Is It Safe To Eat Pepperoni While You Are Pregnant?

Pepperoni While Pregnant

Image: Shutterstock


Do you love the tangy flavor of pepperoni? Are you craving for a slice of pepperoni pizza during pregnancy, but are worried whether it is safe or not? Can pepperoni harm your growing fetus? Well, if these questions have left you giddy, consider reading about the safety of pepperoni while pregnant.

Pepperoni adds an extra spiciness to pizzas, pasta, sandwiches, and wraps. But the hotness of the red pepper can hamper your health and irritate your stomach lining! But, can it cause complications for pregnant moms? Well, get the answers to such questions and more below.

What Is Pepperoni?

Pepperoni is a spicy Italian-American variation of Salami (Dry Sausage).The two types of meat used in the preparation of Pepperoni includes cured pork and beef. A blend of cured pork and beef mixed with certain spices imparts a distinct flavor to your dishes. The pepperoni salami looks extremely soft, slight smoky and appears bright red. The common spices to enhance the flavor of pepperoni are white pepper, cayenne pepper, salt, paprika, anise seed and allspice. The ground spices are mixed evenly with the meat mixture and stuffed into the sausage casing.

In the market, they usually sell the fermented form of pepperoni in the form of sausage. Thinly sliced pepperoni pieces is a popular Pizza topping.

[ Read: Is It Safe To Eat Pizza During Pregnancy ]

Is It Safe To Eat Pepperoni While Pregnant?

You can safely include Pizza in your pregnancy diet menu. However, be cautious before selecting your pizza toppings. Pizza toppings contain soft and mould-ripened cheese variations, like brie and camembert, which are extremely harmful. These cheeses increase the risk of bacterial infection in your body. The presence of harmful bacteria triggers the condition of listeriosis. Such a condition induces numerous mild illnesses and imposes serious health problems in your growing fetus.

Some of the harmful health conditions to occur during pregnancy are:


If you are craving for an American-style pizza, you can safely opt for pepperoni toppings. The salami toppings contain less percentage of bacteria and cause less harm to your body. However, the risk of Listeriosis is higher if you eat cold cured meats during pregnancy. So, be extremely selective and eat a pizza topped with pepperoni that is hot and cooked thoroughly in medium flame. You can also opt for vegetable toppings, as it is highly nutritious for your growing fetus.


The uncooked and raw meat of Pepperoni increases your risk of toxoplasmosis during pregnancy. The infectious disease attacks your body, due to the presence of harmful parasites in the untreated and raw meat. During the delicate phase of pregnancy, if your body or intestinal tract gets infected with any of the harmful parasites, it imposes serious health conditions. Such parasites degrade the growth rate of your unborn fetus.

In case of any identifiable symptoms of Listeriosis or Toxoplasmosis consult with the gynecologist immediately and seek the effective medical treatment or medications (1).

[ Read: Risks Of Eating Bologna While Pregnant ]

Nutritional Benefits Of Pepperoni During Pregnancy

Pepperoni supplies a huge proportion of calories to your body. An ounce single serving of Pepperoni contains almost 419 calories. During pregnancy, your body requires a requisite amount of calories for performing the vital functions.

Only 20 percent of the calories come from the proteins, and the remaining 80 percentage comes from the fat content of pepperoni. The protein helps in growth processes of your growing fetus.

Pepperoni contains essential minerals including zinc and manganese. A 3-ounce portion of pepperoni supplies 2.1 milligrams of zinc to your body. Zinc helps to boost your cell formation process and boost the immune system effectively. A single serving of Pepperoni supplies 500 micrograms of manganese to your body. Boosting the level of manganese intake protects your cell from damage. Manganese enhances your body. Metabolic activity and nourishes your bones.

Eating pepperoni when pregnant helps your body acquire beneficial vitamins in adequate proportions. Pepperoni supplies significant amounts of vitamin B12 and Pantothenic acid to your body. A 3-ounce serving of pepperoni supplies almost 1.45 micrograms of vitamin B-12 and 0.99 milligrams of Pantothenic acid. Both the variation of essential vitamins helps in functioning of your brain cells and to communicate with the nerves. An appropriate proportion of Vitamin B12 in your diet enhances your immune level and protects birth defects in your baby (2).

[ Read: Is It Safe To Eat Sausage During Pregnancy ]

Harmful Health Effects Of Eating Pepperoni While Pregnant

Apart from the nutritional benefits, the excess percent of saturated fats in pepperoni can induce numerous harmful effects in your body.

1. Nitrate Preservatives:

Cured pork in pepperoni contains nitrate and nitrite preservatives. The preservative salts react with the specific compounds of the meat secondary amines to give rise to nitrosamines. The harmful compounds are nothing but carcinogens. Carcinogens trigger cancers in the body. Nitrosamines easily cross the placenta and reaches to your growing fetus and triggers the child’s risk of brain tumors.

2. High Sodium:

The percentage of sodium present in Pepperoni elevates the risk of serious health conditions. A single 3-ounce serving of Pepperoni supplies almost 1,479 milligrams of sodium to your body. The human body requires a small proportion of sodium to regulate the blood pressure level. But an excess amount of sodium imposes risks of blood pressure fluctuations during pregnancy. An increased blood pressure level damages your kidneys, tissues and makes you suffer from kidney and cardiovascular disease.

3. Harmful Fats:

Most of the calories of pepperoni come from the fat content of the meat. Consuming excess amount of fats disturbs your blood cholesterol levels. It increases the percentage of harmful cholesterol while reducing the percentage of the good cholesterol level in your body. Pepperoni contains saturated fats, harmful for your heart health. During pregnancy, your body needs healthy nutrients and minerals for the proper development of your growing fetus. Harmful fats or added sugars can hamper the growth of your baby and make you obese. Excess weight gain gives rise to numerous pregnancy complexities and birth defects.

[ Read: Eating Deli Meats During Pregnancy ]

4. Heartburn:

The spicy content of pepperoni elevates the condition of heartburn. During pregnancy, your digestive functioning occurs slowly. You can suffer from the condition of diarrhea and lose motion. Due to the growth of the uterus, the sphincter separates the stomach from the esophagus. In such conditions, you are more prone to get heartburn and suffer from the inflammation of the stomach lining. Excess spicy or greasy foods like pepperoni easily trigger the condition of heartburn (3).

To avoid harmful health conditions, choose the brand that manufactures pepperoni by not using nitrates or nitrites. To make your pizza healthier, add nutritious ingredients such as vegetables, lean meat like shredded chicken or beef in place of pepperoni.

[ Read: Home Remedies To Cure Heartburn During Pregnancy ]

11 Delicious Recipes With Pepperoni

If your doctor gives you the green signal to eat pepperoni during pregnancy, here are some simple homemade pepperoni recipes, which you can try at your home:

1. Pepperoni And Cheese Pizza:

Pepperoni While Pregnant - Pepperoni And Cheese Pizza

Image: Shutterstock

You Will Need:

  • 1 cup whole-wheat pastry flour
  • 1/3 cup mini pepperoni slices
  • ¾Cup Lukewarm water
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • teaspoon sugar
  • 1 cup bread flour
  • teaspoons active dry yeast
  • tablespoons cornmeal
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • ½ cup prepared pizza (or marinara) sauce
  • red bell pepper, chopped
  • Shredded mozzarella cheese, for toppings

How To:

  1. To make the dough-Take the lukewarm water in the bowl and add yeast and sugar to the bowl. Let the yeast dissolve in the water completely. Add the whole-wheat flour, bread flour and a pinch of salt to the content and prepare soft dough.
  1. Place the dough on a lightly floured work surface. Press the dough softly with your hands until it turns soft and elastic. Store the dough in greased bowl.
  1. Cover the bowl containing the dough with a clean kitchen towel. And keep it aside for the next 60 minutes.
  1. Preheat the microwave oven at a temperature of 450°F.Brush the large baking sheet with the extra virgin olive oil. Sprinkle small quantity of cornmeal to the baking sheet.
  1. Sprinkle small amount of flour on the work surface. Roll out the dough softly onto the greased baking sheet.
  1. Cover the top of the dough with the sauce, thin slices of pepperoni, pepper, and the mozzarella cheese.
  1. Place the baking sheet smoothly into the oven and let it bake for another 15 to 20 minutes.
  1. The hot, crispy and cheese melted Pepperoni pizza is ready to serve.

2. Pepperoni And Cheese Breakfast Burritos:

Pepperoni While Pregnant - Pepperoni And Cheese Breakfast Burritos

Image: Shutterstock

You Will Need:

  • 6 large flour tortillas
  • pepperoni sausage, shredded or cubed
  • 6 eggs, beaten
  • 2 cup cheddar cheese shredded
  • Salt and pepper, according to taste

How To:

  1. Take a large fry pan; add a small proportion of oil for greasing and sauté the shredded slices of pepperoni, until they turn light brownish in color.
  1. Add the eggs, salt and peer to taste in the frying pan.
  1. Cook the content thoroughly, until the eggs are perfectly cooked.
  1. Remove the hot pan from the flame and keep the content aside. Let the mixture cool down.
  1. To prepare burritos, preheat the oven and warm the tortillas for one to two minutes.
  1. Take out the warm tortilla, place the pepperoni-egg mixture into the tortilla sheet and cover it with shredded cheese. Fold the tortilla properly, to make a burrito with close ends.

Your pepperoni breakfast burritos are ready to serve.

3. Pepperoni Pizza Wraps:

Pepperoni While Pregnant - Pepperoni Pizza Wraps

Image: Shutterstock

You Will Need:

  • 8-inch flour tortillas
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1 cup sliced pepperoni
  • ½ cup pizza sauce

How To:

  1. Preheat the oven at a temperature of 350°F.
  1. Spread the flavorful pizza sauce evenly over the inner surface of the tortillas.
  1. Sprinkle shredded cheese on top of the sauce layer and place the slices of pepperoni.
  1. Roll the tortilla using soft hands and form a wrap.
  1. Place the tortilla wraps into the oven and bake it for about 10 to 15 minutes.
  1. The tortilla gets baked properly, and the cheese melts within the tortilla wrap.
  1. The hot pepperoni wrap is ready to serve.

You can happily include this recipe of pepperoni in pregnancy.

4. Baked Bread Stuffed With Cheese And Pepperoni:

Pepperoni While Pregnant - Baked Bread Stuffed With Cheese And Pepperoni

Image: Shutterstock

You Will Need:

  • ½ cup pepperoni slices, finely chopped
  • 1 cup pizza sauce
  • ¼ cup melted butter
  • 2 cup baking mix
  • ½ cup cold water
  • 1 tablespoon grated Parmesan cheese for topping

How To:

  1. Preheat the oven at a temperature of 425°F.
  1. Add baking mix, cold water, and sliced pepperoni in a large bowl. Mix the content properly to obtain a smooth dough.
  1. Place the dough on the work surface dusted with baking mix. Roll the dough gently and sprinkle a small amount of baking mix.
  1. Roll the dough to make a 10-inch square circle and cut in into halves. Cut the semi-circle into even shaped strips. Twist the end of the strips using hands.
  1. Place the ungreased baking sheet on the work surface and place the strips gently. Grease the top of the strips using melted butter and sprinkle shredded cheese over the top.
  1. Bake the strips for the next 15 to 20 minutes, until the outer surface turn golden brown and crispy.
  1. Serve hot pepperoni stuffed bread along with the pizza sauce as dipping.

5. Pepperoni Pasta:

Pepperoni While Pregnant - Pepperoni Pasta

Image: Shutterstock

You Will Need:

  • 1 medium onion chopped
  • 1 medium green pepper chopped
  • 3 ½ ounces sliced pepperoni
  • 1 cup ground beef
  • ½ cup Spaghetti sauce
  • 2 cups uncooked spiral pasta or any other pasta of your choice
  • 1 Garlic clove
  • 1 cup mushroom stems and pieces
  • 1 cup shredded low-fat mozzarella cheese
  • Grated Parmesan cheese

How To:

  1. Put the beef, onion and green pepper slices in a large skillet and cook over medium heat, until the meat turns pinkish.
  1. Add the clove of garlic, to enhance the flavor of the beef.
  1. Add the spaghetti sauce, chopped pieces of mushrooms and pepperoni to the mixture.
  1. Boil the pasta in a pot filled with hot water for 8-10 minutes. Drain the excess water.
  1. Grease a 9-inch baking dish and pour the cooked pasta into the dish. Add the pepperoni mixture above the layer of pasta. Sprinkle ½ cup of mozzarella cheese. Repeat the layer of pasta again and sprinkle the remaining portion of mozzarella cheese. Also add Parmesan cheese on the top layer.
  1. Bake the content uncovered for half an hour at a temperature of 400°F.
  1. Your hot and tangy pepperoni pasta is ready to serve.

6. Pepperoni Calzone:

Pepperoni While Pregnant - Pepperoni Calzone

Image: Shutterstock

You Will Need:

  • 1 cup pizza sauce
  • Pepperoni slices
  • I loaf of frozen bread dough
  • 1 cup shredded Mozzarella cheese
  • Italian seasoning
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • Garlic salt

How To:

  1. Take out the frozen dough from the refrigerator and allow it to rise at normal room temperature.
  1. Divide the dough into six equal pieces.
  1. Roll each of pieces into a small circle and place them on a baking sheet or silicon baking mat.
  1. Spread a small amount of pizza sauce over the circular dough and keep the edges free from the sauce.
  1. Layer the six pieces one above the other.
  1. On the top layer, sprinkle the shredded Mozzarella cheese.
  1. Sprinkle the Italian seasoning and the garlic salt, according to taste.
  1. Fold the empty half of the dough over the toppings and press the edges to seal the layers firmly.
  1. Brush it with the mixture of beaten egg.
  1. Bake the calzone in the oven for 20-25 minutes at a temperature of 375 degrees.
  1. Serve hot golden brown pepperoni calzones with pizza sauce as dipping.

7. Fresh Italian Chopped Salad With Pepperoni:

Pepperoni While Pregnant - Fresh Italian Chopped Salad With Pepperoni

Image: Shutterstock

You Will Need:

  • 1 cup romaine lettuce
  • ½ cup sliced pepperoni
  • ½ cup mozzarella cheese, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 small tomatoes diced
  • ¾ cup Italian dressing
  • 1 can sliced ripe black olives

How To:

  1. Tear fresh lettuce leaves into large bite-size and place them in a big salad bowl.
  1. Place the slices of pepperoni above the lettuce leaves and add the cubes of mozzarella cheese.
  1. Whisk adequate quantity of Italian dressing and Parmesan cheese in another small bowl.
  1. Before serving, drizzle the mixture of Italian dressing over the layer of lettuce and pepperoni.
  1. Decorate the salad with freshly chopped tomatoes and olives.
  1. Your freshly chopped Italian salad with pepperoni is ready to serve.

8. Bagel Sandwich With Pepperoni And Tomato:

Pepperoni While Pregnant - Bagel Sandwich With Pepperoni And Tomato

Image: Shutterstock

You Will Need:

  • 2 whole bagel split into halves
  • 8 slices of pepperoni
  • 1 slice of provolone cheese
  • 2 tablespoons pizza sauce
  • 1 Tomato, sliced
  • 2 tablespoons cream cheese

How To:

  1. Toast the bagel on medium flame.
  1. Spread cream cheese on the lower half portion of the bagel. Place the slices of pepperoni, tomato and cheese on the bagel.
  1. Spread pizza sauce on the upper half portion of the bagel.
  1. Place both the halves together and toast on low flame for about 1-2 minutes
  1. Your bagel sandwich with pepperoni is ready to serve.

9. Hot Sandwich With Cheese And Pepperoni:

Pepperoni While Pregnant - Hot Sandwich With Cheese And Pepperoni

Image: Shutterstock

You Will Need:

  • 2 slices multi-grain bread
  • 8 slices pepperoni
  • 1 slice Colby cheese
  • 1 slice American cheese
  • Butter
  • Mustard sauce

How To:

  1. Toast the slices of bread on medium flame and spread butter on one side of the bread.
  1. Place the slice of American cheese and pepperoni on the buttered bread piece.
  1. Place the butter side on a grill and let the cheese melt.
  1. Cover the open faced sandwich with a lid, until the cheese melts and the bread turns golden brown.
  1. Spread mustard sauce to the other piece of the bread and place it on the pepperoni bread slice.
  1. Your hot sandwich with cheese and pepperoni is ready to serve.

10. Pepperoni Pizza Rolls:

Pepperoni While Pregnant - Pepperoni Pizza Rolls

Image: Shutterstock

You Will Need:

  • 3 ½ ounces sliced pepperoni
  • ½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 cup chopped fresh mushrooms
  • ½ teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • 14 egg roll wrappers
  • 1 medium green pepper, chopped
  • 1 cup pizza sauce
  • 14 pieces string cheese
  • Oil for deep frying

How To:

  1. Put slices of pepperoni, green pepper, mushroom, Parmesan cheese and Italian seasoning in a small bowl and mix well.
  1. Place the egg roll wrapper on your work surface and place a single piece of string cheese in the bottom corner of the egg wrap.
  1. Put the pepperoni mixture in the middle portion of the wrap and fold the wrap.
  1. Fold the sides toward center and close the open mouths of the wrap.
  1. Use a pastry brush to wet the corner and seal them tightly.
  1. Take a deep fry pan and heat the oil to a high temperature.
  1. Fry, the egg rolls for about 1-2 minutes so that the crust turns golden brown.
  1. Drain the fried egg rolls on paper towels to soak the extra oil.
  1. Serve the hot pepperoni wraps with pizza sauce.

11. Pepperoni Casserole:

Pepperoni While Pregnant - Pepperoni Casserole

Image: Shutterstock

You Will Need:

  • 1 packet uncooked rotini pasta
  • 3 ounce sliced pepperoni
  • 1 pound ground Italian sausage
  • 1 cup sliced black olives
  • 2 cups cottage cheese
  • 1 jar pasta sauce
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

How To:

  1. Preheat the oven at a temperature of 350°F.
  1. Grease a medium sized casserole dish.
  1. Add water to a pot and a pinch of salt to the boiling water. Add the packet of rotini pasta, cook for 8-10 minutes and drain the excess water.
  1. Take a saucepan and place it over medium heat. Add oil and cook the ground sausage until they turn dark brown.
  1. In the greased casserole dish, mix the cooked pasta, ground Italian sausage and the pasta sauce.
  1. Take another bowl and mix the sliced olives, cottage cheese and mozzarella cheese.
  1. Place the cheese mixture on top of the sausage and pasta layer.
  1. Place the slices of pepperoni on the topmost layer of all mixtures.
  1. Put the casserole in the preheated oven and bake the content for the next 20-25 minutes.
  1. Your hot pepperoni casserole is ready to serve.

Enjoy the tangy flavor of pepperoni during pregnancy using these wonderful recipes. Remember that eating too much pepperoni can lead to many other health complications. So, ensure that you balance eating pepperoni during pregnancy, and you don’t hog on that slice, pun not intended.

Did you try pepperoni while you were pregnant? Did you experience any side effect? Do you have a favorite pepperoni homemade recipe, which you would love to share with other mommies? Help fellow moms learn all about pepperoni. Tell us about your story and your experiences below. We would love to hear from you.

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