Friday, January 3, 2014

A Bite of WV Tradition – Pepperoni Rolls

What do you think of when you think of West Virginia?  Hillbillies?  Coal miners? Mountains?

For me, West Virginia is my birthplace and where I spent the first 23 years of my life.  It would be impossible to list the ways growing up a WV girl has affected me.  Certainly my cooking was greatly influenced.  And so, today I share with you a recipe so near and dear to myself and fellow West Virginians that they nearly made it the official state food last year!  Pepperoni Rolls!

If the recipe sounds bland and boring to you, I dare you to try it the way it is!  Pepperoni rolls are delicious in their simplicity.  After you've fallen in love, feel free to “doctor them up” any way you’d like (I know many enjoy warming them and adding cheese, marinara, or other goodies); but try them this way first!  Trust me, you’ll be hooked!

When I was growing up, my mom would regularly make pepperoni rolls for my brother and me and all our friends.  She uses frozen dinner rolls for her dough and the rest of her recipe is the same as mine.  I’ve been dying to make these with my dough recipe and I finally got around to it.  I LOVE the taste of my own dough, made from scratch, and feel that these are probably a smidge more like the traditional pepperoni rolls coal miners carried in their lunch pails nearly a century ago because of the yeasty dough I make.

I use pepperoni I buy in the stick at WalMart - brand name is Bridgford and it's usually on a shelf under the beef jerky. Be sure to remove the plastic AND the casing and cut into 1 1/2 - 2" lengths. Then cut each chunk into 12 wedges (or 8 if you want BIG pepperoni flavor!)

Here's my dough recipe (each batch makes enough for a dozen medium pepperoni rolls): Mix 1 1/2 cups warm water, 2 tbsp sugar and 2 1/4 tsp of yeast and set aside for 5 minutes. I use my stand mixer with the dough hook to mix the dough.

While the yeast is getting all happy and fed, I measure 3 1/2 cups of All Purpose Flour and 1 tsp salt into the mixer bowl. When the yeast mixture is bubbly/frothy on top, I dump it into the mixer and mix the dough on low and then up one notch once all the flour is absorbed, until the dough makes a good ball and pulls away from the sides of the bowl.

Remove the dough hook and place the mixer bowl somewhere warm under a towel to rise for 10 minutes. Once the dough has risen, dump out into a well-floured surface and divide into 12 balls.  Flatten each ball into a disc and place two wedges of pepperoni on it. Roll the pepperoni into the dough and seal all the edges of the dough. Bake at 400 degrees for about 15 minutes, or until they're golden. Let them cool about 5 minutes and rub a little butter on top.

That's it! Super yumminess!! Enjoy!


  1. I lived in West Virginia for many years and loved it very much. I first moved to Morgantown and that is where if discovered Pepperoni Rolls! I found that each area makes them very different. I loved each and every one of them! I will be pinning this and giving it a try. We now live in VA and have not seen a pepperoni roll. I know my family will be happy to see these on the table!

  2. Pepperoni rolls is a must have grab whenever I visit West Virginia! Whenever I explain to anyone not from WV what they are they always look at me like I'm crazy. Since we're not WV natives I haven't mastered the art of the pepperoni roll. I will FOR SURE be trying this out! :)

  3. I've found a couple of recipes and I prefer the sweet dough version. I know the Kroger in Sabraton sells both the regular and sweet versions (and we pick some up when we're visiting Mo'town.). My aunts make it with the frozen rolls too but I like it better with dough from scratch too.


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