How to Make the Perfect Italian-style Pepperoni Pizza: Tips and Tricks

Isabella from Italian Street Kitchen guides you through making the perfect Italian-style pepperoni pizza.


No matter how many times I eat pizza, it still feels like a wonderful adventure for the tastebuds, so it’s no surprise that this classic Italian dish is often considered the most popular food in the world. I didn’t grow up with pepperoni as it’s not something that is used in Italy, but after being lucky enough to experience pizzas throughout Australia and America, I’ve grown to appreciate how delicious this topping can be. Today I’ll give you all the tips and tricks you need to make a spectacular pepperoni pizza as well as its more traditionally Italian cousin, the Diavola. Come try a perfect Diavola pizza at our Italian restaurant in Penrith, or visit one of our other restaurants across Australia. 

Where Does Pepperoni Come From?

Although it’s not served in Italy, its origins can still be traced back to my homeland. The word ‘pepperoni’ is actually derived from the Italian word ‘peperone’ which means ‘bell pepper’. In Italy, ‘peperoni’ refers to a type of sweet pepper, but when Italian immigrants brought their cuisine to the United States, they adapted the word to refer to a type of sausage. This sausage made from pork and beef is quite similar to the spicy salami Italians use on the Diavola pizza, but with a slightly milder flavour. It has since become a staple of Italian-American cuisine, while also gaining popularity in Australia and around the globe.

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How To Make Pepperoni Pizza

I cannot overstate the importance of using high-quality ingredients when creating Italian food, and this is certainly the case with pepperoni pizza recipes. Hopefully, you’ve had the chance to enjoy a pizza at the best Italian restaurant, so you know that my choice to use premium ingredients is absolutely worth it. While this method is a bit different from what I do when making pizzas at Italian Street Kitchen, here’s my homemade pepperoni pizza recipe:

Ingredients (Makes 2 Pizzas)


  • 150 grams 00 flour
  • 150 grams all-purpose flour
  • 4 grams extra-virgin olive oil (1 teaspoon)
  • 8 grams fine sea salt (1 teaspoon)
  • 2 grams active dry yeast (¾ teaspoon)

Pepperoni Pizza Toppings:

  • 2 cups of peeled tomatoes
  • 200 grams of shredded Mozzarella
  • 30 slices of pepperoni
  • 1 small red onion (thinly sliced)
  • 4 cloves of garlic (minced)
  • 3 fresh basil leaves (roughly torn)
  • Extra-virgin olive oil

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Making the Dough

  • Making pizza dough is a fun process that requires nothing more than the ingredients and your own two hands.
  • To start, combine the flours and salt in a large mixing bowl.
  • In a separate, small mixing bowl, stir together 200ml of lukewarm tap water, yeast, and a drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil. Pour this mixture into the bowl with the flour.
  • Knead the dough by hand until it’s well combined, which should take just a few minutes. Once combined, let the dough rest for 15 minutes.
  • After resting, knead the dough for another three minutes, then cut it into two equally sized pieces and shape each into a ball by hand.
  • Place the dough balls on a heavily floured surface, then cover them with a damp cloth.
  • Leave the dough to rest and rise for 3 to 4 hours at room temperature.
  • When the dough has risen, place each ball on a floured surface and use your fingers to stretch and shape it into a round, flat base.
  • Finally, place each base on an oven tray or pan.

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Adding The Topping and Baking

  • Preheat the oven to 240 degrees.
  • Break up the peeled tomatoes with your hands or a fork, and lightly salt them.
  • Mix the minced garlic with the tomatoes.
  • Evenly spread the tomatoes over the 2 pizza bases.
  • Add the pepperoni and onion slices, then top with Mozzarella.
  • Bake in the oven for approximately 12 minutes.
  • Remove from the oven.
  • Add torn basil leaves evenly over the pizza bases and drizzle with a little olive oil.
  • Slice and serve.

How To Turn This Pizza Into A Diavola

  • If you want to create the more traditionally Italian version of pepperoni pizzas instead, you just need to make a few tweaks:
  • Follow the same method, but substitute the pepperoni for spicy Italian salami.
  • When making Diavola at my Italian restaurant Sydney I also add spicy pork Nduja and mushrooms, but these are optional inclusions.
  • You can also substitute the red onion for chili peppers to add an extra kick, while black olives can be another yummy inclusion.

If you’d prefer that I prepare my famous Diavola for you at ISK, make your booking today!

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