Pepperoni Rolls: Forget Sushi. These Are the Only Rolls You Need

If you've ever road-tripped through West Virginia, stopping at gas station convenience stores for car-friendly provisions, you've no doubt gazed in wonder at the pepperoni roll. Loaded with carbohydrates, cholesterol, and melted butter, this homemade pizza snack is the way to go when you're hungry on the road. West Virginia and its surrounding areas have made it the unofficial perfect meal on-the-go.

The pepperoni roll was invented by an Italian baker named Giuseppe "Joseph" Argiro at the Country Club Bakery in Fairmont, West Virginia, in 1927. They became a popular lunch for coal miners to take down into the mines. No refrigeration was needed and they could hold up in extremely warm places like mines and steam trains.

Similar to the sausage roll which was popular with coal miners in Great Britain for the same reasons, it was portable, filling, and delicious. In the early 2000's, pepperoni rolls were included in ready to-eat-meals for the Unites States Army for their high protein in a small package.

It's not surprising that the pepperoni roll has become a family favorite for home, traveling, lunch boxes, and picnics. If you're not lucky enough to be hanging out in a West Virginia gas station that often, you need to learn how to make these yummy pinwheel creations at home.

Easy Pepperoni Rolls Recipe

You can either make homemade dough or use a frozen bread dough or pre-made Pillsbury crescent rolls dough. Store-bought dough saves on prep time but canned dough or pizza dough is stickier and is a little harder to work with on a cutting board with a rolling pin.

  • For the cheese, you can use parmesan cheese or substitute mozzarella cheese, provolone, smoked gouda, or cheddar.
  • Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F and lay out a large baking sheet lined with parchment paper or non stick cooking spray.
  • Place your dough onto a flour dusted surface and divide it into 2 equal sized balls.
  • Divide the dough into 2 equal-sized balls, flour dust your rolling pin, and start rolling the dough into a rectangle. The pepperoni roll dough should be about 1/2-inch thick and the rectangle should by about 10?—15-inches.
  • When the two dough balls are all rolled out, it's time to add the fillings. Start with an even layer of sliced pepperoni. The pepperoni slices can overlap but just make sure they're even for cooking purposes.

We all love cheese but the trick here is not to overload the dough with cheese. We want it all to melt for extreme cheesy stretchiness. Cover the meat with about 6 ounces of whatever cheese you're using. Shredded cheese at room temperature is best for even melting.

Now get your kitchen skills ready. We're going to slowly make what is basically a pizza roll-up. Start from the longer side of your rectangle and roll towards the other long side. Roll as tightly as even as you can. Place rolls with the seam side down on your cookie sheet. Tuck the ends in before you finish rolling so the final cooked product doesn't end up in your lap.

Make a few slashes across the top for steam and even cooking. For extra flavor and a pretty golden brown color, brush with a little olive oil and sprinkle Italian seasonings like oregano, garlic powder, or garlic salt on top.

Bake for about 20-25 minutes total time to cook through. Eat like a coal miner right out your hand or cool and slice these into pinwheels for dipping into marinara sauce, pizza sauce or even ranch dressing. They make a pretty appetizer and are easy to reheat.

Get creative and have fun with this West Virginia classic.

Watch: 5 Surprising Ways to Use Pizza Dough (Besides Making Pizza)