Homemade calzones are a step up from Friday pizza night. Make this easy dough recipe from King Arthur Flour then customize your toppings. Start simply with marinara sauce and cheese and progress to vegetable fillings, meat fillings or a combination of the two.
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I am excited to share this calzone today. So many cultures have a bread that is basically a standard type of dough folded over to make a pocket filled with meat, cheese or vegetables and then sealed around the edges to create a handheld, portable food.
The calzone seems to be the Italian version and is nothing more than a pizza folded in half. You could even make homemade calzone with pizza dough purchased at the store or from your local pizzeria.
I have fond memories of eating calzone as a lunchtime treat at my first job out of college. Two co-workers and I would walk to a local Italian spot in Philadelphia and we’d feast on these massive calzones. My waistline would only have been able to manage this a few times a week in my early 20s! Damian and Bob, these are for you!
As I often do when looking for a reliable bread recipe, I turned to King Arthur Flour for their recipe. The fillings are fun– make it your choice and change it up. I used three different types of fillings for my calzone and couldn’t name a favorite– they were all special!
Here are other recipes I’ve enjoyed from King Arthur Flour:
What are calzones?
Calzones are in essence a pizza folded in half then baked or fried. At its most simple, a calzone recipe starts with the bread dough and is filled with marinara sauce and cheese.
Calzone fillings range from different cheeses like ricotta or mozzarella, meats like pepperoni, sausage, or even ground beef, or vegetables like mushrooms or peppers. Basically, any ingredient that could be a pizza topping is also an option for a calzone filling.
Is calzone dough the same as pizza dough?
Pizza dough is simply a type of bread dough. I consider calzone dough to be the same as pizza dough. You make calzone dough with the same ingredients and the same process.
So if you’ve found a good pizza dough recipe, stick with it and use it for calzones!
- olive oil
- egg (for egg wash, not the dough)
Steps to make Homemade Calzones
- Warm the water to 110 F
- Add the yeast and sugar to the water. Let it sit for 15 minutes.
- Combine the ingredients for the dough. Mix by hand or in a stand mixer.
- Cover the dough and let it rise for an hour.
- Roll out the dough (in two large family-style calzones or in 8 small, individual calzones).
- Fill the calzones and let them rise again for 45 minutes.
Let’s look into each step in more detail. Photos help to show the process. First warm your water to about 100 degrees F. I love using my ThermoWorks digital thermometer to get a precise reading on the water temp. If you don’t have one you can use your own judgment. Water at 100 F can come straight from the tap and it is very warm but not hot enough that you can’t leave your finger comfortably under the running water for a few seconds.
In Step 2 we add the yeast and sugar to the water. Let it sit for about 15 minutes. The mixture should look bubbly. If not your yeast may be out of date and not effective.
In Step Three you can mix the dough right in a bowl or in a stand mixer. The dough will be shaggy to begin with– keep stirring, the dough will continue to change. I often get the dough started in the bowl while I mix with a wooden spoon and then I’ll switch to a stand mixer to get a more thorough kneading effort.
In Step 4 you’ll put a small bit of oil in a bowl, turn the smooth ball of dough around in it a few times, then put a greased piece of plastic wrap on top. Let the dough rise in a warm place for an hour.
If you have more than an hour, overnight is my favorite time to let this dough rise. Check out the difference in this dough after an overnight rise in the refrigerator!
Steps 5 and 6 are shown in this collage of photos. You’ll roll the dough out using a rolling pin. I like to also pick up the dough and rotate it letting it stretch and form into a circle. If you are going all out, try to toss it like a pro but I can’t guarantee that your dough won’t end up on the floor! It takes a lot of practice and I am not there yet.
If you have a baking stone like this one from Amazon, go ahead and heat it up while you preheat the oven. You’ll achieve a more evenly browned crust all the way around your calzone if you use a baking stone, but it is in no way a requirement.
Can you use store bought dough for calzones?
Yes! A wonderful shortcut to making calzones is to use a store bought pizza dough.
If you are making a gluten free calzone, start with a store bought gluten free dough before making your own. I always find that easy shortcuts help me get used to making a dish. If later I want to transition into making the dough from scratch, I have a better idea of what texture and structure the dough should have since I’ve worked with a similar dough before.
Gluten free flour
One comment I’d like to share is that if you need a gluten free calzone, I have not yet had success with this recipe by simply substituting a gluten free flour blend. I’ve tried it a few times and each time am disappointed with my somewhat flat and sad looking calzone.
I’d suggest trying this recipe for a gluten free calzone by King Arthur, but even their photos show a flatter, less traditional looking calzone than you would achieve with traditional all purpose flour. It is simply hard to recreate this recipe without developing gluten. My solution? I stick to gluten free pizza instead which is much easier to enjoy in a gluten free diet. The crust may be flat but add all of your favorite toppings and you won’t miss the traditional gluten version anyway.
Can you freeze calzones?
Yes, calzones are an excellent meal to make ahead of time.
Here are your options:
- Freeze unbaked calzones then thaw the dough overnight in the refrigerator before baking.
- Freeze baked calzones and reheat in the oven or the microwave before eating.
- Store unbaked calzones in the refrigerator for up to three days before baking.
Calzones are a good freezer meal to make and deliver to a friend. Label your frozen meal and add directions as to how to bake the calzones before enjoying the meal.
Learning food photography
Now, just for a quick look back I will share the first photo I posted of a calzone over three years ago. Thanks to my mom and my few other readers then who kept reading even though the photography left A LOT to be desired.
Even today’s photo is not perfect but I am sure we can agree that it is greatly improved. I hope to look back in another three years and have an even better photograph to share; I am looking forward to daily improvement. (And, no, when I originally posted these photos I did not know how terrible they were!) So if you are just starting out with your food photography, keep practicing– I will continue to do the same!
Here is a resource page about my photography gear if you want to learn more about growing your photography skills.
- 2 cups water (about 110 degrees F which is warm to the touch but not hot enough to hurt your finger)
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1 packet active dry yeast
- 1 tablespoon olive oil (my addition, original recipe leaves this out but I found it helped the moisture and texture of the dough)
- 6 cups All purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon salt
- 1 egg plus a few tablespoons water for egg wash with which to brush the dough before baking
Make the fillings your choice, here are some suggestions:
- tomato sauce, basil and mozzarella cheese OR
- ham, pesto and cheese OR
- my favorite this time was olives, sundried tomatoes, feta cheese and parsley
Mix all the ingredients together in a large bowl. Once the dough is formed, turn it onto a lightly floured workspace and knead it.
Knead the dough for a few minutes. It will become smooth and easy to handle. Place the dough in a lightly greased glass bowl. Cover with plastic wrap that is coated with baking spray. Let the dough rise for one hour or until doubled in size.
One the dough has risen, cut the dough in half if you wish to make 2 large calzones. Alternatively cut the dough into 8 pieces to make individual calzones.
Roll the dough into a circle (like a pizza dough) then add marinara sauce and cheese on half of the dough. Fold the dough over and seal tightly. You can brush the edge of the dough with a small bit of water to seal it.
Place the formed calzones in a parchment lined tray, cover and allow to rise again for 45 minutes.
Preheat the oven to a hot 450 degrees F. If you have a baking stone, preheat it at this time as well.
Make a quick egg wash by combining the egg and water. Brush it over the dough. Make a few cuts in the calzones so that steam will escape during baking. To create baking steam in the oven add a pan filled with a few cups of water in a roasting pan on the bottom level of the oven.
Bake the calzones for 15 minutes at 450 degrees F then turn down the temperature to 400 and bake for 30 more minutes or until golden brown.
If you are making two large calzones, cut each into 4 pieces to serve.
Calzones are excellent made ahead of time and reheated. Or freeze the risen calzones and then bake them from frozen. You'll need to lengthen the baking time by about 15-20 minutes if you bake from frozen.
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Serving Size:1 individual calzone
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 613Total Fat: 19gSaturated Fat: 6gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 11gCholesterol: 69mgSodium: 1290mgCarbohydrates: 90gFiber: 4gSugar: 3gProtein: 19g
This data is provided by Nutritionix and is an estimate only.
Holly Baker started the food blog, A Baker’s House, in 2011. She is the writer, recipe creator, and photographer for the site. Holly loves to bake and shares recipes for gluten free food, canning recipes, as well as traditional desserts too. Her recipes and food photography have been highlighted by BuzzFeed, Reader’s Digest, and She Knows.