If you’re from West Virginia, you know how proud we are of our pepperoni rolls. I’ll share a little bit about the history of these savory treats – it all started in the coal mines. Then, you can make your own by following my West Virginia pepperoni rolls recipe – it’s all homemade and actually pretty simple.
Pin this recipe so you can come back and make them again and again!
West Virginia Pepperoni Rolls
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As I share the in-process photos for how to make pepperoni rolls from scratch, I’ll also share a little backstory about where they came from.
First, you can see from the previous photo, there aren’t very many ingredients. These are simple to make and a fun way to create memories with your kids.
History Of Pepperoni Rolls
Pepperoni rolls are said to have originated in the early 20th century, when coal miners needed portable food that wouldn’t spoil. Rolls filled with pepperonis became one of their most-consumed lunches. Today, it’s a West Virginia tradition to bake pepperoni rolls for your family.
No, the coal miners in the 1920s and 30s didn’t have bread machines. That is where we are cheating a little bit. But it saves me so much time and sanity, so I give myself the break.
It is said that the first pepperoni roll to be sold commercially was sold by Giuseppe “Joseph” Argiro at the Country Club Bakery in Fairmont, West Virginia in 1927. After they started to be sold commercially, they became a huge hit across the state, with West Virginians proudly claiming them as their own.
How To Make WV Pepperoni Rolls
You can either make your dough by hand or use a bread machine. You can even buy frozen rolls and use those! If you are looking for a bread machine, I recommend the Hamilton Beach bread machine. It’s a low price and high quality.
Once you have your dough, the rest of the process is simple. Portion out small sections of dough. Then, place a few pieces of pepperoni on each roll.
Whether you put cheese in your roll is up to you. There is actually debate among West Virginians about whether cheese belongs in an authentic pepperoni roll. Some say the coal miners at just rolls and pepperoni. You’ll find it sold both ways in bakeries and shops in West Virginia.
Honestly, I like the cheese, When it cooks, it’s so gooey and melty.
Once you rolled up all your pepperoni rolls, they are ready to bake! Just bake at 350 degrees for about 20 minutes – until they are golden brown.
They make a fantastic lunch – make them for your kids! Some love them dipped in marinara sauce, others like them plain. Try out both ways and decided how you like them best. As you eat them, remember the hard-working coal miners that spent years in the dark mines, breathing in dust, so that we could have electricity.
Ready for the recipe?
Pepperoni Rolls Recipe
- 1 cup warm water
- 3 Tablespoons olive oil
- 3 cups bread flour
- 3 Tablespoons sugar
- 1 ½ teaspoons salt
- 2 ¼ teaspoons fast rising yeast for bread machines
- Pepperoni (slices or sticks)
- Shredded cheese (Mexican or Mozzarella)
- Add liquid ingredients to your bread machine first
- Add flour and salt
- Create a small “hole” in the flour and add your sugar and yeast
- Select the “Dough” setting on your bread machine
- Once your dough has fully raised, punch it back down
- Lay out on floured surface
- Knead for about one minute. (DO NOT over work your dough)
- Pinch off a small amount of dough and flatten out into the shape of a circle
- Add 5-6 slices of pepperoni (or 3 sticks) and shredded cheese
- Fold one side over to the other and pinch the seams together, creating a seal
- Fold corners over and do the same
- Place into a large 9x13 pan or baking sheet and bake at 350 degrees for about 20 mins or until golden brown.