West Virginia’s Pepperoni Rolls

Most of my life, I had no idea that pepperoni rolls were just a West Virginia item. I assumed they were everywhere. Why would they be? They are delicious!

In case you are not familiar with them, they are pepperoni (and often cheese) baked inside of a soft yeast bread dough. They do not require refrigeration and are great in the lunch box.

In fact, they apparently started as a lunch item for miners who came from Italy to West Virginia. These immigrants mainly worked in the Northern and Central parts of the state.

According to several other websites, the pepperoni roll originated in Fairmont, West Virginia.  However, as with many great ideas, there are a few people who dispute this claim.

They are mainly made in bakeries around the state. Although you can now find them made in Texas, they are still a West Virginia food. In fact, they are often called the “UnOfficial State Food.”  (They were made the official state food in 2013).

They are made of a soft bread with either stick or sliced pepperoni. They come with or without cheese. The type of cheese also varies.

They can be eaten cold or warm.  Some people prefer them heated slightly to have more of the pepperoni’s oil in the bread.   I like mine at room temperature.

My favorite pepperoni rolls are made by JR’s Donut Castle on Emerson Avenue in Parkersburg, WV.

JR’s Pepperoni Rolls

They are fantastic! They have a delicious bread surrounding the slices of tasty pepperoni (and cheese).

They sell them with or without cheese in two different sizes.

The smaller rolls are sold in a package of eight.  They are available in either plain, with American cheese, or with hot pepper cheese.

The larger rolls are sold individually and are about twice the size of the smaller rolls.  They are available in Pizza (includes American cheese and sauce) as well as the other varieties.

My recent discovery in communicating with the manager is that they will ship them!  How fantastic is that?  He said they have even shipped them to Afghanistan and Iraq recently. If you want pepperoni rolls shipped, you’ll have to contact them for more information.

They have a nice website:  JR’s Donut Castle

They also have great hot dogs and donuts. However, that is another story:)

Disclaimer: This is just my opinion. I have not been compensated or solicited in any manner.


  1. I really didn’t know that pepperoni rolls were regional. I make them for lunchboxes because they don’t have to be refrigerated and the kids love them. I use frozen bread dough, let it thaw and rise, then pull off dough and wrap it around pepperoni slices. I put them on cookie sheets and let them rise again, then bake. Out of the oven, I brush with a little olive oil and sprinkle oregano/italian spices on top. We like to serve with tomato sauce for dipping. Think I’ll make some for next week~kids are getting tired of sandwiches!
    Enjoy those moonpies:) Susie xo


  1. […] food apparently extend beyond the boundaries of just regional dishes like lobster rolls in Maine, pepperoni rolls in West Virginia, goetta in metro Cincinnati, Ohio, and many, many, many more. There are also regional differences […]

  2. […] have already written an article on my favorite JR’s product, pepperoni rolls. However, their doughnuts are beyond fantastic as […]

  3. […] who get elected and policies that get implemented. I’d love to implement a national pro-pepperoni roll agenda, but that doesn’t mean we should. The same goes for tax, regulatory, and energy […]

  4. […] The can be purchased in West Virginia everywhere from bakeries to convenience stores.  My favorites are found at JR’s Donut Castle in Parkersburg.  To find out more about the background of the pepperoni roll or to find out how to have them shipped to you from JR’s, click here. […]

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