When it comes to the delicious world of Italian turnovers, two names often rise to the forefront – stromboli and calzone. Despite their shared roots in Italian cuisine, these delectable dishes have distinct identities that set them apart.

What is a Stromboli?

A Stromboli is essentially a turnover filled with various kinds of cheese (usually mozzarella), cold cuts, or vegetables. The dough used is either Italian bread dough or pizza dough. The Stromboli is then rolled into a cylindrical shape before being baked in the oven.

The key to making an excellent Stromboli is finding the perfect balance between its crust and fillings. It should be crispy on the outside yet soft on the inside, ensuring every bite gives you that delightful combination of textures.

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Where did Stromboli Originate?

The history of stromboli is as rich and varied as its ingredients. Despite being associated with Italian cuisine, the dish actually originates from the United States. Named after an active volcano in Italy, this delicious turnover was first created in Philadelphia by Nazzareno Romano, an Italian immigrant.

American Influence:

  • The concept of stuffing bread with cheese and meats has been prevalent since ancient times across various cultures. However, it was in America that these elements were combined to create what we know today as stromboli.
  • Romano’s creation quickly gained popularity among locals who loved the combination of crusty dough filled with melted cheese and savory fillings like salami or ham.

An Italian Touch:

  • Despite its American origin, stromboli does have some connection to Italy – not just through its name but also due to the similarities it shares with certain traditional Italian dishes such as Rotolo di pizza (rolled pizza).
  • This fusion between American innovation and traditional Italian flavors is part of what makes Stromboli so unique and beloved worldwide.

Therefore, enjoy a stromboli to experience the harmonious fusion of two cultures. Be sure to make a stop in Philadelphia and check out Romano’s Pizzeria – the birthplace of this global favorite.

What is a Calzone?

A calzone, meaning “stocking” or “trouser” in Italian, is a pizza that has been folded over and baked to perfection. It’s essentially an inside-out pizza, with the toppings becoming fillings enveloped by a golden crust.

The Basic Ingredients

The basic ingredients of a calzone are similar to those of its cousin – the pizza. The dough is composed of flour, yeast, salt, and water; mozzarella’s typically the cheese of choice; a red sauce may be included plus other fillings such as veggies or proteins.

How a Calzone is Made

Making a calzone involves spreading out the dough into a circle before adding your choice of filling on one half. The other half is then folded over to create what looks like a giant turnover or empanada which is sealed at the edges before being baked until golden brown.

Variations Across Regions

While traditional Italian versions often stick to simple combinations like ham and cheese or spinach and ricotta, American variations have taken things up several notches with more extravagant fillings akin to American-style pizzas.

No matter how you choose to stuff your calzones – whether traditionally Italian or uniquely American – they’re sure to be delicious.


Where did Calzones Originate?

Calzones, the folded pizza filled with delicious ingredients, originated in Naples, Italy during the 18th century. They were created as a portable meal for workers who didn’t have time for a sit-down lunch. The word ‘calzone’ translates to ‘pant leg’ or ‘trouser’, which could be attributed to its portable nature.

The Spread of Calzones

In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, Italian immigrants introduced calzones to America which quickly became a hit in cities such as New York City and Chicago. Today, you can still find some of the best calzones in these cities.

Modern Day Calzones

There are countless variations of this classic dish around the world, each reflecting local tastes and preferences. American-style calzones often include typical pizza toppings, while French versions might incorporate ratatouille or other regional specialties.

Further Reading: How Many Calories are in a Slice of Dominos Pizza

Differences between Stromboli and Calzone


The first difference lies in their shape. Stromboli is usually rolled or folded into a cylindrical shape, while Calzone is typically half-moon shaped. Strombolis are often pinched at the ends like a burrito, whereas calzones are crimped along the curved edge.


The filling of these two dishes also varies. Traditional calzones don’t contain tomato sauce inside; instead, it’s served on the side for dipping. On the other hand, strombolis often include tomato sauce within their layers alongside cheese and various fillings.


Despite its Italian-sounding name, Stromboli was actually invented in America, while Calzones trace back to Naples in Italy – talk about diverse roots.

Cooking Methods

Generally speaking, strombolis tend to be baked while some variations of calzones can be deep-fried (although baking remains popular).

Common Ingredients in Stromboli and Calzone

Stromboli and Calzone are two Italian dishes that are loved by pizza enthusiasts. They have some common ingredients that make them delicious. Let’s examine their shared components.

Pizza Dough

The foundation of both Stromboli and Calzone is the versatile pizza dough. This chewy base can be rolled thin for a crispy finish or kept thick for a more substantial bite.

Watch: Kneading pizza dough the right way


No Italian dish would be complete without cheese. Mozzarella is often used due to its creamy texture when melted, but you might also find provolone or ricotta in these stuffed delights.

Meats & Vegetables

A variety of meats like ham, salami, and pepperoni are commonly found inside both Strombolis and Calzones. Additionally, vegetables such as bell peppers, onions, or mushrooms add freshness to each bite.


Last but not least – the sauce. While it’s traditionally placed on top of pizzas, in the case of strombolis and calzones it’s either served on the side or stuffed within. A tangy marinara sauce is usually preferred though some may opt for garlic butter or even pesto.

Further reading: Costco Pizza Calories – Nutritional Information and Tips

Options for Stromboli and Calzone

Stromboli and calzone are two dishes that offer endless possibilities for customization. These Italian favorites can be tailored to your liking, making them a go-to for food enthusiasts. Does pizza come from Italy? Learn more here.

Variations in Stromboli

When it comes to strombolis, the options for fillings are vast. Traditional ingredients include Italian meats like salami or pepperoni, combined with mozzarella cheese. However, modern versions often incorporate vegetables such as bell peppers, onions, or mushrooms for added flavor and texture.

Variations in Calzones

Calzones are traditionally filled with ricotta cheese along with ham or spinach, but don’t let tradition limit your creativity. Experiment by adding different cheeses like gorgonzola or fontina, various types of meat including sausage or chicken, and even seafood like shrimp or clams. (source)

Tailoring to Dietary Needs

For those with specific dietary needs, strombolis, and calzones offer great flexibility. For those with dietary restrictions, plant-based meat substitutes and gluten-free pizza dough can be used to create delicious strombolis and calzones that are balanced. (source)

Remember, the key to a perfect stromboli or calzone is balance. Ensure that every bite includes a bit of crust, filling, and cheese for a harmonious flavor experience.


Stromboli and calzone are both mouth-watering Italian dishes with unique characteristics, originating from Italy but now enjoyed worldwide.

The main difference between the two is how they’re prepared and presented, with strombolis rolled up like a jelly roll and calzones folded over into half-moon shapes and baked until golden brown.

Whether you prefer one over the other or enjoy them equally, there’s no denying that stromboli and calzone are classic Italian dishes that will continue to be loved for years to come.