A single deli slice of pepperoni contains around 70 calories, depending on thickness. Pepperoni is a high-fat, high-protein food that is calorie-dense. The exact calorie count can vary between brands.
Calories in Pepperoni
Pepperoni is a popular pizza topping and deli meat made from pork and beef seasoned with paprika and other spices. It is high in fat, protein, and sodium.
Pepperoni packs a lot of calories into a small serving. According to the USDA, a 1 ounce (28 gram) serving of pepperoni contains:
- Calories: 90
- Total fat: 7 grams
- Saturated fat: 3 grams
- Protein: 6 grams
- Carbs: 1 gram
As you can see, over 70% of the calories in pepperoni come from fat.
Pepperoni is usually eaten in thin slices rather than weighed out in ounces. The typical deli slice is around 1–2 mm thick.
Given the high calorie density, a single deli slice of pepperoni contains roughly 70 calories. However, the exact amount can vary based on the brand and thickness.
Thinner slices from mass-produced brands may provide 60 calories per slice. Thicker artisanal pepperoni may have 80+ calories in a slice.
Calories per Ounce of Pepperoni
To determine the calories in pepperoni based on weight rather than slices, use the following general estimates:
As you can see, a quarter ounce slice contains around 25 calories, while a half ounce slice provides nearly 50 calories.
Most delis sell pepperoni in slices rather than weighing it out. But this table can provide a rough estimate when weighing pepperoni at home.
Nutrition Facts for Pepperoni
Pepperoni is high in sodium, fat, and protein compared to many other foods.
Here are the nutrition facts for a 28 gram (1 ounce) serving according to the USDA:
As you can see, each 1 ounce serving contains:
- 90 calories
- 7 g fat (3 g saturated fat)
- 6 g protein
- 390 mg sodium (17% DV)
- 1 g carbs
Nearly 80% of the calories in pepperoni come from fat, mostly saturated fat. Pepperoni also provides a significant amount of sodium, with 17% of the daily value in a single 1 ounce serving.
Compared to other high-protein foods like chicken breast, pepperoni is much higher in fat and sodium. It provides less protein per calorie compared to leaner deli meats.
High Fat and Sodium Content
The high amount of fat and sodium in pepperoni comes from how it is produced:
- Pepperoni has added beef fat to provide a softer texture.
- It uses sodium-containing curing agents like nitrates and nitrites to preserve the meat.
- Spices like paprika add additional sodium.
- It is smoked, which adds sodium from the curing process.
If you are limiting fat, saturated fat, or sodium in your diet, pepperoni is not the best choice for a meat snack compared to options like turkey, chicken, or ham.
However, eaten in moderation, it can fit into a balanced diet. The fat content provides a satiating effect that helps pepperoni slices make a filling snack.
Calories in a Serving of Pepperoni
Now that you know the calorie count per ounce and slice, here is the typical calorie content of common pepperoni serving sizes:
|1 deli slice (14g)||70|
|5 slices (1.5oz)||135|
|10 slices (3oz)||270|
|15 slices (4.5oz)||405|
As you can see, those slices can add up quickly if you eat multiple pieces! But eaten in moderation, pepperoni can be part of a healthy diet.
To keep your pepperoni intake reasonable, here are some recommended serving sizes:
- Kids: 1-2 slices with a sandwich or snack
- Women: Up to 4 slices as part of a meal or snack
- Men: Up to 6 slices as a snack
When eating pepperoni by itself, pair it with low calorie foods like raw veggies, whole grain crackers, or mustard to help fill you up.
And on pizza, stick to 1-2 slices with pepperoni rather than the whole pie!
Ways to Enjoy Pepperoni
Here are some popular ways to enjoy pepperoni without overdoing the calories, sodium, or fat:
When eating pizza, stick to 1-2 slices with pepperoni rather than an entire pepperoni pie. Load up on veggie toppings like mushrooms, onions, and peppers to add bulk without the calories.
Choose thin crust instead of deep dish or pan styles to moderate fat and carb intake. And opt for half pepperoni/half veggie or margherita to balance the nutrition.
In a Sandwich
Enjoy 3-4 slices of pepperoni on an Italian sub roll or baguette. Pair it with veggies like lettuce, tomato, onion, and banana peppers.
Mustard, oil and vinegar, or hummus also complement the pepperoni instead of mayo or cheese-heavy spreads. And choose whole grain bread over white.
On a Pizza Bagel
Toast a whole grain bagel half, then add tomato sauce and a sprinkle of shredded mozzarella cheese. Top with 4-5 slices of pepperoni for a pizza-inspired treat!
For an easy snack, take 2-3 slices of pepperoni and roll them up together. The fat content will help fill you up. Enjoy with whole grain crackers, veggies, or mustard for dipping.
Sprinkle chopped pepperoni over baked corn tortilla chips. Add shredded cheese, salsa, and jalapenos for a tasty nacho plate!
Healthier Alternatives to Pepperoni
For a lower fat, lower sodium snack, consider these healthier alternatives:
Turkey pepperoni has around half the fat of regular pepperoni, while still providing the pizza taste. Choose this on your next pie for a slimmed down snack.
Prosciutto is an Italian dry-cured ham that provides a similar flavor to pepperoni without all the fat. Enjoy it in sandwiches or appetizer platters.
For a plant-based crunch, try roasted chickpeas seasoned with paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, and a dash of cayenne instead of pepperoni. Sprinkle them on pizza or salads.
Black Bean Burgers
Veggie black bean patties can be a healthy standalone snack or on a sandwich. The spice and texture mimics pepperoni.
Should You Avoid Pepperoni?
Pepperoni can be part of a healthy diet, but should be eaten in moderation. Here are some reasons you may want to limit pepperoni:
- High in saturated fat – Can negatively impact blood cholesterol levels when eaten in excess.
- High sodium content – Not ideal for those limiting salt intake due to high blood pressure or heart health concerns.
- Nitrates/nitrites – Some evidence links these curing agents to health issues like cancer when consumed frequently in large amounts.
- Red meat – Processed red meat like pepperoni may be linked to increased cancer and heart disease risk.
For these reasons, pepperoni is best enjoyed occasionally as part of an overall balanced diet. Limit pepperoni intake to 2-3 times per week and stick to recommended serving sizes.
Those with high blood pressure, heart disease, or who eat red meat daily may want to avoid pepperoni more often and choose lower sodium alternatives. But in moderation, it can be incorporated into most healthy eating patterns.
The Bottom Line
So how many calories are in pepperoni? A single deli slice contains around 70 calories, though the exact amount varies based on thickness. Pepperoni packs around 90 calories into a 1 ounce serving due to its high fat content.
Enjoy pepperoni in moderation on pizza, sandwiches, appetizers, and more. Limit intake to recommended serving sizes and choose healthier alternatives like turkey pepperoni when possible.
Pair pepperoni with vegetables, whole grains, and other low calorie foods to help balance the nutrition. And avoid overdoing it, as the high sodium and saturated fat content can be concerning when consumed in excess.
In moderation, this popular pizza topping can be part of a healthy diet. But be mindful of portions and how often you eat it.