Cheese calzones are an Italian classic. A calzone is a cheese stuffed pizza pocket (AKA folded pizza). Any toppings you like on pizza can be baked into these cheese calzones! Serve with homemade marinara.
Cheese calzones are quick to make for a weeknight dinner, as a game-day snack, on a weekend date night, or as a fun activity with the kids! Last weekend, the hubby Eric was craving calzones, which we’d typically get from our local pizza joint. But we decided to try our hand at making calzones at home! It turns out they are SO easy and fun to make. My 3-cheese blend takes them to a whole other level, along with any other fillings of your choice!
- Pre-made pizza dough – buy good quality pre-made pizza dough in the grocery store or at your local pizzeria. If you prefer, you can make your own pizza dough from scratch!
- Ricotta cheese – ricotta cheese is essential in calzones. It’s the creamy goodness! I use whole milk ricotta cheese but you can also use part skim.
- Mozzarella cheese – mozzarella cheese adds gooey, stringy cheesiness!
- Parmigiano-reggiano cheese – parmigiano-reggiano (or parmesan) cheese adds depth of flavor.
- Extra virgin olive oil – olive oil is brushed on the top of your calzones to help them bake to golden perfection.
- Sauce for dipping – you can make or buy marinara, or a different type of dipping sauce! See dipping sauce ideas below!
- Fillings of choice – want to fill your calzones with something more than cheese? See the list below for calzone filling ideas!
- Parmigiano-reggiano (parmesan) cheese – substitute grana padano or piave for parmesan cheese.
How to Make Calzones (The Brief Version)
- Shape the dough
Form a roughly 8-ounce dough ball. Stretch the dough ball into a thin, large circle.
- Mix together cheese (and other fillings)
In a bowl, mix together ricotta, mozzarella, parmigiano and a pinch of salt. Mix in any other fillings, or place on top of cheese mixture.
Add cheese/filling mixture to half of the dough round, leaving a small border as a crust. Fold over the other half, on top of the cheese mixture, to create a pocket. Tightly pinch closed your calzone pocket.
Brush the top of the calzone with a bit of olive oil, and bake for 8-12 minutes until golden brown.
Difference Between Calzone and Stromboli
Calzones are basically folded pizzas whereas strombolis are rolled pinwheel pizzas. They’re both made with similar ingredients, except strombolis are rarely made with ricotta cheese like calzones. The major difference between the two is the shape and technique to assemble them before they’re baked!
How to Pronounce “Calzone”
Calzone in Italian is pronounced: “Cal” as in California + “Zone” + “Ay” with a soft y.
Calzone in English sounds like “Cal” as in California + “Zone“
How to Reheat A Calzone
Brush calzone lightly with olive oil. Place on baking sheet and heat until hot at 400 degrees, about 20-25 minutes. Of course, calzones are always best freshly baked!
Calzone Fillings (Mix-Ins)
If you want to fill your calzones with something more than cheese, here are some ideas!
- Diced Veggies: sweet onion, garlic, peppers, roasted peppers, mushrooms, broccoli, spinach, tomato, broccoli rabe, potatoes, corn
- Cooked Meats: crumbled sausage, salami, pepperoni, ham, bacon, chicken, ground beef
- Miscellaneous: olives, basil, other herbs, black beans
Sauces for Dipping
The classic way to serve an Italian cheese calzone is with marinara. You can buy jarred marinara or make your own grated onion marinara or a traditional marinara. For traditional marinara, simply stir together a 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes, 2 minced garlic cloves, handful fresh chopped basil, 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil and salt. Heat on the stove until hot!
Substitute marinara for homemade vodka sauce, BBQ sauce, Buffalo sauce, or Ranch! Basically any sauce you can put on a pizza, you can dip your calzone in!
Other Pizza Recipes on Tastefully Grace!
- Greek Pita Pizza
- Tarte Flambée (Bacon & Onion Pizza)
- Butternut Squash, Caramelized Onion & Chorizo Pizza
- Pancetta, Brussel Sprout & Pickled Onion Pizza
- Heat proof baking sheet 500-degree
- 16 ounces pre-made pizza dough
- 1 cup ricotta cheese whole milk is best, but you can also use part-skim!
- ½ cup shredded mozzarella cheese
- ½ cup grated parmigiano-reggiano cheese or parmesan
- Extra virgin olive oil
- Marinara for dipping jarred or homemade
- Fillings of choice optional
- Preheat oven to 500 degrees.
- Grease a baking sheet with olive oil. Form a roughly 8-ounce dough ball. Stretch the dough ball into a thin, large circle. The dough should be the thickness of a standard pizza crust. Place round on baking sheet.
- In a bowl, mix together ricotta, mozzarella, parmigiano and a pinch of salt. If you’re adding fillings, mix them in to the cheese mixture.
- TIP: Make sure your veggies are diced into small pieces. You don’t need to sauté them ahead of time unless the veggies are large or you prefer them extra soft. Any meats should be pre-cooked. Toss them into the cheese mixture. For pepperoni, place them on top of the cheese mixture.
- Add cheese/filling mixture to half of the dough round, leaving a small border as a crust. Fold over the other half, on top of the cheese mixture, to create a pocket. Pinch closed your calzone using a fork or your fingers. Make sure to really seal your calzone shut or it may pop open when baked.
- Brush the top of the calzone with a bit of olive oil, and bake for 8-12 minutes until golden brown.
- Slice open calzones while hot, with marinara or sauce of choice for dipping. WOW. Repeat steps for a second calzone.
- Homemade marinara: 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes, 2 minced garlic cloves, handful fresh chopped basil, 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil and salt, heated on the stove until hot.