If you are from anywhere near West Virginia or western Pennsylvania, chances are good that you’ve heard of (or eaten!) pepperoni bread (sometimes also called pepperoni rolls). It was pretty much a staple at my grandma’s house when I was a kid. Walking into her kitchen and seeing mounds of pepperoni bread stacked all over her counter was like Christmas morning. Needless to say, they didn’t last long at all at her house. What we didn’t devour while we were there was divvied up between my family and our cousins to eat at home.
Words truly do not do justice to how absolutely, positively in love my family was with my grandma’s pepperoni bread.
I also cannot tell you how utterly elated I was when I found out early on in our courtship that my Chief Culinary Consultant’s mom also made pepperoni bread. I’ve only made it a handful of times myself, so I’m always ecstatic when I find out that his mom is making a batch.
Pepperoni bread was one of the earliest recipes ever posted here on Brown Eyed Baker, but it was terribly vague and in desperate need of a makeover. Any excuse to make pepperoni bread!
Now, a few notes about the recipe:
- My grandma (and my mother-in-law) used Rhodes frozen bread dough. I highly recommend it. I know. You could totally make your own dough. I have. It’s fine, but it’s not the same, and sometimes you just want what you’ve loved since you were four years old, right?
- When my grandma first told me how she made hers, she said she would get two rolls out of one loaf of bread dough. However, mine seemed to come out quite bigger than I remember hers. It doesn’t really matter, but if you’d prefer smaller rolls, you could certainly divide the dough into three or even four pieces.
- Feel free to adjust the amounts of pepperoni and cheese, and use more or less of either based on your personal preferences. You could also add/substitute other meats like salami or different cheeses (although in our family it’s straight pepperoni and mozzarella; I do make one roll with the addition of green olives for my Chief Culinary Consultant because he loves them).
- You will almost certainly find that some pepperoni and/or cheese spilled out of the side of some of your loaves. Embrace it. As kids, we used to fight over who would get the roll with all of the cheese stuck to the outside. I have yet to meet pepperoni bread without at least a little “seepage”.
- My family always kept these (and ate them) at room temperature, but my Chief Culinary Consultant’s family refrigerates them and reheats them. You could do either.
- If you have a pizza stone, you could bake the pepperoni bread on there, as they would get a crispier bottom, which I love (my grandma always made hers on VERY seasoned baking sheets).
If you like pepperoni pizza, these will be right up your alley. It’s basically pizza without the sauce!
I love the memory of seeing pepperoni bread in my grandma’s kitchen; I need to make them appear in mine more often!
One year ago: Crab Rangoon
Two years ago: No-Bake Banana Split Dessert
Three years ago: Broccoli Salad
Four years ago: Rock n’ Roll Baby Onesie Cookies
- 3 pound (1.36 kg) package Rhodes frozen bread dough
- 12 to 14 ounces (340.2 g) sliced pepperoni
- 24 ounces (680.39 g) shredded mozzarella
- Follow package instructions for thawing/rising frozen bread dough.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat; set aside.
- Cut each loaf of dough in half and work with one piece at a time, keeping the remaining pieces covered under plastic wrap that has been coated with non-stick cooking spray. Roll the dough into a thin rectangle about 7 inches by 12 inches. Cover the surface with sliced pepperoni, then sprinkle shredded mozzarella over top. Starting with a long side, roll the dough up tightly and pinch the seams and ends to seal. Place on the prepared baking sheet and repeat with remaining pieces of dough.
- Bake until golden brown, 35 to 45 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool a bit before serving. The pepperoni rolls can be served warm or at room temperature. Store leftover pepperoni rolls in resealable plastic bags at room temperature or in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. The rolls can also be frozen, wrapped in plastic wrap and aluminum foil, for up to 1 month.
Did you make this recipe?
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Forgive me if this was asked already, but I baked and then froze half my pepperoni rolls – any thoughts on best way to reheat? Should we thaw first or bake from frozen? Thanks!
I’ve been making these family-favorite pepperoni rolls for 30+years, as you describe, with a few exceptions: I use a whole loaf per roll, I allow the rolls to rise for 30 minutes after filling & rolling (makes all the difference – puffy & soft), and I bake them two-to-a-sheet at 350°F for only 25 minutes! They are beautifully browned & baked through in that amount of time. Sometimes I brush them with an egg wash before baking (sometimes sprinkling oregano or Good Seasons Italian dressing mix over the egg wash), and sometimes I lightly flour them (my Chief Culinary Consultant’s favorite). Great recipe, no matter how you make them!
These are delicious!!!! Thank You for sharing the recipe!!! I will be making these regularly!
This recipe is perfect! The only thing I did different was to add a little bit of shredded asiago cheese. It takes it to another flavor level!@
I can’t find Rhodes pizza dough (live in the south). What else can I use in its place. ( not interested in making dough)
My boys like salami so we make ours with pepperoni salami and mozzarell cheese. Has a lot more flavor. We use one whole loaf of Rhodes and they are big and delicious!
I made this on my own, then looked up recipe, lol. I put cheese first then pepperoni, rolled. I brushed with egg wash, then sprinkled with cheddar cheese. Top browned great, but bottom was light brown. An idea you can perfect!!
Michelle, I have been making your pepperoni rolls since shortly after we moved back to Pittsburgh. I work in a nursing home and with Covid we are working under trying circumstances. When I told my coworkers that I would bring lasagna rolls for Christmas Eve they requested pepperoni rolls also. Done! Just wanted you to know you made some over worked essential workers happy! Merry Christmas!
Oh Connie, thank YOU and all of your coworkers for all you have been doing! Merry Christmas to you!
Could you use crescent roll dough instead?
Hi Chris, I’ve never tried it! Sounds like it would be delicious, just unsure of how it would hold up against the filling. If you try it, let me know!
Thank you for sharing! We had never heard of this in the Pacific Northwest. It is now a family favorite and a new tradition
Hi! Can’t wait to make these! If I make ahead and refrigerate, how long would you recommend heating up again in the oven? Thanks!!
I am from southwestern Pa! Making these tomorrow! What town are you from?
Hi Mindy, I’m from the Pittsburgh suburbs! Enjoy the bread!
Wonder if letting dough rise before baking would eliminate the “air pocket”. Or what the trick is. On the British baking show they are frowned upon for air gaps. But we love the pepperoni rolls no mater how they turn out. Lol
Wanting to take this to a potluck at work and was wondering if I could keep it warm in a crock pot or am I better off serving cold??
Hi Denise, Serving it cold or at room temperature is just fine, no need for a crock pot.
I love pep bread
The pepperoni bread we got from bakeries on the east coast in PA and NJ growing up were in nice slim, not thick, logs of real Italian bread that was kind of crusty. This recipe looks wonderful, but I can tell from what you’re using for bread it’s not for me. I don’t enjoy soft thick breads that seem doughy and require a lot of work and manipulation. The Pillsbury pizza dough requires no prep other than spreading it out by hand onto cookie sheet. They have a recipe online that works well. When rolling the pizza crust & pepperoni up to put in oven, I roll a long narrow log. When I’m in a hurry I use THIN Pillsbury pizza crust in the tube and it is surprisingly good. I do add cheese nowadays, but didn’t often see cheese in original pepperoni bread when I was young. I also like to let the bread get totally cool, after baking, eat a slice, then I store it in frig. Later, when I want a slice or two, I put slices on pan in toaster oven and warm up the cold bread again at 350 for 10 min or so to heat it up and make crust a little snappy. SO GOOD! Seems to taste even better the second time I bake it.
Lived in West Virginia for about 20 years and they do have the best Pepperoni Rolls and Hot Dogs. I have made these rolls hundreds of times and this recipe is just fine. If you want to make life easier the buy Sandwich Pepperoni from your deli and have it sliced thin. It tastes great and cuts the prep time way down from having to slice those little tubes of pepperoni and the deli pepperoni is cheaper I believe. I also have a dish of warmed Prego to dip the roll in…so good.
Looks delish, HOWEVER, the original pepperoni rolls/bread never had cheese. I grew up in WV. Many relatives, including my father, were coal miners, which is what these were created for in the 1920’s. I have never seen cheese in this simple delicious treat. Not homemade nor made in the town bakeries.
If you add cheese it should be called a Stromboli. ☺ Delicious as well, but not a Pepperoni Roll. ☺
I grew up in WV. High school lunch break meant a walk to the local bakery for pepperoni bread. I have not made it in years, now will have to give it a go. Thanks!
This recipe is a snap using the frozen dough and great instructions. The flavor is wonderful. I could even imagine these sliced and served with a bowl of soup!
Love the original recipe with the homemade dough. Seems to have disappeared from the site. Is it still available?
Hi Bonnie, Is this the one you’re looking for? https://www.browneyedbaker.com/soft-cheese-and-pepperoni-bread/
Do these need to do a second rise after you roll them up or do you just roll up and then immediately bake them? Thanks!
Hi Kelly, No second rise needed, just roll and bake!
The original pepperoni rolls were made at the Country Club Bakery in Fairmont, WV in 1927 as a lunch option for the coal miners. If you are from WV you know they are called pepperoni rolls and not pepperoni bread. Most pepperoni rolls are plain, without cheese. They also used two pepperoni sticks that ran the the length of the roll. I’m from Fairmont, WV and grew up on them, getting them either from the Country Club Bakery or Colasessano’s in Fairmont. Thank you for sharing your family recipe. Brings back such fond memories.
I wanted to make this recipe this evening. I have 2 rolls currently unthawing. I had a quick question. I am trying to get a good gauge on how many servings per pizza roll. I will be feeding 6 people tonight, 4 of which are teenagers. Originally I thought I would not split the loafs into 2 each, but that might be a better way to assure I am feeding the masses. Any direction would be great. Thank you.
Hi Michelle! I think I would split them; in all honesty, if I’m hungry I could totally eat half of a roll myself, no problem. When we have these out for appetizers, they go super fast. So if you’re feeding teenagers, I’d split it into more rolls so everyone gets some :) You could also slice them into narrower pieces so it takes a little more time to go through each roll :) I hope that helps!
These are absolutely delicious! The recipe is a keeper. My family loved them!
Not sure if you will even get this question since this is an old recipe but I will try anyways: do you have an estimate on how long it takes to thaw? And do we let the dough rise as well? The instructions on the package of dough aren’t super clear. (I am in CA so I can’t get the same brand of dough)
I ask because this looks like an awesome make ahead dinner to bring to our concert in the park when I am coming straight from work and won’t have time to pick up take out. I want to see if I have enough time to make it after work tonight to pack for tomorrow. (it won’t work if it takes like 3-4 hours to thaw and rise dough).
Thanks for the great recipes and your efforts for answering questions! :)
Hi Jaime, The exact time will depend on the temperature and humidity of your kitchen, but it will likely take longer than 3-4 hours to thaw, rise, and assemble/bake. So sorry that won’t work for you!
Nice Information .I think I would love this and my boyfriend most definitely too.
I can’t believe how much Rhodes bread made a difference in this recipe. My husband and I grew up in western pa but have lived near DC for almost 16 years now and I started to make pep bread years ago because we so t get back home to often anymore. I just wish mine came out as airy as your recipe does, not sure what I’m doing differently.
Amazingly simple, totally delicious
Love this! Happy Spring!
These are soooooo a-mazing! Whenever I “hem or haw” about what to make for supper my husband now says, “pizza rolls!” – EVERYTIME – (that’s the name they’ve taken on in our house). We spread a thin layer of pizza sauce on ours, along with fine chopped jalapenos and use turkey pepperoni to keep greasiness down. Then sprinkle with oregano, garlic powder, fresh ground pepper and chili flakes to get that regular pepperoni spiciness. Our house smells like a pizzeria when these are in the oven – my husband and I are drooling halfway through the bake time. Thanks for this great recipe… it’s a hit every time and a regular now in my wheelhouse :)
Around here a popular thing is also sausage bread — exact same concept using crumbled cooked Italian or breakfast sausage. I use way less cheese and usually throw in some sautéed peppers and onions even with a pepperoni bread. They’re all yummy!
I love pepperoni bread. i live in North Carolina so hope I can find Rhodes bread!
Walmart carries Rhodes Frozen bread
My husband’s WV/western PA family eats pepperoni bread often. I’d never heard of it until I married into the family. My MIL (and her now deceased mother) only put pepperoni in theirs. Love pepperoni bread no matter what! I haven’t tried to make it as I’d hate my husband to be disappointed. It’s a favorite snack that his Nanni used to make. I think I’ll leave his memory of this with her and let his mom carry on the tradition.
OMG these were just like home… I grew up in WV but left when I was 13 and I have really been wanting a pepperoni roll lately I live in NE now and have for the last 15 years and I can’t find them anywhere here. Ty so much for posting this!
I have been making these for years especially at Christmas as gifts for friends. I add a couple extra ingredients –diced green peppers and cooked sweet sausage. We all look forward to them. You can also use pizza dough OR bread dough. I’ve done both with equal success.
I have made this recipe with Rhodes rolls delicious I brush the top with butter, garlic salt and oregano once cooked. Warmed pizza sauce on the side. My teenagers eat about 6 rolls each this bread will be a quicker version.
Making your recipe today. Adults love these as much as kids.
I so just pinned this & will be making it soon. We are huge lovers of pepperoni bread in this house!
I had never heard of pepperoni bread prior to this blog. I immediately went and bought all the ingredients and make a couple loaves late last night. I highly recommend this recipe. It’s easy, simple to make and addictive. One loaf is already gone.
This looks like fun spin off of pizza! I make some very similar to these except I cut the rolls to make them like pinwheels/cinnamon rolls. I might give your recipe a try though. On most Fridays we do family night with homemade pizza, but this could be a fun alternative! Thanks for sharing!
Yum! Wish I had some of that for dinner.
Just wow, delicious and easy to make, these pepperoni rolls are on my weekend to do list. Your blog is amazing.
I’ve never heard of pepperoni bread before, but this sounds DELISH! I think I would love this and my boyfriend most definitely too. I’m adding this recipe to my “to-bake” list!
This looks amazing!! So good!
This is new to me…wish I had known of something like this when my kids were growing up. I am sure the grandboys will love them! And probably the husband, too. Thanks.
Never had these, but can see this as the perfect snack for when kids’ friends are over after school! Thanks!
These remind me of strombolis I used to buy at a local Italian deli. Rhodes frozen dough is terrific! I’ve never “killed” it like I do when I try to make bread from scratch. Jeff Mauro on FN made a similar recipe that his grandmother in Chicago made.
I first had Pepperoni bread some 30 years ago from a local Annapolis bakery. After they went out of business, I was sooo upset that I wouldn’t be able to buy this bread anymore! I stumbled across the Rhodes bread recipe and have been making it ever since; but I must say it’s only a substitute for what that bakery made. I believe the secret was in their dough. It was a little softer, thinner, and definitely sweeter than the Rhodes. I was never willing to experiment with doughs to find something comparable, so my kids have grown up on the Rhodes version. So far, no complaints. If anyone has any ideas or recipes on doughs that meet the description above, please share!
My track teammates and I never missed an after-meet pepperoni roll…NW PA high school (15+ years agp) Now I live in SW PA and make them regularly for my gang. Always leave a party with an empty tupperware if I make these. Thanks for the recipe!
this looks THE perfect cheesy, carby fix! yum!!
These look wonderful. If I were to freeze them, would I cook them first for the full amount of time, cook for a smaller time, or freeze raw and cook for a longer time when I pull them out? Thanks!
Hi Rachel, I bake them the whole way, then once they are cool, if you want to freeze any, do so then.
Your blog is AMAZING!!!!! I love your recipes, your pictures, and your stories!! I visit almost every day–you are bookmarked !!
I had no idea these were considered a regional thing. My mom made this all the time and almost exactly like this. Frozen bread dough and everything. The only change was that under the pepperoni was a good dousing of garlic butter and on top of the cheese was plenty of oregano and crushed red pepper. DELICIOUS! I may have to make this bread this weekend!!
My mother-in-law does the oregano in hers; I like the idea of the crushed red pepper, I’m going to try that next time!
I’m from the Youngstown, OH area and am amazed that this is a “local” thing. I can’t imagine life without pepperoni rolls!! Or cookie tables at weddings for that matter, but that’s a whole other post…
How the rest of the world survives without cookie tables at weddings is beyond me! I was actually at a baby shower last Sunday, and they had a cookie table there :)
I feel a little cheated that my life has not yet involved pepperoni bread, because oh my lans, it looks so good. Will be changing that ASAP!
I have someone who would love pepperoni bread. When I make this I would like to use a from scratch bread dough. Can you suggest a good bread dough recipe to use as a substitute for the frozen bread dough? Have a wonderful day! :)
Hi Lenore, Here is a version I did from scratch: https://www.browneyedbaker.com/2009/11/09/soft-cheese-and-pepperoni-bread/. Enjoy!
Used to buy a version of these when in school in Lake City, Michigan. Used to be a line out the door at the bakery every day.The ones I bought also had a schmear of marinara sauce and no cheese in them. Thank you for the memories and the recipe.Pinning , printing and liking this one.
Love this! I grew up in WV and was SHOCKED upon learning my NC-bred husband had never heard of them! What the..? We never had cheese in them, and were typically made with the sticks of Pepperoni rather than slices, but any version is good for me now that they aren’t available at my beckon call anymore!
My co-worker makes these all the time! So fabulous and savory! I can make a meal out of the bread and a little marinara sauce for dipping :)
This recipe looks like an instant ‘keeper’ at our house. Can you clarify which direction you cut the dough in half? I am assuming you cut across the log, but then again….
Hi Robby, Yes, I just cut straight across, although it technically doesn’t matter much since you’re going to roll it out anyway.
oh my gawd, love this!!! Brilliant!
bread and pepperoni, what could be bad! lol
What about if you want to use dough from scratch? Just make your usual pizza dough recipe?
Hi Joe, I have a version from scratch here: https://www.browneyedbaker.com/2009/11/09/soft-cheese-and-pepperoni-bread/. I wouldn’t use pizza dough for these, they really are more of a soft white bread.
I use my mom’s pizza dough recipe, and it works great! I make a double batch, and then divide up into roll size balls to roll out flat then add the mozzarella and the pepperoni. Then roll up ( i fold the ends in as i go for less cheese leakage, lol Just made them last night! More work, but worth it to me! And For the record, i live in WV now, and have mastered the pepperoni roll!! 😁😁😁
Cheese, bread, pepperoni… what’s not to love?!
I haven’t come across these before but they look too delicious not to try! I like to make my bread dough from scratch but I do have a bread machine that takes out most of the hard work :-)
I lived in West Virginia for 9 months and learned to make these with the frozen bread dough. They are delicious and easy to make. I highly recommend this recipe. Thank you for sharing!
Looks so delicious ! Comfort food at its best!