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How Long Does Pepperoni Last? [Shelf Life Guide]

What is the first thing that comes to your mind when you hear the word ‘pepperoni’? We’re guessing it’s pizza.

Pepperoni has managed to become the frontrunner when it comes to choosing a favorite pizza topping.

Pizza may have Italian origins, but the pepperoni is truly American.

According to a recent poll, pepperoni was voted the most popular pizza topping.

It was then followed by summer sausage. Mushroom surprisingly came in third in this poll.

What exactly is pepperoni? In the most basic sense, it is best defined as a smoky, air-dried salami.

The tricky part here is that salami is basically dried sausage.

Air-drying sausage results in pepperoni’s texture that we know and love.

The process of air-drying involves adding nitrate and salt to meat and leaving them in the fridge.

This meat is further air-dried to take on a texture and taste that are uniquely its own.

Pepperoni isn’t exclusive as pizza toppings. They can be relished in plenty of other ways.

If you have recently stocked up on pepperoni because that’s how much you enjoy eating them, this article may be helpful.

In it, we shall discover frequently asked questions such as how long does pepperoni last?

And how do I know if pepperoni has gone bad?

How Long Does Pepperoni Last? Does Pepperoni Go Bad?

Pepperoni usually comes in stick form. Each ‘stick’ is wrapped in a natural casing.

Pepperoni is cured meat, which means it contains nitrates and salt.

It is because of this reason that unopened pepperoni doesn’t always need to be refrigerated (unless the label suggests that you do).

When kept at room temperature, an unopened pepperoni package has a shelf life of about a month.

After that, it may still be edible, but its taste and texture aren’t at their peak quality.

To increase the longevity of pepperoni, refrigerate it.

This way, it remains at its peak quality for up to 10 months and is still edible after that time.

To store pepperoni indefinitely, it must constantly be frozen at zero-degree Celsius.

Most pepperoni may not need refrigeration if unopened, but if you are going to be using it within the next few weeks, you may want to refrigerate it.

However, once you open a pepperoni package, always refrigerate the leftovers. Air is its worst enemy.

So if you want to ensure that your stick of pepperoni retains its quality, seal it in air-tight bags or containers.

Freezing pepperoni is another option, but many brands do not recommend doing so.

This is because once frozen and thawed, the chances are that the pepperoni may lose some of its original flavor and texture.

Freezing may increase the shelf life of pepperoni to a great extent, but it can also affect its quality in the long run.

If you insist on freezing pepperoni, there are a few guidelines you must pay heed to. Start off by slicing the pepperoni stick.

Then divide the chopped slices into different batches and store each batch in a separate zip-lock bag.

It will also help to write down the expiration date on each bag.

How to Tell if Pepperoni is Bad? Pepperoni Shelf Life!

Because pepperoni is cured meat, it has a longer shelf life than the average sausage.

If the pepperoni is sliced, its usability time stamp is further increased.

Regardless of how things are, pepperoni can and will spoil with time.

Listed below are a couple of ways through which you can identify spoiled pepperoni.

Sliced pepperoni has the tendency to become slimy when it goes bad.

While this may be an indication that it is spoiling, it is not a definite proof.

Pepperoni contains quite a bit of fat that breaks down over time.

If you have had a pepperoni stick lying around in your fridge for weeks and months on end, it is likely to develop a bit of slime.

However, if this tacky feel is accompanied by an unpleasant odor, you may want to take a second look before eating the pepperoni.

Preserved meats tend to take on an acrid smell when they are spoiling.

With other processed meats, it may be difficult to detect the smell in the early stages of spoiling.

But spoiling pepperoni gives itself away quite easily.

If everything seems normal, but you still doubt the freshness of the pepperoni, cut out a small portion of it to taste. If it tastes sour, throw it out.


How Long Does Pepperoni Last? Does Pepperoni Go Bad?

5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Course Shelf Life
Servings 1 Serving


  • Pepperoni
  • Air-tight containers or Ziplock bags
  • Labels and markers


  • Read the guide thoroughly to learn how long it lasts.
  • Label your container with the content and date and keep track of how much you’re using!
  • Make sure to store in an airtight container in a cool, dark place (pantry or fridge).
  • If frozen, thaw in the fridge before use. Always check for signs of spoilage before using.
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