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The Best Easy Calzones

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Easy calzones? You bet! These calzones are chock full of your favorite pizza ingredients like pepperoni, Italian sausage, ricotta and Mozzarella cheeses, pesto, and much more. A fun twist on pizza night, or lunch or snack!

If you love pizza, I can almost guarantee you will love calzones! It’s just an inside out pizza really! I don’t put the sauce inside, as it makes it soggy, but make plenty to use as dipping sauce!

Try my Grandpa Frank’s Spaghetti Sauce for dipping and if you love dinners with red sauce, then try this Chicken Parmesan or Penne alla vodka! And if you are going for the gusto, make your own thick and chunky pizza sauce (great for dipping) and pizza dough!

Baked Easy Calzone on parchment paper with fork and knife in background and dipping sauce to the side

Typically one package of pizza dough will make 3 small Calzone’s or 2 large ones, if you want to make a large, family style calzone, use the whole thing like you would a pizza.

You can also make mini-snack size calzones, think of them as your personal pizza pockets! Reduce the fillings, making them the size of your hand instead.

Sliced in half pizza easy calzone with dipping sauce, knife in background

One thing I love about calzone’s is that they are totally customizable, alter the amounts and variety of the ingredients to each persons preferences.

Start out by having all of your toppings open and ready, because once you get your hands dirty, you don’t want to try to open packages, get a spoon, etc. I know this, first (messy) hand!

Easy Calzone Filling Suggestions

  • Ricotta Cheese
  • Mozzarella, Parmesan or other Italian cheeses
  • Sun Dried Tomatoes
  • Pesto
  • Pepperoni
  • Italian Sausage (cooked)
  • Artichoke hearts
  • caramelized peppers and onions
  • olives (black or green or kalamata)
  • fresh sliced onions or peppers
  • pepperoncini‘s
  • mushrooms
  • anchovies
  • make a barbecue chicken pizza
  • pineapple & Canadian bacon
  • You get the idea!
Easy Calzones ingredients shot. Left to Right. Pesto, Sun Dried Tomatoes, natural pepperoni, artichoke hearts, ricotta cheese, mozzarella cheese, caramelized peppers and onions, pizza dough and rolling pin.

When I was pregnant with our second son, my husband had to work back east for about 12 weeks, so with a toddler in tow and pregnancy cravings in full gear, and to help the long days without my husband around, I would walk across the street to a little Italian place to buy dinner.

It wasn’t fancy, you ordered at the counter and my toddler and I would sit share a calzone.

We’d sit and watch a baseball game on one of the TV’s and have our dinner, it helped fill some lonely evenings, little blessings.

Every bite was a surprise, I loved them then and still love them now. They were so good, I don’t think I’d put ricotta in mine up until then, that is a game changer in my book!

Our God was gracious; Brad found another job back here in Denver, with a a ⅔ pay cut (ouch) and arriving home just 4 weeks before our youngest was born!

To say that it was a tense season, would be an understatement, but we made it and are better for it.

Baked Easy Calzone on plate with parchment paper, dipping tomato sauce in background with fork and knife.

How to Make Easy Calzones

Now would be a good time to preheat your oven to 400 degrees.

After you’ve allowed your dough to rest for about 20 minutes in the package on the counter, turn it out onto a generously floured surface.

I find it’s easiest to just turn the bag inside out and let the dough plop on the surface.

Image of pizza dough, on cutting board with flour and cut in half ready to roll for easy calzones

Using a bench scraper or knife, cut the dough in half or thirds. 

Then roll it out flat, not too thin, you don’t want your ingredients oozing out onto the baking sheet. About the size of a small pizza, or slightly under the size of a dinner plate. You don’t need to be precise.

On one half, spread on a little bit of pesto sauce (I like this in place of spreading some pizza sauce, as it doesn’t get the dough too mushy). But don’t worry, you’ll still have red sauce, lots of it, hot and ready for dipping!

Then pile on your ingredients, I started with ricotta cheese, a few (blurry) dollops will do…

rolled out pizza dough with pesto spread on one half and dollops of ricotta cheese for easy calzones

…then your meat choices if you are a meat eater. Here I’ve put Italian Sausage (pre-cooked) and Pepperoni…

Pizza dough spread with pesto, ricotta, Italian sausage and pepperonis for easy Calzones

Next place desired toppings; I put sun-dried tomatoes and caramelized peppers and onions.

Pesto slathered pizza dough with caramelized onions and peppers for delicious easy Calzones

Oh and don’t forget the artichoke hearts (they are peeking out under the cheese)…next add a handful of shredded mozzarella cheese

Adding mozzarella cheese and artichoke hearts fore easy calzones on cutting board.
Image of dough stretched over the top of the easy calzone toppings, ready for pinching

Then fold the top over, pushing, stretching, maneuvering all of your toppings to stay in your dough pocket you have created. It stretches further than you’d think.

Crimp and pinch the sides and edges together, to make a good and full seal. If needed, using a little water on your fingers, rub on one edge of the dough, helping them to seal together.

Then using a sharp knife, cut 3-4 slits into the top, to allow for venting during baking.

Transfer to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.

Easy Calzone on a cutting board ready for the oven, pinched edges and 3 slits cut into the top of the pizza pie.

How do I made my Easy Calzones Glossy on Top?

  • If a glossy finish is desired, brush with a beaten egg and bake as directed.
  • I used olive oil for mine, for the more rustic look, sprinkle with a little flaky sea salt.
  • Place calzone’s on a parchment lined baking sheet, this comes in handy if you are making customized calzone’s, as you can write on the parchment whose calzone belongs to whom.
  • Repeat above steps until you have finished all of your calzone making.

You can fit about 4 on a large cookie sheet, but try to give them a little space between, they will rise slightly with baking.

Bake at 400° for 10-20 minutes, depends a lot upon the thickness of the dough, the amount of toppings. They should be bubbly and nicely browned.

Best Calzone Dipping Sauce

Meanwhile, heat up your favorite marinara or spaghetti sauce. Homemade is fabulous and my Grandpa Frank’s Famous Spaghetti sauce recipe is linked at the top, a jar of marinara sauce will work just fine!

Watch them after about 15 minutes if they have risen and are nicely browned and you see a little cheese or something bubbling out of one of the sides, they are done.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the difference between Calzone and Stromboli?

The major difference between a calzone and a stromboli is how they are sealed. If you wanted a very straightford comparison, here you go: a calzone is like a taco, and a stromboli is like a burrito. Tacos and calzones are always folded. Burritos and stromboli are always rolled. You seal a calzone by folding it in half and crimping the edges. You seal a stromboli by rolling it in a spiral and folding some extra dough back over the stromboli. Both get an egg wash to make sure the dough stays out. (Source)

Can I freeze calzones?

Yes! Allow to cool completely, then wrap in parchment paper sealing in a freezer baggie. It’s best to undercook slightly removing them at about 12 minutes, then simply reheat from frozen in a 350 degree oven for 15-25 minutes until bubble.
Un-cooked calzones may also be frozen — flash freeze on parchment paper for 30 minutes, then wrap tightly in plastic wrap, place in freezer baggie. Bake from frozen in a preheated 400 degree oven for 20-25 minutes, if they get too brown, place a piece of foil over the top.

Pinterest Image of easy calzones wrapped in parchment paper and tied with bakers twine, ready for the freezer.

If you enjoyed this easy calzone recipe, give these other recipes a try!

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Kathleen Pope, The Fresh Cooky.

About Kathleen Pope

Recipe Innovator | Food Photographer | Food Writer

Hi, I’m Kathleen Pope. Here at The Fresh Cooky you will find easy, mostly from-scratch, trusted recipes for all occasions. From speedy dinners to tasty desserts, with easy step-by-step instructions. I am here to help teach you how to make mouthwatering recipes without spending hours in the kitchen. Read more about Kathleen here.

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