Pepperoni Rolls

6 votes, average: 4.67 out of 56 votes, average: 4.67 out of 56 votes, average: 4.67 out of 56 votes, average: 4.67 out of 56 votes, average: 4.67 out of 5
Pepperoni Rolls
The pepperoni roll, aka the State Food of West Virginia, is one of those simple things that makes life good. I’d never even heard of a pepperoni roll before moving here, but the testament to the pepperoni roll’s popularity in the Mountain State is found in every grocery store, bakery, and even gas station convenience store because the pepperoni roll is sold everywhere as if people might not be able to get down the road without one. They might die. As the story goes, pepperoni rolls originated with Italian immigrants who came to West Virginia to work in the coal mines. Rolls filled with pepperoni were easy meals to carry with them into the mines. I’ve been working on perfecting my pepperoni roll recipe for awhile, determined to achieve pepperoni roll nirvana at home.

Featured on CITR

Difficulty: Intermediate

Servings: 16

Cook Time: 20-30 min  



1 1/2 cups warm water
1 teaspoon yeast
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 egg
1/3 cup oil
1 cup chopped pepperoni
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella
4 cups flour


pepperoni slices or sticks
pepper rings (approx. 1 1/2 cups)*
mozzarella or pepper jack cheese (approx. 2 cups)

*I use Oliverio Italian-style Peppers (Mild Rings) in Vinegar Olvero. Oliverio products aren’t easy to find outside West Virginia. You can get away with using regular banana pepper rings, or whatever kind of peppers you like, or you can order Oliverio peppers here.


In a large bowl, combine water, yeast, salt, sugar, minced garlic, egg, oil, chopped pepperoni, and the 1/2 cup of cheese. Let sit five minutes. Stir in the first cup and a half of flour with a heavy spoon. Add the next cup of flour a little at a time as needed, stirring until dough becomes too stiff to continue stirring easily. Add a little more flour and begin kneading. The amount of flour is approximate–your mileage may vary! Continue adding flour and kneading until the dough is smooth and elastic. Let dough rise in a greased, covered bowl until doubled. (Usually, about an hour.) Uncover bowl; sprinkle in a little more flour and knead again before dividing in half into two balls.

Working with one half of the dough at a time, roll each ball of dough out onto a floured surface into a rectangle (approximately 8×12 inches). Sprinkle flour over the dough to keep from sticking as you roll. Make one slice lengthwise down the dough.

Slicing from the other direction, make a slice down the middle, then again, until you have eight pieces. Sprinkle with cheese.

Place pepperoni slices or sticks on each piece.

Add peppers.

Roll up, pinching seam to seal.

Let rise approximately 30 minutes. Preheat oven to 350-degrees. Bake for 20-30 minutes. (Watch carefully–the size of your rolls will vary the baking time–they’re done when they’ve browned.)

Enjoy the fabulously scrumptious pepperoni-a-licious perfection!

Note: If using stick pepperoni, cut sticks in approximately four-inch pieces, pencil-size. Also, if baking these with pepperoni sticks, there will be some drippings during baking. Be sure to use a pan that has some kind of edge to it to protect your oven from the drippings.

Categories: Appetizers & Snacks

Submitted by: suzanne-mcminn on June 5, 2010


  1. Cathy Jones (catray44) says:

    These have become a new family tradition! My kids and all their friends love and ask for them. Thank you so much for yet another wonderful recipe!

  2. Patrice says:

    I made these today and my family went crazy over them. I may have to triple the recipe next time!

  3. Pete says:

    Definitely a keeper here as well. Made them again today, this time used half the dough for the rolls and half the dough divided into two calzone. In the oven now.

    Not true WV style, but I really like to dip the rolls into some good tomato sauce – usually the sauce Olvero left from making the peppers in sauce Olvero. Use the same sauce inside the calzone. Yum!

  4. Woodwife says:

    I *finally* got to make these. I’ve been trying for months. I was having trouble keeping pepperoni in the house. Every time I went to get it out of the fridge it was 1/2 eaten. Yesterday I finally managed to snag a full bag!

    They’re delicious! They remind me of a mini stromboli.

  5. meg says:

    I made these today and my family LOVED them! Next time, I think I’ll double (or triple!) the recipe and freeze them. Thank you so much for sharing this recipe. My family really enjoyed them.

  6. debbie says:

    I made these today for the first time….OMGoodness – they are delicious! I used peppers I had canned from the garden. Even my picky eater is asking if we can make them often.

  7. rileysmom says:

    Oh yeah! The are fabulous! I finally (sigh) got to make these! I can only hope to control myself so there may be some or one left for hubby to try!
    Thank you Suzanne!

  8. rcatwill says:

    yummo. thanks so much! my daughter chose WV to study for her 5th grade state reports, and the final part of the project (first a 5-part series of letters about WV) is a potluck featuring each state’s highlighted dish. we’re making these pepperoni rolls for sure. we tried them tonite and they were soooo good.

    my only question: how can i make these ahead of time? the class potluck (26 kids and their parents) is Saturday eve; i’d like to make these as far along as possible on Friday…how do you recommend i do these (as much ahead of time as possible)? can i make them completely and just reheat them at the host’s house?

    • Suzanne McMinn says:

      To make ahead, you can make the dough ahead and let first-rise in the fridge overnight and make them the next day. Or even do like overnight cinnamon rolls and prepare them completely and put in pans in the fridge to overnight rise for the second rise then bake in the morning. Or, yes, could bake the day before and reheat the next day!

  9. rcatwill says:

    okay, so after my daughter’s 5th grade (Chicago Waldorf School) state report featuring WV’s pepperoni rolls (thanks to the recipe here), I am now the ‘pepperoni roll lady’ for my friends. These rolls are so so so good, AND, the recipe is pretty forgiving (yeast and I don’t get along–I’m very very afraid of it and/or killing it!!).

    thank you so much for this yummy yummy snack (and dinner) treat.

    how do you recommend i make it ahead-ahead, tho. is it possible to freeze these guys at some stage? (again, i’m a novice yeast-baker.)

    thanks so much for these rolls, tho–i’m making a double batch and sending them along on a Memorial Day camping trip that my daughter’s going to w/some close friends! i think everyone i know who’s had these rolls are totally in love w/them. congrats to your culinary mastery!!!!! (it’s gratifying when people like–or even better, love– your food, isn’t it??)

    p.s. ONE more question, tho: has anyone ever substituted some whole wheat flour in to this recipe? i’d be interested in experimenting, but again, i’m really not much of a baker…

  10. rcatwill says:

    yep, it’s definitely your beautiful, eggy dough that makes these pep rolls so good. i’ll have to try making just the bread sometime.

    thank you for all of the info and links–


  11. Liz Pike says:

    I’ve got these awesome rolls rising! I used “white whole wheat” flour which raised beautifully (I did add 4 tsp of vital wheat gluten), and brushed them with garlic butter & oregano. Am anxiously awaiting their exit from the oven!!

    I also made the strawberries and cream coffee cake and it’s cooling. Dd came in after work and tore off an end piece before I’ve had a chance to put icing on it and declared it better than pop-tarts–LOL!

    Suzanne, I’m amazed by your recipes, they don’t call for large quantities of any particular ingredient yet they yeild alot! My wallet thanks you!!

  12. Liz Pike says:

    Omg…these will replace pizza in our house! Even with 100% white whole wheat flour, they rose very light and fluffy! I only put one on my plate. Ate it then reached for another. Then another.

    It was worth it!!

  13. rcatwill says:

    I’ve made this delicious recipe several times now, but in the process, I’ve had to throw away the starter ingredients: the yeast and sugar, but also sometimes the yeast and sugar and cheese and garlic and oil and egg, because I am not sure if the yeast has proofed. So I throw it all out and start over again. I’ve started to just start out w/the water and sugar and yeast so that I don’t waste the rest of the ingredients, but DOES the yeast have to PROOF for this recipe? I’ve read other pizza dough recipes that say that for pizza dough the yeast doesn’t have to proof… Thanks again!!! Robin from Chicago

    • Woodwife says:

      Hi rcatwill:

      Modern dry quick rise yeasts don’t really need to be proofed as long as they’re reasonably fresh. They’re made to be used like a dry ingredient.

      Proofing is a hold over from the days when slower acting yeasts like cake yeast where used. Cake yeast needs a longer period of time develop so proofing it was the way to get it started.

      Cake yeast is moist and can dry out or grow mold or just burn itself out if it isn’t fresh, so those were also reasons to proof it before using.

      Some people still proof their dry yeast and some people say that cake yeast makes a superior dough because of the longer rising time.

      So it’s just up to you what makes you more comfortable but if you’re using fresh quick dry yeast I wouldn’t worry too much about it.

    • Suzanne McMinn says:

      Proofing time makes sure your yeast is good. If you know your yeast is good, you can just go ahead. (Check your expiration date.) If you’re proofing it and you see no activity, it makes me wonder if your yeast is okay. And that’s true about quick rise (what woodwife said), though I don’t use quick rise. Are you using quick rise? I just use regular yeast, and I have no trouble with proofing it. I’m wondering why your yeast isn’t bubbling, though!

  14. mamaraby says:

    Oh my! I didn’t have anything like the peppers being too far North and I didn’t even find a local substitute, but it didn’t matter. I should have made a triple batch so we’d have some to freeze. My husband ate the one I gave him before eating another one he said was too small to save for another day. So good!

  15. grammieearth says:

    OMGoodness! These were huge! Your pic made me think they could be completely encased in one hand…!! Mine needed two to hold them safely. I made them yesterday for sweet DIL’s birthday with Syrup & Biscuits Hummingbird cake for dessert. Both kidlets ripped through both like they hadn’t eaten in a whole day, although I had watched them munch away for two hours prior! The parents acted pretty much the same! Daddy wanted the leftovers for lunch today.

    Ohhh soo good.I made some with mild pepperoni and green peppers for the pregnant Mama and the littles and the other half with hot pepperoni and hot peppers for Daddy and myself.

    Two thumbs up for two previously untried (by me) recipes! I knew I could trust CitR!

    🙂 Pam

  16. greenlotus77 says:

    These were really good. I did half a batch with the banana peppers and half without. It made a ton! I froze the ones we didn’t eat right away. That was nice because now I just pull 1 or 2 from the freezer pop them in the toaster oven, serve with sauce and you have a quick lunch!

  17. Dianna says:

    These are absolutely fantastic! My family loved them. They puff up nice and big. A hearty lunch to be sure, thanks for the recipe!

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