Pepperoni Pizza

I am a bona fide pepperoni pizza girl. Sure, I’ll eat other varieties without batting an eye (I’m still drooling over the Portobello Pesto Pizza), but my heart belongs to pepperoni pizza. It’s comfort food for my sports-loving soul. There’s nothing better than enjoying a cheesy pepperoni pizza while watching Sunday football or a hockey game. I’ve made countless pepperoni pizzas at home, and I finally realized that I had yet to share my favorite recipe here. It’s nothing terribly fancy – my favorite pizza dough, a very simple sauce, and lots of pepperoni and cheese.

There is one “secret” to my pepperoni pizza. The one and only pet peeve I have with getting a pepperoni pizza from a local shop is that many times there is a river of grease from the pepperoni sitting on top of the cheese. Yuck! To remedy that, I do this super quick trick:

Take a large plate and line it with a double layer of paper towel. Lay all of your pepperoni on top.

Cover it with another double layer of paper towels.

Microwave for 30 to 45 seconds, and voila! You have pulled the majority of the grease out of the pepperoni!

This definitely isn’t a necessary step, but one that I always do – it just tastes so much better without that layer of grease. And since I pull most of the grease out, I nestle the pepperoni under the cheese so that it doesn’t get too burnt and crispy on top. Again, personal preference so feel free to do what you like!

Important question: What’s your favorite type of pizza??

One year ago: Salted Caramel Brownies
Two years ago: Chocolate Chip & Pretzel Cookie Bars
Three years ago: Zebra Cake
Four years ago: Samoas Brownies

Pepperoni Pizza

Yield: One 12-inch pizza

Prep Time: 30 minutes (active), 1 hour (inactive)

Cook Time: About 10 minutes

Total Time: 40 minutes


For the Pizza Dough:
½ cup warm water (about 110 degrees)
1 envelope (2¼ teaspoons) instant yeast
1¼ cups water, at room temperature
2 tablespoons olive oil
4 cups bread flour
1½ teaspoons salt

For the Sauce:*
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
28-ounce can crushed tomatoes

For the Toppings:
4 ounces sliced pepperoni
4 to 8 ounces (1 to 2 cups) shredded mozzarella cheese (or mix of mozzarella and provolone), depending how how cheesy you like your pizza
2 tablespoons Parmesan cheese


1. Make the Pizza Dough: Measure the warm water into a 2-cup liquid measuring cup. Sprinkle in the yeast and let stand until the yeast dissolves and swells, about 5 minutes. Add the room temperature water and oil and stir to combine.

2. Process the flour and salt in a large food processor, pulsing to combine. Continue pulsing while pouring the liquid ingredients (holding back a few tablespoons) through the feed tube. If the dough does not readily form a ball, add the remaining liquid and continue to pulse until a ball forms. Process until the dough is smooth and elastic, about 30 seconds longer.

3. Turn out the dough onto a lightly floured work surface. Knead by hand for a few strokes to form a smooth, round ball. Put the dough into a deep oiled bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Let rise until doubled in size, 1 to 2 hours. Press the dough to deflate it.

4. Assemble the Pizza: Place a pizza stone on a rack in the lower third of the oven (if using). Heat oven to 500 degrees for at least 30 minutes.

5. While the oven is preheating, prepare the sauce. In a small saucepan, heat the olive oil and garlic over medium heat. When the garlic starts to sizzle, add the crushed tomatoes. Simmer, uncovered, until the sauce is thick, about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from the heat and set aside.

6. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface. Divide the dough into two pieces. Form each piece of dough into a smooth, round ball and cover it with a damp cloth. Let the dough relax for at least 10 minutes but no more than 30 minutes. (You only need one ball of dough for this recipe, so at this point you can wrap one ball of dough in plastic wrap, put in a ziploc bag and freeze for another day – just move it to the refrigerator the morning you plan to use it or thaw at room temperature for 2-3 hours).

7. Flatten the dough ball into a disk using the palms of your hands. Starting at the center of the disk and working outward, use your fingertips to press the dough until it is about ½-inch thick. Holding the center in place, stretch the dough outward. Rotate the dough a quarter turn and stretch again. Repeat until the dough reaches a diameter of 12 inches. Use your palm to press down and flatten the thick edge of the dough.Transfer your prepared pizza dough to a pizza peel, parchment-lined baking sheet or pizza pan (whichever you are using).

8. Spread ¾ cup of the sauce over the pizza dough, leaving a ½-inch border uncovered. Place the pepperoni slices evenly over the sauce, and then top with the mozzarella and Parmesan cheeses. Slide the dough onto the heated stone, or place your baking sheet or pizza pan into the oven.

9. Bake until the crust edges brown and the cheese is golden brown in spots, 8 to 12 minutes. Remove from the oven, slice and serve (be careful, it will be hot!).

*Note: The sauce recipe makes enough for 4 pizzas but I can only ever find crushed tomatoes in 28-ounce cans (the bane of my existence!). If you are only making one pizza, you can portion out the rest and freeze it for another time.

(Recipe adapted from Baking Illustrated)


72 Responses to “Pepperoni Pizza”

  1. Jen of My Tiny Oven on August 16, 2011 at 12:06 am

    My favorite all time pizza! I can almost taste it right now!!


  2. Jessica on August 16, 2011 at 12:25 am

    Wow Michelle! This looks fabulous! I love making my own pizza….it’s just always so much better! 🙂


  3. Carol-Ann on August 16, 2011 at 2:07 am

    I could lick the screen! My all time favorite pizza is also pepperoni. Keep it simple. Although the portobello pesto one featured a week or so ago also looked right yummy!


  4. Katrina on August 16, 2011 at 4:08 am

    This is the perfect, classic, pizza. I love three cheese!


  5. Sasha (The Procrastobaker) on August 16, 2011 at 4:49 am

    That microwave trick is WONDERFUL! And this recipe looks like simplicity at its finest, i truly dont remember the last time i had pizza (kerazy i know!) so this is calling out to me big time 🙂 gorgeous!


  6. Blog is the New Black on August 16, 2011 at 6:03 am

    WOw, this looks INCREDIBLE!


  7. Penny Wolf on August 16, 2011 at 6:34 am

    I love pizza! I think your pizza looks like the best classic. Do you ever make a dessert pizza?


  8. Alli on August 16, 2011 at 6:40 am

    What a great tip. I hate the puddle of grease and then the pile of greasy napkins left from the clean up. This looks delicious.


  9. Brittany @ Itty Bits of Balance on August 16, 2011 at 6:46 am

    My favorite type of pizza is veggie pizza, but this will do 😉


  10. Barefoot Pregnant And In The Kitchen on August 16, 2011 at 8:16 am

    My husband made homemade pizza last night for dinner. It was quite good…. yours looks amazing!! Now I’m hungry for more pizza… wish I had some leftovers for breakfast!


  11. Kristy on August 16, 2011 at 8:26 am

    Looks yummy! My favorite is homemade chicken alfredo pizza – wow!


  12. Ally on August 16, 2011 at 8:39 am

    I’m seriously drooling at my screen! Yum.


  13. Tara @ Chip Chip Hooray on August 16, 2011 at 8:40 am

    Mmm, now I think I’m going to have to get pizza for lunch! Great tip for the pepperoni, by the way–I hate the leftover grease factor too!

    My absolute favorite pizza has got to be a good margherita…super thin crust, tangy and piquant tomato sauce, and a sprinkling of fresh mozzarella here and there, topped with basil leaves. Nomnomnom. 🙂


  14. Lynne @ 365 Days of Baking on August 16, 2011 at 8:53 am

    There’s nothing like homemade pizza, that is if it’s made correctly. Yours definitely looks like it is, Michelle.
    This may be tonight’s dinner. Thanks!


  15. Lisa on August 16, 2011 at 9:13 am

    I love Hawaiian pizza (with bacon bits)! Got an tips for making that one?


  16. Cindy on August 16, 2011 at 9:24 am

    I have been trying to make home made pizza lately, and doing okay, but this tip will really help! I love pineapple on my pizza, there is just something about the salty and the sweet that makes my tastebuds happy.

    I have a question about the difference between regular yeast and instant yeast. I have looked everywhere for instant yeast and have not been able to find it. Can you please share a name brand that I could ask my grocer to carry?

    Thanks much, I love all of your recipes. This weekend I am tackling the oatmeal yeast bread!



    • Michelle on August 18th, 2011 at 10:17 am

      Hi Cindy, I use Fleischmann’s (sp?) or Red Star yeast. Sometimes instant yeast will be called “bread machine yeast”. I buy it in a jar in the baking aisle, where the packets of yeast is located.


  17. sherri lynn @ life of a wife on August 16, 2011 at 9:31 am

    Your pizza looks so perfect! I love where the mozzarella is browned in places. Great trick with the pepperoni! I hate the extra grease so usually make another kind of pizza. I’m definitely trying your secret 🙂


  18. annie on August 16, 2011 at 9:51 am

    Looks really good, I will be making some Friday night for my guys. Thanks Michelle.

    FOR CINDY: I use FLEISCHMANN’S instant yeast. In my neck of the woods,it comes in a jar, and is ususally found next to the regular yeast.


  19. Bev Weidner on August 16, 2011 at 9:52 am

    This. Looks. Like. Heaven.

    My favorite pizza right now has been our summer garden tomato pizza. Voila!:

    Doesn’t get much better!


  20. Amy @ Gastronome Tart on August 16, 2011 at 9:53 am

    I love pepperoni pizza too! This looks fantastic! Better than takeout for sure.


  21. Abby on August 16, 2011 at 9:54 am

    Your pizza looks better than Delivery 🙂


  22. Jamie on August 16, 2011 at 10:10 am

    you know, I maaaaay have made homemade pizza ONCE. maybe. I think I’m going to try this.

    also, have you considered doing a top ten pizza post? think about it…. 🙂


  23. Kelly @ JAX does design on August 16, 2011 at 10:52 am

    Pizza is the best food ever invented. I could eat it for every meal, every day!

    I have yet to meet a pizza that I didn’t like, but my favourite take-out pizza is Hawaiian. I make two kinds of homemade pizza. One is topped with tomato sauce, chorizo and maybe another kind of pepperoni or sausage if I have any around, green & red peppers, and onions. The other is a Thai pizza with peanut sauce, lots of veggies (usually bean sprouts, red & green pepper, green onions, bok choy), and sliced almonds or chopped cashews. Both are covered with mozzarella, and I always make a whole wheat pizza dough – healthier and more flavourful than white dough.

    Try soaking up the grease from a take-out pepperoni pizza with a paper towel. As long as the cheese isn’t fresh-from-the-oven hot, it won’t stick to the paper towel.


  24. Paula Jo @ Home and Garden Decor on August 16, 2011 at 12:01 pm

    The pizza looks delicious and I bet it is. It sounds simple enough. I use to make my own pizza’s years ago, but for some reason gave up on it. I guess by the time everyone had their likes and dislikes of the kind they wanted, it was to costly. I’m going to try your recipe some weekend now since it is just the two of us and see how it turns our. My favorite is pepperoni and jalepeno pizza. Thanks for the recipe.


  25. Stefanie on August 16, 2011 at 12:56 pm

    What a great idea with the pepperoni. Way better than using napkins to soak up the grease after it’s cooked! Pizza looks great! And your mushroom pesto pizza was awesome… I’d say it’s a tie between that and a spinach artichoke pizza as my fave


  26. Cookin' Canuck on August 16, 2011 at 1:46 pm

    I am a pepperoni pizza girl, too – you just can’t beat a piping hot slice of a really good pizza. Great tip about microwaving to release some of the grease.


  27. Paula on August 16, 2011 at 2:40 pm

    This is my kinda pizza (with a little bacon added)! Looks delicious.


  28. Minneapolis Lawn Care on August 16, 2011 at 2:49 pm

    I’m making this for dinner. It looks too good not to.


  29. Adam on August 16, 2011 at 3:14 pm

    Anchovy and Tomato is awesome :).


  30. Curt on August 16, 2011 at 3:57 pm

    Pizza Hut is the worst for being way too greasy.
    I’m in total agreement with you on the pepperoni issue. Pizza isn’t pizza if it doesn’t have pepperoni on it.
    Although I just smoked some homemade Canadian bacon, so I’ll be trying my first pizza on the grill this weekend. And of course I might as well use the bacon.


  31. Cassie @ Bake Your Day on August 16, 2011 at 4:32 pm

    I agree regarding the river of grease. My mom taught me this microwave trick when we made homemade pizza when I was a kid and I use it every time. Your pizza looks delicious!


  32. Traci B on August 16, 2011 at 6:06 pm

    This looks really good and I normally don’t care for pepperoni pizza (could be the river of grease). I would like to make homemade pizza but I don’t have a food processor. Could I just use the dough hook on my mixer?


    • Michelle on August 18th, 2011 at 10:13 am

      Hi Traci, Yes you can definitely use the stand mixer! Here are the instructions for doing so:

      Follow the recipe for Pizza Dough through step 1. Omit step 2 and instead place the flour and salt in the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the paddle. Briefly combine the dry ingredients at low speed. Slowly add the liquid ingredients and continue to mix at low speed until a cohesive mass forms. Stop the mixer and replace the paddle with the dough hook. Knead until the dough is smooth and elastic, about 5 minutes. Form the dough into a ball, put it in a deep oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and proceed with the recipe.


  33. Heidi @ Food Doodles on August 16, 2011 at 6:11 pm

    Guess what’s for dinner tonight? I actually went to get meat specifically for this. I’ve been craving a good pizza(a good crust is super important!) and this looks awesome 😀 Love your trick with the pepperoni!


  34. Angelyn on August 16, 2011 at 6:50 pm

    This looks so incredible!


  35. Heather @ Bake, Run, Live on August 16, 2011 at 7:00 pm

    My boyfriend and I love making our own pizzas, and pepperoni is our favorite. Thanks for the tip on microwaving the pepperoni…I am so trying this next time! Hmmm, maybe tomorrow’s dinner 🙂


  36. Janene on August 16, 2011 at 7:24 pm

    or you can use turkey pepperoni. You don’t have to microwave it first. I do put the cheese on top.


  37. Ana on August 16, 2011 at 8:15 pm

    I’ve just started making my own pizza, but have never tried pepperoni! Yours look amazing! I’m def trying this one!


  38. what katies baking on August 16, 2011 at 10:02 pm

    pepperoni is definitely my favorite, too.
    this looks deelish


  39. Jen @ My Kitchen Addiction on August 16, 2011 at 10:39 pm

    I’m with you… Pepperoni is one of my favorites! And, your version looks incredible.


  40. Lynnlee on August 16, 2011 at 11:11 pm

    Reading this post just gives me warm fuzzies! I feel like we could be best friends. pizza is my favorite food and I always claim it is because it comes in so many different forms and varieties that you can eat it multiple times and not one is the same. But…with that being said, a warm and cheesy pepperoni pizza is well, uncomparable


  41. CouponClippingCook on August 16, 2011 at 11:54 pm

    I totally love your idea of putting the pepperoni in the microwave real quick before adding it to the pizza. My fave part of the pepperoni pizza are the crispy pepperoni pieces…and your microwave idea helps to make the pepperoni even more crispy. Thank you for that tip! (my fave type of pizza is good ole pepperoni).


  42. Kim L on August 17, 2011 at 1:14 am

    Awesome tip for the pepperoni. I have just recently started doing homemade pizza and the grease is the one thing I hated about it.


  43. Becka on August 17, 2011 at 4:28 am

    I feel all alone here – I quite like the grease!!! *blush* lol
    I love pepperoni, but I have to say my all-time favourite is garlic-marinated mushrooms & proscuitto, with extra garlic in the sauce, black olives, and lots of mozzerella 😉
    Quite fond of mixed seafood too – prawns, mussels, smoked salmon, red onion, and again, black olives! I like olives… 😀


    • Grace on August 17th, 2011 at 4:35 pm

      You are not alone. If the grease isn’t running down your arm, you didn’t make it right! My fave is pepperoni, mushrooms, and extra cheese!


  44. Tanya on August 17, 2011 at 7:45 am

    I happen to have a Cooks Illustrated cookbook that has this recipe in it. I had never made it until I saw this post. I didn’t have time to make the original version, but they did have a “quick” version that I made last night. It was such a good crust! I can’t wait to make the regular recipe.

    Thanks for sharing!


  45. Megan @ Cupcakes and Corkscrews on August 17, 2011 at 8:03 am

    Great idea with the pepporoni! I can’t wait to try it!


  46. Mackenzie@The Caramel Cookie on August 17, 2011 at 8:26 am

    I actually like my pepporoni a little burnt and crispy :). You pizza look delicious!


  47. Valerie on August 17, 2011 at 12:05 pm

    This is definitly THE pizza! Looks great, good, yummy, anything you want, i have to make it!


  48. Sara on August 17, 2011 at 12:55 pm

    This looks amazing! We love making our own pizzas, and have found the Kraft Mozzarella with cream cheese is perfect. We are making this recipe tonight 🙂


  49. penandra on August 17, 2011 at 4:29 pm

    For folks without a pizza/baking stone, I have found that my cast iron griddle does a great job (and I actually like it better than my baking stone — I get a crisper bottom crust).

    I love that you microwave the pepperoni before putting it on the pizza — the first time that I did that, I discovered how much I like hot crisp pepperoni (almost as good as bacon, but a whole lot easier! 😉 And this is now one of my snacks when watching a game.

    I also like my cast iron griddle for heating up leftover pizza (on top of the stove). I really hate left over pizza heated in the microwave . . . I heat the griddle on top of the stove, put the pizza slices on top, cover with a domed lid and let heat on medium.


  50. Monica on August 17, 2011 at 5:00 pm

    I am definitely going to microwave my pepperoni next time I make a pizz! I always have to soak up the grease with a napkin before I eat the pizza…thanks for the great idea!


  51. Baking is my Zen on August 17, 2011 at 5:52 pm

    Hands down fav….with white pizza & broccoli a close second.



  52. Holly on August 17, 2011 at 7:43 pm

    I want you to know how much I love your blog! I have made a couple of your recipes so far, and this pizza looks so amazing that it may have to be next in line! I love pepperoni pizza, but I also love the addition of feta cheese (it gets all warm and a little melty, mm!) or banana peppers on top. Thank you so much for all of these wonderful recipes! 🙂


  53. Marty on August 17, 2011 at 8:54 pm

    Why didn’t I think of that pepperoni trick!?!? I’m so glad I read this post and learned that simple trick. Thanks for the post!


  54. Angie @ Bigbearswife on August 18, 2011 at 10:48 am

    what a great way to get rid of all of the grease! I’ll have to remember this for hubbys pizzas. I love mushroom pizza!


  55. Stephanie @ Eat. Drink. Love. on August 18, 2011 at 11:31 am

    I LOVE homemade pizzas. I make one almost every weekend for my husband and myself. And it’s so much tastier and healthier than ordering pizza in!


  56. Steph@stephsbitebybite on August 18, 2011 at 2:15 pm

    Who doesn’t love a good ole slice of pepperoni pizza! And you even make yur own crust! Can I come over for dinner?


  57. Christine on August 18, 2011 at 6:48 pm

    Love pizza… all time favorite. Can’t go wrong with pizza.


  58. Gen on August 18, 2011 at 7:01 pm

    Yum!!! My favorite pizza is roasted veggie!! Great pizza crust recipe, and I’ll definitely try that pepperoni de-greasing trick! 😀


  59. Kita on August 18, 2011 at 9:04 pm

    I’m with you on this one. Pepperoni and pizza were just made to be nommed in harmony.


  60. Erin @ Dinners, Dishes and Desserts on August 18, 2011 at 10:20 pm

    That pizza looks amazing! The crust is brown and perfect! Can’t believe you did that at home!


  61. Pam on August 18, 2011 at 10:55 pm

    I never before heard of doing the papertowel microwave thing to rid the pepperoni of pizza. Brilliant! Pepperoni pizza w/o the river of oil sounds fabulous. Thanks.


  62. janet@fromcupcakestocaviar on August 19, 2011 at 12:19 am

    Oh my this looks good! I loveeee pizza but rarely make it home made. Methinks I need to do so more often after seeing this.


  63. Valerie on August 20, 2011 at 6:39 pm

    I purcahsed Hormel Turkey Pepperoni, not as greasy and they taste great


  64. Kim Bee on August 20, 2011 at 7:44 pm

    This is my daughter’s fave. She works at a pizza place. Which is great as we order there once a week plus make our own at least once or twice a week. Love pizza here.


  65. Bev on November 22, 2013 at 2:53 pm

    Thanks for the recipe. I made it the other night and think this is my favorite crust. I also love the pepperoni suggestion – it works! However, while the sauce was good, I’m going to add a bit of sugar and salt next time to enhance the flavor.


  66. Keith on May 4, 2014 at 11:56 am

    Yum!!!! This looks delish! I have a question, can I use active dry yeast instead of instant? Because that’s the only one I have at home. Thank you!


    • Michelle on May 12th, 2014 at 10:23 am

      Hi Keith, You could, but you’ll need to active the yeast with warm water, and it will likely take a bit longer to rise.


  67. Addie on July 30, 2014 at 10:53 am

    Just finished making this and I have to say, that is THE BEST pizza crust I’ve ever made! Absolutely perfect and delicious!!!


  68. plasterer bristol on January 26, 2015 at 3:05 am

    Wow that looks do good, thanks for posting this recipe.



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