I imagine that Papa John’s Epic Pepperoni-Stuffed Crust Pizza might have made Little Caesars — who released a similar product not quite a year ago — cry, “Et tu, Papa?” But I won’t subtract points for lack of originality. This combo feels quintessential; pepperoni and stuffed crust go together like pepperoni and pizza!
Before we get into the real meat of this review (ha, ha), I should point out that this crust is not just stuffed, but per Papa John’s website, also “seasoned.” This was a relief to read, as at first glance, the generous smattering of unexpected black flecks had me sort of concerned. The seasoning was zesty — hard to pinpoint one taste exactly, but it was simultaneously garlicky, salty, and a bit cheesy — and while I think the stuffed crust could have stood on its own, the addition wasn’t unwelcome.
Biting into the puffy, pillowy crust, I was pleased to notice that the taste of the pepperoni came through nicely but didn’t entirely steal the cheese’s thunder. It felt like a lovely complement, both in terms of the salty, meaty flavor popping against the mellower, creamy taste of the cheese, and the pop of slim, crisp texture contrasting the cheese’s silky thickness. But, while tasting this marriage of cheese and pepperoni satisfied my appetite, it couldn’t satisfy my curiosity; to do that, I had to peel back the crusty curtain.
Tearing open and rolling back the crust to reveal the cheesy, pepperoni-y secrets folded within had two effects. The first is that dissecting my pizza so thoughtfully made me feel kind of like a serial killer, or at least a very obscure sort of surgeon. The second, more pertinent point is that I could see exactly how many pieces of pepperoni went into the crust on each slice: two to three.
Honestly, that doesn’t exactly sound substantial enough to base a whole product around. Imagine how disappointed you would be if you ordered a pepperoni pizza and only got two to three pieces on each slice as a topping! You could argue that a little of this particular food item goes a long way, but I’m not sure the kind of person who orders their disc of meat and cheese with extra meat and cheese crammed inside is the kind of person who worries about oversaturation. It seems that at least three more pepperoni pieces could have been curled around the cheese stuffing without overlapping, and if you’re going to release something as all-out as pepperoni stuffed crust in the first place, why not fill every last gap you can?
Though maybe I’m just jealous because the site mentions that the pizza is “topped off with more pepperoni,” but mine didn’t come with any outside of what was in the crust. Maybe that’s on me for missing some step in online ordering, but I assumed a pizza with pepperoni in the name would include it as a topping by default!
I must disclose that I’m a stuffed crust fanatic, which might suggest that my bar for this offering would be quite high. But ultimately, I think it just means that I’m more willing to accept it for giving me the luscious cheese filling I crave even though its pepperoni potential underwhelms.
Purchased Price: $13.99
Rating: 7 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: Information not available on website.
16 thoughts to “REVIEW: Papa John’s Epic Pepperoni-Stuffed Crust Pizza”
I’m a bit surprised: I would have thought that the main body of the pizza would be a pepperoni pizza as well. Otherwise, why bother simply moving the pepperoni of a pepperoni pizza into the crust rather than on the main body? (Perhaps, I guess, you get 2 separate pizza zones: a main cheese body zone, and a pepperoni crust zone.)
So, hear me out…I see there being two benefits. One is for those who aren’t too wild about pepperoni and just want a whisper of it, and also for those who prefer softer pepperoni versus the crisp that it gets when placed on top of the cheese and baked. And as Brad said, I guess this is a default one topping pizza and the buyer can opt in for more pep or not.
It’s a one topping pizza. They promote it with pepperoni but you can choose any topping (or none as you apparently did).
Thanks–that makes (more) sense.
I gotta say, admittedly I have somewhat low-rent tastes but the pepperoni stuffed crust pizza from Li’l Caesars looks better than this and it costs a few bucks less.
I never feel ashamed to admit that aside from Marco’s, I like Little Caesar’s above all else of the chain pizza shops. And that isn’t even just because of their low pricing.
FYI, Pizza Hut did this years ago. I worked there from 97-01, and I did my fair share of prep work on pizzas. We would stretch out the hand-tossed crust over the edge of the pan, then we would put a layer of pepperoni in prior to putting in the string cheese. The pepperoni layer was slightly overlapping. There weren’t any gaps like what you showed in your review. Then we’d fold the crust over and finish the prep the same as for the regular stuffed crust. I tried Papa John’s version, and I quite like it. I do think they could add more pepperoni, though.
Just out of curiosity, who do you believe has the best stuffed crust? As an enthusiast myself, I’m curious.
Believe it or not, my favorite is…Little Caesar’s. I loved their version of the pepperoni stuffed crust, as well as their deep deep dish stuffed crust pizza.
Hm… my introduction to stuffed crust came from a local pizzeria when I lived in Williamsburg,Virginia but now that pretty much the only stuffed crust I can find in my current city is fast good I’d probably have to give it to Little Caesar’s too! I feel like their bad rep is undeserved, their stuffed crust is delicious!
So happy to be amongst fellow Little Caesar’s fans!
Thanks for helping bring me out of the Little Caesar’s “closet,” lol. I’ve always found the pizza just fine as an American take-out/delivery pizza, and the lower price a nice kicker. 🙂
Sorry, but I’ve seen better pizzas at Sbarro’s. PJ’s really needs to upgrade it’s pizzas, especially its ridiculous end crust.
Curious where you stand on stuffed pizza, as a fellow stuffed crust Stan
Papa Johns’ stuffed crust pizza is delicious IMO, but the paper-thin crust on the bottom because, what I’m assuming, is them rolling the regular large dough super thin to accomodate the stuffed crust is infuriating because of how easily it breaks apart under the weight of the toppings. I even tried it with a single topping and it still fell apart in my hands.
I know profit margins are typically razor thin, but man do I wish they used a slightly larger dough for their stuffed crust pizzas to give the crust on the bottom just a little more strength.
I was pretty disappointed in this pizza. The center crust of the pizza is very thin, there’s very little pepperoni in the crust, (almost not enough to even taste), and I expected the cheese to actually be melted. It was like biting into a refrigerated cheese stick, except it wasn’t cold.
The OKC store on 122nd sold me a epic stuff crust pizza that wasn’t even stuffed at all. Should of checked that’s why he was rushing me out the store hoping i would not check inside the store and made sure he got the money first. Definitely won’t be going back to that store