Calzone night is one of my family’s favorite. I cut the dough into triangles and chop up all the ingredients. Everyone gets to make their own special creation and there is zero whining about “I don’t want *^(R^T!”
Easy and Cheesy Homemade Calzones are perfect for a family meal at home. Get the kids involved and have a calzone bar!
Easy Calzones are another “mommy” recipe and now a favorite of my husband who squeals like a pig when he knows it is calzone night.
They are a kid friendly cooking experience that allow each family member to make their own unique creation, kind of like pizza stuffed peppers.
I find that individuals enjoy what they are eating when they have a sense of accomplishment and take pride in their food. And gosh darn it, who doesn’t like calzones?
Answer: NO ONE!
Set up all stuffing options along the side of the dough and allow each person to make their own calzone. I use small airtight containers so that I can easily pop the top on and clean up after everyone is done creating their masterpiece.
There are two ways to uniquely identify them. Either soak toothpicks in water and stick in the top in a unique shape or number, or slide just under.
For example, dad’s calzone has three toothpicks, mom’s has two.
Or you can make fun designs hashed on the top to allow the steam to release. Just make sure they aren’t too ornate or big or else your stuffing will come bubbling out during the cooking process.
I often get asked what the difference is between calzones versus stromboli and the easy answer is very little. Both are pizza dough stuffed with cheese and marinara sauce.
However stromboli is generally rolled into a log shape and then sliced, while calzones are folded in half to a semi-circle or triangle shape.
FACT: There is much debate about whether a true calzone has marinara sauce on the inside or just for dipping.
Regardless of whether you are making a calzone or a stromboli, one thing is your enemy here. MOISTURE!
Moisture will make your precious pizza dough soggy and yuck. There are a couple of ways to prevent soggy pizza dough.
- Make sure the ingredients that naturally hold moisture are as dry as possible. Drain, saute and even dab with a paper towel before adding to your calzone.
- Use a low moisture cheese. Many cheese have a lot of water. Use a hard cheese like Parmesan or Pecorino Romano or look for “low moisture” on the packaging.
- Using a sharp knife, cut slits in the top of your calzone. This will allow the steam to release. You can also make fun patterns to mark each individual’s calzone.
- Use a pizza stone. Pizza stones are great for keeping the underside nice and crunchy.
- Dust the pizza stone or baking sheet with corn meal to soak up moisture and create a slight elevation allowing moisture to release and hot air to flow.
- Cook to nice golden brown!
Have fun creating your Easy Calzones. Put on some fun music and have a family dance party while you are at it.
Check out these other easy homemade recipes:
- Peperoncini Sausage Stromboli
- Cheesy Pizza Sandwiches
- Cheeseburger Pizza
- Sloppy Joe French Bread Pizza
- Everything Meatball Stromboli
- Chicken Alfredo French Bread Pizza
- Rainbow French Bread Pizza
Tools for making this Easy Calzones Recipe:
Pizza Stone – for more than just pizza! Reheating anything with a crispy crust or baking bread. I like the rectangular ones, but round works too.
Rolling Mat– For rolling out any dough or cookies or just protecting your counters and work space!
Questions you might have about how to make calzones:
What can I put in my calzone? The possibilities for calzone toppings are endless, but here are a few of my favorites:
- Mushrooms (canned and drained or fresh and sauted- either way, get excess moisture out)
- Bell peppers
- Fresh tomatoes (squeeze out pulp)
- Banana Peppers
- Black olives
- Broccoli (blanched)
- Lots of cheese!
- Artichokes (drained)
- Bacon or ham
- Fresh or dried herbs and spices
- Crushed red pepper flakes
- Jalapenos or other hot peppers
What kind of cheese can I use in my calzone? Any type you want! Here are my favorites for classic calzones, but you can get fancy and creative using whatever you’d like!
- Mozzarella (low moisture)
- Ricotta (drained well)
- Pecorino Romano
Do I have to make my own pizza dough? No, in fact, I prefer a store bought dough. It just makes getting dinner on the table that much easier.
Can I make calzones in advance? You can! You can either make them and then bake when ready or even cook them and just reheat. The pizza stone works wonders for reheating and keeping the dough tasting freshly baked.
Can I freeze calzones? You sure can! I mean, that is basically what a hot pocket is, right? Baked the calzone how you like, allow it to cool complete so the condensation doesn’t pool in the freezer bag.
Then package and freeze for up to 6 months. Simply heat in a 350 degree oven for about 15 minutes.
Easy Calzone Recipe
- 1 tablespoon corn meal
- 1 tube refrigerated pizza dough
- 2 cups marinara sauce
- 2 links of Italian turkey sausage cooked and crumbled, mild or spicy
- 1/2 cup turkey pepperoni slices cut into quarters
- 1 cup mozzarella cheese shredded
- 1/3 cup diced green bell pepper
- 1/3 cup diced red onion
- 1 small can of drained mushrooms stems and pieces, cut
- 1 small can of black olives drained
- 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 egg yolk whisked
- Parmesan Reggiano cheese grated
- Heat oven to 400 degrees. Prepare pizza stone or baking sheet by dusting with cornmeal.
- Roll out pizza dough to approximately 18×12 inches. It does not have to be exact.
- Sprinkle the Italian seasoning and the garlic powder over the dough. Allow each family member or guest to build their own calzone by placing stuffers in the corner of one square of dough about 1/2 inch in. Top each with 1 tablespoon of mozzarella cheese (not too much) and a tablespoon of marinara sauce.
- Fold dough over the tops and pinch together the seams. Using a very sharp knife, cut three one inch slits in the tops to allow the steam to escape. If you have holes, patch them using excess dough from corners.
- Whisk egg yolk with a sprinkle of water and brush over the tops. Sprinkle with additional Italian seasoning.
- Bake for 14-18 minutes, or until tops are lightly browned.
- Heat remaining marinara sauce for dipping.
- Remove calzones from oven and allow to sit for 3-5 minutes before serving. Top with marinara sauce and Parmesan Reggiano cheese. Crushed red pepper is optional for all you spice lovers!
- If you’ve tried this recipe, come back and let us know how it was!