This homemade vegan pepperoni is ridiculously easy and tastes SO good you'll find yourself snacking on it straight from the fridge! Full of flavor and generously spiced with paprika, fennel seed, garlic and just enough spicy heat. With both oven and Instant Pot instructions you'll be surprised how easy it is to make veggie pepperoni from scratch! It's perfect for vegan pizza, snack boards and sandwiches.
If you love the over-the-top flavor of pepperoni you're going to LOVE this seitan version. I worked hard to get the flavors just right and am totally in love with the result.
With a tender and meaty texture plus paprika, fennel seeds, garlic, cayenne, and black pepper, the only things missing from this vegan pepperoni are cruelty and loads of fat!
We also love that it's seriously easy to prepare and can be used in so many different ways. Enjoy vegan pepperoni:
Whether you serve this vegan pepperoni cold or hot, the flavor and texture are just so satisfying.
The ingredient list may look long at first glance, but it's mostly just spices. You'll also need a few other dry ingredients and flavorings.
- Vital Wheat Gluten - this is critical to the recipe and can't be substituted; I use Anthony's brand.
- Nutritional Yeast - adds umami and flavor and helps tenderize the seitan. I highly recommend this non-fortified nutritional yeast by Sari.
- Flour - any type of flour is fine, such as all-purpose, oat, or chickpea; flour helps to soften the seitan and disrupt the formation of gluten strands so that we end up with pepperoni that's just firm enough.
- Spices - from paprika and fennel seeds to cayenne and black pepper, this blend of seasonings creates authentic pepperoni flavor and aroma.
- Oil - the nature of seitan prevents us from being able to add much fat to this recipe, but a small amount does soften the pepperoni and provides moisture.
- Soy Sauce or Tamari - this is important for saltiness and flavor.
- Maple Syrup - or substitute agave syrup.
- Liquid Smoke - easy to find at most grocery stores; I use the Colgin brand.
See the recipe card below for amounts and full recipe.
How To Make Vegan Pepperoni
Of all of my seitan recipes, this one is probably the easiest. The dough can be mixed in a food processor or by hand in a mixing bowl. And the pepperoni can be steamed in the Instant Pot or baked in the oven.
- Using a spice grinder or a mortar and pestle, partially grind the fennel seeds.
- In a food processor or large mixing bowl, combine the dry ingredients.
- Add the wet ingredients and mix/blend until a dough forms.
- Move the dough to a flat work surface and knead until it feels firm. This won't take long if you used a food processor. If you made the dough in a bowl, you'll want to knead it longer, about 2 minutes. Divide the pepperoni dough in half.
- Roll each piece into a log that's about 5 to 5 ½ inches long. Place a square of aluminum foil on the work surface, and place a smaller piece of parchment on top. Wrap each log of pepperoni as tightly as possible, twisting the ends like a candy wrapper. Heavy duty aluminum foil works best since it's less likely to tear; the parchment also helps to reinforce the strength of the foil.
- Now you're ready to cook! Choose one of these two cooking methods:
Instant Pot Instructions:
Add 1 cup of water to the Instant Pot, and place the trivet inside. Place the foil packages on the trivet.
Secure the Instant Pot lid and set to sealing. Using the steam function, cook for 30 minutes, followed by a quick release of the pressure.
Place the foil packages on a baking sheet, and bake in a preheated 325 degree oven for 55 minutes, flipping them at the halfway point.
Healthy is a fairly subjective term, but I will say this, compared to pepperoni made from a pig's flesh that's loaded with sodium and nitrates? Yeah, this is healthy.
Because this is a seitan recipe it is the exact opposite of gluten-free, but you can always use these spices and seasonings on tofu, tempeh, or soy curls for a gluten-free treat with similar flavor.
No, homemade vegan pepperoni is not greasy. The amount of fat you can add to seitan is limited since it interrupts the formation of gluten. So adding too much oil makes seitan fall apart. This means that this vegan pepperoni is lower in fat and also more dry. See the next question for an important tip!!
Absolutely! To prevent the seitan pepperoni from drying out in the oven be sure to marinate the pepperoni slices in oil first, or simply spritz the pepperoni with oil once it's on the pizza. Alternatively, you can layer the pepperoni underneath the pizza sauce.
The key to perfectly dense seitan pepperoni is to wrap it tightly. If the foil is somewhat loose, the seitan will expand during cooking to fill the foil package, and you may end up with bready looking holes in your pepperoni.
I highly recommend heavy-duty aluminum foil for this recipe. Also, the layer of parchment between the foil and pepperoni helps to reinforce it and make it even stronger. This allows you to wrap it snugly and really twist the ends closed.
As I mentioned above, the delicious ways to use vegan pepperoni are limited only by your imagination! Slice it, chop it, or pulse it in a food processor.
How to Store Leftovers
Store the cooked and cooled vegan pepperoni in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 6 days. It also freezes well. Just make sure it is wrapped well to protect it from air and freezer burn. Then thaw the pepperoni in the fridge overnight before using.
More seitan recipes:
- Easy Buffalo Wings
- Easy Seasoned Seitan
- Simple Seitan Roast
- Vegan Turkey Roast
- Maple Breakfast Sausage
- Andouille Sausage
- Teriyaki Seitan Jerky
- Seitan-Jackfruit Vegan Ribz
- The Easiest Vegan Chick-un Nuggets
If you try the recipe I would love to hear from you! Comment below to let us know your favorite ways to use vegan pepperoni.
Easy Vegan Pepperoni
- 1 ¼ cups vital wheat gluten
- ¼ cup nutritional yeast
- 2 tablespoons oat flour or all-purpose
- 1 tablespoon paprika
- 2 ½ teaspoons fennel seed, lightly crushed - see Notes
- 1 ½ teaspoons red pepper flakes
- 1 ½ teaspoons garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1 ½ teaspoons fine sea salt
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- ⅛ teaspoon cayenne - omit for milder pepperoni
- ⅛ teaspoon allspice, optional
- 2 tablespoons oil - or nut butter
- 1 ½ tablespoons prepared mustard, yellow or stoneground
- 1 ½ tablespoons soy sauce or tamari
- 1 ½ tablespoons maple syrup
- 2 teaspoons liquid smoke
- ½ cup water
- Tear off two pieces of aluminum foil (preferably heavy duty), each about 12 inches long. Also tear/cut two smaller pieces of parchment paper just large enough to wrap around each log of pepperoni. If baking the seitan pepperoni, preheat oven to 325 degrees F.
- In a food processor or a large bowl, mix together the dry ingredients. Add the wet ingredients and pulse or stir to combine. If using a food processor, let it run for about 30 seconds or until the seitan dough comes together in a ball. Transfer the dough to a work surface and knead until smooth and firm, about 30 seconds for dough made in a food processor or 2 to 3 minutes for dough made in a bowl.
- Cut the dough in half, and shape each piece into a log about 5 ½-inches long. It's okay if they don't look perfect. Your veggie pepperoni will snap into place inside the foil. Place a piece of foil on the work surface, and place a piece of parchment on top near the edge closest to you. Wrap the pepperoni up tightly, twisting the ends like a candy wrapper.
Instant Pot Instructions:
- Add 1 cup water to the insert and place the trivet inside. Place the two foil packages on the trivet, and secure the lid. Press the "steam" button, and make sure the display reads "high" (if applicable for your IP). Set the time for 30 minutes. Some pressure will build but not as much as during pressure cooking.
- When the Instant Pot beeps that the time is done, carefully quick release the pressure, remove the lid, and use tongs or an oven mitt to move the pepperoni to a plate or cutting board to cool. Unwrap and let cool for 5 minutes before slicing, or cool completely then store in an air-tight container in the refrigerator.
- Place the two foil logs on a baking sheet, and bake for 55 minutes, flipping at the halfway point. Remove from oven, unwrap, and let cool for 5 minutes before slicing. Or cool completely then store vegan pepperoni in an air-tight container in the refrigerator for up to 6 days.
Estimated Nutrition (per serving)
Nutrition information is an estimate and will vary depending on the exact amounts and specific products and ingredients used. We calculate this information using the online calculator cronometer.com.