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Italian Flavors: 5 BEST Pepperoni Substitutes

Italian flavors rock our kitchens, right? Finding a substitute for pepperoni isn’t a walk in the park.

Yet, here we are, ready to spill the beans on some amazing swaps.

Sure, pepperoni has its charm, with that spicy kick and fat that melts in your mouth.

But hey, variety’s the spice of life. We’ve dug deep and came up with five top-notch alternatives that’ll keep your Italian dishes on point.

Why stick to just one option when you can switch things up and still keep those flavors banging?

Trust us; your pizza and pasta nights are about to get a whole lot more interesting.

The 5 Best Substitutes for Pepperoni

Pepperoni is one of the most popular toppings when it comes to pizza. But what if you’re looking for a change?

SubstituteKey CharacteristicsSubstitute Ratio
SalamiCured sausage with a spicy and savory flavorUse as a 1:1 substitution for pepperoni
PancettaItalian bacon with a rich, savory tasteUse as a 1:1 substitution for pepperoni
Coppa or CapocollaDry-cured pork shoulder with a mild and slightly spicy flavorUse as a 1:1 substitution for pepperoni
ProsciuttoDry-cured ham with a delicate and salty flavorUse as a 1:1 substitution for pepperoni
MortadellaBologna-style sausage with a mild and slightly spiced flavorUse as a 1:1 substitution for pepperoni

When looking to enjoy Italian flavors and in need of substitutes for pepperoni, consider these five options:

1 – Salami


Salami is a cured sausage that originates from Italy.

It is typically made from pork, although beef or poultry can also be used.

The meat is ground and then seasoned with salt, pepper, and other spices before being placed in a casing and allowed to cure.

Salami can be eaten or used as an ingredient in dishes such as pasta sauce or pizzas.

It is also a common component of charcuterie boards.

2 – Pancetta


If you love bacon, then you’ll want to try pancetta.

This cured meat is similar to bacon, but it has a slightly different flavor.

Pancetta is made from pork belly cured with salt, pepper, and other spices.

It can be eaten raw, but it is usually cooked.

When the pancetta is cooked, it becomes crispy and delicious.

It’s often a flavoring ingredient in dishes like pasta carbonara or risotto alla carbonara.

Pancetta is also delicious when served on its own as an appetizer.

If you’re looking for a new way to enjoy bacon, give pancetta a try.

3 – Coppa or Capocolla

coppa or capocolla

Coppa is a traditional Italian cured meat made from the neck or shoulder of a pig.

It is dry-cured with salt, spices, and sometimes wine.

The taste of Coppa can vary depending on the type of wood that is used for smoking, but it is typically salty and slightly sweet.

Capicola is similar to Coppa, but it is made from the hog’s head.

It is also dry-cured, but the fat content is higher, which gives it a richer flavor.

Both Coppa and Capocolla are typically served sliced thin and wrapped around crusty bread.

They can also be eaten as part of an antipasto platter or used to top a pizza.

4 – Prosciuttto


You’ve probably sampled prosciutto if you love cured meats at least once.

This Italian favorite is made from pork that has been salted and air-dried for several months.

The result is a deliciously salty and slightly sweet meat that pairs well with everything from fruit to pasta.

Prosciutto is typically served in thin slices, making it an elegant appetizer or topping for your favorite dish.

While it may be tempting to buy pre-sliced prosciutto, remember that the flavor and texture of the meat can change significantly when it’s been sliced ahead of time.

Buy a whole prosciutto ham and slice it yourself just before serving for the best flavor and texture.

5 – Mortadella


Mortadella is a type of Italian sausage that is typically made from pork.

It is often flavored with spices like cloves, black pepper, and nutmeg, and it may also contain pieces of lard or fat.

Mortadella originated in Bologna, and it is a staple of the Bolognese cuisine.

The sausage can be served sliced and cold as an appetizer or cooked and used in dishes like pasta sauce or pizza.

Mortadella is also a popular sandwich ingredient, and it is often served with other cured meats such as ham or salami.

The 5 Best Substitutes for Pepperoni

Searching for the perfect substitutes for pepperoni? Your quest ends here! We've compiled a list of the 5 best alternatives that will seamlessly replace the classic pepperoni in your recipes.
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Course Substitutes
Servings 1 Serving


  • Salami
  • Pancetta
  • Coppa or Capocolla
  • Prosciuttto
  • Mortadella


  • Pick your favorite substitute from the list above.
  • Follow cooking directions for your selected substitute with the proper ratio of ingredients.
Keyword substitutes for pepperoni
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