Best-Ever Pepperoni Pizza Recipe photo by Taste of Home
Total Time
Prep: 40 min. Bake: 10 min.
Hello, pepperoni pizza, and goodbye, expensive delivery! We'll show you how to make this classic pizza, including a surprise cheese-stuffed crust.

Updated: Mar. 21, 2024

Is there a more beloved pizza choice than pepperoni? Pepperoni pizza is such a simple upgrade to plain cheese, but what a difference a single ingredient can make! You might have to convince your family to try unique pizza ideas like clam pizza, but almost everyone can agree on a pepperoni pizza.

Lucky for all of us, pepperoni pizza is incredibly easy to make at home. You can use store-bought sauce and a premade pizza crust to keep things super-duper simple, but we recommend making your own from scratch. These homemade elements can make a pizza taste as good as the one from your favorite restaurant. If you’re worried about time, though, you can make the dough a day or two in advance. That way, you can whip up your homemade pepperoni pizza in a flash.

Pepperoni pizza with two slices on a plateTMB studio

Ingredients for Pepperoni Pizza

  • Sliced pepperoni: There are several different types of pepperoni, and they all work in this recipe. Full-sized pepperoni give a classic look and chewy texture. Mini pepperoni provide a fun visual appeal, and the tiny slices crisp up beautifully in the oven. Turkey pepperoni are a great option for those looking to avoid traditional pepperoni.
  • Italian cheese blend: This pre-shredded cheese blend creates a fun mix of flavors and textures. The blend typically contains mozzarella, provolone, Asiago, Parmesan and Romano cheeses. Feel free to swap in mozzarella cheese if you prefer to grate your own cheese.
  • Homemade pizza dough: We make our pizza dough from scratch with all-purpose flour, olive oil, quick-rise yeast, sugar, salt and water. It comes together in about 20 minutes, including rise time.
  • Homemade pizza sauce: This quick sauce is zesty and tangy, perfect for all your pizza recipes. We add a little cayenne pepper to give the pepperoni pizza a hint of spicy heat.
  • String cheese: This is our secret ingredient! We place string cheese inside the crust to make a stuffed crust pepperoni pizza.

Directions

Step 1: Make the dough

pizza dough in a red stand up mixerTMB studio

In a large bowl, dissolve the yeast in warm water. Add the sugar, salt, 2 tablespoons oil and 2-1/2 cups flour. Beat until smooth. Stir in enough remaining flour to form a soft dough. The dough will be slightly sticky.

Step 2: Knead the dough

kneading the pizza doughTMB studio

Turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface. Knead until smooth and elastic, six to eight minutes. Cover and let rest for 10 minutes.

Editor’s Tip: How do you know when you’re done kneading pizza dough? Gently poke the dough with your finger. The dough ball should spring back to its original shape. For a hands-off method, knead the dough with a stand mixer for about three minutes.

Step 3: Shape the crust

Preheat the oven to 425°F. On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough into a 15-inch circle. Transfer it to a greased 14-inch pizza pan, letting the dough drape over the edge.

making the pizza dough into a pizza shapeTMB studio

Cut the string cheese pieces in half lengthwise. Place the pieces around the edge of the pan.

putting cheese sticks on the pizza doughTMB studio

Fold the dough over the string cheese, and pinch to seal.

putting cheese sticks in the crust and folding the dough over the cheesesticksTMB studio

Editor’s Tip: Stuffed crust pizza is a little more work, but the results are worth it! To skip the stuffed crust, roll the dough into a 14-inch circle instead.

Step 4: Par-bake the crust

Prick the dough thoroughly with a fork. Brush it with the remaining oil, and sprinkle with Italian seasoning. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes or until golden brown.

Step 5: Prepare the pizza sauce

making sauce in a pan on a hot plateTMB studio

Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, combine the tomato sauce, sugar, olive oil, salt, garlic powder, dried oregano, lemon juice, dried thyme, dried basil and cayenne pepper. Bring to a boil. Reduce the heat, and simmer, uncovered, for 15 minutes.

Step 6: Top and bake the pizza

putting cheese on Pepperoni pizza TMB studio

Spread the pizza sauce over the crust. Arrange the pepperoni over top, and sprinkle with the Italian cheese blend. Bake for 10 to 15 minutes or until the cheese is melted.

Recipe Variations

  • Add additional toppings: Have fun with your pizza toppings. Pepperoni pizza tastes great with vegetables like onion, bell peppers and olives. You can also add meats like cooked sausage. To add a little heat, top the pizza with sliced jalapenos or crushed red pepper flakes. You can also drizzle pepperoni pizza with “swicy” hot honey just before serving.
  • Make the crust crispy: Use a pizza stone in the oven to crisp up the edges of your pizza crust. These stones also work well on the grill to make grilled pizza. If you’re ready to take your pizza-making skills to the next level, use an outdoor pizza oven like the Ooni pizza oven.
  • Change the pizza dough: Pepperoni tastes great on any type of pizza, whether it’s pretzel crust pizza, whole wheat pizza dough or cauliflower pizza crust. You can also make deep-dish pepperoni pizza in a cast-iron skillet with this deep-dish pizza dough recipe, or press it into a baking pan to make a Sicilian-style pizza.

Can you make pepperoni pizza ahead of time?

You can make the pizza dough up to two days in advance. Store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Yeast doughs continue to rise as they sit, so leave room in the container for the dough to expand. When you’re ready to use, let the dough sit on the counter for 30 minutes to warm up.

To make the pizza sauce ahead of time, let it cool completely. Store it in the refrigerator in an airtight container for up to four days.

How to Store Pepperoni Pizza

Store leftover pepperoni pizza in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to four days. Reheat leftover pizza on a preheated baking sheet in the oven or a skillet on the stovetop.

Can you freeze pepperoni pizza?

We don’t recommend freezing pepperoni pizza. It just won’t taste as good after it thaws. However, you can freeze the pizza dough in an airtight container for up to one month. Freeze homemade pizza sauce for up to 12 months. To use, thaw in the refrigerator overnight. Then prepare and bake the pizza as directed.

Pepperoni Pizza Tips

Pepperoni pizza with two slices on a plateTMB studio

How do you make homemade pizza dough for pepperoni pizza?

You can make homemade pizza dough in a stand mixer, or you can knead the dough by hand. The process is surprisingly easy. Simply combine flour, water, yeast, salt, sugar and olive oil. Then knead the dough until it’s smooth. Finally, cover the bowl, and let the dough rise.

What is stuffed crust pizza?

Stuffed crust pizza features cheese or other ingredients rolled up inside the crust. It’s a tasty, melty surprise! We use string cheese because it has a uniform shape that’s easy to roll inside the edges of the pizza crust. You can use any block cheese to make a stuffed crust. Or skip the extra step, and make this a regular pepperoni pizza. Your choice!

Watch how to Make Best-Ever Pepperoni Pizza

Homemade Pepperoni Pizza

Prep Time 40 min
Cook Time 10 min
Yield 8 slices.

Ingredients

  • 1 package (1/4 ounce) quick-rise yeast
  • 1 cup warm water (120° to 130°)
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons olive oil, divided
  • 2-1/2 to 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 4 pieces string cheese
  • 1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • SAUCE:
  • 1 can (8 ounces) tomato sauce
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1/8 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/8 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • TOPPINGS:
  • 1 package (3 ounces) sliced pepperoni
  • 2 cups shredded Italian cheese blend

Directions

  1. In a large bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water. Add the sugar, salt, 2 tablespoons oil and 2-1/2 cups flour. Beat until smooth. Stir in enough remaining flour to form a soft dough (dough will be sticky).
  2. Turn onto a lightly floured surface; knead until smooth and elastic, about 6-8 minutes. Cover and let rest 10 minutes.
  3. On a lightly floured surface, roll dough into a 15-in. circle. Transfer to a greased 14-in. pizza pan, letting dough drape over the edge. Cut string cheese pieces in half lengthwise; place around edge of pan. Fold dough over string cheese; pinch to seal.
  4. Prick dough thoroughly with a fork. Brush with remaining oil; sprinkle with Italian seasoning. Bake at 425° for 10-12 minutes or until golden brown.
  5. In a small saucepan, combine the sauce ingredients. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, for 15 minutes. Spread over crust. Arrange pepperoni over top; sprinkle with Italian cheese blend. Bake for 10-15 minutes or until cheese is melted.

Nutrition Facts

1 slice: 392 calories, 19g fat (9g saturated fat), 39mg cholesterol, 879mg sodium, 36g carbohydrate (5g sugars, 2g fiber), 16g protein.

You’ll love working with the dough, the cheesy surprise inside the crust and the jazzed-up sauce in this pie. —Scottie Orr-Wedeven, Grand Rapids, Michigan