This Easy Calzone Recipe delivers warm, golden brown crusts filled with pizza sauce, mozzarella, pepperoni, and other delicious ingredients. Perfect for game day, family night, or anytime!
Hot, Cheesy Calzones Are a Crowd-Pleasing Dinner!
Fair warning: if you make these once, be prepared to make them over and over again because, everyone is going to beg for them until you do! Kids especially love these crispy, golden hand pies stuffed with pizza toppings.
However, with a recipe as fun and simple as this one, you probably won’t mind making them on the regular. The wholesome, from-scratch crust is easy to pull together, and layering in the sauce, cheese, and other goodies only takes a minute. From there, just fold, bake, and enjoy!
Is a Calzone Just a Folded Pizza?
Sort of! With a crust, some pizza sauce, and lots of cheese, they are definitely part of the pizza “family.” Some experts argue that the pocket shape and slightly different dough ingredients make calzones a totally different recipe. But, most people would agree that a calzone is basically a pizza, with a few fun twists.
Is a Calzone Baked or Fried?
They can be either, but I prefer to bake mine. Less fuss and less mess! However, if you wanted to shallow-fry your calzones in a neutral cooking oil, that would definitely work. Air frying would also be a great option for getting a really crispy exterior.
What You’ll Need
To make these homemade calzones, you will need yeast dough ingredients, filling items, and topping ingredients. Here’s the list (for the complete recipe with ingredient amounts, nutrition facts, and more, just scroll on down to the bottom of this post).
For the Dough:
- Flour: All-purpose flour, some for the dough and extra for rolling it out.
- Milk: Warm, or at room temperature.
- Sugar: The sugar helps feed the yeast, and adds a tiny bit of sweetness.
- Yeast: You can use fresh yeast or instant yeast.
- Olive Oil: For the dough and for oiling the bowl.
- Water: At room temperature.
For the Filling:
- Pizza Sauce: Store-bought is fine, or you can make your own if you prefer.
- Seasonings: Italian seasoning blend, garlic powder, and onion powder.
- Sliced Mushrooms: Cleaned and patted dry with paper towels as needed.
- Shredded Cheese: Shredded mozzarella, provolone, or any mild melting cheese you prefer.
- Fresh Mozzarella: Chopped or torn into small pieces.
- Pepperoni: You can use diced or sliced pepperoni.
- Olives and Capers: Black olives and pickled capers add richness and a tangy taste, but feel free to omit these if you don’t want to use them.
- Egg: A beaten egg, for brushing.
- Cheese: Shredded mozzarella, or any other shredded cheese.
- Italian Seasoning
How to Make Homemade Pepperoni Calzones
The technique for making these is easy to master, and so rewarding. Warm out of the oven, calzones are a comforting and mouthwatering meal.
Make the Dough
- Proof the Yeast. Place the flour in a large bowl, and make a well in the center. Pour the milk, sugar, and yeast into the well. Lightly stir the liquid to help dissolve the yeast, and let stand for 5 minutes, or until the yeast starts bubbling on the surface of the milk.
- Add the Rest of the Dough Ingredients. Once the yeast is bubbly, add the water and olive oil. Stir to make a rough dough, and then knead in the salt.
- Knead. Continue kneading the dough for about 10 minutes, until it’s smooth and elastic. Sprinkle your work surface with flour as needed throughout the kneading process. You can also knead the dough in a stand mixer if you prefer.
- Let the Dough Rise. Oil a large bowl with some olive oil, and place the dough in the oiled bowl. Cover with a dry towel, and let the dough rise in a warm place until it has doubled in volume. Depending on the warmth and humidity in your kitchen, this should take 1 to 1 ½ hours.
Make the Calzones
- Roll Out the Dough. Once the dough has risen, you can preheat your oven to 500°F. Turn out the dough onto your floured surface, and divide it into 4 or 5 equal pieces. Roll each piece into a 1⁄4-inch thick circle, about 8 inches in diameter. (You can decide just how thick or thin you would like your crust to be.)
- Add Filling Ingredients. Spread some pizza sauce over half of each piece of dough, leaving a border for sealing the edges. Then add seasonings, mushrooms, both kinds of mozzarella, pepperoni, olives, and capers.
- Seal. Brush some of the beaten egg around the border of each calzone. Working with one calzone at a time, fold the half over with no toppings over, sealing in the sauce and toppings. Crimp the edges together all around.
- Bake. Carefully place the calzones on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Brush each one lightly with beaten egg, and then sprinkle each one with a little shredded mozzarella and some Italian seasoning. Bake for 10 to 15 minutes, or until golden brown.
- Enjoy! Allow the baked calzones to cool for 5 minutes before serving them with extra pizza sauce for dipping.
Recipe Notes and Variations
- Be Generous with the Filling. Don’t be shy about stuffing each calzone generously! A thick, cheesy layer of filling makes them super tempting and extra tasty.
- Don’t Skip the Egg Wash. Brushing the tops of the calzones with egg wash gives them a shiny, golden-brown exterior – plus, it helps the toppings stick! If you don’t want to use egg, you can use a little milk.
- Dipping Sauce Is Your Friend. Marinara is a classic, but a bit more pizza sauce makes an easy, tasty substitute. You can also set out garlic butter and ranch sauce.
- More Filling Ideas: Cooked chicken, ground beef, or Italian sausage are great additions or swaps for the pepperoni in this recipe – just make sure to use fully cooked meat, since the calzones may not bake long enough to cook raw ingredients. You can also add cooked onion, bell pepper, or even pineapple and anchovy! The sky is truly the limit here, so use your favorites.
Wondering what to serve with these cheesy baked pizza pockets? I recommend treating them like your favorite homemade pizza dinner, with easy sides like these:
- Salad: A simple green salad would be great with calzones, so definitely grab some greens to go with this meal! Alternatively, serve each person a Caprese Stuffed Avocado for a festive green side dish.
- Wings: Wings and pizza are a classic combo, so try pairing these homemade calzones with your favorite hot wing recipe. We love these Mango Habanero Hot Wings – yum!
- Asparagus Fries: Parmesan Panko Asparagus Fries feel like a fun, fast-food favorite, but they’re a healthy green veggie everyone will love. Serve with your favorite dipping sauce.
Storing, Freezing, and Reheating
These are a great option not only for an easy weeknight meal, but for a quick reheated lunch or snack. Here’s how to store them for maximum freshness.
- Fridge: Store baked calzones in your refrigerator in an airtight container, for up to 3 days.
- Freezer: Assembled calzones can be frozen baked or unbaked. Just place the calzones on a baking sheet or large tray in your freezer until frozen solid. Then transfer them to an airtight container or freezer bag, and freeze them for up to three months.
- Reheating: Bake the uncooked calzones directly from frozen (you will need to increase the baking time). Bake cooked calzones just until heated through.
Easy Calzone Recipe
For the Dough:
For the Filling:
- 1 cup pizza sauce, you can use less or more
- 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 1 cup thinly sliced mushrooms
- 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese, or any shredded cheese of choice
- 1 cup fresh mozzarella cheese, chopped
- ½ cup pepperoni
- 4 olives, chopped
- ¼ cup capers
- 1 large egg, lightly beaten, for brushing
- 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
- 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
Make the Dough
- Place flour in a large bowl. In the center make a well and pour milk, sugar and fresh yeast. Lightly stir to dissolve the yeast and let rest for 5 minutes or until yeast starts bubbling on the surface of the milk.
- Add water and olive oil, and stir until a rough dough forms, then add salt. Combine all the ingredients by kneading the mixture for 10 minutes until a smooth, elastic dough has been formed. Ensure that the working surface remains floured throughout the kneading process.You can also knead the dough in a stand mixer if you prefer.
- Grease a bowl with some olive oil and place the ball of dough inside. Cover the bowl with a dry towel and allow to rest in a warm place until doubled in volume, about 1 to 1½ hours.
Bake the Calzones
- Preheat the oven to 500°F.
- Remove the dough from the bowl and onto a floured surface; divide the dough into 4 or 5 equal pieces.
- Roll each section into a ¼-inch thick circle, about 8 inches in diameter, deciding on how thick or thin you would like your crust to be.
- Spread the pizza sauce over half of each circle, leaving a 1-inch border all around. Then, top with Italian seasoning, garlic powder, onion powder, sliced mushrooms, shredded mozzarella and fresh mozzarella, pepperoni, olives and capers.
- Brush around the edge of each circle with a beaten egg.
- Working with one circle at a time, fold one half over the other so the filling is enclosed. Seal the edges together and create a half-moon shape.
- Crimp the edges together all around.
- Transfer the calzones to a parchment paper lined baking sheet. Brush them lightly with the beaten egg, then sprinkle with shredded mozzarella cheese and Italian seasoning.
- Bake for 12 to 15 minutes, or until golden brown.
- Remove from oven and let cool for 5 minutes before serving.
- Serve with pizza sauce, for dipping.