You can also check out the link I gave at the very top of this comment. :)

Alexandra, you're welcome!

Mrs. Paradis, great! Let me know how it goes! :)


I will let you know how it goes.I will send a photo how it turned out too.Where do I send pictures to you on here.If I looked around I guess I would find it but I haven't looked for anything like that.

I'd love to see a photo! :D You can use this form to contact me, and I'll reply with my email address! :)

I ended up having to package up the other hamburger I got and will use it for burgers this summer since I cook with turkey burger and only really like that except for a burger.I got the butcher to ground me up 4 pounds of fresh burger this morning.It was the first time I have asked them to do that and they were more than happy to do it.Yeah!So I am making a double batch.I think the kids will eat it like crazy.So for 4 pounds of meat it will 4 logs right?I will send you pictures of it when I get it done.

Thanks for sharing this with us.

Oh I wanted to share I had my oldest son smell the hamburger meat mixed up and he said it smelled like peperoni already.TO cute!

My husband and I have cut pork out of our diet and have missed having pepperoni on our homemade pizza. What a great idea! This is something I am SO looking forward to trying. Thank you for giving us this recipe!


Dawn, you're welcome! We don't eat pork, and turkey pepperoni from the store is quite expensive. I love finding affordable ways to make things we used to have to purchase, and an added bonus is that we can make our pepperoni really spicy -- just how we like it! :) We're so spoiled with all our homemade food. :)

Mrs. Paradis, yes, you should get 4 logs from your 4 pounds of meat. :) We mostly use ours on pizza, but it is very tempting to just snack on it!! Good thing I put it in the freezer, where it's not so easily accessible. ;) That's so exciting that you're making some! I hope you like it. :)

I will be rolling it up into 4 logs in a few minutes and baking them today.I will let you know how it turns out and take some pictures.

How do you find the salt-content in homemade pepperoni compared to the storebought pepperoni? Less/same/more? I am trying to cut the excess salt off from my way of eating... :-)

Pinja, I'm really not sure. I'll look to see if my bag of Tender Quick gives a salt content amount, since that's the only source of salt in it. I think the pepperoni weighs less when it's made than when I start (i.e. 8 pounds of beef doesn't make 8 pounds of pepperoni) so I'd almost have to weigh an entire batch and do some math. :) Next time I make it, I just might do that! :)

Today I'll be making this pepperoni! I can't wait to see how it tastes! :)

that last comment was from me, Bethany :)

I am defo!!! gonna try this Mashallah being Muslim my family doesn't consume pork either so we are relegated to eating plain cheese pizza I don't like to order hamburger on my pizza on fast-food nights cause it's some rather unscrupulous people out there especially in pizza joints!!! Kudos for posting this recipe again!

About how long does it keep it the freezer (I would just keep it in a ziplock portioned out)?

In a Ziplock in the freezer, I would say the pepperoni would last 4-6 weeks (regular ziplock) or 8-12 weeks ("freezer" ziplock) before getting "freezer burned". When I sealed mine in Food Saver (vacuum-sealed) bags it kept for months and tasted excellent.

I tried this recipe over the last few days, and unfortunately I read the recipe "200 degrees" (on the actual recipe) as celcius, not farenheit!! So... after 4 hours in the oven I realised what was going on and will probably be chopping it up and giving it to the dog!
Perhaps I'll try it again in a few weeks... :O(

Forgot to sign in before I posted the above comment... have now mostly recovered from my disappointing bungle! I tasted al ittle bit before ditching it and it was really tasty, although really spicy. I will probably leave out about half of the spice/pepper next attempt as we're probably more of a salami family than pepperoni, even on pizza.

I am just starting the research into making my own pepperoni and I am starting to get excited. My middle daughter is allergic to just about everything. I looked at the ingrediance in Tender Quick or the curing salts and she can not have them. Any ideas or suggestions to be able to make this for her without using the tender quick or curing salts? Of all the food she can not have this has been the hardest for her to get adjusted to. Pepperoni pizza is her favorite.

I decided to try and use half in sausage casings, and I'm going to roll the other half. You're not very specific with what temperature it should be at, but you say to cook the rolls for eight hours. Do you also check for internal temperature? I've read 160 is typical, but I'm curious what you do.

Thanks for the recipe. One half is in the oven now, and I'll toss the rolls in once I get a reply from you!

Hello! Your website is wonderful, THANK YOU for all you've shared!

Do you ever dehydrate foods? I am an extreme newby with dehydrating, but wonder if this would not be great for food storage. Maybe use ground sirloin, round? Any thoughts or experiences would be values!


In Australia I cannot get Mortons Cure but I found Kwikurit curing salt.
The pepperoni worked out just fine.
Thanks for the recipe, only the outside finished very dard
Chris Ryan
Brisbane Australia

I am a confirmed non pig, pork, ham, lard and so on eater. But i do remember about 40 years ago sharing a half pepperoni half cheese pizza with some high school buddies. I accidentally got a little bit of peperoni on my slice of cheese pizza and remember that is was really very tasty, even after all this time.

Enter the spicy pepperoni recipe -- tried it, used lamb, used double the amount of mustard seed (like the look of the seeds in the cut sausage), used tender quick, crushed fennel seed briefly in coffee grinder, held mixture for 3 days in the refrigerator.

Baked for 8 hours, monitored temperature range of 175 - 195 degrees F.
Allowed product to cool to room time, uncovered, refrigerated 8 hours and thinly sliced.

Product was firm, easy to slice by hand, 2+ pounds of lamb made enough slices for 4 large pizzas.

Thanks for posting this recipe, and broadening me meat horizons!

Hi, Ive seen this recipe all over and I was wondering, to add a more authentic taste, can I add pork?

Just made a batch from ground turkey and it looks just like the pictures of the beef. It's still chilling, so I haven't sliced it yet except for a sample. Turkey worked great.


I would love to try your recipe but I have a few questions before I can make it.

Is it possible to substitute the mustard seeds with dry mustard?

I am afraid the beef will spoil during the time it stays in the fridge (refrigerate for 1-3 days,).
Especially if my ground beef was frozen first. Do you have any recommendations?

Thanks a lot,

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