Dairy Free Pepperoni Rolls (No Cheese Required!)


Once a month we’re featuring a new family-friendly dish for our Kids Can Cook section from the Hatfields. The dairy-free teen cooking star is Katherine and this week she is sharing dairy free pepperoni rolls – a tasty tradition in their town. Her mom, Sarah, has the pictures and details for us …

Dairy Free Pepperoni Rolls Recipe - the pepperoni provides richness and "cheesy" flavor to the bread. Includes a vegan option.

Originally from West Virginia, pepperoni rolls are now a staple in Western Pennsylvania where we live, as well as in other nearby areas. They are often seen at parties (Super Bowl Sunday, anyone?), at pizza places, and are great to pack in school lunches. Years ago, before we baked dairy-free, I purchased several pounds of pepperoni and mozzarella cheese, and the young man behind the deli counter said, “Making pepperoni rolls? If you have any leftovers, will you bring them to me?” They were once a popular lunch for miners, too (according to Wikipedia!), because they didn’t need to be refrigerated and are so portable.

We often make dairy free pepperoni rolls on Sundays and use the leftovers for school lunches during the week. They are also a great side to serve with soup; we especially like them with this Turkey Vegetable Soup.

While they can have other meat fillings and sometimes cheese, original pepperoni rolls were just made of pepperoni and bread. This allows the oils from the pepperoni to soak into the bread, making a hearty savory that’s so satisfying, even dairy eaters don’t miss the cheese! We served these dairy free pepperoni rolls to a large group of out-of-town family members who couldn’t believe the rich bites didn’t have cheese inside. That said, you may of course add some dairy-free mozzarella or dairy-free cream cheese if you wish.

If you tried our Rustic Homemade Rolls Recipe, you might recognize this dough. A bit more flour is added and the proof time is reduced for a quick, pizza-like dough. This recipe makes enough dough for six large dairy free pepperoni rolls. Even if you aren’t hosting a big party, it’s still worthwhile to bake them all because they freeze well for later. We usually slice them before freezing, then you can reheat just as much as you need.

Dairy Free Pepperoni Rolls Recipe - the pepperoni provides richness and "cheesy" flavor to the bread. Includes a vegan option.

It goes without saying that this is a great recipe for kids to help with, and teens can take over the full baking duties. The dough is easy and foolproof, and it’s fun to shape it and fill it with pepperoni–or whatever else they choose!

Special Diet Notes: Dairy Free Pepperoni Rolls

by ingredients, this recipe is dairy-free / non-dairy, egg-free, nut-free, peanut-free, and soy-free.

For vegan / plant-based and vegetarian dairy free pepperoni rolls, swap in your favorite vegan pepperoni, like Yves, Smart Deli, or homemade!

5.0 from 3 reviews
Dairy-Free Pepperoni Rolls
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Serves: about 72 slices (around 24 servings)
  • 27 fluid ounces (3⅜ cups) water
  • 1 tablespoon instant active yeast
  • ⅓ cup sugar
  • 1106 grams (approximately 8¾ cups) all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 60 dairy-free large sandwich-size pepperoni slices (approximately 8 ounces)
  1. Microwave the water in a large bowl until just tepid, approximately 30 to 45 seconds.
  2. Add the yeast and sugar to the warm water.
  3. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour and salt.
  4. Slowly stir the flour and salt into the water, about a tablespoon at a time.
  5. Knead well for approximately 10 minutes, either with a dough hook mixer attachment or by hand.
  6. Brush the inside of a large bowl with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil.
  7. Put the dough in the oiled bowl, turn it over, cover with a clean dish cloth, and let it rise until doubled, anywhere from 60 to 90 minutes.
  8. Preheat your oven to 425ºF.
  9. Punch down the dough and place it on a floured cutting board.
  10. Cut the dough in half, then in thirds, making 6 equal portions.
  11. Grease a baking sheet or line it with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.
  12. Flatten one ball of dough into a rectangle on the cookie sheet.
  13. Lay 9 to 10 pepperoni slices on the dough (use more if using small pepperoni slices).
  14. Roll the dough into a cylinder, starting with one of the long sides.
  15. Place the roll seam side down on one side of the baking sheet, tucking the ends under.
  16. Repeat with a second portion of dough and pepperoni slices.
  17. Place in the center of the oven and bake for 20 minutes.
  18. Remove to a cooling rack.
  19. Let cool for at least 15-20 minutes before slicing into 1-inch slices.
  20. Repeat with the four remaining dough portions, baking two at a time on a cookie sheet.
  21. Serve warm or at room temperature.

About Author

Sarah is the Associate Editor for Go Dairy Free. Her previous experience includes work as a copy editor at Thoroughbred Times magazine, a content writer at Travelago.com, and an intern at Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood. Sarah was a 'mom blogger' for many years but now mostly hangs out on Go Dairy Free and Instagram.


  1. I love pepperoni bread and I haven’t had it many many years.
    I was really excited to find these instructions, however, they are a bit confusing.

    2. Add the yeast, sugar, and salt to the warm water.
    3. Add the salt to the flour.

    Do I add the salt to the warm water or to the flour?
    Help, I’m hungry

    • Sorry that I didn’t see this until today Beth! It will technically work either way, so hopefully it worked out for you! I have updated the instructions to fix that typo and make it more clear.

  2. Hello and so excited to try to make for a friend who is dairy free. I am from Western PA and grew up on pepperoni rolls! Love them and want to introduce him to them too!!!

    I am very new to baking and want to try to make roll first before making the entire recipe. Can you help me convert recipe to one? I really appreciate it as I tried but need some help to make sure it turns out.

    • Hi Melissa, one roll equates to the following amounts:
      9 tablespoons water (1/2 cup + 1 tablespoon)
      ½ teaspoon instant active yeast
      scant 1 tablespoon sugar
      1½ cups flour (you might need a tablespoon or two less, so follow Sarah’s instructions to add a tablespoon at a time)
      ½ teaspoon salt
      ½ teaspoon oil
      If the dough is too sticky, you can always add a little more flour, but if it seems too dry, you can splash on a little more water. It’s all about the feel of the dough.

        • Hello, it’s been a little tough finding yeast right now and finally after a week of visiting/ calling stores I was able to find a jar of active yeast!! Yay!!

          Now since this is my first time making bread I wanted to make sure I could use active dry yeast instead of the instant active yeast. I was reading online and they said I should be able although wanted to confirm along with seeing if there was any different I needed to do to recipe.

          Thank you snd sorry for silly questions!

  3. Greetings from DC! One of my favorite foods growing up in Western PA.

    Do you recommend another filling? I can’t have cheese anymore and I do miss the creaminess. I have tried pasta sauces and mashed tomatoes but nothing beats cheese. I have wanted to try avocado, but baking the rolls with the avocado inside doesn’t really appeal to me.

    • Hi Samantha,

      Where in Western PA did you grow up?

      We sometimes add Daiya mozzarella to the pepperoni rolls, and we also make ham and cheese ones with Daiya cheddar shreds. Dairy-free pesto would be another option. Or maybe a creamy dairy-free dip on the side? Let us know!

    • Yes. I don’t find that baked frozen bread holds up as nicely. I’d recommend freezing as dough instead, but it will certainly work! I freeze rolls like these often and pop one out as needed.

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