Pizzeria-style cheese calzone are handheld pockets made from pizza dough and filled with a creamy blend of ricotta, mozzarella, and Pecorino Romano cheeses. Served with a simple marinara for dipping, homemade calzone is a favorite in our home and we know you’ll love them too!
If you’ve visited our site before you know how much we adore pizza dough for its seemingly endless possibilities.
Cheese calzone are yet another way to use pizza dough and we love them!
This recipe includes a blend of mozzarella, ricotta, and Pecorino Romano all encased in a golden, leopard-spotted dough that is chewy and delicious and our process provides a few options to achieve New York pizzeria-quality calzone at home.
These calzone pockets are best served with a side of garlicky marinara sauce for dipping.
That’s the way it’s almost always sold here in New York. A calzone in Italy has the sauce on the inside.
How to make it
Each number corresponds to the numbered written steps below.
Note: The process below assumes that you have already made the dough and marinara sauce. Our dough and marinara sauce recipe instructions are provided in the recipe card for your convenience. Alternatively, you could use store-bought dough and marinara sauce.
- Remove the dough balls from the refrigerator 2 hours prior to making the calzone and allow them to come to room temperature. If you are using a baking/pizza steel, place the steel approximately 7 inches below the top of the oven and preheat the oven to 525f for 45-60 minutes. Remove the dough balls from their containers and try to maintain their round shape. Dust both sides of the ball with flour and dust your work surface with flour as well. The stickier side of the dough (the side that was touching the bottom of the proofing container) will be the top of the calzone. Begin to stretch the dough by pressing your fingers into the ball and turning it in a circular motion. You can hold the edge of the dough and use gravity to stretch it as well.
- Form a circle roughly 8-10 inches in size and spoon about 3 ounces of strained (overnight) ricotta cheese into the center of the circle.
- Take approximately 1/2 cup of shredded mozzarella cheese and ball it in your hand. Place the mozzarella “ball” on top of the ricotta.
- Sprinkle with 1 tablespoon of grated Pecorino Romano cheese and salt and pepper to taste.
- Using your fingers, wet the edges of the dough with a touch of water, then fold the dough over to create a half-moon shape.
- Using a spoon, fork, or the end of a pizza cutter, press tightly along the edges to form a seal (to prevent the cheese from oozing out).
- Dust a wooden pizza peel with semolina flour which will help launch the calzone without sticking. Slide the calzone onto a sheet of parchment paper. This will allow for easier transfer to the wooden pizza peel. Note: you may find it easier to perform the entire process on the wooden pizza peel instead of a cutting board as shown here. Alternatively, you may also perform the entire process on a sheet of parchment paper instead of a cutting board. Do whichever way works best for you.
- Slide the calzone from the parchment paper onto the dusted peel and using a knife, cut a slit into the top of the calzone to allow air to escape while baking. Brush the top of the calzone with a bit of olive oil and make sure it moves easily before launching onto the steel. Launch the calzone onto the pizza steel and cook for approximately 6-8 minutes. After 3 minutes, turn the calzone using a metal peel to allow more even cooking. You can cook 2 calzone on the steel at the same time. Just repeat for the next 2 if you are making a total of 4 calzone.
- If you are not comfortable launching with a pizza peel, or if you don’t own a pizza steel, an alternative is to cook the calzone on a baking sheet. The sheet should be placed in the middle/upper level of the oven. Do not place on the bottom as it will 100% burn. You’ll likely need to allow an additional 2 minutes of baking if you’re using a sheet instead of directly on the steel. Differences in color are illustrated below for your reference.
- Remove the calzone from the steel using the metal peel and let it settle for 8-10 minutes. Serve with marinara sauce and enjoy!
- Here you’ll see the difference in color between the steel and the cooking sheet. The difference is minor and you’ll still achieve good results with the cooking sheet.
- Here you’ll see the difference in the coloring on the bottom of the calzone. The difference here is more significant than on the top of the calzone, but as mentioned above, you’ll still achieve good results with the baking sheet if that is what you’re more comfortable using.
Top tips for a perfect cheese calzone
- The dough. Whenever possible, we recommend using homemade cold fermented pizza dough. This recipe calls for our standard pizza dough which will make four 6-ounce dough balls. If using our pizza dough recipe, be sure to allow the dough to cold ferment for at least 12 hours prior to using it for the calzone. 24-hour cold fermented dough will taste even better! If you’re in a pinch, you can use store-bought dough, or even better, pizzeria dough from a good place. Whichever dough you use, be sure to let it sit at room temperature for 2 hours prior to making.
- The ricotta. For the best possible results, we suggest you allow your ricotta to drain in a colander/sieve overnight. If you have a large cheese cloth you could add it in and squeeze out the water to save time. Some ricotta brands, such as Polly-O, tend to be on the wetter side. Galbani and Calabro ricotta are usually a bit drier and may need less time to drain.
- The prep and baking surface. Outlined above we’ve illustrated a few options for both the prep and baking surfaces. The easiest method is likely to prep the calzone directly on the semolina-dusted wooden peel and launch directly onto a pizza steel. Prior to launching, be sure that the calzone moves effortlessly when rocked on the peel. The semolina flour plays a crucial role in allowing the movement and successful launching. If you do not have a pizza steel, you’ll need to bake the calzone on a baking sheet and prepare the calzone on a floured surface, or sheet of parchment paper. The baking time if using a baking sheet will increase by about 2 minutes and we recommend placing the sheet in the middle/top half of the oven to prevent burning. Full instructions for making your own pizza steel from raw steel are outlined here but you can also purchase an already made pizza steel or pizza stone.
- Calzone fillings. This calzone recipe includes cheese only, but you can definitely add other fillings such as ham, salami, capicola, or other Italian deli meats.
- Let it sit! As with baked pasta, such as lasagna, it’s really important to let your calzone sit and settle before eating. For these cheese calzone, we recommend waiting about 10 minutes prior to eating to prevent the cheese from oozing out into a big mess.
More pizza dough recipes
If you love a good cheese calzone but are looking for more ways to use pizza dough, consider these recipes.
- Pizza fritta – fried pizza dough with a variety of sweet and savory toppings.
- Panzerotti – similar to calzone but smaller and fried until golden.
- Pepperoni pinwheels – pizza dough rolled up with pepperoni and cheese.
- Stromboli – Italian meat and cheese stuffed in pizza dough and served with marinara sauce for dipping.
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For four 6-ounce pizza dough balls
- 406 grams bread flour or 3 1/4 cups
- 2 grams instant yeast or half teaspoon
- 8 grams fine sea salt or 1 1/2 teaspoons
- 4 grams sugar or 1 teaspoon
- 260 grams cold water 9 ounces
- 14 grams olive oil or 1 tablespoon
For the marinara sauce dipping sauce
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 5 cloves garlic sliced
- 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- 1 28-ounce can crushed plum tomatoes
- 1 teaspoon Sicilian oregano
- 1 salt and pepper
For the calzone
- 4 6-ounce pizza dough balls from above or use store bought dough
- 4 tablespoons Pecorino Romano grated, divided
- 2 cups block mozzarella cheese shredded
- 1 pound ricotta drained overnight
- salt and pepper to taste
- semolina flour for launching
For the dough balls
- Place water in a bowl large enough to hold both the water and all the dry ingredients and still have room to spare. Mix together dry ingredients in another bowl.
- Add dry ingredients to water a bit at a time and mix thoroughly to form a dry rough mass.
- Pour the oil over the dough, mix again to scrape off any dough residue stuck to side of the bowl, and place the rough shaggy dough onto a work surface.
- Knead the dough for 5-7 minutes. If the dough is too sticky, place a clean bowl inverted over the dough and wait 30 minutes before resuming. Return to kneading (just make sure to knead for at least a total of 5 minutes).
- Place the bowl over the dough once more and let sit for 30-40 minutes to warm up before forming the dough ball.
- After 40 minutes divide into 4 equal-weight balls. Pull each dough ball towards its end repeatedly to form a smooth ball. Pinch the seam side and place the dough balls seam side down into an oiled bowl (using individual containers or a large proofing box works best) and cover tightly with plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least 12 but ideally 24 hours before using.
For the marinara sauce
- In a saucepot, saute the garlic in olive oil over medium-low heat until golden (about 2-3 minutes).
- Add the hot red pepper flakes and cook for 30 seconds more. Add the plum tomatoes and bring sauce to a simmer. Simmer for 5-7 minutes then season with oregano and salt and pepper to taste.
For the calzone
- Remove dough balls 2 hours prior to making each calzone. Place the baking steel approx 7" below the top of the oven and preheat oven to 525f for 45-60 minutes.
- Dust wooden peel with semolina flour. This will help launch the calzone without sticking.
- Remove dough ball from the container (trying to maintain round shape) and dust both sides with flour. The stickier side of the dough (bottom of proofing container) will be the top of the calzone.
- Stretch the dough by pressing your fingers into the dough and turning in a circular motion. You can hold the dough and use gravity to stretch it as well. Form a circle roughly 8-10”. Once satisfied with the stretching place dough onto the wooden peel and make sure it moves easily.
- Place the ricotta (about 3 ounces) into the center of the circle and sprinkle with Pecorino Romano cheese. Take around a 1/2 cup of shredded mozzarella cheese and ball it with your hands. Place the mozzarella ball on top of the ricotta. Season the mozzarella and ricotta with a sprinkle of salt and pepper.
- Wet the edges of the dough with a touch of water then fold the dough over to create a half moon shape. With a spoon, fork, or handle end of a pizza cutter press tightly to form a seal.
- Cut a slit into the top of the calzone to allow air to escape. Brush a bit of olive oil on top of the calzone. Make sure the calzone moves easily before launching in the next step. 2 calzones can be cooked on the steel at the same time. Repeat process for a total of 4 calzone.
- Launch the calzone onto the pizza steel and cook for roughly 6-8 minutes. Turn the calzone with a metal peel at the 3-minute mark to achieve even cooking. Note: the calzone can be cooked on a baking sheet (will take about 2 minutes longer) if you don't want to attempt the launching process.
- After removing the calzone wait 8-10 minutes before cutting so that the cheese doesn’t ooze out completely. Serve with marinara sauce. Enjoy!
- Any pizza dough can be used. For this recipe, we used 24 ounces of our standard pizza dough which makes four 6-ounce dough balls.
- The calzone can be cooked on a baking sheet but will take 1-2 minutes longer than on a pizza steel or stone. If you feel uneasy about the launching process this is a good option.
- Use your own premade marinara or store-bought to skip the sauce preparation step.
- Ham, salami, soppressata, capicola, and other meats can be added.
- Leftovers can be saved for up to 3 days in the refrigerator and should be reheated in the oven at 350f until hot.
Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.