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Jan 16, 2022

Pepperoni Rolls

These pepperoni rolls, pepperoni rolled up into a slightly sweet and enriched dough, are delicious eaten as a snack or an appetizer. 

Pepperoni Rolls halved.


These pepperoni rolls are evidently sold in most West Virginia and southwestern Pennsylvania convenience stores as well as many bakeries and restaurants. 

There is even a book called the West Virginia Pepperoni Roll by Candace Nelson that tracks the history of the food, and provides stories and recipes. 

With pepperoni rolled into the middle of a soft dough, the pepperoni roll originated in the coal mining areas of north central West Virginia when Italian immigrants settled. These rolls could be eaten easily underground while working the mines (sort of like the pasties Cornish miners brought to Mexico). 

Pepperoni Rolls in a basket.

These rolls ended up being offered by bakeries and restaurants around West Virginia. They can be found with additional ingredients, such as cheese and sauce. 

They were even proposed by a bill in the state legislature as the official food of West Virginia. 

West Virginia has a wonderful Italian American history, which is honored annually by the Italian Heritage Festival that attracts up to 100,000 visitors every year. I'm pretty sure that these pepperoni rolls are prominently featured. 

Pepperoni Rolls on baking sheet

The dough for this recipe is enriched with butter, eggs, and sugar, and is almost like brioche. It's soft and light, even with all of the butter, eggs, and sugar. 

This dough is super easy to make and rises like a dream. It's also easy to work with. 

To make the dough, you mix together water, sugar, melted butter, and beaten eggs, along with instant yeast. Next, you add the flour while mixing until you have a dough that comes together, is kind of tacky, but not too sticky. 

Pepperoni rolls in a basket.

You can serve these pepperoni rolls as an appetizer as is. You can also add some mozzarella cheese or sauce along with the pepperoni if you like, kind of like a stromboli. I didn't add any sauce or cheese, in deference to the Italian miners of West Virginia. 

Of course, that didn't stop me from serving these with hot pizza sauce for dipping. 

Pepperoni rolls with dipping sauce.

I also served these rolls by splitting them in half lengthwise, toasting them, adding some pizza sauce, and then topping them with mozzarella and crushed red peppers. They were like little mini pizzas with pepperoni in the crust. 

I hope the West Virginian miners will forgive me for this. 

Pepperoni rolls pizza on a plate.

This month, the Bread Baking Babes are baking Pepperoni Rolls! Our kitchen of the month is Feeding My Enthusiasms, who provided us with the recipe for pepperoni rolls. She found it on AllRecipes. Of course, you can count on the babes to make the recipe their own. 

After the recipe, be sure to check out everyone's take on the recipe. 

Pepperoni rolls cut in half.

The Bread Baking Babes:

My Diverse Kitchen

A Messy Kitchen

Feeding My Enthusiasms

Bread Experience

My Kitchen in Half Cups

Judy's Gross Eats

Would you like to comment?

  1. Love your rolls, the history, the nutritional information, and, especially those cute mini-pizzas. My hubby liked his rolls plain, but I think dipping them is a great idea...and I'm sure the miners might have done the same if they had an extra one to eat at home, while not down in the mines.

  2. Oh, I LOVE the idea of splitting and toasting them! That's great, we have two rolls left and the air fryer will be perfect for that application.

  3. Beautiful golden rolls. The toasted slices with pizza sauce and mozzarella cheese look divine! Great idea!

  4. It looks so good with cheese, crushed red peppers, and tomato sauce! I bet those Italian coal miners would have loved your variation. Even if it did mean their pockets would have been even grungier than with just coal.

    1. Excuse me for replying to myself. Stupid spellcheck. I meant to say “grubbier” not “grungier”. . . .

  5. An entire book written on pepperoni rolls, who would have thought!
    Your mini pizzas are inspiring…enough to bake them again.
    You bake with white flour and your rolls look like heaven!

  6. Love your pizzas - and your rolls. My mouth is watering!

  7. Love your ideas for serving. I learned that these are definitely a cultural phenomena, with festivals, events, and merchandise. The rolls even have their own Facebook page!

  8. They're gorgeous! Love the image of the rolls with sauce and melting cheese.


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