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What is the Difference Between a Stromboli And a Calzone?

By: Shivani Choudhary
Updated On: October 15, 2023

Big fan of Italian cuisine? Me too! But wait, ever find yourself in a delightful quandary, trying to choose between a Stromboli and a Calzone at your favorite Italian bistro? I know it’s like choosing between two loves, isn’t it? To the untrained eye, they may look pretty much the same – folded pizza, right? But in the culinary world, the “Difference between a Stromboli and a Calzone” is as significant as the difference between cheddar and brie in the universe of cheeses.

Okay, let’s roll up our sleeves (not unlike a Stromboli) and let’s sink our teeth into the heart of the matter. As we dive into the history, the method of preparation, sauce protocols, and even the geographical origin of both enduring Italian favorites, you will appreciate the subtle yet defining differences between a Stromboli and a Calzone. Fasten your seatbelts, folks – we are about to embark on a deliciously enlightening journey!

Also Read: Domino’s Hand Tossed vs Pan Pizza

Stromboli vs. Calzone: What’s the Difference?

Stromboli vs. Calzone: What's the Difference?

To understand the fundamental distinction between Stromboli and Calzone, let’s primarily focus on the aspects of their shape, the method of preparation, the fillings, the existence (or absence) of sauce, and cultural origins.

1. Shape

The most apparent difference lies in their respective forms. Stromboli is cylindrical, a log-shaped delight given its signature form by rolling the pizza dough filled with cheese and various toppings.

In contrast, a Calzone mimics a semi-circular or half-moon shape. It’s essentially a pizza folded in half before it’s baked.

2. Preparation and Baking

Both begin as flat rounds of pizza dough. In Stromboli, the toppings are placed onto one side of the dough, which is then tightly rolled, essentially encasing the ingredients. The edges are sealed, and it’s then baked to golden perfection.

On the other hand, preparing a Calzone involves placing the toppings onto one half of the pizza dough, and then the other half is folded over to cover the fillings. The edge is crimped to seal the contents before baking.

3. Fillings

There’s significant flexibility regarding what goes into a Stromboli or a Calzone.

The Stromboli, usually, is filled with various types of cheese (mostly mozzarella), Italian meats like salami, capicola, and bresaola. Often, sliced bell peppers or other vegetables also find their way into the mix.

The Calzone retains its Napoli roots by traditionally containing ingredients like ricotta, mozzarella, spinach, and various meats. You’ll also often see a version of the Calzone that has ham, mozzarella, and mushrooms. Some places even use a mix of smoked and regular mozzarella for a unique twist!

4. Sauciness

Oh, the sauce! Here is where they truly part ways. A solitary slice of Stromboli is almost naked without a side of marinara sauce for dipping. Yes, the sauce charmingly comes on the side.

With Calzone, this is where it gets primal. The sauce competes with all the other ingredients, baked right into the very core of it.

5. Origins

Last but not least, their geographical roots contribute majorly to the difference. Stromboli is an Italian-American creation by Italian immigrants in Philadelphia during the mid-20th century.

On the other side of the spectrum, Calzone goes way back – born and made perfect in Napoli (Naples), Italy, in the 18th century.

FillingsCheese, Meat, VeggiesRicotta, Mozarella, Meats
SauceOn the sideBaked in
OriginPhiladelphia, USANaples, Italy

While Stromboli and Calzone do share some common Italian groundwork, they possess their own distinctive charm and flavors that make each worth exploring.

Also Read: Gyoza vs. Dumplings

Stromboli vs. Calzone: Where’s the Sauce?

Let’s dive into arguably one of the most flavorful aspects of our Stromboli vs. Calzone debate – the sauce. The question of “Where’s the Sauce?” is not just about its physical placement, but revolves also around its role in the overall gastronomic experience. Trust me, the decision of where to put the sauce is as strategically important as planning your chess moves!

In a Stromboli

The Stromboli keeps its sauce game simple, yet tangy. Traditionally, the sauce in a Stromboli is served on the side. This allows your taste buds to savor the baked goodness of the softened bread, the melted cheese, and the crispy, cooked meats in each bite. Following that, you possess the power to control the kick of the marinara with each dip.

Really, isn’t that one of the mighty perks of Stromboli – the essence of choice? You can choose to smother each bite in the luscious marinara sauce or just dip the crispy ends for a subtle taste. Consequently, you never run the risk of an over-sauced, soggy Stromboli. This method also permits the replacement of marinara with any other sauce of choice, aiding in a personalized dining experience.

In a Calzone

In contrast, the Calzone embraces a slightly different philosophy. In a classic Calzone, the sauce is baked inside. This results in an intriguing blend of savory baked dough, bubbling cheese, delicate meats, and tangy sauce in each mouthful.

The sauce forms an integral part of the whole Calzone experience, binding together the explosion of flavors. Consequently, an ideal Calzone is a perfectly balanced amalgamation of all elements. But remember, there is a potential pitfall – too much sauce and you might just end up with a messy eating affair.

Stromboli vs. Calzone: How It’s Made?

Stromboli vs. Calzone: How It's Made?

To fully appreciate the distinction in the “Difference Between Stromboli And Calzone”, it’s crucial to understand how each is made. Although both are essentially delectable turnovers from the pizza family, their preparation method paints a very different picture, making them unique in taste and texture.

Preparing the basic dough

To start with, both Stromboli and Calzone require the same basic dough recipe. The dough, similar to what’s used for pizza, is made from yeast, flour, water, olive oil, and salt. After kneading, the dough is left to rest and rise before being ready to be turned into either a Stromboli or Calzone.

For your handy reference, here’s a simple pizza dough recipe (link)[]. Bear in mind, the dough quality is vital in making an exceptional Stromboli or Calzone.

Crafting a Stromboli

Fascinatingly, a Stromboli is like a long, rolled sandwich stuffed with various ingredients like mozzarella cheese, Italian meats, and sometimes vegetables. The filling is placed on a flat sheet of dough, which is then rolled like a log. From there, your would-be Stromboli is brushed with olive oil, occasionally sprinkled with parmesan, and then baked until golden. It stunningly oozes with cheezy goodness when cut open.

Shaping a Calzone

If I were to describe a Calzone, I’d call it a half-moon marvel. The calzone starts out with a pizza dough as its base as well. Here, the fillings – typically ricotta and mozzarella cheeses, salami or ham, and some veggies – are heaped onto half of the round pizza dough. The other half is simply folded over the filling and crimped along the edge to form a seal. And yes, don’t forget the pizza sauce – it goes within the fold! Prior to putting it in the oven, a few small slits are made in the top to allow steam to escape as it bakes.

From the preparation process itself, it’s easy to see how the Stromboli and Calzone are similar yet different. Each has a unique construction, resulting in a distinctive gastronomic experience. Whether you decide to create these at home or enjoy them at a restaurant, your newfound knowledge will surely enhance your appreciation for these delights.

Stromboli And Calzone? Why Not Both?

In the rivalry between Stromboli and Calzone, there’s no clear winner because both these Italian treats bring their unique set of advantages and flavors to the table. So why limit yourself to just one? Both serve as great meal options and satisfy the craving for delicious, gooey, cheesy goodness encased in crispy dough. Heck, they may even be calling for a face-off at your next dinner party or family gathering!

The Case for Stromboli

Let’s state this. Stromboli with its cylindrical shape, usually filled with various Italian cheeses like mozzarella and ingredients such as Italian cold cuts and veggies, is indeed a wonder. Your taste buds get introduced to a perfect balance of crust and filling. Also, remember the signature side of marinara sauce? Yeah, it’s for you to decide just how saucy you want your Stromboli to be. Honestly, the freedom it gives you in savoring each bite just the way you like it, gets the Stromboli a case of its own.

The Advocacy for Calzone

On the other hand, Calzones come with their unique half-moon charm filled with seemingly endless, molten mozzarella, ricotta, ham, and typically a bit of tomato sauce. The crimped edge seals in all the filling and offers a delightful crunch, providing a delightful contrast to the savory, molten interior. So, if you’re all about that surprise element when diving into your food, the Calzone is your way to go.

Personalizing your Stromboli and Calzone: How to Add Your Favorite Toppings?

Personalizing your Stromboli and Calzone: How to Add Your Favorite Toppings?

Both Stromboli and Calzone allow space for personalization. Tweak the classics or go on a culinary adventure by mixing and matching your favorite toppings.

Customizing your Stromboli

For customizing your Stromboli, start off with its classic stuffing of mozzarella cheese, Italian sausage, bell peppers, and onions. Interested in going higher on the flavor scale? Feel free to add your favorite meats. Prosciutto, capicola, or salami meld well with the other ingredients. If you’re a vegetarian, create a veggie-filled Stromboli. Grilled mushrooms, roasted bell peppers, caramelized onions, sun-dried tomatoes, or even olives work great! Remember to pick a good marinara sauce for the side.

Tailoring your Calzone

When it comes to the Calzone, the classic filling involves mozzarella, ricotta, and ham. Here too, you have room for creativity. Tailoring your Calzone could start with adding different types of cheeses. Fontina, Pecorino Romano, or even smoked provolone could add another dimension to your Calzone. More of a meat lover? Try adding meatballs, Italian sausage, or pepperoni. For my veggie folks, don’t shy away from packing them up with sautéed spinach, zucchini, mushrooms, or even marinated artichokes.

In any case, which topping you use is limited only by your culinary creativity and dietary needs. So go forth and experiment to see which combinations suit your palate the best!

Please Note: When tailor-making your Stromboli or Calzone, ensure that you don’t overstuff them because the filling could leak out during baking causing quite a mess!

Culinary Showdown: The Nutritional Context of Stromboli vs. Calzone

So, you love both Stromboli and Calzone, but which of these Italian giants is the healthier option? Honestly, it largely depends on the ingredients used in the filling and the quantity consumed. However, under the same conditions, there is a slight difference in the nutritional context of the two.

Total Calories

Let’s discuss the calorie count. Generally, a typical Stromboli contains fewer calories than a Calzone. That’s mainly because Stromboli is rolled thin and has lesser cheese and more veggies and lean meats. Conversely, a Calzone is plumper, with more cheese inside, and hence tends to have higher calorie content.

Fat Content

Next comes the fat content. A slice of Stromboli usually has less saturated fat because it has less cheese compared to a Calzone. However, if excessive oil is used in preparing the Stromboli, it can tip the scales.

Sodium Content

Sodium content is another factor to consider. The salt content of both Stromboli and Calzone can be on the higher side due to the meats and cheese used.

Despite these differences, it is important to remember that whether you’re choosing a Stromboli or a Calzone, try opting for whole wheat dough and include more veggies and lean meats in the filling. That way, you’re savoring your favorite Italian delicacy while keeping it healthy!

Remember, these are estimates based on typical recipes of the two dishes. Different restaurants or recipes might have their actual nutritional content vary.

Recipe Exchange: Classic Italian Stromboli and Calzone Recipes

Recipe Exchange: Classic Italian Stromboli and Calzone Recipes

Curious about how to whip up your own Stromboli or Calzone in your home kitchen? Here are the recipes.

1. Classic Stromboli Recipe

Prepare your work surface, grab your apron, and let’s make some Stromboli!


  • 1 pizza dough
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
  • ¼ lb. sliced ham
  • ¼ lb. sliced salami
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • Tomato sauce for dipping


  1. Preheat your oven to 400°F.
  2. Roll out your pizza dough thin, into a rectangle.
  3. Place your sliced ham and salami onto your dough, leaving a 1-inch border around the perimeter.
  4. Top with mozzarella cheese, then roll it up lengthwise as tightly as possible, tucking in the ends as you go.
  5. Lightly brush the Stromboli with olive oil, then bake for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown.
  6. Allow your Stromboli to cool for a few minutes before cutting into slices and serving with tomato sauce.

2. Classic Calzone Recipe

Time for Calzone now! Gather your ingredients and let’s cook.


  • 1 pizza dough
  • 1 cup mozzarella cheese
  • 1/2 cup ricotta cheese
  • 1/2 cup pizza sauce
  • 1/2 cup chopped mushrooms
  • 1 cup spinach
  • Olive oil for brushing


  1. Preheat your oven to 475°F.
  2. Roll out half of the pizza dough into a circle.
  3. Spread the pizza sauce on half of the dough circle.
  4. Add the ricotta, mozzarella, mushrooms, and spinach on top of the sauce.
  5. Fold the dough over the filling to form a half-moon shape, then crimp the edge to seal it.
  6. Brush the Calzone with olive oil, then bake for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown.
  7. Allow your Calzone to cool for a few minutes before cutting and serving.

These recipes can be modified according to your taste. You can experiment with fillings, cheese, and even sauces to give your Stromboli or Calzone a personal twist.

Unraveling the History of the Stromboli and Calzone

Unraveling the History of the Stromboli and Calzone

Let’s go back in time a bit and delve into the rich histories of these delicious Italian staples. Although both Stromboli and Calzone belong to the family of Italian cuisine, their stories of origin have surprising twists and turns. Let’s break it down.

The Birth of the Calzone

Originating from Naples, Italy in the 18th century, the Calzone takes its name from the Italian word for ‘pant leg’ or ‘trouser.’ Funny name for a food item, I must say, but just stick with me. It was traditionally created for workers as a ‘walk-and-eat’ meal, hence the folded-over, half-moon shape – perfect for a quick bite during a busy work day.

While the Calzone started off simply, typically filled with local ingredients like cheeses, cured meats, and eggs, it quickly evolved into a beloved Italian favorite. Now, imagine the fresh scent of basil, the warmth of just-melted cheeses, and the robust flavor of marinara sauce, all folded within a cover of crisp dough. Delicious, wouldn’t you agree? That’s a classic Calzone for you – a smorgasbord of goodness inside a pocket of yum!

The Stromboli Makes Its Debut

Now the Stromboli, despite its Italian-sounding name, is actually an American invention! It was first whipped up in the 1950s in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. It’s said it got its name from the movie Stromboli, directed by Roberto Rossellini. At least, that’s how the story goes!

The core idea behind a Stromboli is similar to the Calzone but with a twist. Imagine a pizza, now imagine rolling it up – that’s a Stromboli. The roll-like shape was a unique twist, setting it apart from its half-moon-shaped cousin, the Calzone.

What started in a small Italian-American restaurant in Philly, has now become a nationwide favorite. Typically, a Stromboli is filled with various Italian cheeses (think: mozzarella, provolone) and cold cuts, or Italian meats such as salami or capicola. You may sometimes find a Stromboli bursting with bits of bologna and vegetables too. Unlike a Calzone, a traditional Stromboli is not typically stuffed with tomato sauce. Instead, the sauce is usually served on the side for delicious dunking.

Now, here’s a quick look at the evolution of these lip-smacking treats.

OriginNaples, ItalyPhiladelphia, USA
Born in18th century20th century
ShapeHalf-moonLog or roll
SauceInsideServed on the side
Traditional fillingsCheeses, cured meats, eggsItalian cheeses, cold cuts, sometimes vegetables

With each having its own distinct history, it’s evident why they’ve become legends in their own right in the culinary world.

Stromboli vs Calzone: What are the similarities?

Stromboli vs Calzone: What are the similarities?

Alright, let’s delve into the fun part! Now, the key similarity that jumps out at you is that both Stromboli and Calzone rely on the same basic building blocks – pizza dough, generally mozzarella cheese for some added stringiness, and a host of other Italian meats or vegetables, depending on how you like yours.

The Pizza Dough Connection

As I’ve mentioned, the first point of convergence comes in with the pizza dough. Both Calzones and Stromboli employ the flavorful and elastic pizza dough, which forms the crusty casing for the delicious contents within. So, a ‘head-to-head‘ or ‘Stromboli vs Calzone‘ matchup starts on an even footing.

It’s all about the Filling

Another striking similarity lies in the fillings. When you order either a Stromboli or a Calzone, you’re getting a mouth-watering assortment of Italian meats, a plethora of cheese types, and of course, an array of vegetables – all encased within that glorious pizza dough.

While Mozzarella cheese often dominates the scene given its melting characteristics and mild flavor, don’t be surprised to find other Italian cheese varieties such as ricotta or provolone making their appearances.

Bake it till it’s Golden

A universally important factor in both Stromboli and Calzone perfection is the baking process. Both are baked until they attain that golden-brown hue signaling that the crust has reached peak crispiness, perfectly complementing the oozy, gooey, melty interior.

Now, here’s a fun fact: some variations of Calzones are fried rather than baked, primarily in certain parts in Italy itself. But that’s more of an exception than the norm, so for our purposes, we’ll stick to their baked versions.

It’s Pizza…but not Quite

If we were to oversimplify things, we could say that Stromboli and Calzone are merely folded or rolled pizzas. However, that would be grossly unfair to these delicacies! They may share the same ingredients as a flat pizza, but the eating experience is quite different. Biting into a warm, stuffed Stromboli or a piping hot, cheesy Calzone, you’ll understand why these delicious spin-offs have made a name for themselves distinct from their famous ancestor – the pizza.

I think that wraps up the key similarities between Stromboli and Calzone. Just as siblings, though born to the same parents and growing up under the same roof can have distinct personalities, so too do our delicious subjects differ from each other, despite these astounding similarities. But we are getting ahead of ourselves – let’s save that exciting divergence for the next section, shall we?

Although they share the same foundational ingredients, it’s the difference in their making that sets these two apart. Now, let’s turn the page and uncover those intriguing differences, in the section “Stromboli vs. Calzone: What’s the Difference?”.

Also Read: Hand Roll vs Cut Roll Sushi

Frequently Asked Questions

Is Stromboli Italian or American?

Stromboli is Italian-American. Although it uses Italian ingredients, it was actually invented in South Philadelphia in the United States in the mid-20th century.

Is the Calzone an Italian dish?

Yes, the Calzone originates from Naples, in Southern Italy. It was first created in the 18th century as a “folded pizza” that could be easily eaten on the go.

Does a Stromboli have pizza sauce in it?

Traditionally, a Stromboli does not have pizza sauce inside. Instead, marinara sauce is typically served on the side for dipping.

What’s inside a Calzone?

A Calzone is filled with a variety of ingredients, typically including cheese, meats, and vegetables. It also has pizza sauce baked inside, setting it apart from its cousin, the Stromboli.

Can I use any toppings in my Stromboli or Calzone?

Absolutely! You can customize the fillings according to your preference. Common choices are pepperoni, sausage, mushrooms, bell peppers, onions, and a variety of cheeses.

Are Stromboli and Calzone the same?

Although they are similar, Stromboli and Calzone are not the same. They differ in their shapes, method of preparation, and even in how the sauce is served. Both are delicious options, though!


Now that we’ve ventured into the wonderful world of Italian cuisine, understanding the pivotal Difference Between Stromboli And Calzone, you’re well equipped to appreciate these beloved delicacies. Remember, a Stromboli is rolled like a log, served with sauce on the side, and hails from the United States, while a Calzone is half-moon shaped, sauce baked inside, and has its roots in Naples, Italy.

Nonetheless, both are embodiments of divine eats – folded pizza dough, cheesy goodness, succulent meats, and mouthwatering sauces; a joy ride for your tastebuds. So whether it’s a crispy Stromboli night or a gooey Calzone evening, savor each bite and enjoy these doughy delights to the fullest! Make your pick, and buon appetito!

Food Lover and Storyteller 🍽️✨ With a fork in one hand and a pen in the other, Shivani brings her culinary adventures to life through evocative words and tantalizing tastes. Her love for food knows no bounds, and she's on a mission to share the magic of flavors with fellow enthusiasts.
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