What Goes Well With Pepperoni?

Learn what dishes best accompany pepperoni for a savory experience.
Sliced pepperoni displayed with other ingredients like pizza dough.
Pepperoni with Other Ingredients – A Classic Favorite with a Twist.

Pepperoni, a type of salami made from cured pork and beef mixed with paprika or other chili pepper, is a popular ingredient in many dishes, especially pizza.

Its spicy, slightly smoky flavor can add a punch to a variety of recipes.

Close-up view of thinly sliced pepperoni.

Fruits and Vegetables

Tomatoes: Tomatoes’ acidity neutralizes pepperoni’s richness, resulting in a harmonious pairing seen in pizzas and pasta dishes.

Bell Peppers: Bell peppers’ sweetness beautifully complements pepperoni’s spicy notes, enhancing stir-fries or pizza toppings.

Onions: Onions bring sweetness and crunch, enhancing the texture and flavor contrast in pepperoni pizzas and sandwiches.

Pineapple: Though contentious for some, pineapple’s sweetness can moderate pepperoni’s spice, especially on pizza.

Olives: The salty and briny olives make a delectable pairing with rich, fatty pepperoni, as seen in antipasto platters.

Herbs and Spices

Oregano: A classic match in Italian cuisine, oregano adds earthiness that flatters the spiciness of pepperoni.

Basil: Fresh basil leaves introduce a sweet, peppery nuance that aligns well with pepperoni, particularly as a pizza topping.

Garlic: Garlic’s strong flavor harmonizes with the boldness of pepperoni across various dishes.

Chili Flakes: If you crave more heat, chili flakes can elevate pepperoni’s natural spiciness.

Rosemary: Its robust, pine-like taste complements pepperoni in roasts and stews.


Mozzarella: Its mild, creamy flavor mellows pepperoni’s spice, making it a classic on pizza.

Cheddar: Cheddar’s sharpness contrasts well with pepperoni’s richness in sandwiches and casseroles.

Parmesan: Grated Parmesan adds salty, nutty notes, accentuating pepperoni in pasta and pizzas.

Ricotta: This creamy cheese tempers the spicy and fatty characteristics of pepperoni in dishes like lasagna.

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Pizza Dough: Yeasty and slightly sweet, it’s the ideal canvas for spicy pepperoni.

Pasta: The neutral taste of pasta highlights the flavor of pepperoni, whether in spaghetti, penne, or lasagna.

Bread: Bread, absorbing pepperoni’s oils, enhances its flavor in sandwiches and toasties.

Rice: With stir-fries or fried rice, rice grains soak in pepperoni’s flavor for a scrumptious meal.


Chicken: Pepperoni spices up the mild taste of chicken in casseroles or stuffed recipes.

Beef: Ground beef and pepperoni meld together in pasta sauces or stuffed peppers.

Sausage: Combine sausage with pepperoni for a meaty feast in pizzas, pastas, or stews.

Beans: The earthiness of beans aligns with pepperoni’s richness in soups, stews, or chili.


Wine: Robust reds like Chianti or Zinfandel can handle pepperoni’s strong flavor.

Beer: A hoppy IPA or rich stout complements the meat’s spicy and fatty notes.

Pickles: The tanginess of pickles cuts through pepperoni’s richness for a balanced bite.

Mustard: Mustard’s sharp, tangy profile complements spicy pepperoni, often in sandwiches.

Honey: A drizzle of honey on pepperoni pizza tempers the meat’s spiciness with a hint of sweetness.

Author’s Take

Pepperoni is a multifaceted ingredient that goes beyond its famous role in pizzas. Its dynamic flavor profile makes it a versatile partner to a variety of fruits, vegetables, herbs, spices, dairy products, grains, proteins, and even beverages.

Whether you’re a culinary adventurer or a comfort-food enthusiast, the rich and spicy taste of pepperoni offers a world of possibilities for exploration and enjoyment.

Experiment with some of these pairings to discover new dimensions of this beloved ingredient, and let your taste buds revel in the culinary creativity that pepperoni inspires.

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