What are Calzones?

Malcolm Tatum

Sometimes known as calsones, calzones are essentially a folded or stuffed pizza turnover that is made with a pizza dough crust and stuffed with various types of cheeses, meats, and other traditional pizza toppings. Various types of calzones are made in different parts of the world, from the traditional cheese filled recipes that are based on the same concept as stromboli.

Fried calzones are often made with olives, tomatoes, and bacon.
Fried calzones are often made with olives, tomatoes, and bacon.

As a popular baked sandwich, the calzone can be stuffed with a wide variety of foods. Many popular commercial versions of the calzone, like Hot PocketsĀ®, focus on both traditional pizza style ingredients, and also vegetable and cheese combinations. Home made calzones often feature blends of cheese as a staple filler, and are often paired with marinara or tomato sauce. For meats, many people enjoy a mix of ground beef, sausage and pepperoni. Other traditional pizza toppings, such as mushrooms or onions, are often included in the mixture.

Mozzarella with tomatoes and basil leaves.
Mozzarella with tomatoes and basil leaves.

Sweet versions of calzones are also available. Made with a plain pizza crust, the fillers can include mixtures of cooked fruit, such as apples with cinnamon. Raisins, grapes, pineapple, and cranberries can be used to create innovative calzones that can be served with whipped topping or sprinkled with sugar.

An apple, which can be used to make a filling for a sweet calzone.
An apple, which can be used to make a filling for a sweet calzone.

There are also fried versions of calzones. The dough is filled with tomatoes, bacon, mozzarella cheese, and olives, then folded into a semi-circle, After pinching the edges of the dough together to seal in the ingredients, the calzone is deep fried until the exterior is crisp.

Sweeter calzones may contain raisins.
Sweeter calzones may contain raisins.

Baked versions of calzones, with an emphasis on a mixture of vegetables in the filling, are also popular in some parts of the world, especially Sicily. One popular combination is a filling composed of potatoes, onions, broccoli and olives that is mixed with grated cheeses. After sealing the calzone, the dish is placed into an oven and allowed to bake until the crust is a golden brown.

Traditional pizza toppings, like mushrooms, are often included in calzones.
Traditional pizza toppings, like mushrooms, are often included in calzones.

Calzones are considered to be an excellent finger food, as it is not necessary to use any type of utensil to consume the food. Thanks to the versions currently sold in several major pizza chains, calzones are gaining in popularity in the United States as a new way to enjoy a diverse blend of fillers in a tasty crust.

Pineapple can be used to make a sweet calzone.
Pineapple can be used to make a sweet calzone.

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