Should Pepperoni Go On Top Of Cheese?

Pepperoni Pizza

Placing pepperoni on top of cheese has many benefits. Generally its the most common way a pizza is topped. That doesn’t mean it is the only way to layer a pizza. I found both ways can be equally awesome and here is why.

Pepperoni is one of the most popular toppings for pizza in the United States. So no wonder there is debate on which layer the pepperoni should go into.

Pepperoni is commonly placed on top of the cheese as a final topping. Where you place the pepperoni will make a difference in your pizza. A good reason to put pepperoni on top is to separate it from the sauce. Also to allow the pepperoni to become crispy.

The only rule you should follow is if you are making a certain type of pizza. Then layering becomes important. Other than that where you put your pepperoni is a personal preference.

I found what I believe to be the best reasons to go either way. Also a quick guide on the pizza styles that change the topping order up.

Pepperoni Over Cheese

A traditional and most common way to make a pepperoni pizza. One of the leading reasons to do it this way. Is for the visual appeal the pepperoni adds and also identifying the type of pizza.

Not everything is done for taste, the appearance of food plays a important role as well. Here are the pros and cons of putting pepperoni on top of cheese.


The pepperoni gets cooked a lot better on the top. As opposed to being buried underneath, where the pepperoni remains soft. Oven heat reaches the pepperonis faster and they can become crispy.

When the pepperoni meat has direct heat and begins to cook. The fat begins to render out. This gives the meat a different flavor and also spreads it out onto the cheese.

A soft and sometimes shiny pepperoni hasn’t been truly cooked. Although they do not need to be. Pepperoni is not actually cooked, it is preserved meat.

When the grease has a chance to be rendered out, the pepperoni will start to crisp up.

That grease and moisture can cook away as well. Potentially making a pizza that overall is less greasy.

If you want to see how to make pizza less greasy, visit this popular post here.

Read more: How To Make Pizza Less Greasy: 5 Simple Solutions

Putting toppings over the cheese also prevents the cheese from cooking too quickly. As you want the crust to become done before the cheese melts and overcooks.

Usually it takes more toppings than just pepperoni to make a difference in how the cheese cooks.


Since the pepperoni is exposed to more intense heat. They will shrivel and can sometimes start to burn. Also grease from the pepperoni can pool up when it shrivels into a bowl shape. Someone might enjoy this but I list is a con, since it can be greasy overload.

Pepperonis will shrink but also they move away from the center of the pizza. As the cheese begins to melt and spread out, pepperonis on top move with cheese.

When they are underneath the cheese. The movement is stopped and the layering remains how you arranged it.

Another potential problem is toppings such as pepperoni can fall off pizza easier. This usually happens as the pizza is transferred into or out of the oven. Pepperonis that slide off are sometimes hard to retrieve and you end with less toppings.

Pepperoni Under Cheese


Easier to cover one layer with pepperoni. You can lay them out and stack them on top of each other. Otherwise the pizza would look overloaded with pepperoni.

You can see more of the cheese this way. Pepperoni or other toppings hide the cheese color. When you bite into the pizza you will see the toppings mixed in with sauce.

Gives the sauce or beef some more flavor.

Pepperonis will not burn or shrivel up when placed underneath the cheese.


The toppings can not be seen underneath the cheese. You might not be able to tell what kind of pizza it is. As it will look just like a plain cheese pizza.

Grease from the pepperoni could seep into the crust. Making it more soggy and under cooked.

Could mask the flavor of the sauce too much. You might lose the chance to reach much sauce. As the pepperoni will thin out the layer of sauce on the crust.

Which is Better?

A pizza is not going to be ruined because of where the pepperoni is placed. As many restaurants do it differently. Some recipes do both over and under. See which option you think makes your pizza better. Experiment with each one and see how they turn out.

Read more: How To Use A New Pizza Stone (Beginners Guide)

Both Over and Under

Considering you can do both over and under for toppings. This way carries with it the pros and cons of each. The best thing is this way provides total coverage.

This method is good if you can’t get enough on your pizza.

When doing this way you can use different cuts of pepperoni. Such as sliced and cubed. Putting the cubed pepperoni under the cheese and the slices on top or visa versa.

Simple How To:

This is one way you can make your pizza the next time.

Instead of placing them underneath the cheese with the sauce. You can top the cheese with pepperoni. Add a little more cheese on top of them. Then add more pepperonis again on the very top.

Layer Order

  1. Sauce
  2. Cheese
  3. Pepperoni
  4. Cheese (slightly less)
  5. Pepperoni

Order Of Toppings

Most common pizzas start with the crust. Then sauce is spread around as the first layer. Cheese is then laid down over the sauce. Last the toppings are added over the cheese.

Pizza With Cheese On Bottom and Sauce On Top

This may refer to Chicago style pizza or a tomato pie. The most famous being the deep-dish. Deep referring to the crust that wraps around the pizza is tall.

Making the layer of pizza filing deep. The actual crust is thin but makes for a thick pizza.

The order of toppings for a deep dish is opposite of traditional pizzas. Made backwards or virtually upside down. Cheese is first, then toppings and sauce is added last.

Italian Pizza Cheese On Top Or bottom?

Authentic Italian pizzas are lot different than what American styles have become. You might be suprised to see that the pizzas have much different toppings.

Italian pizzas will have the cheese on top of the sauce. Although they might not use slices of cheese, but slabs or chunks of mozzarella (sourced from water buffaloes). So the toppings and cheese are mixed together on top of the sauce.

The sauce is usually not cooked with the pizza. Since it usually locally sourced and kept fresh. It is added after the crust has been cooked.

The main difference between authentic Italian pizza and American. Is the quality of pizza crust and fresh toppings (no meat). Italian wheat flour is unique to the region and the toppings are sourced locally.

Italian pizza is very traditional to their culture. Since it has been around for a very long time.

Read more: How To Make A Frozen Pizza Better

Leave a comment below about how you prefer your pizza!

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