How Long Does Pepperoni Last? Surprising Facts You Would Want to Know

Is pepperoni your favorite food? Well, you are not the only one. In fact, pepperoni is the most popular topping on pizza, with 36% ordering it on their pizzas according to Business Insider.

Moreover, pepperoni meat is included in the top 100 selling grocery items in the United States.

If you are a fan of pepperoni, you should stock up your fridge with this tasty treat.

However, do you know how long pepperoni lasts and if it needs to be refrigerated?

Before buying bulk orders of pepperoni meat for your meal plan, you should know the answers to these questions.

In this article, we answer commonly asked questions about pepperoni.

From how long does pepperoni last to does pepperoni go bad, here are the questions this article covers:

  • What Is Pepperoni?
  • How Long Does Pepperoni Last?
  • Does Pepperoni Need to Be Refrigerated?
  • Can You Freeze Pepperoni?
  • Does Pepperoni Go Bad?
  • How to Tell if Pepperoni Has Gone Bad
  • What Happens If You Eat Bad Pepperoni?
  • How Do I Prevent Pepperoni Spoilage and Food Poisoning?

What Is Pepperoni?

Pepperoni Sausage

Pepperoni is America’s version of salami and a type of cured sausage. The ingredients are primarily ground pork with a mix of beef and spices. It is usually cut into thin circular slices and is red in color.

Moreover, it takes its color from paprika and as a result of curing with nitrates.

The taste usually consists of a smoky, spicy, and tangy flavor.

If you love pepperoni, use it on pizzas, sandwiches, pasta dishes, appetizers, and salads.

How Long Does Pepperoni Last?

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), dry sausage like pepperoni can last up to six weeks in the pantry as long as it is unopened and sealed.

If you choose to keep it in the refrigerator unopened, it can last for a longer time.

Once you open the pepperoni packaging, it can be stored in the refrigerator for up to three weeks.

However, you can always refer to the expiration date as stated on the packaging.

Does Pepperoni Need to Be Refrigerated?

Although the USDA says that hard or dry sausages do not usually have a “keep refrigerated” label, pepperoni should still be kept in the refrigerator once opened to retain its freshness.

However, unopened pepperoni does not need to be stored in the fridge unless stated otherwise.

Once the pepperoni packaging is opened, leaving it out at room temperature is not advisable since it promotes bacterial growth.

In fact, bacteria grow faster at temperatures ranging from 40 °F to 140 °F.

This temperature range is also known as the Danger Zone. Thus, the USDA advises not to leave food out of the refrigerator for more than two hours.

Can You Freeze Pepperoni?

The short answer is yes, you can freeze pepperoni. You can extend the shelf life of frozen pepperoni for up to three months.

However, the longer you store it, there may be a change in taste and texture.

To make pepperoni meat last for many months, make sure it is kept in an airtight container or properly sealed bag.

Does Pepperoni Go Bad?

Like any other meat, pepperoni can go bad if not stored properly. Leaving opened pepperoni out of the fridge for extended periods will surely cause it to spoil quickly.

To avoid pepperoni from going bad, keep it in an airtight container and store it in the fridge or freezer. Once the pepperoni package is opened, avoid storing it in a warm and moist environment.

How to Tell if Pepperoni Has Gone Bad

There are several signs to watch out for to know if pepperoni has gone bad. Fresh and unspoiled pepperoni should normally have a consistent color and a favorable smell.

If the pepperoni is spoiled, it will have molds and a rancid odor. Moreover, the meat texture becomes slimy or sticky to the touch.

Pepperoni Has Gone Bad

Once the pepperoni displays these signs of spoilage, it is best to discard it right away. Moreover, keep in mind pathogenic bacteria can grow when food is left out within the Danger Zone Temperatures.

As mentioned by the USDA, you won’t know if food has pathogenic bacteria since it generally does not change the taste, texture, and odor of the food.

Thus, don’t wait for spoilage signs anymore and discard pepperoni that you have kept beyond its expected shelf life to avoid consuming spoiled pepperoni.

What Happens If You Eat Bad Pepperoni?

Consuming bad pepperoni can make you sick and cause food poisoning. The common symptoms of food poisoning are nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, and fever.

It is important to note that not all types of bacteria can make you sick. Generally, spoilage bacteria on food do not cause illness.

Even though spoilage bacteria cause signs of food spoilage such as slimy texture and rancid smell, they do not typically cause food poisoning when eaten.

On the other hand, pathogenic bacteria is generally the one that causes food poisoning. Clostridium perfringens and Bacillus cereus are some examples of pathogenic spoilage.

How Do I Prevent Pepperoni Spoilage and Food Poisoning?

A surefire way to prevent pepperoni spoilage and avoid food poisoning is following the 4 Steps to Food Safety. The four steps include cleaning, separating, cooking, and chilling.

Clean your hands, utensils, and kitchen surfaces.

  • Wash fruits and vegetables, but do not wash pepperoni, meat, seafood, chicken, and eggs. Washing meat can only spread harmful bacteria on your kitchen surfaces.
  • Wash your hands with antibacterial soap before, during, and after preparing pepperoni and other types of food.
  • Wash all utensils before and after use, including chopping boards, knives, and cups.

Separate utensils and food to prevent cross-contamination.

  • Assign a chopping board for pepperoni, meat, chicken, and seafood. Use a separate chopping board for fresh fruits and vegetables.
  • Separate all types of food in your shopping cart and fridge. Make sure the pepperoni meat is contained in a sealed container or plastic bag.

Cook pepperoni and other types of food at proper temperatures.

  • Cook pepperoni correctly and follow the USDA’s special guidelines on Smoking Meat and Poultry.
  • Cook pepperoni at the right temperatures to kill bacteria causing illness.
  • If you are not going to serve cooked pepperoni yet, make sure it stays above the temperature danger zone (between 40°F and 140°F).

Chill pepperoni in the refrigerator or place it in the freezer.

  • As mentioned, pathogenic bacteria multiply rapidly at Danger Zone temperatures between 40°F and 140°F. Thus, opened pepperoni should be stored in the refrigerator within two hours.
  • Alternatively, place the pepperoni in the freezer to keep it from spoiling before you cook it again. It is important to note that freezing pepperoni does not kill harmful bacteria.

A Few Final Thoughts

As long as you practice the 4 Steps to Food Safety, you can further extend the shelf life of pepperoni at home.

Unopened pepperoni won’t go bad if you store it at proper temperatures in the pantry or the refrigerator.

However, opened pepperoni packaging is best stored in the refrigerator for up to three weeks or a few months in the freezer. To prevent pepperoni spoilage, keep it in an airtight container or plastic bag as well.

As a final note, check for signs of pepperoni spoilage, such as a sticky texture and rancid odor.

If you are unsure of the pepperoni’s condition, the golden rule is when in doubt, discard it right away.

Using the tips and information you’ve learned from this article, you can now enjoy pepperoni for longer periods.

You can now cook and eat pepperoni confidently and use it on your favorite pizza, sandwich, or appetizer.

More Pepperoni Facts With Slice Pizzeria

Looking for more information about pepperonis? Slice Pizzeria has got you covered with various informative pepperoni guides. Check out the following articles:

For further reading, there are also pizzeria reviews, comparisons, top-rated pizzerias, and prices and menus listed in addition to pepperoni facts.

Do you have topic recommendations you would like to be written about? Share your thoughts below in the comments section. I’d love to know your feedback and tips as well.

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