Italian cuisine often has variations of the same dish, each more delicious than the last. Calzones and pizzas are examples of similarly prepared dishes that hit different spots when enjoyed. What’s the difference, then? Here’s a calzone vs pizza overview for all the Italian dish lovers.
Calzones are folded or turned-over pizzas, traditionally made with leavened dough. They have similar fillings, all except tomato sauce. Their typical fillings are meat, cheese, and herbs or vegetables. Pizzas aren’t folded over; you can see all toppings when the meal is prepared.
Anyone familiar with both meals will shrug their shoulders and say – there’s no difference between these two foods. They’re both doughy, savory dishes with similar toppings (or fillings, in calzones’ case.)
If you ask a native Italian about this, they might get slightly confused by the audacity to call these two dishes the same, but suppose a lot of them wouldn’t care too much because a calzone is, in fact, a kind of pizza.
You may turn some heads if you make calzones with pizza dough in Italy since the method for making theirs is different. They also have standard fillings that don’t always compare to the toppings on pizzas, but that’s probably the biggest difference they have.
Both dishes are good to eat on the go and in restaurants; both were created in Naples, Italy, and they’re delicious and beloved for similar reasons.
Traditionally, the calzone is made from salted bread dough instead of the one for pizzas. The essential ingredient in the dough for pizzas is the 00 flour, a refined type of flour used for achieving a simultaneously crispy and chewy crust.
The biggest difference between these doughs is the amount of yeast. Bread dough requires more and puffs up more while baking. Of course, whether a restaurant uses one formula or the other mainly depends on the chef.
Since calzones are folded over pizzas, the toppings become fillings. It sounds like a math problem, right? A filling that greatly differentiates these two dishes is the tomato sauce. Calzones don’t have it.
While you can use pizza sauce for pasta, you shouldn’t try it with calzones – it wouldn’t work. The best thing about their fillings is the chewy middle, typically from mozzarella cheese. Depending on the recipe, they can sometimes be parmesan and ricotta.
Instead of being prepared with it, they are dipped in sauce for extra juiciness. When you cut one in half, it is like a pocket full of sunshine (and delicious cheese, veggies, and meats).
They are folded or topped-over pizzas that hail from Naples, Italy. They’re made across the country, with each region adding something different to the recipe, similarly to classic pizzas. They were basically created as a more convenient version of a pizza that you can eat on the go and buy on most street corners.
The calzone was believed to be the most convenient food to deliver during the 1960s in Italy, but it didn’t become popular in the US until the 1990s. Some think that the sitcom “Seinfeld” jumpstarted the dish’s US career because restaurants across NYC started serving it after its appearance on the show.
Contrary to some opinions, these aren’t the same as a food called stromboli, although they’re mixed up very frequently. Stromboli is an Italian-American dish that originated in Philadelphia, and it’s made differently.
Stromboli is rolled, and calzones are folded. Eating the latter is like eating a taco pizza – or, better yet, a sealed taco. Whatever you do, don’t call a calzone stromboli in front of Italians.
You can check out this dish in some famous chain restaurants. For example, the Little Caesars calzone is decent, but here’s a list of places that make the most delicious ones:
- Don Antonio (Manhattan, NYC)
- Roberta’s (Brooklyn, NYC)
- Niko’s Pizzeria (San Pedro, CA)
- The Pizza Peel (Lacon, IL)
- Fat Ricky’s (Chicago, IL)
- Italia Express (Dallas, TX)
It is a dish created in Naples, Italy, just like the calzone. It’s said that the most popular of all time is Margherita, which has a fascinating history. The Neapolitan pizzaiolo Rafaelo Esposito decided to make food from classic Italian ingredients – flour, tomato, and cheese – to present to Queen Margherita on her first visit to the city.
He made dough, spread tomato sauce, and added mozzarella cheese and basil to represent the Tricolore flag – green, white, and red. The Queen had tasted two other pizzas before that and didn’t like them, but the classic Margherita, named after her, was exactly what she preferred.
The recipe reached the US during the 1940s, and there’s a long list of things American chefs do differently with their ingredients and baking methods. Italians may disapprove of some, but these recipes are delicious nonetheless.
While many local pizzerias topple over many chain restaurants, they can be tough to find. Fortunately, chain restaurants work hard to improve the quality of their dishes, and pizzas are no exception.
According to many sources, and in my opinion, these are the best American chain restaurants that serve pizzas:
- Domino’s – their handmade pan pizzas are to die for,
- Pizza Hut – a classic recipe with an American twist, the edge pizzas,
- Papa John’s – although controversial, they still deliver delicious NY-style pizzas,
- California Pizza Kitchen – they have incredible barbecue pizzas, which they invented in 1985,
- Little Caesars – affordable, tasty, and easy to find everywhere.
Pizza is a universal and beloved food across the globe, but calzones don’t fall too far behind. They may be slightly underrated, but they’re equally delicious. It is all a matter of taste, anyway. You’ll choose for yourself once you’ve tried both. Have some stromboli while you’re there, but don’t mix it up with a calzone. Ever.