Pepperoni while Pregnant: Is it Safe?


Can you eat pepperoni while pregnant? Of course, you can. Check out below what you’ve to keep in mind.

pepperoni while pregnant

In This Article:

Can Pregnant Women Eat Pepperoni? 

What is Pepperoni?

A spicy pepperoni is an Italian-American form of Salami. It’s prepared by mixing cured beef and pork with certain spices. It looks bright red with a soft and slightly smoky texture. The ground spices (salt, cayenne pepper, white pepper, paprika, allspice and anise seeds) are blended evenly with the meat mixture. This is stuffed inside the sausage casing.


Can I Eat Pepperoni while Pregnant?

Expectant mothers often ask, “Can I eat pepperoni pizza while pregnant?” They can, by being cautious regarding the toppings. Toppings containing soft, mould-ripened cheese like camembert and brie contain harmful bacteria like Listeria which cause Listeriosis. It leads to several mild health disorders and affects foetal health.


You can safely have a pepperoni pizza while pregnant as the toppings contain fewer bacteria and are less harmful. But, the risk of Listeriosis increases on having cold cured meats while pregnant. So, your pizza must be piping hot and well-cooked in medium flame to kill the bacteria. Vegetable toppings are healthier.


The harmful parasites in raw (uncooked) pepperoni raise the risk of the infectious disease toxoplasmosis during pregnancy. It impairs foetal growth.

If you have prominent symptoms of these diseases, visit your gynaecologist immediately and get the required medications or treatment.

Nutritional Benefits

  • A 1-ounce serving of pepperoni has nearly 419 calories. Your body needs adequate calories to function properly during pregnancy.
  • 20% calories are from proteins which help in the foetal growth.
  • A 3-ounce serving of pepperoni supplies 2.1mg of zinc. Zinc promotes cell formation and effectively improves your immune system.
  • One serving contains 500 micrograms of manganese. Manganese prevents cell damage, nourishes the bones and improves metabolic activity.
  • A 3-ounce serving provides about 0.99mg of Pantothenic acid and 1.45 micrograms of Vitamin B12. Both boost the functioning of brain cells and the communication of nerves. Vitamin B12 especially increases immunity and protects the baby from birth defects.


Risks of Pepperoni while Pregnant

Harmful Fats

80% calories in pepperoni account for fats. Excess fat raises harmful cholesterol levels and decreases good cholesterol levels. It affects heart health, causes obesity and hampers the foetal growth. Excess weight-gain results in birth defects and pregnancy complications.

High Sodium

A 3-ounce serving of pepperoni has nearly 1479 milligrams of sodium. High sodium may cause blood pressure fluctuations in pregnancy. High blood pressure can damage the tissues and kidneys and, cause kidney and cardiovascular problems.

Nitrate Preservatives

Nitrite and nitrate preservatives are there in cured pork. They react with the particular compounds of secondary amines in the meat to produce nitrosamines (carcinogens). They easily cross your placenta to reach the foetus and poses the baby’s risk of brain tumors.


The excessive spicy content of pepperoni triggers heartburn. Since you digest slowly during pregnancy, you may suffer diarrhoea. During uterine expansion, the sphincter separates your stomach from your oesophagus. It makes you more susceptible to heartburn and inflamed stomach lining.


Pepperoni and Cheese Pizza


  • Whole-wheat pastry flour (1 cup)
  • Thin pepperoni slices (1/3 cup)
  • Lukewarm water (3/4 cup)
  • Salt (1/2tsp)
  • Sugar (1tsp)
  • Bread flour (1 cup)
  • Extra-virgin olive oil (1tbsp)
  • Pizza sauce (1/2 cup)
  • Active dry yeast
  • Cornmeal
  • Chopped red bell pepper
  • Shredded mozzarella cheese (for toppings)


  • Mix well yeast and sugar in a bowl of lukewarm water. Make a soft dough with the bread flour, whole-wheat flour and salt.
  • Press the dough gently (on a lightly floured surface) with your hands until elastic and soft.
  • Leave it covered in a greased bowl with a clean kitchen towel for 1 hour.
  • Preheat the oven at 450F. Brush your baking sheet with olive oil and sprinkle some cornmeal on it.
  • Sprinkling some flour on your work surface, roll out the dough gently on the baking sheet.
  • Top it with pizza sauce, pepperoni slices, mozzarella cheese and pepper.
  • Bake it for 15-20 minutes. Ready!

 Pepperoni Pizza Wraps


  • Flour tortillas (8-inch)
  • Shredded mozzarella cheese (1 cup)
  • Sliced pepperoni (1 cup)
  • Pizza sauce (1/2 cup)


  • Preheat your oven at 350F.
  • Spread the sauce on the inner surface of your tortillas.
  • Sprinkle shredded cheese and pepperoni slices on it.
  • Roll the tortillas into wraps.
  • Bake them in the oven for 10-15 minutes. Done!

Pepperoni and Tomato Bagel Sandwich


  • 2 whole bagels (split into halves)
  • Pepperoni (8 slices)
  • Provolone cheese (1 slice)
  • Pizza sauce (2tbsps)
  • 1 tomato (sliced)
  • Cream cheese (2tbsps)


  • Toast your bagels on medium flame.
  • Apply cream cheese on their lower surface and, add the tomato, pepperoni and cheese.
  • Apply the sauce on their upper surface.
  • Join the halves to toast on low flame for 2 minutes. Ready!

Pepperoni and Cheese Burritos


  • 6 large flour tortillas
  • Pepperoni (shredded/cubed)
  • 6 eggs (beaten)
  • Shredded cheddar cheese (2 cups)
  • Salt
  • Pepper


  • Grease a large fry pan with oil and sauté the pepperoni until light brown.
  • Add the eggs, pepper and salt to taste.
  • Cook thoroughly until the eggs are well-cooked.
  • Remove from flame and let cool.
  • Preheat your oven. Heat the tortillas for 1-2 minutes.
  • Take out your tortillas. Spread the mixture and shredded cheese on them.
  • Fold the tortillas carefully to prepare burritos with close ends.


Frequently Asked Questions

Can I Eat Packaged Pepperoni while Pregnant?

You can have packaged pepperoni while pregnant if the pack reads “ready to eat” as it has a low risk of listeria.

Are Pepperoni Sticks Safe During Pregnancy?

Pepperoni undergoes fermentation, drying and salting to kill the existing bacteria. So, pepperoni sticks should be safe during pregnancy.

Can Pepperoni Contain Listeria?

Listeria is found in cold cured meats. Hot pepperoni kills the present bacteria.


Can I Eat Pepperoni from Subway while Pregnant?

You can go for Subway to eat pepperoni while pregnant if it’s steaming hot or, dried and salted so that listeria can’t breed on it.


Having pepperoni while pregnant is safe if it’s thoroughly cooked and highly heated or, properly dried and salted after curing.


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