We Tried Papa John's New Epic Pepperoni-Stuffed Crust Pizza. Here's How It Went.

Every pizza place's menu is mostly variations on the same few items: pizza, calzones, breadsticks, garlic knots, and maybe some wings. These are all delicious foods to be sure, but it can all get a little bit boring after a while. That's why we love it when a pizza chain swings for the fences and does something truly perverse and unexpected, like Pizza Hut's Hot Dog Stuffed Crust Pizza or Domino's Oreo Pizza. Sure, neither of those items actually tasted particularly good, but innovation in the pizza space requires companies to be brave and try something new.

Papa John's has taken a crack at concocting its own delicious pizza Frankenstein. The Epic Pepperoni-Stuffed Crust Pizza gives you more pizza in your pizza by putting pizza toppings both on top of and inside the crust. It's the pizza version of the Xzibit Yo Dawg meme. Does this tricked-out pizza taste epically great, or is it more of an epic fail? We tasted it and lived to tell the tale.

What's in the Epic Pepperoni-Stuffed Crust Pizza?

Per Papa John's website, the Epic Pepperoni-Stuffed Crust Pizza consists of just what its name suggests: it's a normal Papa John's pizza, except the crust is stuffed with extra cheese and pepperoni. Papa John's also claims that the crust is seasoned, though if we're being honest, we didn't notice much evidence of that in the example that we received.

You can add whatever toppings you want to this pizza, but we went with simple pepperoni as that's what appears in the commercials and promotional images. The cheese inside the crust is tubular in shape and reminded us strongly of string cheese. Each slice of pizza contains around three or four pieces of pepperoni inside the crust. Papa John's isn't skimping on the stuffing here. It appears that the dough is rolled extra wide and then the excess is folded over the stuffing ingredients to make a little pocket. This seems like a challenging process; when we arrived at Papa John's, we were told we would have to wait a few extra minutes for our pie because the first one the pizzaiolo tried to make had "just sort of fallen apart."

It's available nationwide, but not for long

According to a press release from Papa John's, the Epic Pepperoni-Stuffed Crust Pizza was first released on April 18, 2022. The pizza is intended as a celebration of Papa John's most popular pizza topping. For the first week of the release, it was only available to Papa Rewards loyalty members. Starting on April 25th, the chain started selling it to all customers. You can buy it at Papa John's locations across the country.

The brand plans to only keep this item around for a few months, so if you want to try it, you can't wait forever. It's reportedly going to leave stores on July 10, 2022. A large Epic Pepperoni-Stuffed Crust Pizza with the standard pepperoni topping will set you back $13.99. The chain released another special item in tandem with this pizza: Spicy Pepperoni Rolls. The rolls consist of pizza dough stuffed with cheese, jalapenos, and of course, pepperoni.

How does this pizza compare to other Papa John's menu items?

The Epic Pepperoni-Stuffed Crust Pizza is a more elaborate variation on an existing Papa John's menu item, the original Epic Stuffed Crust Pizza (via Papa John's). The brand was relatively late to the stuffed crust pizza game; Pizza Hut debuted its stuffed crust all the way back in 1995, while Papa John's waited until 2020 to release its version of the concept.

This pizza is definitely one of the more eccentric things on the Papa John's menu. In terms of pizza options, you can choose between different crusts like NY-style, thin, or gluten-free, but that's pretty standard. You can get kind of wacky with your sauce options, subbing Buffalo sauce or ranch for the standard pizza sauce, but we don't see that being a popular move. The other novelty item you can get at Papa John's is the Papadia, which is basically just a sandwich made by folding a pizza in half. There's nothing as unhinged as, say, a Little Caesar's Batman Calzony.

What's the nutrition info of this new pizza?

Sadly, Papa John's nutrition page doesn't seem to have an entry for the Epic Pepperoni-Stuffed Crust Pizza, so the best we can do is look at the nutrition facts for an Epic Stuffed Crust topped with pepperoni. The extra three to four slices of pepperoni per piece of Epic Pepperoni-Stuffed Crust Pizza would likely add a few extra calories, grams of fat, and milligrams of sodium, but the difference probably isn't that big overall.

One slice of Epic Stuffed Crust Pizza with pepperoni comes in at 390 calories, 160 of which are from fat. It contains 17 grams of fat overall, including 8 grams of saturated fat. All of that is seasoned with 980 milligrams of sodium.

The FDA recommends that the average person eat no more than 2,300 milligrams of sodium in a day, so three slices of this pizza would put you over the limit. Ditto for saturated fat, as the recommended daily limit for saturated fat intake is 20 grams. Breaking news: The Epic Pepperoni-Stuffed Crust Pizza from Papa John's is not health food. But is it a worthwhile indulgence?

How does the Epic Pepperoni-Stuffed Crust Pizza taste?

The extent to which you will enjoy this pizza depends almost entirely on how you feel about Papa John's already. If you like the chain's normal offerings, you won't be disappointed by this, as it mostly just tastes like regular pepperoni pizza. It has all the traits we have come to expect from Papa John's: a large amount of sweet red sauce, a thick layer of mozzarella cheese, and a fluffy, soft crust.

On the one hand, we enjoyed the stuffed crust portion of each slice because it allowed us to enjoy the flavor of cheese and pepperoni without the distraction of Papa John's red sauce, which can get a little cloying. On the other hand, the actual crust was a little raw and gummy where it met the fillings, probably because of the extra moisture from the cheese and pepperoni. Papa John's crust already tends to be a little underbaked, and the stuffing exacerbated this issue.

Overall, we found this a little bland, though it was perfectly tasty when dipped into ranch or Papa John's garlic sauce. We wouldn't exactly call it epic. However, as we mentioned, if you're a Papa John's fan, this would be a perfectly fine thing to order if you're tired of your normal pie.