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Can You Freeze Pepperoni

Can you freeze pepperoni to extend its shelf life? Let’s find out in this post. Pepperoni is a cured meat you will typically find on your pizza. Many people think pepperoni can last long, but pepperoni can go bad if you do not store it properly, just like any perishable food, especially meat.  

small dish filled with pepperoni slices

What Is Pepperoni?

Pepperoni, a kind of deli meat, is a cured, dried, and spiced sausage. It is a mix of pork and beef with sugar, salt, and spices, including garlic powder and paprika.

The tangy flavor of pepperoni comes from the culture of lactobacillus bacteria that produce lactic acid, an essential ingredient in cured sausage. The same ingredient prevents the growth of harmful bacteria. 

The key to good pepperoni is using the correct cuts of meat and the proper meat-to-fat ratio (70% lean and 30% fat). The pepperoni should also have the right texture: not too fine and not too coarse. 

While many people know this delicious deli meat only as a popular pizza topping, it’s also a common ingredient in pasta, pies, and potato salads. Pepperoni can also be used in your leek soup and risottos. It is also a good sandwich filling and finger food. 

Because of the so many uses of pepperoni, many people buy it in bulk without thinking it might go bad, which leads us to the question – can you freeze pepperoni? 

Pepperoni Shelf Life

Meat typically has a short shelf life and goes bad quickly. While pepperoni contains preservatives to extend its shelf life, it can still get spoiled.

It is best to consume pepperoni before its “use by” date on the package. To extend its shelf life, store it in a sealed bag in the fridge or freeze pepperoni sticks or slices before its “use by” date. 

If you bought sliced and cooked pepperoni, you could keep it in the refrigerator for seven days. But if you do not use pepperoni often in your dishes, it is best to freeze it to extend its shelf life. 

Can You Freeze Pepperoni?

Yes, you can freeze pepperoni, and pepperoni freezes extremely well. The manufacturing process of pepperoni involves curing and drying. Curing gives pepperoni its flavor and releases moisture. On the other hand, drying gets rid of excess water. 

These processes also allow pepperoni to freeze well because since there is almost no water to freeze, pepperoni does not lose its texture and flavor while in the freezer. 

Pepperoni freezes well for three months. It’s important to freeze and thaw pepperoni only once because doing so repeatedly will cause it to dry and go stale.

Therefore, the recommendation is to freeze pepperoni in batches, so you will only thaw what you need.

How To Freeze Pepperoni

Correctly freezing the pepperoni is essential to ensure that you achieve your goal of preserving the food. 

Here is how to freeze pepperoni quickly, easily, and safely:

Step 1: Slice the pepperoni

Cut the pepperoni into 1-inch slices before freezing them. Freezing sliced pepperoni will also save space in your freezer.

Step 2: Divide pepperoni into batches

If you have a whole pepperoni, divide it into batches to allow you only to thaw what you need since it’s not recommended to refreeze and thaw pepperoni a second time.

Step 3: Wrap the pepperoni slices

Wrap each batch of sliced pepperoni in cling film, baking paper, or parchment paper so air does not get inside. Wrapping pepperoni will also make it easier to separate slices.

Step 4: Package pepperoni

Store pepperoni in freezer bags or sealed containers. Your goal is to prevent moisture from coming into contact with your pepperoni slices and preserve your pepperoni for a longer time. 

To prevent freezer burn, release as much air as possible from the freezer bag or container before sealing.

Step 5: Label the Package

You should monitor the pepperoni in the freezer, so make sure to label the freezer bags or containers with these details.

Step 6: Freeze pepperoni

Place the bags or containers into the freezer. It will last for around three months. Make sure to set your freezer temperature to 0°F. This temperature will keep your pepperoni and other food safe in the freezer. 

How to Defrost Pepperoni

Step 1: Pick the freezer bag or container you want to defrost. 

Choose the batch with the nearest “use before” date to reduce waste. 

Step 2: Transfer the freezer bags to the refrigerator

Leave the freezer bags with sliced pepperoni to thaw in the fridge for about 24 hours before using.

Step 3: Remove the pepperoni from the fridge

Remove the pepperoni from the fridge after 24 hours. If it is frozen, defrost them further at room temperature but still follow the 2-hour rule: do not allow your pepperoni to remain at room temperature for over two hours. 

Tip. Ensure to use the pepperoni in the fridge within 24 hours of removing it from the freezer. Otherwise, you should discard it because pepperoni can only be frozen again if it is already part of your cooked recipe. 

How to Use Defrosted Pepperoni

Thawed pepperoni can be baked in the oven at 350°for about four to seven minutes or until it reaches your desired crispiness. 

It can also be used to make homemade pizza and other food dishes like pasta and lasagna. You can make baked macaroni and cheese and top it with sliced pepperoni.

Adding a few slices of pepperoni to your sandwiches is also a great idea.

Does pepperoni go bad? 

Yes, your deli meats, including pepperoni, can go bad. However, it takes quite some time before your pepperoni will go bad because it often contains preservatives such as salt and nitrate.

How do you know your pepperoni has gone bad? Always be mindful of the “best before date” or the expiration date on the package of your pepperoni.

Do a physical check on your pepperoni to look out for the following signs of rotten pepperoni: 

  • Thinness and discoloration on the surface
  • The sticky and slimy texture
  • Off or foul smell

The expiration date or “best before date” indicates when pepperoni more or less will go bad, but external factors such as leaving it at room temperature can make it spoil faster. Consuming bad pepperoni can lead to food poisoning, so discard it to be on the safer side. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Can you freeze pepperoni slices?

Yes, you can freeze sliced pepperoni. Freeze them to extend the life of your sliced pepperoni.

How long does pepperoni last?

Your unopened package of pepperoni in its natural casing can last in your pantry for six weeks. After opening the package of your pepperoni, it can stay in the fridge for up to two weeks. After that, you may like to check your pepperoni for signs of discoloration, the presence of molds, or a funky scent. 

Your pepperoni will maintain its best quality even after three months in the freezer. They will be safe in the freezer with a constant temperature of 0°F. However, freezing pepperoni and other deli meats for over six months will deteriorate their quality.

Final Thoughts

Pepperoni is one of the most popular toppings for pepperoni pizza, salads, and sandwiches.

Can you freeze pepperoni? Yes, you can. Freezing can extend the shelf life of pepperoni for up to three months when opened and ten months when unopened.  Freezing can also prevent the growth of bacteria in your pepperoni, which could make it spoil faster. Freezing is also an excellent way to preserve the flavor of pepperoni. 

When freezing pepperoni, you have to remember: freeze it in a tightly sealed freezer bag or container to prevent moisture from getting into contact with the meat; defrost frozen pepperoni slowly in the fridge and not at room temperature.

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Food Information
Natalia | Flavorful home
Natalia is a recipe developer, food photographer, and home cook. She started Flavorful Home to document her recipes and share home cooking tips. She loves creating flavorful and nutritious meals while keeping the cooking process simple and joyful!
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