Calzone vs Stromboli: What’s The Difference?


Italian cuisine is renowned worldwide for its rich flavors, diverse ingredients, and time-honored traditions. From delectable pasta to mouthwatering pizza, Italian food has something to offer every palate. Among these culinary delights, two dishes often get mistaken for each other: the calzone and the stromboli.

Calzone and Stromboli key differences lie in their preparation and shape. A Calzone, originating in Naples, is made by folding a flat round dough in half, creating a semi-circular shape, and is often served with a side of marinara sauce for dipping. On the other hand, a Stromboli, which was invented in the United States despite its Italian name, is prepared by rolling the dough with the fillings into a cylindrical shape with the sauce often baked inside. The choice of fillings in both can vary, adding to the diversity of these delicious dishes.

calzone compared to stromboli

Brief History of Calzone

The calzone, hailing from Italy, is a folded pizza that originated in Naples in the 18th century. The term ‘calzone’ translates to ‘trouser’ or ‘stocking’ in English, which gives a hint about its shape.

Traditionally, a calzone is made from salted bread dough, stuffed with salami or ham, mozzarella, ricotta, and Parmesan or pecorino cheese. Some variations also include egg. Once filled, the dough is folded over to encapsulate the ingredients and baked until golden brown.

What is a Calzone?

calzone pizza

A Calzone is a type of folded pizza that originated in Italy. It is typically a semi-circular shape and is stuffed with ingredients like cheese, meats, and vegetables.

The calzone is stuffed with ingredients common in pizza, such as:

  • Italian cheeses like ricotta, mozzarella, and Parmesan
  • Various meats such as ham or salami
  • Vegetables
  • Various herbs and spices

Calzones are then baked in an oven and are often served with a side of marinara sauce for dipping. They originated in Naples, Italy, and have gained popularity worldwide.

Brief History of Stromboli

In contrast to the calzone, stromboli is an Italian-American invention named after an Italian volcanic island. It was first made in the 1950s in Philadelphia by Romano’s Italian Restaurant & Pizzeria.

A typical stromboli is prepared using pizza dough that’s rolled out and topped with various cheeses (typically mozzarella) and Italian cold cuts or vegetables. The dough is then rolled into a cylinder, much like a Swiss roll, and baked.

What is a Stromboli?


A Stromboli is a type of turnover filled with various Italian ingredients. It is typically prepared with an Italian bread dough that is filled with:

  • Italian cheeses, such as mozzarella or provolone
  • Italian meats, such as salami, capicola, and bresaola
  • Vegetables like bell peppers, onions, or mushrooms

Unlike a calzone, a Stromboli is usually not folded into a semi-circle. Instead, it’s rolled into a cylindrical shape before being baked. The sauce in a Stromboli is often baked inside, rather than served on the side like with a calzone. While the Stromboli was named after the Italian island, it was actually invented in the United States.

See Also: Cappuccino vs Latte

Key Differences Between Calzone and Stromboli

OriginSouthern ItalyUnited States
DoughTypically made from pizza doughTypically made from pizza dough or bread dough
ShapeHalf-moon or folded turnoverRectangular or cylindrical roll-up
Filling PlacementFillings are enclosed insideFillings are spread over the dough and then rolled up
BakingBaked in an ovenBaked in an oven
Typical FillingsRicotta cheese, mozzarella, vegetables, and meatCheese, Italian cold cuts, and vegetables
SauceServed with marinara or tomato sauce on the sideSauce is generally inside the filling
OriginsOriginally a folded pizza variationDeveloped in the United States, inspired by Italian cuisine
Serving StyleUsually served as an individual portionSliced and served as a larger portion for sharing

Shape and Size

A calzone usually resembles a half-moon shape, due to the folding of the dough over the filling. They are typically individual-sized and can be held in one hand.

On the other hand, stromboli is generally cylindrical and larger. It’s often sliced and served as a shared appetizer or main dish.


Calzones are traditionally filled with an array of cheeses such as ricotta, mozzarella, and Parmesan, along with cured meats. Vegetables and tomato sauce are often added but are not essential.

Strombolis contain similar ingredients but also include Italian sausage or other meats, peppers, onions, and sometimes even marinara sauce within the roll itself.

Preparation and Cooking Method

Calzones are folded into a half-moon shape with crimped edges to seal in the filling before baking. They may be brushed with olive oil or egg wash to give them a golden color.

Strombolis are rolled up like a Swiss roll before baking. They are often served cut into slices, revealing a spiral of filling.

Common Misconceptions

One common misconception is that calzones always contain tomato sauce. While some do include sauce, traditional ones typically don’t have it inside but served on the side for dipping.

Another misconception is that strombolis are just “rolled pizzas.” While they do share some ingredients with pizza, their preparation method sets them apart.

Taste and Texture

Calzones have a hearty and rich flavor due to their cheese-filled center. The crust is thick, chewy, and slightly crispy on the outside.

Strombolis offer a blend of flavors from their diverse fillings. The outer crust is thin and crispy, while the inside is gooey from melted cheese.


In essence, both calzones and strombolis are variants of pizza that come with their unique twists. Whether it’s the half-moon shape of a calzone or the Swiss-roll style of a stromboli, each brings something unique to your plate.

Ultimately, the choice between calzone and stromboli comes down to personal preference. So why not give both a try? Once you taste them for yourself, you’ll surely appreciate the culinary artistry behind these beloved Italian dishes.


How does a Calzone differ from a Stromboli?

Although both are Italian dishes and are made with dough filled with cheese, meats and vegetables, there are distinct differences. A Calzone is typically a semi-circular shape and is made by folding a flat round dough in half. On the other hand, a Stromboli is usually rolled and then baked.

What type of cheese is typically used in a Calzone?

Ricotta and mozzarella are often used in a Calzone. Other cheeses may also be included depending on the recipe.

What type of cheese is typically used in a Stromboli?

Mozzarella is the most common cheese used in a Stromboli. Other cheeses like provolone may also be used.

What types of fillings are used in a Calzone and Stromboli?

Calzones often include ingredients such as ham, salami, and tomatoes. Strombolis, on the other hand, often include Italian sausage, onions, green peppers, and sometimes mushrooms.

Which is healthier, a Calzone or a Stromboli?

The healthiness of these dishes depends on the ingredients used. Both can be made healthier by choosing lean meats, low-fat cheeses, and including plenty of vegetables. It’s also important to consider portion sizes as both Calzone and Stromboli can be quite large and high in calories.

Are Calzones and Strombolis typically served with a sauce?

Calzones are often served with a side of marinara sauce for dipping. Strombolis, however, usually have the sauce baked inside.

Remember, while these are typical characteristics, there can be a lot of variation in both Calzones and Strombolis depending on the chef and the recipe. Enjoy exploring the delicious diversity of these Italian dishes!

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Calzone vs Stromboli: What’s The Difference?

5 from 2 votes
Recipe by Laura Ritterman


  • Calzone

  • Stomboli


  • Choose your favorite dish from Calzone vs stromboli
  • Gather the ingredients
  • Serve up and enjoy

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