On the east coast Italian restaurants (or pizza shops) sometimes offer both Strombolis and Calzones. Sometimes it seems that Calzones are a 'type' of Stromboli, because the menu has a single Calzone but a list of different Strombolis. But I doubt that's an accurate assessment.

So, what's the difference between the two? I'd be interested in the technical reasons as well as whey they're listed separately on menus (if the reasoning is different).

Also, I give the east coast location because I've heard out west a Stromboli may be thought of as a kind of hot sandwich (basically an Italian roll hollowed out a bit and filled). That's not the Stromboli or Calzone I'm familiar with - but if the definitions change drastically based on geographic area I'm interested in that as well.

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    Need to mention that here in Italy we have just Calzone pizza. Stromboli, though having italian name, seems to have american origin. Sep 7, 2010 at 10:23
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    I confirm what systempuntoout wrote: this is the first time that I read or heard of a dish called Stromboli.
    – MaD70
    Oct 27, 2010 at 15:32

11 Answers 11


In my experience the primary difference is that Calzones have Ricotta (and possibly Mozzarella) and Strombolis only have Mozzarella. In the Philadelphia area, both are folded over pizzas, basically.

Growing up, my mother made Stromboli and it was rolled, not folded. I rarely see that in a pizza shop these days, but I do prefer that in a Stromboli.

Edit: Just read systempuntoout's link to Wikipedia and it confirmed something that I was going to post and then deleted. When I was growing up, Strombolis were made from bread dough and Calzones were made from pizza dough; nowadays all of the pizza shops just use pizza dough. I remember bread stores as being the primary place to get Strombolis growing up because they were the ones that made the dough!

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    That's what I'm used to, as well. (calzones having ricotta) I'm also used to calzones not having a tomato sauce inside (although they might have sliced tomatoes), whereas strombolis may or may not have sauce inside. I've never seen a calzone that wasn't a 1/2 circle ... except at Ledo Pizza, which I won't count, as it wasn't even fully sealed after folding.
    – Joe
    Sep 7, 2010 at 16:23

My understanding based on local experience (five Italian restaurants on every block) is that Stromboli and Calzone differ principally in (a) their filling, (b) the dough, and (c) the final shape.

Calzones are basically folded pizzas, made from pizza dough and stuffed with the same ingredients as pizza - almost always tomato sauce and mozzarella cheese, usually ricotta, often pepperoni and maybe some other cheese and cured meats - and then folded over like an omelette.

Stromboli are more like pizza rolls. They're made from a thicker dough (still pizza dough), the tomato sauce and ricotta are optional and usually left out, and they are literally rolled up into a tube shape (sometimes more of a blocky sandwich shape though).

Other than that, they are quite similar, and the differences seem to get murkier over time... I often see Stromboli with the sauce and cheese and Calzone without the sauce. But fundamentally, Stromboli is more like a sandwich and Calzone is more like a pie; if a particular restaurant doesn't do it that way, then that would have to be their own twist on the traditional recipe.

  • Similar to my experience. Calzone being a half circle in presentation (folded pizza), and Stromboli being a 'tube' shape. Although most of what I've experienced of Stromboli is less rolled (as in a pumpkin roll) and more folded into the center (kind of like a letter fold).
    – Tim Lytle
    Sep 6, 2010 at 15:49
  • @Tim: I've seen that too, but rarely. I don't think it's traditional, just lazy. I'm accustomed to thinking of an "authentic" Stromboli as you say - like a pumpkin roll or jelly roll.
    – Aaronut
    Sep 6, 2010 at 15:55

I thought the main difference between them was that a Calazone has the sauce on the inside, while a Stromboli has sauce served on the side so you can dip it in the sauce as you eat it.

  • That's what I always thought too. As a matter of fact, that's on the take-out menu of a local pizza shop. Maybe it's a regional thing.
    – Jolenealaska
    Dec 8, 2013 at 0:42

The difference between a Stromboli and a Calzone is the ingredients. The Calzone will have Prociutto or Cappacolla and Ricotta. The dough is very light but not too chewy. The Stromboli is named after a place in Sicily, where it was made quite often. Usualy, the Calzone will have the Sauce on the side. Sometimes the Calzone will be made with Spinach or Escarole inside as well. Stromboli on the other hand has a heavier dough and is bigger because it will have Sausage, Pepperoni, Mozzarella cheese, Onions, garlic,Peppers, and sometimes olives and capers. Actually, the Calzone is the spicier of the two. Once I ordered one with Cappacolla and Procuitto. A little too spicey. Very Calienti(hot). Finding a place that makes both good is a miracle.


Former New Yorker here, grew up on LI where there has to be a pizza shop in every strip center.

Calzone & Stromboli are different in SHAPE and ingredients. Calzone will have a red gravy and the Stromboli will have Ricotta cheese instead. Calzone is dress a half the dough with meats and sauce and Mozzarella, fold over other half of dough and crimp onnly center allowing sides to show what is inside.

Stromboli is stiffer dough if you have that available, place the ingredients in the center 1/3, wrap the two sides over to look like a loaf or sandwich.

I managed a Pizza restaurant in RI for a summer on Block Island, and this was the rule according to the Italian owner who's mom would come in ever once in a while to approve what we did.


I have tried both a Calzone and a Stromboli, the former in Manhattan and the latter in Pennsylvania. Unlike here in England where all the folded pizzas are called Calzone, the difference on the East Coast is that the Calzone is filled with white cheeses (usually mozzarella and ricotta) and the Stromboli is a savoury dish filled with meat, onions, mushrooms, optional chillies and served with a spicy tomato based sauce on the side. The best one I ever tasted had fresh garlic grated and olive oil drizzled on top - absolutely delicious, but don't expect anyone to converse with you afterwards!!


the first job I ever had was at a pizza shop.it was owned by a New York Jew, who grew up among New York Italians. if you know anything about New York Jews or New York Italians, they know what they are talking about. traditional Stromboli is ham salami pepperoni and mozzarella cheese. the difference between a calzone and Stromboli is a calzone has ricotta cheese and a Stromboli does not have ricotta cheese. you can fill a calzone or Stromboli with whatever fillings you want just like a pizza.


I've read many comments and have never seen so many people mix it up.

STROMBOLI - pizza dough folded over in half filled with mozzarella, sausage, pepperoni, onions, peppers, and mushrooms. Sauce is served on the side.

CALZONE - small personal size pizza dough folded over in have filled with ricotta, ham, capicolla and sauce. This is how they are made in the Slate Belt of Pennsylvania.


From a historical perspective, calzone were imported from Europe (like normal pizzas) while stromboli are an American invention.

In Europe, following the Italian tradition, calzone are basically folded pizzas. They are made with the same dough, are baked in the same ovens, and can have the same toppings, although it is far more common in Italy to see eggs in calzone than in open pizzas. According to a book referenced in wikipedia, calzone originated in Naples (Italy).

I have never seen stromboli in Europe (I live in London as I write this) and calzone are not very common out of Italy.

In some countries (like Italy or Malta) there are things that are similar to a fried (not baked) calzone, but they are not called calzone.

(This does not exactly answer the original question, that is inherently USA-centric, but I thought it may be of interest to some people.)


I worked for a Napolitan pizza shop in Akron owned by 1st generation Sicilians. They made the calzones with ricotta and pizza topping and folded it over making a semi-circular pie. The Stromboli were rolled up with more cold-cut type meats & cheeses and some veggies and tomatoes and the top was lightly scored before baking.

The names are derived from Italian words. Stromboli is a volcano in Italy, and the Stromboli is 'volcano-like' in that you can get burned by the juice and sauce coming out of the stuffed bread. Calzoni are trousers or shorts, basically, so I think the calzone is supposed to resemble a stuffed baby diaper when folded.


My experience comes from native new Yorker!

Calzones are served with tomato sauce, pepperoni, Italian sausage sliced, mushrooms, onions & mozzarella all inside a pizza dough!

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    And no rants here... kurly, welcome to Seasoned Advice. I strongly suggest you take the tour and visit our help center to get a better idea of how this site works. In short, the part about Californians is not answering the question and violating our "be nice" policy, so I have removed it for now. Apart from that, note that we are an international site... We are looking forward to your well-informed contributions and again: Welcome! P.S.: the question was about the difference between Calzone and Stromboli.
    – Stephie
    Feb 6, 2016 at 20:40

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