Easy, Cheesy Calzone Recipe

Updated on January 27, 2018
vespawoolf profile image

Vespa's recipes have appeared in "Midwest Living" & "Taste of Home" magazines. She belongs to "Cook's Recipe Testers" for Cooks Illustrated.

Easy Calzone Recipe
Easy Calzone Recipe | Source

Easy Cheesy Calzones

4.8 stars from 14 ratings of Easy Italian Calzones

A Great Alternative to Pizza for the Home Chef

Have you ever longed for a homemade pizza as delicious as those from local pizzerias? Unfortunately, results for home chefs are often inconsistent. Common issues include soggy crust, uncooked middle, dry topping, overly gooey cheese, and other texture issues. Although a pizza stone can improve your results, the main problem boils down to the oven. Pizzeria ovens are specially designed to cook evenly and at high temperatures.

So is the situation hopeless? Far from it! Next time you're in the mood for homemade pizza, why not try a calzone? Basically a pizza turned onto itself, these tasty pockets call for ingredients very similar to those used in pizzas. But unlike pizza, a calzone requires a lower temperature and longer baking time. In short, the home chef can easily turn out crusty calzones they'll be proud to serve to family or guests.

Of course, the final result has a lot to do with the ingredients you choose. So splurge on high quality ingredients: pepperoni sliced at the deli counter instead of pre-packed, high quality sausage and fresh veggies. If you don’t have time to make the dipping sauce, opt for a jar of gourmet spaghetti sauce.

Calzones are so versatile that you can customize them with unique fillings. Experiment with individual-sized calzones and allow children to choose their own ingredients. Try them and we think you'll agree: calzones are a great alternative to pizza for the home chef.


Tips:

  • Since calzones require a lower cooking temperature and longer cooking time, be sure to leave them in the oven long enough to cook the filling.
  • For crispy (not soggy) calzones, avoid overly moist ingredients.
  • Authentic calzones don't include pizza sauce baked in with the filling.
  • Experiment first with smaller calzones. They're easier to handle and bake.
  • Roll out the dough no less than 1/4 inch thick. Make sure it's evenly thick, too, so the calzone doesn't break and ooze filling.
  • So the calzone doesn't open during baking, be sure to wet edges of the dough and carefully pinch them together. You could also use a fork to seal the calzone.
  • Try brushing calzones with olive oil instead of egg wash for a different flavor.
  • Calzones are best when served piping hot from the oven, but they can still be enjoyed the next day. To reheat, slide into a 400 Fahrenheit oven for 15-20 minutes.
  • Freeze well-wrapped calzones up to 3 months. To reheat: place two inches apart on a greased baking sheet. Bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 30-35 minutes, or until golden brown.
  • Baking stones ensure even browning of calzones and crispy crust.


Cook Time

Prep time: 20 min
Cook time: 20 min
Ready in: 40 min
Yields: 4 servings

Ingredients

  • 2 pounds frozen bread dough, thawed (or dough made in a bread machine)
  • 2 cups mozzarella cheese, shredded
  • 12 ounces bulk italian sausage, crumbled, cooked and drained
  • 1 large red or yellow bell pepper, diced
  • 1 small onion, sliced
  • 1/2 cup Romano or Parmesan cheese, shredded
  • 12 ounces ricotta cheese
  • 2 Tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
  • 2 eggs, divided (one for final egg wash)
Click thumbnail to view full-size
Brown the sausageChop the veggiesSpread half of calzone with fillingAdd more fillingFold overCrimp the edgesBrush with egg washGolden brown calzones
Brown the sausage
Brown the sausage
Chop the veggies
Chop the veggies
Spread half of calzone with filling
Spread half of calzone with filling
Add more filling
Add more filling
Fold over
Fold over
Crimp the edges
Crimp the edges
Brush with egg wash
Brush with egg wash
Golden brown calzones
Golden brown calzones

Instructions

  1. On a lightly floured surface, divide dough into 2 pieces for two large calzones. (8 pieces for individual calzones.)
  2. Using a rolling pin, roll out two 10-inch circles.
  3. Combine ricotta cheese, egg, parmesan cheese and parsley. Season with salt and pepper.
  4. Spread half of each circle with ricotta cheese, italian sausage, veggies and mozzarella cheese.
  5. Brush edges of dough with water. Fold dough over filling and press edges with a fork or fingers to seal.
  6. Carefully place calzones on a greased baking sheet. Beat one egg and one Tablespoon of water until frothy. Brush both calzones with egg wash.
  7. Bake in preheated 400 Fahrenheit oven for 15-20 minutes, or until golden brown.
dough, ready to roll out
dough, ready to roll out

Pizza/Calzone Crust

Ingredients:

  • 1 3/4 cups water
  • 2 Tablespoons brown sugar
  • 3 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 4 1/2 cups flour, unbleached
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast

Instructions:

Place ingredients in bread machine pan and process according to manufacturer's instructions.

Garlicky Dipping Sauce

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound Roma tomatoes
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 6 garlic cloves, minced or pressed
  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/4 cup tomato paste
  • 1 teaspoon white sugar
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon each dried oregano and basil (or use fresh herbs)


Instructions:

  1. Pour 1/2 cup of water into a medium skillet. Slice tomatoes in half and place cut side up in the skillet.
  2. Allow tomatoes to simmer for a couple of minutes, until skins loosen.
  3. Remove skins from tomatoes and transfer to a blender. Blend for just a few seconds for a chunky tomato sauce.
  4. Pour olive oil into medium skillet on medium-low heat. Sauté onion and garlic until softened, about 5 minutes.
  5. Add processed tomatoes, tomato paste, sugar, salt and spices to sauteed veggies. Simmer on low for about 10 minutes.
  6. Serve warm tomato sauce with calzones.

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Prep the tomatoesSaute onion and garlicSimmer the sauce
Prep the tomatoes
Prep the tomatoes
Saute onion and garlic
Saute onion and garlic
Simmer the sauce
Simmer the sauce
Italian Sausage Calzone with Garlicky Tomato Sauce
Italian Sausage Calzone with Garlicky Tomato Sauce

Variations:

This basic recipe is just a starting point. Experiment with other delicious fillings:

  • ham and provolone cheese
  • spinach, roasted red pepper and ricotta
  • pepperoni, mushroom and mozzarella
  • grilled eggplant, red pepper, pinenut and goat cheese
  • sauteed zucchini, black olive, baby portabella and leek
  • barbecued chicken, bell pepper and red onion

Questions & Answers

    Comments

    Submit a Comment

    • vespawoolf profile imageAUTHOR

      vespawoolf 

      5 years ago from Peru, South America

      FlourishAnyway, tomato sauce from homemade ingredients sounds irresistible! We love the predictability of calzones for the home cook. I think I'm going to make one this week, too! Enjoy and thank you for your support.

    • FlourishAnyway profile image

      FlourishAnyway 

      5 years ago from USA

      This looks terrific. Especially with all the tomatoes and fresh basil from our garden for a homemade dipping sauce ... and then bake it on a pizza stone, I can almost taste it now. Gonna add this to my dinner list for this week.

    • vespawoolf profile imageAUTHOR

      vespawoolf 

      5 years ago from Peru, South America

      Moonlake, hope you can make the calzones for your son sometime. Thank you for the vote!

    • moonlake profile image

      moonlake 

      5 years ago from America

      This recipe sounds so good. Our youngest son loves calzones. Voted up.

    • vespawoolf profile imageAUTHOR

      vespawoolf 

      5 years ago from Peru, South America

      Au fait, frozen bread is a delicious and quick option--it will make the calzone experience even easier. They really are a yummy treat. Enjoy and thanks for the stars!

    • Au fait profile image

      C E Clark 

      5 years ago from North Texas

      This looks yummy! Your instructions are very good so that anyone should be able to follow them. I have been curious about calzones for a long time and have never actually attempted to make them, but you make it look easy. I think I like the frozen bread version best as it should speed things up a bit. Gave you another 5 stars!

    • vespawoolf profile imageAUTHOR

      vespawoolf 

      5 years ago from Peru, South America

      WiccanSage, there's nothing like pizza in Brooklyn. The thing I like about these calzones is that they turn out so well in a home oven, even if it's not a very hot one. Enjoy!

    • WiccanSage profile image

      Mackenzie Sage Wright 

      5 years ago

      OMG this takes me back to growing up in Brooklyn... with all those little pizzarias that were absolutely to die for. Where I live now, they'll just dump ketchup and mozzarella on anything and they'll pass it off as Italian food. I have got to try this.

    • vespawoolf profile imageAUTHOR

      vespawoolf 

      5 years ago from Peru, South America

      Suzzycue, we thankfully don't eat all these yummy things daily! Enjoy the calzones. They really are delicious and less finicky than pizza for the home chef. Thank you for your kind words. I really appreciate it!

    • suzzycue profile image

      Susan Britton 

      5 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      Awesome. If I keep reading your recipes I will soon be 3oo pounds. Great stuff. I will try these for sure.

    • vespawoolf profile imageAUTHOR

      vespawoolf 

      5 years ago from Peru, South America

      Peggy W, I hope you try it soon. They really are delicious and less finicky than pizza. Thanks so much for the votes and share!

    • Peggy W profile image

      Peggy Woods 

      5 years ago from Houston, Texas

      I have never made a Calzone and after reading this will have to give it a try. Your photos are wonderful and your instructions good and easy to follow. Up, useful and will share.

    • vespawoolf profile imageAUTHOR

      vespawoolf 

      5 years ago from Peru, South America

      Rajan Jolly, they really are delicious and fun and easy to make. Thank you for taking the time to come by.

    • rajan jolly profile image

      Rajan Singh Jolly 

      5 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar,INDIA.

      Vespawoolf, the calzone looks so delicious. Nice explanatory pictures to go with the recipe. Thanks for sharing. Voted up, useful and interesting.

    • vespawoolf profile imageAUTHOR

      vespawoolf 

      6 years ago from Peru, South America

      KoffeeKlatchGals, calzones are one of my favorites as well. Thank you for the votes!

    • KoffeeKlatch Gals profile image

      Susan Hazelton 

      6 years ago from Sunny Florida

      I love calzones. Thanks to you I can now make them at home. Up, useful and interesting.

    • vespawoolf profile imageAUTHOR

      vespawoolf 

      6 years ago from Peru, South America

      Dolores Monet, calzones are perfect for cold weather! Yes, sometimes it's hard to get the ratios right: how much dough to cheese and other fillings. I hope you enjoy the recipe and thank you for coming by.

    • Dolores Monet profile image

      Dolores Monet 

      6 years ago from East Coast, United States

      I love these things but mine always wind up too big. Looking forward to making some soon when the weather cools off. Calzones are a great cool weather food.

    • vespawoolf profile imageAUTHOR

      vespawoolf 

      6 years ago from Peru, South America

      MamaKim8, they really are ideal for a home cook whose oven doesn't get hot enough for a pizza. I'm glad you enjoyed the tips! Thanks so much for the vote and pin.

    • Mama Kim 8 profile image

      Sasha Kim 

      6 years ago

      Oh this sounds so yummy ^_^ This must be the recipe you were talking about in your answer to the question about your favorite meal to cook you family. I love your tips for calzones! Voted and pinned

    • vespawoolf profile imageAUTHOR

      vespawoolf 

      6 years ago from Peru, South America

      MargaritaEden, I'm so glad you plan on trying calzones. They're easy to make and almost foolproof. I've been making them for years and this is my go-to recipe. Thanks for taking the time to read and comment!

    • vespawoolf profile imageAUTHOR

      vespawoolf 

      6 years ago from Peru, South America

      IndieJoe, you'll definitely try this one! It'll be on the menu next dinner party. You'll have to think of what to request for dessert! As always, thanks so much for taking the time to read and comment.

    • MargaritaEden profile image

      MargaritaEden 

      6 years ago from Oregon

      This looks sooo delicious! I have heard of these before, but never actually tried making it, my family loves anything with cheese and bread, I will try it. Thank you, great recipe!

    • IndieJoe profile image

      IndieJoe 

      6 years ago

      Seriously - who can resist a calzone? Especially when it's both easy and cheesy. Can't wait to try this one. Thanks for the amazing hub.

    • vespawoolf profile imageAUTHOR

      vespawoolf 

      6 years ago from Peru, South America

      Redberry Sky, calzones are easy and quick to make! And as long as the fillings arent' too moist, you can stuff the calzone with as many as you want. I hope you have the chance to try them. They really are ideal for the home cook. Thank you for taking the time to read and comment.

    • Redberry Sky profile image

      Redberry Sky 

      6 years ago

      I love making my own pizza (so fussy about the toppings - I want *lots*!) but it's never occurred to me to try making calzone instead. I think I'll try this with a nice veggie and cheese filling - you make it sound really easy and quite scrumptious!

    • vespawoolf profile imageAUTHOR

      vespawoolf 

      6 years ago from Peru, South America

      Alocsin, there are so many delicious variations of this basic recipe. Thanks again for reading and commenting.

    • alocsin profile image

      alocsin 

      6 years ago from Orange County, CA

      This recipe sound delicious, though I'd be tempted to add some meats to the interior. Voting this Up and Useful.

    • vespawoolf profile imageAUTHOR

      vespawoolf 

      6 years ago from Peru, South America

      I hope you and Lover Man enjoy the calzones. Thanks for taking the time to read and comment!

    • b. Malin profile image

      b. Malin 

      6 years ago

      Loved the Step, by Step Pictures, and Instructions. I may try this one on Lover Man. It looks and Sounds so Delicious!

    • vespawoolf profile imageAUTHOR

      vespawoolf 

      6 years ago from Peru, South America

      Bizbsacramento, thanks for taking the time to read and comment. Enjoy the calzones!

    • BIZBSACRAMENTO profile image

      BIZBSACRAMENTO 

      6 years ago from Sacramento

      ONE BIG WORD - YUMMY!!! I love everything. I hope to do this some time. Thank you for sharing this delicious hub.

    • vespawoolf profile imageAUTHOR

      vespawoolf 

      6 years ago from Peru, South America

      Beingwell, thanks so much for your vote and share. Enjoy the calzones!

    • vespawoolf profile imageAUTHOR

      vespawoolf 

      6 years ago from Peru, South America

      Randomcreative, it is such a versatile recipe and I like that it turns out so well even in a home oven. Enjoy!

    • beingwell profile image

      beingwell 

      6 years ago from Bangkok

      Voted up and shared! I LOVE the photos. Made me hungry, actually...

    • randomcreative profile image

      Rose Clearfield 

      6 years ago from Milwaukee, Wisconsin

      I love calzones! Thanks for the fabulous recipe. These look delicious, and I love how you can customize them in so many different ways.

    • vespawoolf profile imageAUTHOR

      vespawoolf 

      6 years ago from Peru, South America

      LetitiaFT, ratatouille would make a delicious calzone. Thanks for another filling to add to the list. : ) It's always nice to hear from you!

    • LetitiaFT profile image

      LetitiaFT 

      6 years ago from Paris via California

      I've got some ratatouille, good cheese pie dough in the fridge, I think you've just inspired dinner (again)!

    • vespawoolf profile imageAUTHOR

      vespawoolf 

      6 years ago from Peru, South America

      Swetankraj, enjoy the calzones and thanks for commenting!

    • Swetankraj profile image

      Swetank Raj 

      6 years ago from India

      Delicious! and lovely. bookmarked for this weekend!

    • vespawoolf profile imageAUTHOR

      vespawoolf 

      6 years ago from Peru, South America

      Paul Edmondson, thanks so much for taking the time to read and comment! Enjoy the calzones.

    • Paul Edmondson profile image

      Paul Edmondson 

      6 years ago from Burlingame, CA

      My mouth is totally watering. This looks delicious!

    • vespawoolf profile imageAUTHOR

      vespawoolf 

      6 years ago from Peru, South America

      Dexter Yarbrough, thank you for your kind words!

    • Dexter Yarbrough profile image

      Dexter Yarbrough 

      6 years ago from United States

      Wow. The recipe looks great. But I really love how you laid out the instructions and photos! Excellent!

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