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Homemade Pepperoni Pizza

Eat Your FoodFamily Dinner IdeasPepperoniPizza

This Homemade Pepperoni Pizza has everything you want—a great crust, gooey cheese, and tons of pepperoni. The secret to great pepperoni flavor? Hide extra under the cheese! Who needs delivery?

Photography Credit: Nick Evans

My kids love pizza, so pepperoni pizza is usually a surefire dinner win. But if I’m being honest, I rarely make pizza for my kids. I view pizza as a cheat night for me, and I get delivery.

So when I decided to make pizza at home, I knew it needed to be better than your average delivery. It needed tons of pepperoni, a nice crust, great flavor, and maybe even a surprise or two to put it over the top.

THE BEST DOUGH FOR PIZZA

First, on the dough: Don’t get overwhelmed! If it’s your first time making pizza at home, just buy the dough. You can usually find pizza dough at the grocery store, or some pizza places will sell you a one-pound ball of dough for a few bucks.

If you want to try homemade pizza dough, start with a no-knead version. It’s very easy to make and practically failsafe.

TWO OPTIONS FOR A CRISPY CRUST

I don’t believe this pizza works well as a deep dish, Chicago-style pizza, but there are still two baking options I’d recommend. (There are more, but let’s keep it simple!)

  1. Use a pizza stone: This is my favorite way to get a great crust, but it does require some equipment. You need a pizza stone and a pizza peel (the thing you use to slide the pizza onto the stone). If you have those two things, though, you can open up a pizza joint in your kitchen! This is a reliable, low-stress method once you get the hang of it. The pizza ends up being a bit more freeform, and you can make the crust nice and thin, which I like. A large pizza cooks in 12-14 minutes on a hot stone.
  1. Use a cast iron skillet: If you don’t have a pizza stone, put your dough into a large cast iron skillet, and press it out and up the sides a bit. You’ll get a slightly thicker crust than you would with the pizza stone, but not deep-dish thickness. Set the skillet on your stovetop for two minutes over high heat (this helps form a crispy crust), then transfer it to your oven to finish baking.

A slice of gooey cheese from homemade pepperoni pizza recipe

ANOTHER TIP FOR A GREAT CRUST: A SUPER HOT OVEN! 

When you get a really good pizza from a brick oven pizza place, the ovens are HOT—way hotter than you can realistically get from a home oven. But the rule still stands that the hotter your oven, the crispier and more delicious your crust will be.

So, crank up your oven to 500˚F or even 550˚F if your oven can handle it. If you are using a pizza stone, let the stone preheat for 20 minutes so it gets nice and hot as well.

THE SECRET FOR BEST PEPPERONI FLAVOR

There are so many different kinds of pepperoni in the store these days, and you can use any of those options for pizza. For my money, though, I prefer small, thinly sliced pepperoni so they get a nice char on top. If you go with thicker pepperoni slices, you’ll have a chewier texture. It’s personal preference!

I always find it lame when I get a pepperoni pizza that has, like, five pieces of pepperoni on it. But if you pile on a ton of pepperoni, you end up with a greasy mess.

So what to do? Chop up half the pepperoni and add it in a layer under the cheese with the sauce!

This gives the pizza amazing pepperoni flavor. I call it my “Bonus Pepperoni” layer!

Crispy crust and cheese on a pepperoni pizza made at home

THE BEST WAY TO REHEAT LEFTOVER PIZZA

Please, please—don’t microwave pizza! Eat it cold before you microwave it. If you microwave it, the crust becomes a soggy mess.

The best way to reheat pizza is in a skillet, cast iron or similar. Add a drizzle of oil over medium heat, and then add the pizza. Then cover the skillet, and cook the pizza until the cheese has melted and the crust is crispy again, about three to four minutes.

Eat Your Food - Dad AddThe DAD ADD: HONEY BUTTER

This is something I picked up from a local Colorado pizza spot. (Shout out Beau Jos Pizza!) They serve their pizza with honey butter on the side, which is great for dipping the crust. I made the honey butter for me, but my kids were happy to scarf it down, too.

Child eating homemade pepperoni pizza

Eat Your Food - Kid Report v2THE REPORT CARD

I can always count on my kids to eat a pizza, but since they normally eat delivery, it was nice to show them that pizza can be made at home, too. And it turns out Dad makes a good pizza! I used my trick of hiding pepperoni under the cheese to tell my kids there was Bonus Pepperoni on the pizza, and could they find it?! (Yes, yes they could.)

When I served this to my kids, I half hoped they would reject it for some reason so that I’d have a curveball for the report card, but nope. Pizza is pizza. It’s always a winner.

MORE GREAT PIZZA RECIPES:

Homemade Pepperoni Pizza Recipe

  • Prep time: 10 minutes
  • Cook time: 15 minutes
  • Yield: 1 large pizza

To make this even easier, skip the homemade sauce and use your favorite jarred pizza sauce instead.

Ingredients

  • 16 ounces pizza dough, store-bought or homemade (I like this no-knead version, though note that this recipe makes enough dough for 2 pizzas)
  • 1/2 cup pizza sauce (see below)
  • 18-20 slices pepperoni
  • 12 ounces mozzarella cheese, grated
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon fresh oregano, optional
  • Flour for rolling and shaping dough

For the Quick Pizza Sauce:

  • 1/2 cup tomato sauce (no salt)
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon granulated garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon granulated onion
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil

For the Honey Butter (Dad Add):

  • 1/4 cup softened butter
  • 2 tablespoons honey

Special equipment:

Method

1 Preheat the oven: Preheat oven to 500°F. If you are using a pizza stone, preheat it in the oven for at least 20 minutes so it is nice and hot as well.

2 Make the sauce: If you are using my sauce recipe, stir together the ingredients. The sauce recipe makes just enough for one large pizza. You can easily double it if you are making more than one pizza.

Make homemade pizza sauce for easy pepperoni pizza

3 Roll out the dough: Roll out dough on a lightly floured surface. If it's hard to roll, let it rest for 5 minutes so it can come to room temperature. For a large pizza, I like to roll my dough into about a 14-inch diameter circle.

Two balls of homemade pizza dough

4 Add the toppings: Transfer the dough to a lightly dusted pizza peel. Alternatively, fit it into a large cast-iron.

Add sauce in a light layer all over the pizza, leaving about 1/4-inch crust around the edges. Chop half of the pepperoni and sprinkle it over the sauce. Top the pizza with grated cheese and the rest of the pepperoni. Season with black pepper.

Homemade Pizza Dough and SaucePut slices of pepperoni under the cheese layer on your homemade pepperoni pizzaAssembling homemade pepperoni pizza

5 Cook the pizza: If you're using a pizza stone, carefully slide pizza into the center of the preheated pizza stone. Cook for 6 minutes, then rotate the pizza halfway so it cooks evenly. Cook for another 6-8 minutes, or until the crust is golden brown and charred in spots.

If you're using a skillet, press the dough into a cast iron skillet and add toppings. Place the skillet over a high heat burner for 2 minutes to get it preheated and get the crust cooking right away. Then transfer to a 500˚F oven and bake for 10 to 12 minutes, or until the crust is golden brown.

6 Slice and serve! Use pizza peel to slide pizza out onto a cutting board. Let the pizza rest for a minute and slice into pieces. Season with fresh oregano (optional). Serve while warm with a side salad.

Crispy crust and cheese on a pepperoni pizza made at home

7 Make the honey butter (optional): Stir together the softened butter and honey, then serve alongside the pizza for crust dipping.

Honey butter dip for homemade pepperoni pizza

Store leftover pizza in the fridge for up to three days. Reheat pizza in a sturdy skillet over medium heat with a drizzle of oil. Cover skillet with a lid and cook until the cheese has melted and crust is crispy.

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Nick Evans

Nick has been writing delicious recipes for the home cook for almost a decade. He lives in Denver, CO and embraces a delicate balance of diaper changing, trail running and beer drinking. His website is Macheesmo and his first book is Love Your Leftovers.

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3 Comments / Reviews

No ImageHomemade Pepperoni Pizza

Did you make it? Rate it!

  1. Dawn

    We made this pizza last night, and it was fantastic. Crispy, chewy and delicious. Just a few comments. I made the dough from scratch, using the no-knead recipe. The recipe doesn’t say what kind of flour to use. I regularly bake bread, rolls and baguettes. I understand that Italian flour has a higher protein (gluten) content than most US flours. That tends to make bread recipes more chewy. I wanted a crunchy crust, without excessive toughness, so I chose King Arthur all-purpose flour for the pizza dough. It was perfect for our taste preference.

    Second thing was the pepperoni. Nick suggested 2 ounces, but that looked skimpy mean, and I would only have had about 5 or 6 slices on top of the pizza. Even if the slices are 3 inches across, that just doesn’t look right! :) So I went up to 4oz total. Greedy perhaps, but perfect visually. I added some thinly sliced bell peppers and a sprinkle of pine nuts for extra non-meat protein.

    Third, I used homemade arrabbiata sauce. It was delicious with the pepperoni. I would definitely do that again.

    Fourth, Nick’s fresh herb sprinkle on the pizza does not look like my fresh oregano. It looks much more like thyme or baby rosemary tips. :-D I used oregano and some fresh basil, then topped the pizza with a good handful of arugula (more pepper flavor) and a drizzle of reduced balsamic vinegar.

    Wow, what a fantastic meal! We can’t wait to reheat the leftovers (without heating the arugula) for dinner tonight. Thanks Nick! Very cute selfie of you with your daughter, by the way – it inspired me to make this. :-)

    xxxxxyyyyy

  2. Dawn

    Hey Nick, I am going to rate your pizza recipe once I have made it to completion. However, I have some confusion about your recipe instructions. ;)

    18 to 20 slices of pepperoni is fine if you have specified which pepperoni. However, some are 1 inch diameter and the slices I have are 3 inches – the Margherita ones recommended by Cooks Illustrated. That could vary the amount by three or four times.

    Now, I know that these things can be down to personal taste, but as a starting recipe, it might be helpful to put a pepperoni weight suggestion in the instructions.

    I know I could just lay them out and eyeball it, but I have to defrost these in multiple smaller packages as I am cooking for two, and I am wondering whether to defrost 2 ounces, 4 ounces or the whole 8 ounce bonanza of the prepackaged stuff?

    My husband is drooling over the recipe, so thank you!

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Crispy crust and cheese on a pepperoni pizza made at homeHomemade Pepperoni Pizza