Why Does Pepperoni Curl? (Solved!)

If you like your pizza with pepperoni, you’ve probably noticed that sometimes the pepperoni curls up and forms into a cup shape while getting a nice crusty edge.

But why does pepperoni curl? What contributes to this process also known as “cupping”? Could it be the oven’s temperature, baking duration, the type of heat source, and/or the directions for preparing the dish? Or could it be the percentage of fat in the product itself?

The short answer is that pepperoni curls due to the heat at which you are cooking it, the percentage of fat it contains, and the thickness of the pepperoni slice.

In this article, I’ll discuss why pepperoni curls, in addition to some of the best cupping pepperoni brands on the market.

why does pepperoni curl

Why Do Some Pepperonis Curl Up?

To make it easier to answer the question of why some pepperoni curls up, I’ve divided the reasons for it into three main categories.


One of the critical steps in preparing a pizza with curled pepperoni is cooking.

During baking, a thermal difference between the top and bottom of the pepperoni causes the slice to curl – meaning that pepperoni will curl if the heat is more intense from one side than the other.

To understand this, we must first see how the pepperoni is laid out on the pizza.

Slices are placed on top of the pizza with the other ingredients; the heat from underneath is partly reduced due to the pizza base itself.

As a result, pepperoni will absorb more heat from above than below.

Moisture and fat will melt and escape from the edges quicker than from the center, causing the edges to shrink.

Once the pepperoni begins to curl, its edges will rise a little, and they will start to cook quicker on their own, amplifying the curling effect.

Pepperoni slices will bend in the direction of the stronger heat source.

Slice’s Thickness and Fat Percentage

Now that we’ve figured out how baking affects pepperoni curling, let’s see what the fat percentage and thickness of the slice have to do with it.

Curling’s fundamental premise relates to fat rendering.

Because some pepperoni brands have less fat than others, choosing a brand with a higher fat content will give you the most curl (though will leave you with a greasier pizza).

The thickness of the piece affects the thermal difference between the top and the bottom. The thicker the piece, the greater the temperature difference will be.

The optimal thickness of the pepperoni piece is between three and five millimeters.

If you like to cut thicker pieces, find pepperoni with a greater fat percentage. This will ensure that the pepperoni curls nicely.

Cupping Pepperoni Brands

Next, I’ll point out cupping pepperoni brands that I believe are ideal for your table. Note that I’ve saved the greatest option for last.

Read on to see what I consider to be the best cupping pepperoni brands.

Boar’s Head

The first pepperoni brand to consider is Boar’s Head.

Boar’s Head products are manufactured to exacting standards that are hard to come by nowadays. All the company’s products, including pepperoni, are gluten-free and made with the finest ingredients.

Boar’s Head Pepperoni is a flavorful combination of pork, beef, and spices that have been cured using only the proven methods.

They come in a natural casing and have a slightly smokey flavor.

Below I’ve listed some characteristics that make this product stand out.

  • Gluten-free
  • Milk free
  • No artificial color
  • No caramel color
  • No MSG added

Margherita Meats

Margherita Pepperoni is expertly seasoned for superior quality and flavor, making it great for pizza toppings, omelets, macaroni salads, and even just as a snack.

It has an irresistible aroma with perfect texture and an ideal fat-to-meat ratio.

Margherita Pepperoni comes in a natural casing that comes off easily.

When used as pizza toppings, this pepperoni cooks perfectly, which results in crusty edges and a curled-up cup shape.

Although the taste is quite balanced, it’s worth noting that this pepperoni is a bit spicier.

Ingredients used in Margherita Pepperoni are pork, beef, salt, 2% or fewer flavorings, lactic acid starter culture, oleoresin of paprika, sodium nitrite, spices, BHA, BHT, citric acid.

Hormel’s Cup N’ Crisp Pepperoni

Among all the items on the market, one brand of pepperoni indeed stands out for its quality and flavor. It comes from America’s number one pepperoni brand Hormel, called Cup N’ Crisp Pepperoni.

Hormel’s Cup N’ Crisp Pepperoni, sometimes known as “Roni cups” or “Cup and char,” is the premium pizza topping designed to form a cup shape, delivering a sensation that no other retail pepperoni can match.

Cup N’ Crisp is powerfully flavored and precisely created to get the correct cupping and the optimal crisp. So while making pizza at home, you can experience amazing, restaurant-quality flavors at your kitchen table.

This pepperoni product may be baked in the oven, on a pizza stone, or even grilled to perfection.

If you bake it according to the package guidelines, it will form the desired cup shape and have a nice crisp edge.

Hormel has found the perfect balance so that their sliced ​​pepperoni is neither too thin nor too thick.

High-quality ingredients and a spiced flavor are the recognizable features of Hormel’s pepperoni.

It’s worth noting that the resealable bag makes it simple to keep pepperoni fresh for later use.

In Summary

Cupping pepperoni, usually associated with Buffalo-style pizza, has become increasingly popular in recent years in pizza recipes across the United States, most notably in New York City.

The reason behind why pepperoni curls is actually pretty simple. When pepperoni is cooked on a pizza, the surface of the pepperoni is exposed to the oven’s air. It warms up faster than the rest.

This temperature disbalance causes the pepperoni to curl.

With the right thickness and balanced fat content, your pepperoni slices will always curl up in the desired way.

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