Salami vs Pepperoni: What’s the Difference?

salami and pepperoni

If you are a meat lover then you probably love meaty toppings too. This could especially be true if you are making sandwiches, pizza, or practically any other dish. 

One of the most common meats which are used is salami and pepperoni. If you are making some type of pasta, pizza, or a sandwich you probably include one of them with a combination of other ingredients.

Actually, they are types of sausages and are usually interchangeable. They both have a rich and spicy flavor and when added to your cooking, they’ll provide a nice aroma and nice touch.

Also, you can eat them on your own or combine them. However, you might wonder what are the main differences between the two?  

What are the differences between salami and pepperoni? The main difference between salami and pepperoni is in the structure. They are both made out of different mixes of meats.

You may think that they are similar. However, they have a lot of differences. Below you can find the list of the differences including ingredients, texture, taste, calories, the origin of both as well as consumption. Now, let’s learn more about each product.

Salami vs Pepperoni

Since salami and pepperoni are very commonly used in our cooking, we should take a closer look into them. Even though they appear to be very similar, they differ in many ways.

If you enjoy eating salami you’ll definitely like pepperoni as well. Let’s review them and break down some facts about salami and pepperoni.

What Are Salami and Pepperoni?

Before we jump into the reviews of what makes pepperoni and salami different, let’s take a close look into everything they represent. What makes these two types of meat special and used very commonly in our cooking? Let’s find out together.



Salami has an Italian origin and it refers to any type of cured, salted, and spicy mixtures of encased meats. Once it originated, salami became a staple in Italian cuisine and spread its popularity around the world as a topping.

Typically it is made of pork, veal, beef, and sometimes poultry. When all meats are mixed together, shaped, you’ll get the perfect salami.

Also, in the mixture there is seasoning, meaning salt, vinegar, minced fat, herbs, garlic, nitrate, and white pepper. Salami contains around 75 calories.

However, keep in mind that there are different types of salami with different tastes and calories. Depending on the origin you can find Cacciatore, Lardo, Soppresetta, Pepperoni, and many more.



Further, pepperoni is also a type of salami. It is a variety of spicy Italian salami which stents out with a higher ratio of spices. And it is typically used as a topping in pizzas or any other dish.

Pepperoni can be made out of pork, beef, and poultry. What makes pepperoni so unique are the spices which are paprika and chili pepper. It has a soft texture with a smoky aroma and taste. It has a bright red color and it is commonly used in cooking. 

Difference Between Salami and Pepperoni

Since both types of meat are similar and both are often used in cooking, you should know that pepperoni is actually a variant of salami. Both salami and pepperoni have similar use.

However, they have differences that make them special. The following facts can help you determine which one we need, as well as to know where we can use them.

1. Ingredients

Salami is defined as season sausages that are air-dried and cured while pepperoni is made of pork and beef, blended with spices, salt, and sodium nitrite as curing agents. The latter gives the bright red color of the pepperoni.

Also, what is important to note is that turkey meat can be added to pepperoni. And it can be referred to as turkey pepperoni.

Furthermore, salami is made of pork, beef, veal, and also poultry in some cases. The seasoning is also different, so there is vinegar or white wine with salt. There is also a difference in the texture.

2. Texture

Another thing that makes salami and pepperoni different is the texture. The best way to determine which is which and also to distinguish them is by the softness.

Pepperoni has a finer and softer texture than salami and has smokey tones. Salami, on the other hand, is hard to find in a smokey variant. 

3. Taste

The taste is also different. Pepperoni has a lot more species than salami, so it tastes different. Actually, pepperoni has a fine-grained texture that is softer than salami and the spiciness can be compared to some salami made in South Italy. 

4. Calories

How many calories you intake depends on how much product you consume. However, another thing that makes salami and pepperoni different is the number of calories they contain.

Salami has fewer calories than pepperoni. And it is considered to be healthier. Salami has less saturated fat, high sodium, contains zinc, vitamin B3 and it is safer to eat than pepperoni. A 3-ounce pepperoni contains 540 calories whereas salami has 419 calories. 

5. Origins 

Actually, Italian salami is pepperoni for Americans. Salami has its origins in Italy. However, nowadays you can find it everywhere.

Pepperoni has its origins in America, made by the Italians Americans. Still, both are used as toppings in many pizzas or different dishes. It’s also important to note that they also come from another century, not just another continent. 

6. Consumption

We have already established that both can be used in cooking and especially as a topping for pizza. Salami is typically used as a cold antipasto and is a supplement in many recipes. You can use it in sauces for pasta, eggs, salads, and pizza of course.

On the other hand, pepperoni is commonly used as a pizza topping and that is due to its taste and flavors which add a nice fine touch to the pizza. Here we can conclude that salami has more use than pepperoni, but it’s not wrong to use pepperoni instead. 

Differences Salami Pepperoni
Ingredients Pork, beef, veal, and sometimes poultry Pork and beef
Texture Hard Soft
Taste Less spicy Spicy
Calories Fewer calories More calories
Origin Italian American
Consumption Different ways Typically used on pizza

Related Questions

Are Salami and pepperoni the same thing?

Salami is any type of cured sausage. Pepperoni is a type of salami, so they share similarities. However, they’re also different in a few aspects such as the spiciness. Pepperoni is spicier than salami. They’re also mixes of different meets and you can eat them in different ways.

Can I use salami instead of pepperoni?

Since they are both made out of pork and beef and practically pepperoni is a variant of salami, you can substitute them in your cooking. However, keep in mind that the pepperoni has hot flavors. Meaning, it is spicy and contains more species. 

Can you use salami on pizza?

Of course, you can. One of the most common toppings on a pizza is salami. You can cut slices of salami and you can pick how dense you want them to be. However, you can put pepperoni on top of your pizza and enjoy spicy comfort food.

1 comment
  1. Hi! Thank you for differentiating one from another. I came here just before placing a pizza order. Your article helps! I know I’ve eaten salami as a child, but not as an adult. Therefore, I’ve forgotten how it taste. I love pepperoni and will one day try salami on pizza. Stay blessed! :-))

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