Difference between calzone and stromboli

difference between calzone and stromboli
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When it comes to Italian cuisine, it’s hard to choose between its diverse and delicious offerings. From the famous pizza to the lesser-known but equally delightful calzones and strombolis. What exactly is the difference between calzone and stromboli and how does the preparation of one differ from the other?

The major difference between a calzone and a stromboli lies in their form and method of preparation. The former takes a semi-circular shape while the latter is a rolled rectangular delicacy; both are made by folding the dough over the fillings.

history naples italy and italian american dishes

History: Naples Italy and Italian American Dishes

Originating from Naples Italy in the 18th century, the calzone, which means “trouser” or “stocking” in Italian, was originally a street food for those on-the-go. It’s a single serving dish traditionally filled with cured meats, cheeses, and often vegetables. Stromboli, however, is an Italian-American invention, named after a movie by Ingrid Bergman and Roberto Rossellini. It’s a pizza-dough turned stromboli through an unique sealing technique.

Calzone Recipes

Traditional examples of calzone recipes include a semi-circle of pizza dough filled with ricotta, mozzarella, and other ingredients, before it’s sealed and baked until golden brown. Unlike its cousin, the stromboli, calzones use ricotta cheese as a primary ingredient which gives its filling a rich creaminess. A finish with egg wash gives the calzone a distinctive, glossy appearance.

stromboli recipes

Stromboli Recipes

Most stromboli recipes start with a rectangle of pizza dough, with the fillings spread evenly before it is rolled into a cylinder and then baked. The fillings differ greatly from calzone, as the typical stromboli contains a tomato sauce, mozzarella cheese and various types of meat. An optional egg wash can give stromboli a shiny veneer as well.

calzone perfectly portable

Calzone: Perfectly Portable

In its native Naples, the calzone was invented as an easy-to-carry meal for those on the go. As a street food, it is designed to be a single serving that can be carried and consumed easily. The calzone’s half-moon shape and sealed edge make it an excellent portable meal.

stromboli baked to perfection

Stromboli: Baked to Perfection

Strombolis are baked to a perfect crust outside, with a piping hot filling inside. An important thing to note is that unlike calzone, stromboli doesn’t have any sauce inside! It’s served on the side, establishing the stromboli’s title as sauce for dipping champions. This makes it perfect if you like to control the amount of marinara sauce you’d like with each bite.

how to serve calzone and stromboli

How to Serve Calzone and Stromboli?

While both dishes are served hot, the calzone is often served with a marinara or tomato sauce on the side, similar to a stromboli. However, unlike a stromboli, a calzone is a Sicilian specialty that is sometimes deep fried until crispy. This adds an extra layer of texture, making it all the more delightful to bite into.

the dough the foundation of difference

The Dough: The Foundation of Difference

The difference between a calzone and a stromboli also comes down to the dough. Calzones generally use a standard pizza dough, while Stromboli uses a lighter, slightly sweet dough often found in Italian breads. The rectangle of pizza dough is topped, rolled, and baked to create the stromboli’s characteristic spiral filling.

iconic ingredients mozzarella cheese ricotta and more

Iconic Ingredients: Mozzarella Cheese, Ricotta and More!

While mozzarella cheese is a common ingredient in both, the other types of cheese used differ. Calzones predominantly use ricotta cheese which provides a rich, creamy texture to its filling. Strombolis, on the other hand, are all about layering flavors – tomato sauce, cured meats, and cheese offering a wide range of flavors in every bite.


What is the primary difference between a calzone and a stromboli?

The main difference lies in the shape and enclosed fillings. A calzone is a folded pizza with the fillings inside, while a Stromboli is rolled with fillings spread inside.

What is traditional calzone?

A traditional calzone is from Naples, Italy, made as a single-sized, folded pizza filled with cured meats, cheeses, and sometimes vegetable in the 18th century.

What cheese does a calzone typically use?

Most calzones use ricotta cheese as a primary ingredient, combined with mozzarella cheese and possibly others.

What is unique about the sealing technique for a stromboli?

Unlike a calzone which is simply hand-folded, a stromboli uses a pinching and rolling method to seal the ends, giving it its characteristic cylindrical shape.

What are typical fillings for a stromboli?

Stromboli fillings usually include mozzarella cheese, tomato sauce, and various types of meat.

Can calzones be deep fried?

Yes, some calzone recipes call for it to be deep fried instead of baked, especially in Sicily, turning it into a totally different treat.

Is stromboli an Italian or American dish?

While it’s named after an Italian island and follows the style of an Italian sandwich, stromboli is an Italian-American dish.

How does the dough differ between a calzone and a stromboli?

Calzones use a standard pizza dough while stromboli uses a lighter, slightly sweet dough often found in Italian breads.

Are calzones and strombolis typically served with a sauce?

Yes, both are typically served with a side of marinara or tomato sauce for dipping.

What does the term ‘calzone’ mean?

In Italian, ‘calzone’ means ‘trouser’ or ‘stocking’. This dish got its name due to its distinctive folded shape.