Is Papa John’s Halal [Update 2023]

Papa John’s is one of the most popular pizza chains in the United States. With over 5,000 locations worldwide, it’s no surprise that many Muslims wonder if Papa John’s pizza is halal.

The answer isn’t straightforward as Papa John’s doesn’t officially claim to be halal certified.

However, with some research into their ingredients and preparation methods, we can determine if Muslims can eat Papa John’s pizza.

What is Papa John’s?

Papa John’s is an American pizza restaurant franchise. Here are some key facts about Papa John’s:

  • Founded in 1984 in Jeffersonville, Indiana by “Papa” John Schnatter.
  • Specializes in pizza but also offers pasta, chicken wings, and breadsticks.
  • Most well-known for its fresh, never-frozen original dough and use of fresh ingredients.
  • Has over 5,000 locations worldwide, with the majority in the United States.
  • Offers pizzas with various traditional toppings as well as specialty pizzas. Some popular options include the Works, Garden Fresh, MeatZZa, Hawaiian Chicken, and Pepperoni.
  • Customers can build their own pizzas choosing from a variety of crusts, sauces, cheeses, and numerous meat and vegetable toppings.
  • Pizza dough is made fresh daily in stores and hand stretched. Pizzas are cooked in a conveyor belt oven.
  • Known for its dipping sauces like garlic sauce, special garlic sauce, and pepperoncini peppers served with pizzas.
  • Brand has advertised heavily in partnerships with the NFL and NCAA sports. Former spokesperson was founder John Schnatter.
  • Main competitors are national pizza chains like Domino’s, Pizza Hut, Little Caesars, and local pizzerias.

In summary, Papa John’s is one of the biggest pizza franchises in America and is recognized for its fresh ingredients, original crust, and specialty pizzas served with signature dipping sauces.

What Does Halal Mean?

Halal is an Arabic word that means permissible or lawful. When it comes to food, halal refers to items that adhere to Islamic dietary restrictions as specified in the Quran.

For meat to be halal, it must come from an animal slaughtered according to Islamic law. This includes invoking Allah’s name during slaughter and ensuring the animal does not suffer.

Other animal products like gelatin also must come from halal slaughtered animals.

Beyond meat, halal foods must not contain alcohol or other intoxicants. Foods also cannot contain pork or pork byproducts.

This prohibition extends beyond just pork to any meat not slaughtered according to Islamic law.

Is Papa John’s Halal?

The answer to this question depends on your location. Papa John’s is not halal in North America, but it is halal in some Muslim-majority countries, such as Malaysia and Indonesia.

In the UK, Papa John’s chicken toppings and chicken poppers are said to be halal, but the rest of the menu is not.

If you are unsure whether Papa John’s in your area is halal, it is best to contact the restaurant directly. They will be able to tell you if their food is prepared in a halal way and if they have any halal-certified items on the menu.

Here is a table summarizing the halal status of Papa John’s in different regions:

RegionHalal Status
North AmericaNo
UKSome items
Muslim-majority countriesYes

Are Papa John’s Ingredients Halal?

The main Papa John’s pizza ingredients that could cause concern are the dough, cheese, and meat toppings.


The standard Papa John’s pizza dough contains no alcohol or animal products. It’s vegan friendly, meaning it’s halal.


Papa John’s uses regular mozzarella cheese made from cow’s milk. Gelatin is not listed as an ingredient.

While many Islamic scholars traditionally considered cheese made from non-halal rennet to be haram or forbidden, most modern Islamic authorities consider cheese made from non-halal rennet to be halal.

This is because the rennet is transformed into something completely different that no longer holds its former essence. Even conservatives groups like the Muslim Consumer Group consider regular cheese halal.

Meat Toppings

Papa John’s offers numerous meat pizza toppings including pepperoni, sausage, beef, ham, bacon, and salami.

Unfortunately, none of these meat toppings at Papa John’s are halal. Muslims must avoid all meat toppings at Papa John’s except the chicken topping.

The chicken is halal since it’s slaughtered according to Islamic standards. All other toppings contain pork or other meat slaughtered in a non-halal manner rendering them haram for Muslims.

No Alcohol

Papa John’s does not cook with alcohol or use it as an ingredient. Some locations may sell beer, but it will not cause cross-contamination issues with the pizza.

Halal-Friendly Papa John’s Orders

Given the above analysis, Muslims can eat Papa John’s pizza as long as they avoid the non-Halal meat toppings.

Some examples of halal Papa John’s orders include:

  • Cheese Pizza
  • Veggie Pizza
  • The Works Pizza without sausage, pepperoni, beef, ham, salami or bacon
  • Hawaiian Chicken Pizza
  • Any custom pizza with just chicken or veggie toppings

Simply remove all non-halal meat toppings like pepperoni and sausage and the pizza becomes 100% halal.

You can also request no beef or pork to touch your pizza during preparation at the store.

Some Papa John’s locations may even have a halal section if they cater to a significant Muslim population. Call ahead to inquire.

Is Papa John’s Cheese Halal?

Yes, Papa John’s cheese is halal. The cheese used in Papa John’s pizzas is part-skim mozzarella cheese, which is made with pasteurized milk, cultures, salt, and enzymes. The enzymes used in the cheese are not animal-derived, so the cheese is considered halal.

Should Muslims Eat at Papa John’s?

While Papa Johns pizza can be made halal, Muslims may still avoid the chain due to alcohol being served at some locations and the presence of pork.

Conservative Muslims or those wanting to strictly follow halal dietary laws may choose not to eat at Papa John’s at all.

More moderate Muslims who just want to avoid pork and alcohol have some options at Papa John’s.

Customizing a pizza with only chicken, vegetable, and cheese toppings can provide a delicious halal meal.

Muslims should also consider if their local Papa John’s caters to Muslims and offers halal options before choosing to eat there.

Papa John’s or any pizza chain is not ideal for Muslims wanting certified halal meals. However, with some modifications and precautions, it’s possible for many Muslims to enjoy Papa John’s pizza without compromising their religious dietary restrictions.

Being informed about what is halal and what is haram can help Muslims make wise choices when ordering food.

The Bottom Line – Is Papa John’s Pizza Halal?

Papa John’s does not officially claim to be a halal certified restaurant. However, with some modifications, Muslims can order halal meals from Papa John’s.

Avoiding pork and other non-halal meat toppings allows Papa John’s pizza to conform to general Islamic dietary laws.

Muslims should use their best judgement based on their personal level of halal observance when choosing whether or not to eat at Papa John’s. With the right toppings, Papa John’s can be a tasty halal option.

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