Vegan pepperoni is easy to make at home and tastes SO good you'll find yourself snacking on it straight from the fridge! It's meaty, tender, and generously spiced with paprika, fennel seed, and garlic. With both oven and Instant Pot instructions, prep is a breeze. Vegan pepperoni is perfect for pizza, vegan charcuterie and snack boards, sandwiches, and so much more!
If you enjoy the over-the-top flavor of pepperoni, you're going to LOVE this seitan pepperoni. We put loads of time into testing this one to get the flavors just right, and the result is making us so happy!
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:
- on pizza
- in pasta casseroles
- tucked into wraps, sandwiches, and calzones
- alongside your favorite vegan cheeses and crackers on a beautiful, cruelty-free charcuterie board!
- on top of baked potatoes
- sliced and added to salads and pasta salads
- and layered into quesadillas and taquitos!
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.
Since 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 flavors.
No, the pepperoni itself 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 can make seitan less firm. So this vegan pepperoni is lower in fat but 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 coat the pepperoni slices in oil first, or simply spritz the pepperoni with oil once it's on the pizza. Alternatively, if you're trying to reduce fat intake, you can layer the pepperoni underneath the pizza sauce.
The key to perfectly dense seitan pepperoni is to wrap the foil 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 tight.
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.
Enjoy vegan pepperoni straight from the fridge or in hot recipes like lasagna or cheesy pasta bakes.
We also really love it cold on salads, snack boards, and layered in sandwiches and wraps!
How to Store
Once completely cool, store 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 Vegan Meats
- Vegan Chorizo
- Easy Buffalo Wings
- Easy Seasoned Seitan
- Maple Breakfast Sausage
- Andouille Sausage
- Seitan-Jackfruit Vegan Ribz
- The Easiest Vegan Chick-un Nuggets
Tap to play the video and see how easily the recipe comes together.
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.
Vegan Pepperoni Recipe
- 1 ¼ cups vital wheat gluten (155 g) - see Note 1 for measuring tips
- ¼ cup nutritional yeast
- 2 tablespoons oat flour or all-purpose
- 1 tablespoon paprika
- 2 ½ teaspoons fennel seed, lightly crushed - see Note 2
- 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 mild pepperoni
- ⅛ teaspoon allspice, optional
- 2 tablespoons oil - or smooth 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 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.
This beat store-bought vegan pepperoni, hands down! I used my homemade sunflower seed butter in place of oil, decreased the red pepper flakes to 1 teaspoon and only used about 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper. I used half of one log on my homemade pizza under the cheese and it wasn't at all dry.
My IP doesn’t have a steam setting. I’m cooking them on the Meat setting which is 30 minutes. I hope it works.
Wow - this pepperoni is really good! I used tahini in place of the olive oil and the dough wasn't dry at all. Plus I had smoked paprika in short supply so I finished that 1 teaspoon off with chili powder. Yum...
Fantastic recipe. Per previous comments, I reduced the flour to 1 tablespoon. Definitely will make this again!
Hello. I would really like to make this pepperoni. Is it necessary to use Anthony's? It is quite pricey. Would another/any vital gluten work? Also, can you freeze these? Thank you in advance!
Hi, no any vital wheat gluten is fine. And yes, seitan pepperoni freezes very well. Hope you enjoy it!
I followed the recipe perfectly, using the instant pot steaming method. Pretty good, but a bit dry. Next time I will increase the oil slightly.
I'm replying to myself. I tried this recipe again with two modifications. I increased the oil by one tablespoon, using 2 1/2 tablespoons total. This was to address the dryness. Second, I added two teaspoons of organic beet powder to give the pepperoni more of a red color found in meat-based pepperoni. I believe that these changes improved an already-good recipe.
First of all, this is fantastic *real* pepperoni flavor and texture!
Second of all, it has a much better flavor than the Sweet Earth pepperoni from my Kroger. We made two strombolis tonight, one with each type of pepperoni. Your recipe was SO much better!
Two small changes: (1) I replaced the oil with Thai sweet chili paste. (2) Next time I will cut the "flour of choice" to just 1 tablespoon. The dough was drier than any other seitan I've made, but I don't want to mess with the balance too much because it was so good.
After five years vegan, traditional pizza is back on the menu - woohoo!!
Thank you, Lori. I looked at five pepperoni recipes and I'm so glad I made yours!
Hooray! I'm so glad you loved it, Eric. Thank you for the amazing feedback!
Yet another fantastic recipe!
I mistook paprika for chili flakes (i know) so I was a bit confused when I saw the “red pepper flakes” later on in the recipe. My bad.
I’m going to cut the fennel by half next time though, it’s too healthily fragrant for me. And I think a bit more garlic (even minced) would work too. This is an observation based on the ingredients I could find here and my personal taste of course.
Overall great texture and it’s indeed very easy to make. Thanks for sharing the recipe with us!
I’m sorry, I forgot to ask:
Do you think we can add more oil if we add a bit of powdered chia seeds?
I’d really like it to be as junk-y as possible. I appreciate any ideas!
Glad you enjoyed it, Nils. That's a good question about the oil. You can always bump it up by a tablespoon and maybe reduce the nutritional yeast a bit. My favorite thing to do is slice it and then toss with a bit of oil. It makes the outside nice and greasy looking, in an authentic way. 😀 An infused olive oil could add some interesting flavor, too!
That makes sense. I’ll try frying in oil first. Thanks a lot for the tip!
Hi, it seems you dont have a temperature to cook it in the oven?
Hi, the temp is mentioned in Step 1, 325 degrees F.
Absolutely delicious! And you were right, very very easy. Will make this recipe many many times I’m sure. Thank you. Our whole fam loved it!
This was my first time making seitan and it turned out great! I can't wait to make a pizza to add this pepperoni to. I used my scale to weigh out the vital wheat gluten -- the measured amount seemed like too much. Anyway, it worked. Thanks for another great recipe and I am going to try the other ones also.
Woohoo! So glad you like it, Janet. I always weigh vital wheat gluten, too, just to be safe. 🙂 This pepperoni makes seriously delicious pizza! Just be sure to either marinate it in oil first, or if you avoid oil you can also layer it underneath the sauce so that it doesn't dry out in the oven.
Thanks for the feedback!
Great recipe! I was able to successfully make tasty pepperoni. Am planning to make pizza tonight.
Thank you for the feedback, Leigh. So happy you enjoyed it!!
Omg! Very very new to being (mostly) vegetarian and first time making seitan anything! These are an amazing dupe for real pepperoni (taste + texture)! And, super easy to make, and loved that I could make them in my instant pot! Making pizza tonight!
Awesome! Glad you loved it, Erin!
Hi Lori! I'm super excited to try this recipe! Just a quick question: we have a mustard allergy in the family. Is there anything we can use as an alternative?
Definitely! One tablespoon of vinegar will do the trick, apple cider vinegar or rice vinegar if you have one of those. Hope you enjoy the pepperoni!
Love it! Amazing! The best and super quick seitan pepperoni I’ve ever made! Perfect for pizza and sandwiches