Stromboli is a wonderful Italian-American appetizer that's full of great flavor. Pizza dough is rolled up with ham, pepperoni, and provolone cheese and baked until golden. Sliced and served with a marinara sauce for dipping, stromboli is a simple but impressive addition to any appetizer spread.
Stromboli is a wonderful Italian-American appetizer that hails from Philadephia.
It's essentially a turnover made with pizza dough, a touch of marinara sauce, and Italian cold cuts and cheese.
We serve stromboli with marinara dipping sauce at gatherings alongside some other favorite appetizers like arancini, fried artichoke hearts and eggplant caponata.
While we do provide our pizza dough recipe below and encourage you to use it, you can make it easier by using store-bought dough.
How to make it
Each number corresponds to the numbered written steps below.
Note: If starting at step 1 below this assumes you have marinara sauce and pizza dough ready to go. For your convenience, our marinara sauce and pizza dough recipe instructions have been provided in the printable recipe card down below.
- About 2 hours prior to starting your stromboli, remove the 24-ounce dough ball from the refrigerator and allow it to come to room temperature. Preheat the oven to 425 f and set the rack to the middle level. Using a floured rolling pin and floured hands, begin to roll out the dough on top of parchment paper for easier rolling.
- Roll out the dough to a rectangle shape of about 16 by 12 inches. You can grab and pull the dough to help form the rectangle more easily.
- Place a thin layer of marinara sauce (about ¾ cup) onto the dough leaving 3 inches open along the perimeter.
- Layer ⅓ of a pound of thinly sliced ham, then ⅓ of a pound of thinly sliced pepperoni so they lightly overlap.
- Layer ⅓ of a pound of sliced provolone and top with 2 tablespoons of grated Pecorino Romano cheese and Sicilian oregano, to taste.
- Fold the stromboli over a third of the way.
- Tuck in the sides and continue to roll.
- With a wet pastry brush or wet fingers, brush the seam and roll with the parchment paper to form a log shape.
- Pinch the seam to ensure it's closed and then place the stromboli seam side down and center it on an oiled baking pan or on top of a parchment paper-lined pan.
- Beat 1 large egg and add a tablespoon of water to thin it out. Brush the egg onto the top of the stromboli.
- Cut slits approximately 1 inch apart into the top of the stromboli with a sharp knife. Sprinkle 1 tablespoon of sesame seeds and 2 tablespoons of grated Pecorino Romano cheese on top.
- Bake the stromboli for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown. Let the cooked stromboli sit for at least 10 minutes to firm up and allow for easier cutting. Serve with more marinara sauce for dipping. Enjoy!
Top tips for standout stromboli
- The cold cuts. We love the combination of ham, pepperoni, and provolone for stromboli but encourage you to use whichever cold cuts you like. Sliced mozzarella could be subbed for provolone and you could definitely use salami, capicola, or soppressata in place of the pepperoni. One thing to note when you order at the deli counter, order the meats thinly sliced for the best possible texture.
- The dough. We used our pizza dough (24 ounces) for this recipe which is the same amount that's used for our grandma pizza recipe. If you prefer to use store-bought or pizzeria dough, you can certainly do that to cut down the prep time. Whichever dough you use, be sure to allow the dough to sit at room temperature for 2 hours before rolling it out.
- The eggwash. Using the eggwash will ensure the golden color on the crust of the stromboli. It's a simple step so don't skip this one.
- Let it sit. Be sure to allow the stromboli to sit after baking for a good 15 minutes. This will allow for easier slicing and prevent the cheese from oozing out.
- The extras. We used Sicilian oregano inside our stromboli but you can skip this if you're not a fan. We also love the texture that sesame seeds add to the top of the stromboli, but these are also optional. You can either omit seeds entirely or change things up by using poppy seeds on the crust.
- Making ahead. If you plan to serve stromboli at a gathering, making it ahead of time is a great idea! Cooked stromboli will be good in the fridge for up to 3 days and can be reheated in the oven at 350f until hot. Stromboli does freeze well so you can make it and freeze it for up to 3 months.
If you love stromboli, we think you'll enjoy these other recipes
- Pepperoni pinwheels - Pizza dough rolled up with pepperoni and cheese, pizzeria style.
- Italian Hero/Sub/Hoagie - Italian cold cuts piled high on seeded bread with lettuce, tomato, and onion.
- New York Pizza - How to make a New York-style round pizza at home.
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For one 24-ounce pizza dough ball
- 406 grams bread flour or 3 ¼ cups
- 2 grams instant yeast or half teaspoon
- 8 grams fine sea salt or 1 ½ teaspoons
- 4 grams sugar or 1 teaspoon
- 260 grams cold water 9 ounces
- 14 grams olive oil or 1 tablespoon
For the marinara sauce
- ¼ cup olive oil
- 5 cloves garlic sliced
- ¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- 1 28-ounce can crushed plum tomatoes
- 1 teaspoon Sicilian oregano
- 1 salt and pepper
For the stromboli
- 1 24-ounce pizza dough ball from above or use store bought dough
- ¾ cup marinara sauce from recipe above
- ⅓ pound ham thin-sliced
- ⅓ pound pepperoni thin-sliced
- ⅓ pound provolone sliced
- ½ teaspoon Sicilian oregano
- 1 large egg beaten
- 4 tablespoons Pecorino Romano grated, divided
- 1 tablespoon Sesame or poppy seeds
For the pizza dough
- 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 pull the dough towards its end repeatedly to form a smooth ball. Pinch the seam side and place the dough ball seam side down into an oiled bowl 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.
- Set the sauce aside to cool. To work faster take ¾ cup of the sauce, place into a bowl and freeze for 10-15 minutes to cool it down more quickly. The sauce shouldn't be hot when moving on to assembling the stromboli below.
For the stromboli
- Remove dough ball from fridge 2 hours prior to using.
- Preheat oven to 425f and set the rack to the middle level. Roll out dough to a rectangle shape of roughly 16 by 12-inches. Place parchment paper under the dough for easy rolling.
- Begin by placing a thin layer of sauce (about ¾ cup only) onto the dough, leaving 3” open on all sides. Layer the ham, then pepperoni, and finally the provolone cheese onto the dough. Leave about 2-inches of space on all sides. Sprinkle half the grated Pecorino and the oregano on top.
- Fold the stromboli over one time then tuck in the sides. With a wet pastry brush, brush the seam and roll with the parchment paper to form a log shape. Place the seam side down and center the stromboli on an oiled baking pan or on top of a parchment paper-lined pan.
- Beat the egg and add a tablespoon of water to thin. Brush the eggwash onto the top of the stromboli. Cut slits approximately 1” apart into the top of the stromboli with a sharp knife.
- Sprinkle the sesame seeds and the remaining grated Pecorino on top. Bake the stromboli for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown.
- Let the cooked stromboli sit for at least 10 minutes to solidify and make cutting easier. Serve with marinara dipping sauce. Enjoy!
- Any pizza dough can be used. For this recipe, we used 24 ounces of our standard pizza dough.
- Use your own premade marinara or store-bought to skip the sauce preparation step.
- Mozzarella can be subbed for the provolone. Salami, soppressata, capicola and other meats can be added.
- Leftovers can be saved for up to 3 days and should be reheated in the oven at 350f until hot.
I WILL be making this stromboli. I tried making one last year and it was just way too salty. Hopefully this mix does the trick!
Hi Dave, thanks for the comment and hope you enjoy!
Thanks So much, I made it for first time and it came out just like your pictures. I’ve never done anything with dough before so Ibought premade pizza dough at my local market. I picked the recipe up after you had created the dough as a starting point. It came out so good and got any compliments. I said don’t thank me, thanks goes to Jim👍.
Hi Will, really appreciate the comment and so happy you enjoyed the stromboli!
I used to make Stromboli's all the time but it's been years since I made them. As usual Jim's recipes remind me of the food we ate growing up in my Italian neighborhood of Mt Vernon,N.Y. I remember my mother rolling out Stromboli's putting them in the oven to keep up with the people coming in one New Years Eve. Well carrying the on the family tradition my son did the New Years Eve party this year. I made 4 Stromboli's and people commented on how good the dough was (Jims recipe). I made 2 with meat and one with roasted red pepper and cheese and one with spinach, parm and mozz. all wth a brush of sauce on the bottom. My mother didn't put sauce on the bottom nor did I but from now on the sauce is a must added so much. I made sure I had drained spinach and peppers well but still had a blow out on the sides of both. Next time I will use less in the veggie ones. All came great and next day heat up in air fryer even better. All came great and I'm back into the Stromboli. Thanks Jim Happy New Year to you and your family
Hi Sandy, thanks for the comment! I'm so happy you enjoyed the stromboli, and Happy New Year to you!
In the video it looks like you're using 12 oz of dough (and maybe making two?). Can you just make one with this recipe? Love your site and approach to cooking!
Hi PJ, yes, for the video I made two stromboli, but for the written recipe on the website it's for just one stromboli with a 24 ounce dough ball. So happy you're enjoying the site and happy to have you here!
Hi Jim, can you freeze the dough and use it at a later time? If so, do you freeze it after letting it rest in the refrigerator for 24 hours? Or put it straight into the freezer after making the ball? And when you want to use it do you defrost it in the refrigerator or let it sit out at room temperature?
Hi Bryan, yes, you can freeze the dough after it has cold fermented in the fridge. Once it's fermented, place the dough on a baking sheet (unwrapped) and freeze until it hardens. Then take the frozen dough, wrap it in plastic wrap, then foil and place in the freezer. Defrost in the fridge and then remove and lit it sit at room temp 2 hours or so before you're ready to use it.
You've inspired me Jim!
My SIL & BIL, who live outside of Philadelphia, taught me how to make Stromboli many, many years ago. Their twist on it is rather than using Marinara, they use Pesto.
I haven't made Stromboli in a long time and I think we need to have some.
Hi Doni, thanks for the comment and hope you enjoy the stromboli!