I’m going to start this rant by saying something that people need to acknowledge, but seem instinctively unwilling to do: Pepperoni pizza is not that good. I mean, yeah, it’s good, but it’s not THAT good. Seriously, it’s not. If you think it is, it’s time to get over it, and get over yourself. Wake your boring ass taste buds up, there are many delicious pizza options out there, and the pizza world doesn’t revolve around pepperoni.


If pizza is high quality, a mere slice of cheese is delicious. If pizza is mediocre, I understand the need to add toppings. But I have news for you pepperoni: you ain’t all that and a bag of chips. Pepperoni, while ok, is simply NOT good enough to have earned it’s place as the default pizza order of choice on merit alone. Hell no. I believe it has earned that place through process of elimination, unadventurous American taste buds and dumb luck. It’s cheap, it’s meaty, it’s salty, and it adds additional flavor to an otherwise bland pizza. But you know what? So does sausage. But sausage just doesn’t look good in photos like pepperoni does, so pizza places don’t advertise the shit out of it.

Seriously, at what point did we decide that when a group of people are ordering pizza, that pepperoni, along with cheese, is the default choice for the group? The answer: a long ass time ago. When I was a kid and you had a pizza party, you ordered cheese and pepperoni. No other options were considered. No one ever thought to question the conventional wisdom by saying, “hey, how about a veggie pizza?” or “wouldn’t sausage be better than pepperoni?” or dare I even suggest it, but, “how about a pineapple or Hawaiian pizza?’

When you are ordering pizza with a group of 8 people, and someone says, “ok, lets get two cheese and two pepperoni”, do you say to yourself, “perfect! Just what I wanted”? Or do you secretly think “well I don’t want to mess up the order, but if I had my choice I would prefer X, Y or Z instead”? Well guess what? You aren’t 12 anymore. You are allowed to eat pizza besides pepperoni, even advocate for the ordering of a pizza besides pepperoni.

Here’s the dirty little secret of pizza ordering: while you are thinking that you would prefer something besides cheese or pepperoni, so are at least 50% of the other people in the group. But frequently, no one says anything because no one wants to rock the boat or be seen as “difficult.” This probably stems from a time (our childhood, the 70’s, 80’s, 90’s etc) when there were fewer vegetarians out there, almost no vegans, and fewer interesting topping choices to choose from.

So I am here to declare: if I could have my way, the era of pepperoni pizza would be over. OVER. With your help we can knock pepperoni pizza from its undeserved throne as the go-to pizza option after cheese. Yes, with your willingness to speak out, and a little elbow grease, we can end the tyranny of pepperoni pizza and return it to its rightful place: off the “default pizza” pedestal and back onto the list of general topping choices with everyone else, which frankly, is where it belongs. Pepperoni pizza is not special, it is not above criticism and it is not deserving of protected status.

82 Responses

  1. Eick

    Shawn – I’m saying pepperoni should be put on equal footing with other toppings.

    I submit that it is the pepperoni lovers that are being snobs by insisting we succumb to their BS status quo of pepperoni as the go-to choice for group orders.

  2. Youppi

    you want to make a case for sausage and veggie, that’s fine. hey, even I love a good peppers and onions slice. But Hawaiian?!? c’mon eick!

    Hawaiian can not, nor will it EVER replace pepperoni as a staple “group pizza”. I don’t want ham chunks on my pizza. I don’t want fruit on my pizza, and I certainly don’t want both on it at the same time. You know what that equals? Me eating the other half of “boring” plain slices.

    You think the pepperoni era is over? Pepperoni is America’s favorite topping, (36% of ALL pizza orders). American’s eat approximately 251,770,000 pounds of Pepperoni per year!!

    Just think of a world without it, and I think you’ll be ranting to a different tune…

  3. Will

    I don’t know if pepperoni is necessarily superior just because it’s the default. In many ways, a default option is usually inferior to more elaborate options…or at least it’s considered the status quo.

    I’m all for more exciting pizzas like Bertucci’s Silano or Sporkie (two of my favorite fancy pizzas), but let’s admit it…you don’t order pepperoni pizzas because they’re so damn good. They’re just a lot easier to order than a half Hawaiian, quarter sausage, quarter veggie, plus a half extra cheese, half meat lovers. We’re just lazy and/or stupid. It’s the same reason we burn the roof of our mouths on hot pizza, because we don’t want to wait or haven’t learned from our prior burns.

  4. Eick

    Who says you are forced to eat Hawaiian?

    And if you get so indignant about the thought of eating Hawaiian pizza, maybe that’s how some people feel when forced to have pepperoni?

    All I’m asking for is a little equity here. Pepperoni should be up for debate like any other topping is. It doesn’t deserve to be some “golden god” of pizza toppings that is above criticism or reproach.

  5. george

    I fully agree. Given the opportunity, I choose anything but pepperoni. It’s really not that great. Sausage IS vastly superior.

    I’m proud to say that I haven’t had a slice of pepperoni pizza in quite some time now. Someone get me a good slice of Margherita.

  6. LivitLuvit

    I concur. In a perfect world, all pizza is created equally and none should be discriminated against. But this is America, dear, and unfortunately, the divide that runs deep between cheap salty meats and vegetables is very real and seemingly irreparable.

  7. WC

    Why do you hate America? Any red-blooded ‘merican should enjoy gods, guns, and cured porcine goodness.

    Pizza without pepperoni? That’s not change we can believe in.

  8. Grimace

    Pepperoni Pizza is the default choice for 1 reason and 1 reason only:

    America loves Alliteration.

  9. PhillyBop

    Who are you kidding, cheese pizza and pepperoni pizza will always be the staple of party pizzas. Why? It’s simple, caters to pretty much everybody, and it’s really hard to screw up taking down an order of those two pizzas.
    Someone suggests sausage, there will be two people in the room saying that sausage on pizza is too spicy. You put onions on Pizza, you will have 5 people who don’t like onions. When someone doesn’t want to eat meat, they get to eat the cheese pizza, which is also good because you don’t have to buy a whole pizza for the two non-meat eaters in the room.
    Granted, I prefer a combination (pepperoni, green peppers, mushrooms) pizza, not everybody that I’m eating with likes mushrooms. I just avoid any kind of conflict by ordering the two pizzas that can’t go wrong.
    I wish you luck on your crusade, but I won’t be expecting pepperoni pizzas to be coming off of advertisements any time soon.

  10. rossitron

    i may not have the most sophisti-ma-cated palette in the world, but i do enjoy a wide variety of tastes in my food. however, pepperoni pizza is objectively good. it’s spicy, it’s salty, it’s meaty (i know it’s not a taste), and it is consistently good, at that.

    i like other kinds of pizzas. i’m always open to alternative orders. true, pepperoni is the go-to order without much thought. but this doesn’t make pepperoni a bad choice, as your rant suggests when you allude to the 12-year-old-ness of the phenomenon.

    to illustrate, veggie pizzas often have mediocre quality ingredients. that’s a fact. if pepperoni is cheap, at least its tasty. the veggies that come on your average veggie pizza are soggy, thin, and usually somewhat tasteless. don’t tell me my choice to order pepperoni is uninspired. at least it will be tasty.

    if you want more interesting topping choices, or if you want to stick with a delicious, high quality cheese pizza, you do that. i support that and i will ask for a slice.

    i am a staunch supporter of pepperoni. i don’t presume to tell people to like pepperoni. i don’t have to. pepperoni deserves to be defended and, more importantly, ordered.

  11. BS

    Agreed! ‘ronis are fine – FINE…but we can do so much better. I would prefer the default meat pizza be sausage any day – or how ’bout the pizzarias get more creative – prosciutto? salami? no that’s some good porky pizza

  12. Anonymous

    “when their were fewer vegetarians out there, almost no vegans, and fewer interesting topping choices to choose from”

    it was the best of times… it was the worst of times.

  13. Jeff

    I’m on board. And while we’re at it – F fresh mozzarella as a pizza topping. It’s not appetizing nor does it make the pizza particularly attractive to eat.

  14. Aaron

    What a food snob! Just because pepperoni is not your style, does not make it inferior. That is just your personal taste. People swear by caviar, I hate it. Some people eat snails. I wouldn’t eat them in a million years. I eat to get through the day when I’m hungry. Fortunately, you have enough to eat to be a food snob. I pray that is always the case.

  15. Eick

    “What a food snob! Just because pepperoni is not your style, does not make it inferior.” – Aaron

    Who said anything about pepperoni being inferior? All I said is it doesn’t deserve its protected status and should be treated the same as other toppings – topping equality is what I advocate.

    If I want all toppings treated equal, but you think one topping (pepperoni) should maintain its favored status, how does that make me, and not YOU the food snob?

  16. Montana Eats

    I don’t really like pizza, other then my own home made pizza, but I remember a place in Amsterdam that had a wonderful pizza with ham, peppers and banana. So delicious.

  17. James

    Nothing better than a hamburger mushroom pizza. I know it’s kinda plain, but I can’t help it, that’s just the way to go. When it’s just me, that is. When there’s more than me, the order is usually a pepperoni and meat lovers, or pepperoni and barbeque, or pepperoni and Supreme, or pepperoni and Hawaiian… you get where this is going. Pepperoni is the default because 99 percent of the pizza eaters that eat meat like it. When most everyone likes it, it becomes the default.

  18. cary

    Pepperoni is obnoxious. Let’s see, you try to bite through a pepperoni and you end up pulling the entire piece AND a lot of extra cheese. And that’s the BEST CASE SCENARIO. Usually you’ll end up pulling off almost the entire cheese/pepperoni topping when meaning to take a single bite.

    Usually I have to wait for the slices to cool a little bit, which of course I hate. Who wants that? I like my pizza steaming hot.

    Other than that, I’d say eat it with a fork and knife. And that, my friends, sucks.

  19. Hillary

    I actually grew up in a household where we didn’t order pepperoni pizza so I never had this problem, but I see your point, pineapple…black olives…yellow pepper…tomatoes…mushrooms, all those ingredients are amazing. Don’t miss out!

  20. James

    What an idiot you are. Pepperoni is tops. You never know what kind of junk you’re getting with sausage, like the nasty chewy or hard bits – YUCK. Pepperoni is good and it’s always good.

  21. Nate

    I dunno, whenever I order a pizza, I feel like I NEED to get pepperoni (in tandem with a more exotic option, perhaps). I feel as every slice I eat that is NOT pepperoni is an opportunity missed. Also, whenever I’m trying out a new pizza joint, the pepperoni is always a great barometer as to the quality of said joint. I know what a good pepperoni slice should taste like and go from there.

  22. Smagu

    what i want to know is, why dont’ more people accept eggs on their pizza? it’s meat!!!

  23. steve

    Here in New York (meaning New York City, that is) – the default for pizza is what we call a plain slice or regular slice: cheese. And we mostly get pizza by the slice unless we’re going out as a group to a restaurant. But for most of us who grab pizza at lunch or on the run, make it a plain slice.
    And BTW – adding meat to pizza is definitely not the way it was done in Italy and by the early immigrants. Pizza was poor people’s food, and meat was just too expensive. So, cheese it is.

  24. Bethany

    Amen for this post! I loathe pepperoni. True I am a vegetarian now, but even before then- I think it started in like 8th grade I realized how much pepperoni sucked and actually kind of grossed me out. The best pizza I have ever have- from a national chain at least is the Donatos veggie pizza. It is a complete masterpiece.

  25. Ryan

    Cheese and pepperoni will always be the “default” pizza in America. It’s rare that I ever get it but plain tastes are more common than “outside of the box” tastes. I’m big on BBQ Chicken pizza and friends have always been turned off at the idea at first….but I have recruited many converts.

  26. Susan

    Family pizza gatherings (in-laws) were always 6 pepperoni pizzas for the gang. Why not get 6 different ones? Ask around for suggestions, Pop. But no, just make it simple. Simple and boring.
    But I don’t hold a grudge, no sirree. 40 years of boring pepperoni pizzas. Arrrggghhh!

  27. Amber

    In Australia, we don’t even HAVE pepperoni.

    Doesn’t affect me much, being a veggie-tarian and all 😛

    For me, nothing beats a mushroom-garlic pizza!

  28. Tim

    i say if you dont want peperony on your precious pizza then dont friggen order it. i love peperoni but i would rather eat it with mushrooms and olives but i always get PEPERONY on every dam last slice because its friggen tasty damit

  29. Andy

    If pepperoni pizza were an NBA player, it would be Shaquille O’Neal circa 2009. VERY well-known, but just decent. If sausage pizza were an NBA player, it would be a combination of Lebron James, Kobe Bryant, Dwight Howard and Jesus.

  30. Raiders757

    Pepperoni owns you, man!!! LOL!

    I do agree to a certain extent. For a pizza to be truly great, it must be as such with no toppings at all. Everything else is a bonus, and it’s your right to put what you want on your pizza.

    I love pepperoni pizza, but I also love a great plain cheese pizza as well. I don’t mind other topping s as well, but more than tow, and it starts to ruin the pizza.


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