How to make cheesy, crispy homemade calzone with just 8 ingredients and 30 minutes

March 20, 2024

A calzone is essentially an Italian handheld meal made with chewy-crisp pizza dough stuffed with classic pizza toppings. The process for making a calzone is simple: sauce and fillings are placed on a round of dough, the dough is folded over and sealed and the calzone is baked until golden brown.

While calzones and strombolis have similar ingredients, the way they’re shaped is different. A calzone is pinched and sealed like a turnover, while a stromboli is rolled up and sliced like a jellyroll. I prefer making handheld calzones.

My toasty pizza pockets are stuffed with zesty sauce, gooey cheese and plenty of smoky pepperoni. But you can use whatever you’d use to top your pizza, they’re endlessly customizable. Since calzones can be made to serve one person, it’s fun to get your family and friends involved in making their own. Simply offer a variety of ingredients like cooked meats, vegetables, sauces and cheeses for a make-your-own calzone station. Just make sure your meats are cooked and any watery ingredients (like mushrooms and pineapple) are well drained.

And thanks to store-bought pizza dough, they’re ready in a flash.

What type of dough should you use for calzones?

I recommend store-bought pizza dough. You can find fresh dough in most supermarkets, often sold near the deli. In addition, many pizza shops will sell fresh dough, so don’t hesitate to ask. You can also purchase frozen pizza dough and thaw it according to the package directions.

When making your calzone, make sure you roll the dough to ¼-inch thickness; the dough should be thick enough to hold all the toppings without breaking but also thin enough to fold over and seal.

Best fillings for a calzone

When assembling the calzones, use enough filling for a hearty calzone, but not so much that it makes it difficult to fold over and seal the dough. And make sure the edges are well-sealed, you don’t want your calzones popping open while baking (it’s OK if a little filling oozes out). Use the ingredient measurements in the recipe below as a guide for this and all future calzones.

You can choose your own adventure when it comes to stuffing a calzone. Here are a few of my favorite ingredients to have on hand.

Sauce. I recommend pizza sauce over marinara sauce. Pizza sauce is thicker and less watery, making it ideal for calzones. You can also use white sauce. Remember to save some sauce to serve on the side for dunking.

Cheese. Classic cheeses for calzones include mozzarella, parmesan and ricotta, but feel free to use cheddar, Monterey jack, pepper jack, Colby, Swiss, gouda, feta or goat cheese.

Meat. Consider salami, pepperoni, Canadian bacon, ham, bacon, Italian sausage, ground beef, steak, meatballs and even chicken. Just be sure to fully cook all raw meats and sausages before assembling your calzones.

Some great calzone combinations include:

  • Meat Lovers: Pizza sauce, mozzarella, pepperoni, sausage and ground beef.
  • BBQ chicken: Barbecue sauce, cooked chicken, mozzarella, provolone and/or cheddar.
  • Hawaiian: Pizza sauce, Monterey jack, Canadian bacon and pineapple.
  • Buffalo chicken: Buffalo sauce, cooked chicken, mozzarella and blue cheese. Serve with ranch dip on the side.
  • Veggie: Pizza sauce (red or white), onions, bell peppers, mushrooms, spinach, broccoli, artichoke hearts, black olives and/or hot peppers. Pro tip: Sauté veggies first so they don’t create a watery filling.

How to make calzones ahead of time

For uncooked calzones: To store your calzones before baking, arrange them on a baking sheet in a single layer. Refrigerate for up to 24 hours or freeze for up to 3 months (once they are frozen on the baking sheet, you can transfer them to freezer bags). Thaw overnight in the refrigerator before baking.

For baked calzones: Store leftover baked calzones in an airtight container or zip-top bag in the refrigerator for up to three days or freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator before reheating. Reheat leftover calzones on a baking sheet in a 300 degree F oven for about 15 minutes or until hot in the center.

Serve calzones with extra sauce on the side for dipping.

Calzone recipe

Since calzones are basically pockets of pizza, they’re just as fiery when they come out of the oven and that heat stays trapped inside. To prevent burning your mouth and to ensure the cheese isn’t too runny, cool your calzones for 5 minutes before serving.

Makes: 8 servings


  • 2 pounds fresh, store-bought pizza dough or frozen pizza dough, thawed according to the package directions
  • 1 cup pizza sauce, plus more for dipping
  • 2 cups shredded mozzarella
  • 1 cup sliced pepperoni
  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • 2 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese


  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper or spray it with cooking spray.
  2. Divide the dough into 8 equal pieces and shape each piece into a ball. Roll each ball into a ¼-inch-thick circle.
  3. Spoon the pizza sauce on the center of each circle (about 2 tablespoons of sauce per calzone). Top the sauce with the mozzarella and pepperoni (about ¼ cup of cheese and 5 slices of pepperoni per calzone). Pull up one side of the dough and stretch it over the filling to reach the other side, making a half moon.
  4. Pinch around the edges to seal. Transfer the calzones to the prepared baking sheet.
  5. In a small bowl, combine the melted butter, parsley and garlic powder. Brush the calzones with the butter mixture. Using a sharp knife, cut a slit in the top of each calzone to allow steam to escape during baking. Sprinkle the tops of the calzones with the parmesan cheese.
  6. Transfer the sheet to the oven and bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until golden brown.
  7. Cool for 5 minutes before serving with warm pizza sauce on the side.

Perfect pair:

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