This homemade calzone recipe is a mixture of sausage, pepperoni and bell peppers, all baked inside pizza dough with plenty of melted cheese. Calzones are the perfect food for a party, they’re hand held, hearty and totally delicious.
Pizza is a commonly served food at gatherings, but I like to surprise my guests by offering calzones instead. You can fill your calzones with so many different toppings, and they’re sure to garner rave reviews.
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Spring is here, and as the weather warms up, I find myself planning for parties! We have a lot of family birthdays during the Spring months, and it’s always nice to get together with friends and loved ones for a celebration. Good food is part of any great gathering, and my current go-to for feeding a crowd are these amazingly delicious calzones. This calzone recipe can easily be doubled or tripled for a large group and it’s a nice change from the typical pizza that you find at many events.
What is a calzone?
A calzone is a type of Italian folded pizza that can be stuffed with any number of toppings. Calzones can be picked up and eaten like a sandwich, which makes them a mess-free option for entertaining. You can even set out pieces of pizza dough and toppings and let your guests assemble their own culinary creations.
How do you make calzones?
The first step in this recipe is to roll out your pizza dough. You can use homemade or store bought dough, whichever you prefer. I often use refrigerated pizza dough to save some time. The dough is formed into oval or rectangle shapes and the toppings are loaded on.
I like to fill my calzones with sausage, peppers, pepperoni and lots of cheese. Products in the dairy aisle such as shredded cheese are perfect for my lifestyle because they allow me to focus more on my friends and family, and less on spending hours in the kitchen.
I turn to the freezer and refrigerated dairy aisles when I’m entertaining because there are just so many great options. There are thousands of frozen items that are perfect for breakfast, lunch, dinner and entertaining. In addition, I feel good about feeding refrigerated dairy products to friends and family because they are wholesome and high in protein.
Tips for Homemade Calzones
- You can make your calzones as big or as small as you like. I typically make about 3-4 calzones per pound of pizza dough, which makes for a hearty main course. If you’re looking to serve them as an appetizer or snack, you can create 6-8 mini calzones instead.
- I brush the top of my pizza pockets with egg so that they get that beautiful golden-brown sheen.
- You can add other meats or veggies to your calzones, just make sure that they’re cooked first.
- Use a sharp knife to cut a few vents in the top of each pizza pocket so that the steam can escape.
While I typically use the fillings listed in this recipe, I sometimes add other ingredients depending on what I have on hand.
- Meat: Instead of pepperoni, try Canadian bacon, frozen meatballs or chicken along with your sausage.
- Vegetables: Other great vegetable options include mushrooms, artichoke hearts, spinach, olives or onions.
- Cheese: I often make this recipe with Sargento Mozzarella Cheese, but I’ve also used Sargento 4 Cheese Pizzeria, Sargento 6 Cheese Italian and Sargento Mozzarella & Provolone with great results.
WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN STROMBOLI AND CALZONE?
Both a stromboli and a calzone are made with pizza dough folded around meats, cheeses or vegetables, but a stromboli is log shaped and a calzone is often triangle or semicircle shaped.
Looking for more fabulous recipes for entertaining? Be sure to check out the Easy Home Meals website by NFRA for more great recipe ideas.
MORE GREAT ITALIAN FOOD RECIPES
- Chicken Parmesan Pasta
- Pizza Stuffed Shells
- Slow Cooker Chicken Cacciatore
- Bruschetta Chicken
- Shrimp Alfredo
Calzone Recipe Video
- 1 pound pizza dough homemade or store bought
- 8 ounces Italian sausage casings removed
- 3/4 cup bell peppers cut into thin strips, you can use any color you like
- 1/2 cup pepperoni
- 1 cup pizza sauce divided use
- 8 ounce package Sargento Shredded Mozzarella Cheese
- 1 egg beaten
- 1 tablespoon parsley chopped
- cooking spray
- Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Coat a sheet pan with cooking spray.
- Divide the pizza dough into 3 or 4 pieces, depending on the size you want your calzones.
- Roll the dough into 1/4 inch thick ovals or rectangles.
- Place the sausage in a pan and cook according to package directions. Use a spatula to break up the cooked sausage into bite sized pieces.
- Add the bell peppers to the pan and cook for 3-4 minutes or until softened.
- Spread 2 teaspoons of pizza sauce onto one side of each piece of dough. Top with 1/4 cup cheese.
- Divide the sausage and pepper mixture evenly on top of the sauce. Top with pepperoni and an additional 1/4 cup of cheese.
- Fold the dough over and pinch to seal the edges. Use a sharp knife to cut 2-3 slits into the top of each calzone.
- Brush each calzone with the beaten egg.
- Place the calzones on the sheet pan. Bake for 15-17 minutes or until golden brown.
- Top with parsley, then serve immediately with remaining pizza sauce for dipping.
Can you make these calzones the day before and bake them the next day.?
Yes that’s fine!
A great recipe and a good base recipe for calzones. I was looking for something to do with packages of pizza dough mix I got on sale and this works perfectly. As I say to people, just make the dough and put whatever fillings you like. Tonight I made do air calzones, a huge hit. All I had to do was the dough. I added donair meat, do air sauce, chopped tomatoes and onion and that was it. They came out perfectly cooked.
I see someone suggested using melted butter instead of egg. I’ve done both, prefer the look of the brushed on egg.
Have made this recipe several times. It’s excellent fixed exactly per recipe. I’ve received many compliments from friends and family.
I have a couple of slight modifications which we think makes it even better, but tastes vary so be your own judge.
(1) Don’t put the Pizza Sauce on the dough. Serve the sauce on the side after it’s fully cooked.
(2) Use Sweet Italian Sausage. If you cant find it, use Mild Italian Sausage and add 1 Tsp of fennel seed while cooking the sausage.
(3) Before adding the second layer of cheese over the meat mixture: sprinkle a few Sliced Black Olives, then top with the cheese.
(4) Omit the egg brush on the pastry. Remove from oven 3 to 5 minutes before done, brush sides and top lightly with melted butter. Return to oven until pastry reaches the desired color and doneness. Transfer to a cooling rack for 5 minutes before serving. This last modification yields a slightly more tender and flaky pastry.
Could you freeze these after baking so they can quickly be heated up from frozen for lunches? I have a panini press at work and was thinking these would be an awesome lunch idea!! Appreciate the feedback!
Yes that should work fine!
Made these tonight. Awesome recipe! I googled one, but they had you set the oven temp to 500 deg. No wonder the reviews were so awful for that recipe. This recipe knocks it outta the park. My family ate this up like there was no tomorrow.
What about using ricotta cheese instead with spinach? Will ricotta work just as well?
Yes ricotta will work!
Wow😍 I really love this fast recipe it’s an hi 😂 deal for me super excited.. thank you
his recipe was delicious! I change up the fillings and make it a few times a month since the family loves it!
So Yummy, Sara. Did you ever freeze them before baking?
Yes you can freeze them, then bake from frozen! You’ll need to add about 10 more minutes to the bake time.
These were so much fun to make and a great alternative to our usual “pizza night.” Can’t wait to have these again!
The color and shine on your calzone crust is just gorgeous. I love getting help for entertaining and weeknight meals from the frozen aisle too! Great recipe.
This looks absolutely delicious. My hubby will LOVE these. Thanks for sharing this recipe. I already saved it and will give this a try. Can’t wait!
The crust on these calzones look absolutely amazing! I bet it would be fun to make little ones for a party.
It has been so long since I have made a calzone! Such a versatile meal. This looks incredible and I love the color from the bell peppers!
Can you make these earlier in the day, refrigerate and then bake later?
Yes that will work perfectly!
I love how easy and delicious these calzones are! Great dinner for kids too.
I think this will be a great addition to Friday Night Pizza night at my home! My family will love making their own personal calzone!
Yum, you are right there are so many varieties that you could do with these. I love the pepperoni in them. On a cool day these would be perfect comfort food!!
This was my first time making calzones and they are my new favorite, actually very simple!
These calzones look so cute and delicious! Something I could heat up and take on the go! Now only to put GF pizza dough to the test! 🙂