Pepperoni Rolls

Submitted by: Suzanne McMinn on June 5, 2010

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.

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.

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