Italian food is popular all over the world. And no wonder – this is the cuisine that graced us with spaghetti, bruschetta, and pizza.
Fortunately, it also gave us stromboli and calzone, two commonly confused dishes that are a bit like pizza, a bit like sandwiches, and all kinds of tasty.
What’s the difference between stromboli and calzone? From their sauce to their size, there are a few key ways to tell these delicious Italian favorites apart. Continue reading to learn all about these fan favorites and fire up your taste buds along the way!
What is Stromboli?
It helps to think of stromboli as a kind of pizza sandwich. The ingredients for the filling are spread out on a basic flour dough (with a sauce, of course), then rolled up and oven-baked until golden brown.
Stromboli is a very versatile dish where almost anything goes.
The filling can be red meat, chicken, fish, vegetables, cheeses, or a little bit of everything! It’s encased in a rich, tangy tomato sauce that melts over the center as the pizza-like pocket bakes.
What is Calzone?
Calzone has a long and distinguished pedigree, dating back to 18th century Naples. This legendary favorite was created so Italians could enjoy pizza as a grab n’ go snack rather than a sit-down supper.
It’s a pie-style dish, almost like a folded pizza with sealed edges to keep the filling from spilling out.
Anything that goes on a pizza can go in a calzone. They’re typically served with tomato sauce, a few different types of cheese, and meats like salami or pepperoni.
Much like stromboli, calzones are baked, but more recent adaptations offer a fried version.
Stromboli vs Calzone
Here are a few more fascinating facts about these Italian dishes so you can spot the difference between the two:
- Calzone is more authentically Italian – it originated in Naples, while Stromboli comes from Philadelphia’s Italian community.
- In a stromboli, the sauce is baked right into the dish, whereas it’s typically served on the side with calzone.
- Roughly translated, calzone means trousers or pants (a reference to its earlier popularity as a street food enjoyed while on the go). Stromboli takes its name from a 1950s film starring Ingrid Bergman.
Stromboli, Calzone, or Panzerotti?
Often confused for stromboli and calzone, panzerotti is yet another savory turnover made with a thick dough and pizza-style filling.
If stromboli and calzone were cousins, panzerotti would be the latter’s little brother. A smaller version of a calzone, it’s the ultimate Italian street food – handheld, portable, and very addictive.
Probably the biggest difference between panzerotti and its close colleagues is the cooking. Panzerotti is fried rather than baked, giving it a more crispy texture.
Tips and tricks for making the perfect stromboli or calzone
Now that you know the difference, it’s time to get cooking.
It’s easy to find great recipes for both stromboli or calzone, but here are a few tips to really up your game and make your Italian dinner extra delicious:
- Use fresh Italian herbs in the filling and as a dressing. Sprigs of oregano, parsley, and basil can really help the dish shine.
- Avoid store-bought tomato sauce if you can. Making your own marinara is really easy with pantry staples like canned tomatoes, garlic, and onion.
- Any cheese will work fine in the melty, gooey filling for both stromboli and calzone, but it’s worth investing in some good quality Italian varieties too. Think asiago, pecorino, or provolone.
- Don’t be afraid to play with the basic recipes for each. Make them hot by adding some fiery peppers or spiced meats, or try a dessert version with a berry or chocolate filling. It may not be authentically Italian, but some of the best meals come from a bit of culinary creativity!
Stromboli vs Calzone – which is better?
There’s not much difference between stromboli and calzone, but you may fancy one over the other depending on your appetite and mood.
If you’re calorie counting, go for a calzone. There’s less dough, which means fewer carbs, and they’re also generally smaller.
Want something filling for dinner? Try stromboli. Loaded with your favorite fillings and served with a side salad, this is a very hearty supper that’ll satisfy your cravings.
For fans of Italian food, both stromboli and calzone are much-loved classics. You really can’t go wrong with these traditional treats, so try them both and thank us later!