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Thursday, August 16, 2012

Pepperoni substitute for pizza

by Lili Mounce

Last night was pizza night at our house.

Here's my cheap substitute for pepperoni to top the pizza with. I check the marked down section of the hot dogs and link sausages frequently. When I find a package of beef hot links marked down to $2.99 or less, I buy whatever they have. When I get home from the store, I toss the package into the freezer.

marked down beef hot link, due to expire in one week, but still quite good
keep frozen until just before use
one link breaks off the bunch easily even when frozen
Then for pepperoni for 1 large pizza, I very thinly slice one or two frozen hot links. They cook up just a little more tender than regular pepperoni, and have a lot of zesty flavor.

will slice very thin while still frozen
This particular package I either paid $1.99 or $2.99. I bought two different brands of beef hot links that day, and don't recall which was which. So, if I paid $1.99 for the 4-pack, then 1  3 oz. hot link, to top 1 pizza, cost 50 cents, or $1 for 2 links. If I paid $2.99 for the 4-pack, then that one link was 75 cents, or $1.50 for two. This is cheaper per pound than any pepperoni I can buy. And totally satisfying to my family. As would be expected, some brands are zestier than others.

that is one link sliced up
What's your favorite pizza topping? Have you found a way to frugally make your favorite pizza?


  1. Good idea. What I have started to do is when we buy the very good priced pepperoni pizzas from Costco, we remove some of the pepperoni from it before we bake it. The original has too much pepperoni on it even for my pepperoni loving family. We use the extra pepperoni in several ways including on pizza.

    1. That's a great idea, too!

      Every once in a while I'll buy a take and bake from Papa Murphy's. They're way too generous with the pepperoni, as well. So we'll take about half off and freeze the excess pepperoni, then add whatever else we want, like green pepper, onions, olives. I then have this frozen pepperoni to add to a homemade pizza at another time.

    2. I love this idea too, and never even thought to do that. You all have great ideas. :)

  2. I like this idea because I always enjoy those kinds of specially flavored sausages and brats, but never buy them to eat on their own. I like to make a gluten-free cauliflower pizza (it sounds gross but I promise it can be delish!) and then load up on toppings- spinach, red onions, black olives, and so on. Pepperoni (or if it's a super splurge day, prosciutto) can be expensive if you only make pizza for one person once every 2 weeks or so...I like the idea of having something frozen that I could pull out and use as needed.

    1. A cauliflower pizza sounds interesting. How is this done? I actually like the flavor of broccoli with pasta sauce, so this doesn't sound gross at all.

      Thanks for commenting!

    2. It does take some work- steam cauliflower then either put it through a food processor or chop it super finely. Squeeze out moisture as best possible in a non-terry tea towel or paper towels. Combine with egg, almond flower, and some do parmesan but I'm dairy free so that's a no-go. I also add some flax meal and Italian seasonings: oregano, basil, garlic. Mix it all up and smooth it out in a thin circle shape on parchment paper. It will not taste like normal pizza crust, but I love the taste of the well seasoned crust topped with all those veggies! I usually bake it for 10 minutes at 350, take it out and flip it, add sauce and all the toppings, then bake for 10 or so more minutes until the edges are turning golden and the toppings look crispy. Yum!

    3. That sounds fabulous! I'll give that a try soon. Thanks for sharing the recipe!

  3. What a great idea, Lili! I am definitely going to do that once my pepperoni is used up. I have some Hillshire Farms Beef & Cheddar Bratwurst that would probably work pretty good for this too.

    Your pizza looks so good I could dig right into it. lol...I love pizza. :)

    1. Hi Belinda!

      Beef and cheddar brats would be really tasty! Next time I'm checking for markdowns I'll have to look and see what else there is that might be good on a pizza.

      Funny, you and I both did posts today on pizza! Great minds. . .

      Thanks for commenting!

  4. I have no great cost-saving ideas (although we use ham lunchmeat on ours if my husband finds in on sale for a good price) but I would be interested in pizza crust recipes. I got a pizza stone for my birthday and have been trying out different recipes (I like a chewy crust) and am getting closer to what I like but have not yet arrived. :)

    1. Hi Kris,
      I have a basic French bread recipe that I use for pizza and focaccia. Here it is.
      for one large pizza:
      3/4 cup lukewarm water
      1 teaspoon yeast
      1 teaspoon sugar
      1 teaspoon salt
      1 tablespoon oil (optional, makes a softer dough, leave it out for crispy/chewy crust)
      2 cups flour (I use 1 cup whole wheat and 1 cup white flour)

      Soften yeast in water for 5 minutes, Add sugar, salt, oil and 1 cup of flour. Stir well. Mix in remaining cup of flour. Knead for 5 minutes. Cover and allow to rise until doubled, 1 hour (in a pinch I just let it rise for 15-20 minutes, it turns out okay). Roll out into a large circle. Place on buttered baking sheet and continue to stretch to a large pizza.

      After putting sauce, cheese and toppings, I bake at 400 degrees F, for about 17 -18 minutes, then slide off the baking sheet and directly onto the oven rack to toast the underside of the crust for a couple of minutes. You have a pizza stone, so baking might be different.

      Let me know how it works for you.


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