One of the world’s most popular pizza toppings, pepperoni is a type of spicy salami made from beef and pork.
Seasoned with either paprika or chili pepper, pepperoni can be bought in large or small quantities.
But, what if you have bought too many and need to store some pepperoni for a while?
You’re probably wondering, “can pepperoni go bad?”. We’re here to find out.
Numerous recipes call for this popular meat, but the majority only require a few slices.
Most of the time, you will have some pepperoni left over. Therefore, it will need to be stored correctly.
You’ve probably seen pepperoni stored in the refrigerator section at your local store, but is this always the case?
There are so many questions to answer when it comes to the proper storage of this tasty meat.
And, we’re going to answer all of them in today’s post.
Read on to find out if pepperoni goes bad, how long it lasts for, and how to store it correctly.
How To Tell If Pepperoni Has Gone Bad?
So, you went a bit overboard on buying those stacks of pepperoni sticks and sausages at the store.
Now, you have too much but don’t want to waste it. Thankfully, you can store the meat for a while, before it starts to spoil.
Fortunately, you can usually tell when pepperoni meat has started to go bad. When in its stick form, the first sign is the smell.
If it smells “off” or putrid, you should discard the pepperoni. You can also check the appearance and texture of the stick.
If you notice any difference in the meat’s surface and/or it feels a little sticky to touch, it’s probably gone off and should be thrown away.
In some cases, the pepperoni may have dried out due to incorrect storage. We’ll go into proper storage later.
If the sausage has dried out, you can cut off the dried pieces and the rest of the meat should be safe to eat.
When it comes to sliced pepperoni, the most common symptoms of it going bad are when the meat starts to smell “off” and its texture has become slimy.
If you try a little and it immediately tastes different to usual, it’s safe to assume it has spoiled and should be discarded.
Most of the time, you can prolong pepperoni’s life by storing it correctly.
So, let’s take a look at how to store pepperoni to prevent it from spoiling too soon.
How To Store Pepperoni?
If you have some pepperoni sticks that need storing, keeping them in a cool, dry place, or the refrigerator is usually the best option.
Also known as pepperoni sausages, these sticks generally come packaged in some sort of plastic or natural casing.
Since the meat has been cured, with certain preservatives added (like nitrates and salt), it shouldn’t require refrigeration.
Sometimes, the label will inform you of where to store the pepperoni stick.
If it doesn’t recommend the refrigerator, it should be safe to leave your unopened packet of pepperoni in a cool, dry space, such as the pantry.
So, yes, technically, pepperoni does not require refrigeration. However, it will remain fresher for longer when stored in a fridge.
If you have bought pepperoni but have no plans to use it for a few weeks, keep it in your refrigerator.
If you have opened the package of pepperoni, the leftovers should always be stored in the refrigerator, so they do not spoil quickly.
And, because the package has been opened, the meat is susceptible to drying out. Therefore, it should be protected and stored in something.
We recommend placing the pepperoni in a freezer bag and then squeezing out any air before sealing it.
You can also wrap it in aluminum foil or a plastic wrapping, as long as the opened section has been covered.
Another option is to cut the meat into smaller pieces and store these inside resealable, air-tight bags or containers.
You almost always find pepperoni slices sold in the refrigerated sections of the grocery store.
As you can guess, this is where you should store it at home, too.
If the package has been opened, it’s important to prevent the slices from drying out.
Try resealing the original packaging and store in the fridge.
If this is not possible, transfer the pieces of meat to a resealable, airtight bag or container.
Just ensure all air from inside has been removed before being sealed tight.
The same applies to pepperoni slices that are used for the next day.
If you have prepared pepperoni in sandwiches for the next day, store the sandwiches in a freezer bag or an airtight container and store in the fridge overnight.
This way, they will remain fresh for the next day.
Can You Store Pepperoni In The Freezer?
It can be a little confusing when it comes to storing pepperoni.
Some manufacturers state that their product is safe to store in freezers, whereas others disagree.
When stored in a freezer, the main argument against it is that the meat could dry out.
Then, once it has thawed out, its quality would have diminished and its taste and texture will be poor.
We suggest storing a small amount of pepperoni in your freezer and then check how it is after a few days or so.
If it still tastes good, it’s safe to assume that particular brand of pepperoni can be frozen safely.
If it doesn’t turn out well, however, you’ll know not to store it in the freezer again. It’s all about trial and error sometimes!
If you decide to go down the freezing route, begin by dividing the leftover pieces of pepperoni to suit your needs.
Therefore, when it comes to thawing the meat, you can use only as much as you require.
Once you have prepared the pieces of pepperoni, place them into freezer bags, freezer wraps, or in aluminum foil.
We recommend double-wrapping if you intend to store the pepperoni for more than a month.
Make sure they are wrapped or stored tightly and label the meat so you know what is what in the doldrums of your freezer.
How Long Does Pepperoni Usually Last?
The lifespan of pepperoni is typically determined by the ingredients and preservatives used to make it.
One brand may use different preservatives in their recipes, so there is no set “best-of” date for all pepperoni.
Because of this, there is no way to estimate the shelf life of pepperoni.
Nevertheless, it is usually safe to assume that most pepperoni sticks and slices will last over one month.
But, from here, the manufacturer’s preservatives determine the shelf life.
This is why you should always check the date on the packaging.
Usually found in the form of a label, this date is generally marked “best-by” or “best-before.”
Although this isn’t a definite date of when the meat will go off, it is a close estimate to how long the product will remain fresh.
Most of the time, the meat can last a bit longer than this date. So, if the date passed two days ago, it should still be okay to use.
And, remember, if the pepperoni sausage was sold unrefrigerated, you can extend its life simply by storing it in your refrigerator.
How long your pepperoni lasts after you have opened it is a different matter. As we found out above, its shelf life will be shorter once opened.
To check this, check the label of the packaging. Most of the time, this will be between one week and three weeks.
The shelf life of opened pepperoni once again depends on the preservatives and ingredients used in that particular product.
If you’re in doubt as to how long your pepperoni sticks will last after being opened, try to finish it within one week.
The same rules apply to pepperoni slices, too. Keep a close eye on the use-by date on its packaging if it is unopened.
If you have opened pepperoni slices, try to finish them within a week, before it starts to spoil.
Like all meats, pepperoni has a shelf life. But, because it is cured and contains numerous preservatives, it tends to last longer than most deli meats.
If you notice any signs of the meat spoiling, throw it away immediately.
Otherwise, unopened pepperoni sticks should last a few months, whereas pepperoni slices don’t tend to last as long.