Some people call calzones a stuffed pizza pocket or an Italian turnover. And there are those who say a calzone is nothing more than a pizza folded in half.

Although calzones are made with pizza dough and can contain some or all of the same ingredients as a pizza, there are indeed differences.

Calzones are usually served with some type of sauce, usually a marinara. Unlike leftover pizza, which when reheated often becomes soggy, calzones hold up well. A leftover calzone can be reheated for a few seconds in a microwave and still hold its shape.

These delightful morsels are fun to eat and are great for breakfast, lunch or dinner. Calzones are quite easy to make:

  • Divide premade pizza dough (or make your own) into equal portions. Roll into a circle approximately 6 to 7 inches in size.
  • On one side of the dough, place your ingredients. Fold the dough over and crimp the edges together. If desired, you can brush a bit of egg white or canola or olive oil over the top of the dough to ensure a golden brown crust.
  • Poke in a few air vents and bake.
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There is an important tip to keep in mind when preparing calzones. When you are rolling out the dough, pay attention to the thickness. The dough should be thick enough to hold all the toppings, but you also have to be able to easily fold the dough over without having it tear. Aim to make the dough about ¼ inch thick.

One other important tip: After removing the calzone from the oven, let it sit for about 5 minutes. The cheese will set up and you will be able to eat it without burning your tongue.

What can you put in a calzone?

  • Cheese: Mozzarella, Parmesan, cheddar, goat or even feta.
  • Almost any type of meat that you put on a pizza also goes well in a calzone: sausage, Canadian bacon, ham, chicken, strips of steak, meatballs or even pork.
  • Vegetables: especially mushrooms, bell peppers, spinach and onions.
  • You can dip your calzone in a pizza or marinara sauce, Alfredo sauce or even ranch dressing.

Before or after baking, you can freeze calzones. Place them in a single layer on a baking sheet and make sure they completely freeze. Then place them in an airtight container or in individual freezer bags. When getting ready to reheat the calzone, let them slowly warm up in the refrigerator for 2 to 3 hours.

If the calzone was not cooked before freezing, bake in a 375 degree oven for 30 to 35 minutes. If the calzone was baked and then frozen, cut the baking time in half.

Calzones are easy to make and can be customized to individual tastes. You can use up bits of leftovers or make a classic recipe such as the Chicken Alfredo Calzones. Don’t make tired, boring pizza; liven up the evening with an individual calzone for each member of the family. Happy Eating!

Breakfast Calzones

  • 4 eggs
  • ¼ cup milk
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 tube of pizza crust dough
  • ½ cup shredded cheese, mozzarella or cheddar
  • ½ to 1 cup cooked sausage, crumbled (or ½ to 1 cup diced ham)
  • 4 teaspoons grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 tablespoon parsley
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil

Heat oven to 375 degrees. Spray a baking sheet with nonstick cooking spray.

In a medium sized bowl, combine the eggs, milk, salt and pepper. Beat until well blended.

Melt the butter in a medium skillet. Add the egg mixture. Cook 5 to 7 minutes until the eggs are set but still moist.

Unroll the pizza dough and cut into 4 portions. Roll out each portion into a 7-inch circle. Divide the cheese (mozzarella or cheddar) evenly on each circle. Top the cheese with sausage and then the egg mixture. Sprinkle the Parmesan over the top.

Fold the top over to form a half moon. Crimp the edges. Poke the top of each one a few times for venting. Spread a bit of the olive oil over the top of each calzone.

Place onto the prepared baking sheet. Bake 15 to 20 minutes, just until golden brown.

Chicken Alfredo Calzones

Adapted from Better Homes & Gardens Annual Recipes 1998

  • ½ teaspoon rosemary
  • ½ teaspoon thyme
  • One tube frozen pizza dough
  • ½ cup chopped red or green pepper
  • ¼ cup chopped red onion
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 cup cooked chopped chicken
  • 1/3 cup Alfredo sauce
  • ¼ cup shredded Parmesan cheese
  • 1 tablespoon basil
  • Additional Alfredo sauce, if desired, to serve with calzone

Heat oven to 375 degrees. Spray a baking sheet with nonstick cooking spray.

Divide dough into four portions. Roll out each portion into a 7-inch circle. Sprinkle the rosemary and thyme across the top of each circle.

Place a medium sized frying pan on the stove and turn heat to low-medium. Place the butter in the pan. Once the butter is melted bring heat up to medium. Add the peppers and onion and cook 10 to 15 minutes, just until the vegetables are tender. Turn off the heat and stir in the chicken, Parmesan cheese, basil and 1/3 cup Alfredo sauce.

Divide the mixture evenly between the dough circles. Fold the dough in half over the filling. Seal the edges with a fork. Prick the tops 3 or 4 times. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, just until the crust is golden brown. If desired, serve with additional Alfredo sauce.