Pepperoni, like other cured meats, can last quite a long time in the fridge. A whole 3 weeks, in fact!
But what if you need your pepperoni to last way, way longer than that? Simply put, freeze it… but can you freeze pepperoni to extend its shelf life?
Yes, you can definitely freeze pepperoni, although this isn’t much of a surprise. Like other hard and cured sausages, pepperoni tends to freeze well with minimal changes in taste and texture.
But that is if you do it right.
So, how do you freeze pepperoni without losing its signature salty-spicy flavor? More importantly, how long can you store pepperoni in the freezer?
Don’t worry, we’re here to answer all of your questions and more. Let’s start with:
Can You Freeze Pepperoni?
Pepperoni is a type of Italian sausage made by curing and drying. Curing imparts flavor to pepperoni and draws out moisture while drying finishes the job by getting rid of any lingering moisture. (*)
Due to these processes, pepperoni doesn’t spoil quickly like soft or uncured sausages. More than that, the lack of moisture is part of the reason why pepperoni freezes well.
Because there is little to no water to freeze, pepperoni can maintain most of its flavor and texture while in the freezer. In fact, it can last up to 6 months to a year frozen with minimal changes.
However, we only recommend keeping pepperoni frozen for up to 6 months. Beyond that, you might notice drastic changes in flavor and texture.
Nevertheless, pepperoni tends to hold up well in the freezer. Better yet, it’s easy to freeze, too.
Here’s how you can do it:
How Do You Freeze Pepperoni?
The right way to freeze pepperoni depends on whether it’s opened or not. If your pre-packaged pepperoni is unopened, you can put it directly in the freezer.
But if your pepperoni is opened or does not come in vacuum-sealed packaging, here’s the best way to freeze it:
- Cut your pepperoni into slices or sticks. If your pepperoni is already pre-cut, skip this step.
- Separate the pepperoni into smaller portions. This makes it easier to thaw just the right amount you need without defrosting the whole thing.
- Put the portions into small freezer bags or airtight containers. If you are using bags, squeeze out as much air as you can or use a vacuum sealer.
- Label the pepperoni with the current date and the best by date. Then, stick the bags in the freezer and store them for up to 6 to 12 months.
See? Freezing pepperoni is super easy, especially for pre-packaged pepperoni.
When you are ready to use your frozen pepperoni, here are the best defrosting methods that we recommend:
How Do You Thaw Frozen Pepperoni?
The best thawing method will depend on the form your pepperoni was frozen in. Here are three easy ways how to thaw your pepperoni:
Pepperoni slices don’t necessarily need to defrost. Because they are sliced so thinly, you can put them directly onto pizza or potato skins before popping the whole dish in the oven.
But if you are using pepperoni slices for sandwiches and other dishes that don’t require cooking, let your pepperoni slices defrost in the fridge overnight. The same applies if your pepperoni slices are stuck together.
If you cut your pepperoni into sticks before freezing them, we recommend letting them defrost in the fridge for at least a few hours (or overnight, if they are clumped together).
Transfer your whole frozen pepperoni to the fridge at least a day before you intend to use it. Because it is in sausage form, it can take much longer to thaw.
Fun Fact: In the U.S., the most popular pizza topping (apart from cheese) is pepperoni. But in Italy (the home of pizza), pepperoni is almost never served except in tourist-frequented areas. (*)
Do take note that pepperoni should not be refrozen if it has been left out of the fridge for longer than two hours. But in general, we do not recommend refreezing pepperoni that has already been thawed.
Refreezing thawed pepperoni can make it even drier, which can impart an unpleasant texture to your dishes.
1. How Long Does Pepperoni Last in the Fridge?
Opened pepperoni can last up to 3 weeks in the fridge. If unopened, pepperoni lasts indefinitely. (*)
For optimum quality, we recommend eating pepperoni as soon as possible if you keep it in the fridge. More than that, be sure to check for signs of mold, discoloration, or off smells if your pepperoni has been in the fridge for longer than 3 weeks.
Learn more: Does Pepperoni Go Bad? How Long Does It Last?
2. Can You Freeze Deli Pepperoni?
If you bought your pepperoni from the deli, keep in mind that it may not last as long as store-bought pepperoni. This is because pepperoni from the deli often contains fewer preservatives.
But yes, you can definitely freeze deli pepperoni. Just make sure to do so as soon as you take it home.
3. Can You Freeze Cooked Pepperoni?
Although pepperoni is technically raw, it does not need to be cooked. But more often than not, pepperoni is used for cooked dishes like pizza, pasta bakes, and skewers.
If you want to freeze your cooked pepperoni, you can do so. However, it might not have the same taste or texture as frozen uncooked pepperoni.
With that in mind, we highly suggest leaving your pepperoni raw if you plan to freeze it for long-term storage.
As is obvious by now, the answer to the question “Can you freeze pepperoni?” is a 100% yes.
All you have to do is make sure it’s in an airtight container before putting it in the freezer. After 6 months in storage, it should have kept most of its spicy, smoky flavor.
For best results, opt for unopened, vacuum-sealed pepperoni instead of opened or deli-bought pepperoni.
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