Does Pepperoni Go Bad? (And How Long Can It Last)

Does Pepperoni Go Bad

Pepperoni is a type of sausage traditionally made from ground or chopped pork and beef that is mixed with salt, garlic, black pepper, red pepper flakes, paprika, sugar, and other seasonings. It’s usually served as part of an Italian-style pizza along with tomato sauce and mozzarella cheese. Due to its high-fat content, if not handled properly and kept at the correct temperature, pepperoni can go bad. So does pepperoni go bad?

According to the USDA, pepperoni can last indefinitely in the fridge and for up to six weeks in a pantry. After opening, pepperoni will last up to three weeks. Shelf life will vary based on the recipe of the pepperoni and preservatives used. Bad pepperoni will be slimy and have a bad smell and should be discarded.

Below you’ll find more detailed information about pepperoni shelf life and storage, whether it can be frozen, and how long does pepperoni last in the fridge.

Does Pepperoni Go Bad Over Time?

Pepperoni can go bad, and you must know if the one you have in your fridge is still safe to eat. A pepperoni stick will last indefinitely in the refrigerator and for up to six weeks in a pantry if unopened.

Pepperoni should be refrigerated after opening and will last about three weeks. As expected, bad or spoiled pepperoni will show signs of mold growth after approximately 21 days after the best-by date. Any slime should be avoided because it could indicate bacterial growth, which means it isn’t safe to consume anymore.

Does Pepperoni Have Gluten?

Pepperoni is often confused with salami because they are both types of cured meats, but their difference lies in their taste. Salami has more flavor, whereas pepperoni tastes sweeter due to the addition of sugar during the curing process. Color-wise too, there’s a huge difference between the two. While pepperoni is red, salami tends to be more brownish-yellow.

Pepperoni is made from cured meat, spices and contains antioxidant preservatives. It can have gluten in it, making it unsuitable for consumption by people with celiac disease or an intolerance to gluten. Wheat derives binders are often used in the recipe for many processed types of meat, including pepperoni. Some brands produce gluten-free pepperoni but check the label before buying.

How Can You Tell If Pepperoni Has Gone Bad?

The USDA says that you should throw away any pepperoni that has been opened for more than three weeks. If you’re not sure whether your pepperoni has gone bad, here are some red flags to look for:

  • Slimy texture, which is a sign of mold growth
  • Bad smell
  • A gray or white coloring on the exterior surface

If you find any mold growing on your product after opening it, you know there’s something wrong with it. This means it’s also no longer safe to consume. While pepperoni isn’t usually sold in single slices, this would be one way to tell if your product is expired without opening it first! The smell can be a good indicator if you’re unsure since spoiled pepperoni will typically have a bad smell even before the mold growth begins.

How to Properly Store Pepperoni

Proper storage is key to ensuring your pepperoni is fresh for as long as possible.

  1. Unopened pepperoni can be stored in a pantry for years if in a dark place at a low temperature.
  2. Once opened, store pepperoni in an airtight container or Ziploc bag and store it in the fridge. If unopened, the fridge will extend its life even further.
  3. It’s not necessary to keep pepperoni in the freezer unless you like it extremely cold and want to preserve freshness for as long as possible when eating it later.

Does Pepperoni Go in The Fridge?

If opened, pepperoni should go into the fridge and seal to prevent air from getting to it.

Does Pepperoni go Bad at Room Temperature?

Unopened pepperoni can be stored at room temperature for years in a dry location. Once opened, it should be kept in the fridge as leaving it at room temperature can start the decomposition process much faster. If you need to leave it out at room temperature, ensure it is not longer than four hours. After this, the bacterium can start to grow from exposure to air.

Does Pepperoni Go Bad After Opening?

Yes, if opened, pepperoni will start to go bad as it has been exposed to air. To ensure it will last, wrap it up and store it in the fridge, where it will last for up to three weeks. It can also be stored in the freezer to prolong freshness for longer. It should not be stored at room temperature even though it is cured meat.

Can You Get Sick from Old Pepperoni?

Yes, you can get sick from eating old pepperoni since this product is only safe to eat within the first few weeks after being opened. Never eat it if it smells or looks off because that’s a sign of spoilage which could be caused by harmful bacteria growing inside the meat. This bacterium can give you food poisoning, among other issues. Check for any foul smell or sliminess as these are also signs of rancid pepperoni.

Is Pepperoni Bad for You?

Pepperoni is not healthy. It is high in saturated fat, which can lead to weight gain and cause heart conditions and raise LDL cholesterol. It also has a high amount of sodium, typically around 450 milligrams per ounce. Pepperoni also contains nitrates added to preserve the meat. The nitrates will also curb the growth of bacteria. Large amounts of nitrates can cause methemoglobinemia, a type of anemia.

Alternatives to Pepperoni

As mentioned above, pepperoni isn’t exactly healthy; luckily, we have a list of some alternatives that you can enjoy.

The New Primal Classic Beef Meat Stick

The New Primal Classic Beef Meat Stick, Whole30 Approved, Paleo, Keto, Pantry Staple, Certified Gluten Free, Low Carb, High Protein Snack, Sugar Free, Grass-fed Beef, 1 oz, Pack of 20 If you enjoy pepperoni as a snack and want to stay away from snacks packed with who knows what, try these meat sticks from the New Primal. These beef meat sticks are made with quality ingredients, including grass-fed beef, and have 8g of protein per serving.

They are also certified gluten-free, Whole 30 approved, paleo and keto-friendly snacks. One stick has only 90 calories and is sugar-free.

Applegate, Natural Uncured Turkey Pepperoni

Turkey pepperoni is a healthier version of pepperoni made from beef and pork. Just like with other turkey alternatives, turkey pepperoni has less fat than its counterpart. Applegate’s natural uncured turkey pepperoni is one of the best around. Applegate uses no antibiotics, hormones, nitrates, or GMO ingredients. It is still a great source of protein and is gluten-free.

Applegate, Natural Uncured Soppressata

Soppressata is another cousin to pepperoni. It is made from only pork and flavored with red wine, chili peppers, and peppercorns. Applegate makes their Soppressata with humanely raised pork without antibiotics or GMO ingredients. They also use pepper and garlic for seasoning and dry cure the meat for two months. It is a gluten-free substitute for pepperoni.

Applegate, Organic Uncured Genoa Salami

Salami is the Italian cousin of pepperoni. It has more of a spiced flavor as it is made from fermented, air-dried meat. This salami made by Applegate is organic and made without any hormones or antibiotics. It is a great source of protein with 7g per ounce and has less salt than pepperoni. This brand of salami is gluten, dairy, and casein-free.

Related Questions

How Many Calories in Pepperoni?

One slice of pepperoni has about 80 calories. According to the USDA, there are ten slices in one ounce of pepperoni. It is high in saturated fat and sodium. It is a good source of protein.

Can Pepperoni be Eaten Without Cooking?

Pepperoni is safe to eat without being cooked because it’s been cured in a solution that includes sodium nitrite, which helps prevent the growth of bad bacteria. It is often enjoyed uncooked in deli sandwiches.

Does Pepperoni Have Nitrates?

Pepperoni along with other processed meats, typically contains sodium nitrate. Nitrates act as preservatives keeping the meat fresh longer and prevent food poisoning. Nitrates also preserve the color of the meat, so it stays pink or red instead of turning brown. Just be mindful of eating too much of these preservatives as they have been linked to cancer in animals. It should be avoided if you are pregnant and not fed to children.

Does Pepperoni Have Garlic?

Yes, pepperoni will usually have garlic in the recipe. Garlic along with spices like black pepper, chili powder, mustard seed, and paprika. Not all brands of pepperoni have garlic as an ingredient as there are many different variations of pepperoni available. Always check the label before buying to know for sure.

Related Guides

Choosing Nutrition Team

Here at Choosing Nutrition, our goal is to help people with making smarter food choices. Whether you're wondering about vegan, keto, paleo, or other diets, we'll help you determine which options fit your nutritional lifestyle. Our staff is composed of registered dieticians, nutritionists, and health-conscious individuals.

Recent Posts