Does Pepperoni Need to Be Refrigerated? (Solved!)

A recent survey found that pepperoni is the most loved pizza topping in America. So, it wouldn’t be surprising if you’ve decided to stock up on pepperoni for your household.

But now you’ve run into a dilemma. How should pepperoni be stored? Does pepperoni need to be refrigerated or maybe even frozen, or none of the above?

Luckily, the answer you’re looking for is in this article. Here I’ll discuss if pepperoni needs to be refrigerated and how to store it correctly.

Does Pepperoni Have to Be Refrigerated?

The short answer is no. Unopened pepperoni does not require refrigeration unless indicated otherwise on the package.

This is due to the way pepperoni is made. The texture of pepperoni is achieved by air-drying the sausage.

Adding nitrates and salt to meat and storing it in the refrigerator is the method used for air-drying it. The meat is then air-dried again to give it its unique texture and flavor.

(The air-drying process also makes it safe to eat without having to cook it – click here to learn more).

This means that refrigeration is unnecessary for unopened packages.

However, an opened package should always be refrigerated.

Does Pepperoni Go Bad in the Fridge?

If the leftover pepperoni has air contact, it can go bad in the fridge.

So, if you want to keep the quality of your pepperoni, store it in sealed bags or containers.

How Long Does Pepperoni Last at Room Temperature?

Unopened pepperoni can be consumed within a month if stored at room temperature.

After that, it may still be edible, but the flavor and texture won’t be at their best.

Refrigerate pepperoni to extend its shelf life. It keeps its optimum quality for up to 10 months and is still edible beyond that period.

Related FAQ

Does Pepperoni Bread Need to Be Refrigerated?

If you have leftover pepperoni bread, it should be refrigerated. It can stay in the fridge for up to five days.

If it’s been in the fridge for a few days, always inspect the bread for signs that it has gone off before eating it.

Does Hormel Pepperoni Need to Be Refrigerated?

Hormel pepperoni should be used within three to give days.

After it’s been opened, it should be refrigerated and used within three weeks.

Does Sliced Pepperoni Need to Be Refrigerated?

Sliced pepperoni is usually sold refrigerated and should be kept cold at home as well.

Just like with whole pepperoni, you need to protect the leftovers from drying out once you open the packet. So, either use the original package or put the slices in a resealable bag.

How Long Does Pepperoni Last in the Freezer?

Pepperoni must be kept frozen at 0°C (32°F) at all times if it’s to be stored for the long term.

Keep in mind is that many brands of pepperoni do not recommend freezing, though. This is because they can’t guarantee that the sausage will be of acceptable quality after freezing.

However, if you follow correct freezer procedures, your pepperoni will usually freeze well.

Unless you plan on freezing and then using the entire stick in one go, it’s best to chop it into smaller pieces. You can simply defrost as much as you need this way.

Use aluminum foil, freezer wrap, or resealable freezer bags to freeze the pepperoni.


Is it safe to eat discolored pepperoni?

While some color change can be normal due to oxidation, if the pepperoni has turned a strange color, especially if accompanied by an off smell, it’s best to discard it.

Can I eat pepperoni that has mold on it?

No, if you see mold on your pepperoni, it’s a sign that it has spoiled and should be thrown away.

How can I tell if my pepperoni has gone bad?

Apart from visible mold, a sour or off-putting smell, a slimy texture, or discoloration are indicators that the pepperoni might be spoiled.

Is pepperoni gluten-free?

Most pepperoni is gluten-free, but it’s essential to check the packaging or contact the manufacturer, especially if you have a gluten intolerance or celiac disease.

How does vacuum-sealed packaging affect the shelf life of pepperoni?

Vacuum-sealing can extend the shelf life of pepperoni by reducing its exposure to air, which can promote bacterial growth. Always check the expiration date, even on vacuum-sealed packages.

Can I eat pepperoni while pregnant?

While pepperoni is cured, it’s recommended for pregnant women to avoid eating it raw due to the risk of listeria. Cooking it (like on a pizza) can make it safer to consume.

Is pepperoni suitable for a keto or low-carb diet?

Pepperoni is low in carbs, making it suitable for most keto or low-carb diets. However, always check the nutritional information as some brands might have added sugars or fillers.

Why does some pepperoni curl up when cooked on a pizza?

The curling is due to the casing or the outer skin of the pepperoni slice shrinking at a different rate than the meat inside when exposed to the high heat of the oven.

Is pepperoni spicy?

Traditional pepperoni has a mild spice to it, but there are variations like spicy pepperoni that offer more heat. Always check the label or description if you’re sensitive to spicy foods.

Can I use pepperoni as a topping for dishes other than pizza?

Absolutely! Pepperoni can be used in sandwiches, salads, wraps, baked dishes, and even as a snack on its own.

In Summary

The general rule is that unopened packages don’t need refrigeration, while opened ones need to be kept cool.

However, refrigerating the pepperoni will prolong its life without affecting its quality. Remember that air is the biggest enemy for opened pepperoni, and always store it in air-tight bags.

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