Home » Difference Between Calzone and Stromboli? Everything You Need To Know

Difference Between Calzone and Stromboli? Everything You Need To Know

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Ordering food at a restaurant is not always as easy as one might assume. With so many different dishes vying for your attention, it might be tricky to understand your preferences. This is especially true for dishes that have the same elements. Still, the final product is very different from one another. 

Cases in question may be differentiating between different kinds of pasta or identifying a deep dish pizza from a pie. Another common mistake that many tend to make is using Stromboli and Calzone interchangeably when they are two very distinct dishes.

One must admit that the Stromboli and the Calzone have many common features. For starters, both have Italian origins, and both of them are incredibly delicious. In addition, both the recipes use ample amounts of cheese, meat, and an assortment of vegetables. And yet, there are many more differences between the two. However, you won’t have any difficulty placing your order once you know about them. 

Here is all you need to know about the distinct features of these two incredible Italian dishes.


Stromboli is a dish made from pizza dough or bread dough. It is stuffed with cheese, meat, and a tangy sauce. The dough is then rolled as a spiral, with the final result resembling a long cylinder with layers inside. The filling is close to Italian sandwiches, and salami and capicola are popular choices. 

Source: www.simplyrecipes.com

As far as cheese is concerned, many chefs swear by Provolone. Though other alternatives are also often experimented with, the dish is inspired by Italian ingredients that originated in the United States. But more on that later.

BONUS READ: Instant Pot Chili Recipe – Quick and Mouth-Watering Dish


The main difference between the Calzone and Stromboli is that the Calzone originated in the Italian mainland, with Naples being its birthplace. Naples is known as the pizza capital globally. The marvelous cooks there decided to use pizza crust to make a dish at some point. The Calzone is made by folding the pizza crust into a semi-circle and then filling it up with the sumptuous ingredients. 

Source: thecozyapron.com

The Calzone was designed to be a takeaway food- something that the people could enjoy while on the move. So it also uses a wide variety of ingredients. Still, the choice of cheese is usually ricotta or mozzarella, with the cheese usually dripping over the sides when it comes out of the oven.

Also Read: Reuben Pizza Recipe – Tempting and Easy To Cook

Differences Between Stromboli and Calzone: How Do You Identify the Two?

Now that you know the fundamental difference between the two and will be able to differentiate between them visually, let’s look at some of the finer points that separate the two. 

#1. Origin

As mentioned earlier, the Stromboli originated in the United States. However, some say it was around the 1950s when Roberto Rossellini directed a film of the same name starring Ingrid Bergman. It’s said a restaurant owner was struggling to come up with a name for one of his new sandwiches. So, he decided to use the title of this popular film which had just been released, hoping to attract crowds. And boy, did it work!

Others believe that it originated in Philadelphia and was named after the volcanic Mountain Stromboli, located in the Isle of Stromboli. It became a major hotspot with throngs of people trying the Stromboli while strolling by the Stromboli! But no matter where the name came from, the dish itself definitely originated in the United States. 

The Calzone, on the other hand, emerged as popular street food in Naples, Italy. Some street vendors came up with this idea by utilizing pizza crust. The name comes from the Italian word Calze, meaning long stockings or trousers, intending for people to grab it even when they are outside their home. So you could stand on the sidewalk and have it. Portable dishes were a novelty back then, as Italians are very particular about family meals. 

#2. Sealing Technique

While both the Stromboli and the Calzone are derived from pizza and have similar baking methods, the sealing technique makes all the difference. First, a Stromboli is rolled, very much like a burrito. The dough is first rolled out into a rectangle, and then once the filling is in place, it is rolled in a spiral cylinder. Then some extra dough is applied to seal the final edge in place. Once baked, it is sliced up to feed multiple people. 

Source: orianofood.online

On the contrary, Calzone is folded into a semi-circle shape. And then, the edges are crimpled at the sides to seal. So you start by rolling out the dough in a circle and filling one half of it with the filling, finally pulling over the other edge and wrapping everything inside. It is mostly a single–serving dish, but considering they are so delicious, you would, of course, want to have many more. 

Sealing Technique of Stromboli and Calzone
Source: delish.com

In the end, however, both get an egg wash. This ensures that the crust does not dry out when it is in the oven and seals in the edges nicely. Once they are baked, the outer crust takes on a heavenly golden color, and it looks so enticing. 

Also Read: Best Cheese For Grilled Cheese [ #Foddie’s Choice]

#3. Fillings

A variety of meat and vegetables goes into a Stromboli. Still, it is all about how much flavor you can pack into each of the layers. Spinach and bell peppers are almost always a staple. Once the Stromboli is cut up, the cross-section reveals all the fillings, and the more of them you can pack in, the better. You can also include cold cuts. It can be said that a perfect Stromboli not just tastes but also looks excellent. 

For a Calzone, a wide variety of vegetables can be used for the filling, even spinach and broccoli. In addition, cured meat is often used as it is a food you can have on the move and needs to be prepared quickly. 

One of the advantages of making both the Stromboli and the Calzone is that you can prepare the meat filling well in advance. You can use ham, mincemeat, beef, chicken, or lamb to make different fillings. Each kind of meat has its flavor and texture, so you seldom feel like you are having the same dish. However, you need to adjust the baking time depending on the meat you have inside. It is always a good idea to cook the meat almost entirely if you are trying Calzone for the first time. 

Of course, you need to be careful while choosing the other ingredients for the filling, as they should complement the meat you are using. But frankly, once everything comes together and the cheeses are added in, every single combination tastes marvelous. 

#4. Sauce

Most importantly, in a Stromboli, the marinara sauce is a part of the filling itself. So you first generously lay on the sauce and then pile up the fillings, just as you would do in a pizza. Of course, you could skip the sauce yourself if you prefer it that way, but this is how it is traditionally done. 

In the case of Calzone, however, the marinara sauce is placed as a side, and you dip your Calzone in it as you take each bite. It is because the sauce inside Calzone will make it too moist and prevent the dough from cooking fully. However, there is no hard and fast rule. If you still want to make your Calzone by applying some sauce before adding the filling, just go ahead! 

Although the classic marinara sauce is used for both dishes, you can change the dip’s flavor for the Calzone if you feel more adventurous. Since the sauce for the Calzone is placed aside, you can adjust the flavors to your preferences. Usually, a tomato-based mildly spicy sauce is used as an accompaniment. Still, you can use cayenne and bell peppers for a truly enticing flavor that will add another dimension to the dish.


Now that you know what exactly a Stromboli and a Calzone are, you will have no difficulty placing your order, and you know exactly what to expect. And as a cook, if you want to try your hands at making them, then go ahead! 

It is, however, better to start with a Calzone at first. In a Calzone, you need to mix all the ingredients, lay them on as a filling and pull the flap to make the perfect semi-circle. Whereas making a Stromboli is slightly more difficult because you need to ensure that the filling is evenly distributed in each pinwheel-shaped sandwich when you are finally ready to cut into it.

Once you have gained confidence in making the filling, you can move on to making a Stromboli and give the spiral-shaped pizza a try. All you need is a good oven for baking them to a crispy golden brown, and you have something to impress your friends and family. You will be glad that you mastered the art of cooking these delectable dishes. 

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