How to Define Calzones as a Dish? – Detail Explanation

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Pizza pocket – does pizza have a pocket? Well, let me introduce calzones – a pizza folded in half, making a pocket of pizza. However, the delicious Italian treat calzone is not a pizza.

In fact, we often struggle to determine its category and fail to explain what we are eating. So, if they are not pizza – are calzones sandwiches?

Calzones are difficult to define, but they aren’t sandwiches. We can consider them more as turnovers. They have a pizza dough wrap for the outside and a filling of ingredients inside. Besides, the bread is too thick for a sandwich, and hardly fried or baked sandwiches are served hot like calzones.

So, how are calzones a different food? Read on to learn more about calzones, regular sandwiches, and pizzas with a quick recipe at home.

Are Calzones Sandwiches?

Are Calzones Sandwiches

Calzones might seem like a sandwich, but there is a distinctive structural difference. We can’t always name something with dough and some fillings a sandwich. Calzones are stuffed bread which isn’t what we see in any sandwich.

Typically, we fry or bake calzones. They also have more fillings inside a wrap. We can easily eat them with a knife and fork. But most importantly, calzones are made with pizza dough and added different toppings. There are no bread slices involved.

You will also find that calzones resemble a pie shaped like a pizza.

So, we can define calzones more as turnovers or savory pies than sandwiches or pizzas.

How do We Define a Sandwich?

If calzones aren’t sandwiches, then what exactly is a sandwich?

Generally, a sandwich has two bread slices with a filling in between. There are other unique properties as well:

  • It can be hot or cold. 
  • Usually has bread like rolls, wraps, bagels, pitta, or baguettes. 
  • It can be a triangle or square.
  • Not sealed.
  • It isn’t cooked or fried. 

However, all over the world, there are different types of sandwiches. So, it gets hard to define a sandwich with words. Even as a wrap, it can work as a sandwich if it’s not fried or cooked.

Difference between Calzones and a Sandwich

To understand better, let’s dig into the differences considering all other essential factors.

Calzones Sandwich 
Has a yeast-activated dough as bread.Has a quick bread dough.
The usual ingredients are meat, cheese, and vegetables. It can have any type of fillings.
The dough is allowed to rise for softness.The dough doesn’t rise and is harder.
Usually baked or fried for crisp.Usually grilled or left as plain bread with little or no crispiness.
Thick and chewy bread with a lot of fillings.Has a thin layer of filling.
It tastes richer and heavier than sandwiches.Taste quite plain and simple.
Expensive and more fat content.Cheaper and healthier.
Less versatile and popular. Versatile and culturally popular. 

Is Calzone called a Pizza?

Now comes the other debate, are calzones called pizzas?

Just because pizza dough is used doesn’t make calzone a pizza. Instead, we can name calzones as a stuffed pizza. It has a pizza crust for the wrap but has quite specific ingredients for the filling. Pizza, on the other hand, is more versatile than toppings nowadays.

Besides, we don’t fry our pizzas. Calzones are usually fried, if not baked.

Calzone vs. Pizza

Let’s check out other ways a calzone differs from a pizza.

Calzones Pizza 
It has the fillings inside and the bread outside. It has toppings on top of the bread.
We need a knife and fork to eat.A slice can fit on our hands.
Very specific in terms of ingredients.It can be made with anything as toppings.
It isn’t very nutritious as a meal.It can easily serve as a meal for the day.
Only one piece per serving.Contains a number of slices per serving.

Can We Call Calzones Burritos?

Can We Call Calzones Burritos

Although similar in outlook to a burrito rather than a sandwich, calzones can’t be named burritos. It is shaped like a taco where the sides are sealed.

Burritos are mostly rolled-up wraps.

In addition, the bread of calzones is thick, whereas burritos have thin tortillas. We can find a resemblance between strombolis to burritos instead of calzones.

Interestingly, it can be called an Italian burrito if we use calzone fillings with tortilla bread.

What about Sweet Calzones: Are They Sandwiches?

What about Sweet Calzones Are They Sandwiches

Calzones are so versatile that you can also find a sweet version of them. Many Italian dessert sections include sweet calzones. Here instead of the regular savory fillings, there is a sweet filling.

The pizza dough is sealed into a pocket with the fillings and brushed outside with butter or oil. We can either bake or fry them.

Since sweet calzones are too small and pocket foods, they aren’t sandwiches. We hardly ever hear of any sweet sandwiches unless it’s ice cream.

Inside the dough, we can add ice cream or other sweet fillings like chocolate, banana mash, custard cream, marshmallow melt, etc. To store them, place them on a baking tray and refrigerate them. You can easily take one out and fry or bake it. 

Stromboli vs. Calzones vs. Panzerotti

Stromboli vs. Calzones vs. Panzerotti

There are other Italian dishes similar to calzones resembling a pizza or a sandwich. But they all have the same recipe, and none are sandwiches. So, how do calzones, stromboli, and panzerotti differ?

1. Calzones

These are folded into a wrap with fillings inside. The bread is made of pizza dough which is thick. Mostly, we use different meat, cheeses, and vegetables. These are much smaller than the others and served with a dipping sauce.

2. Stromboli

This can get as close to pizza as we can think. There is a pizza dough that is thin with pepperoni and mozzarella or ricotta filling inside. Then it is folded into a pocket and baked until golden brown. The filling part resembles a pizza. Stromboli is quite large and made into cylindrical logs similar to meatloaf. So, it can become a whole meal like a pizza as well.   

3. Panzerotti

There is a water and flour dough with a variety of mozzarella, ragù, eggs, and Parmesan. Then the filling and bread are folded into a half shape and sealed. This one is deep-fried and has a thinner wrap.

Grilled Calzone Sandwich Recipe

So, how about making calzones at home instead of searching for calzones near me? You can make a calzone sandwich with the essential ingredients for an extra twist. It is very simple to make.


  • 2 1/2 cups Pizza Flour 
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons instant yeast 
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 sliced onion
  • 3/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • black pepper to taste
  • 2/3 cup grated mozzarella cheese
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cup vegetable of choice
  • 1 cup meat of choice.


  1. Prepare the dough with oil, salt, and yeast. Cover and let it rest to rise for up to 3 hours. Press and fold in between resting. 
  1. Make small balls from the dough and make a center. Add your cooked fillings on it, around a tablespoon.
  1. Gently press and cover the edges on both sides. Sprinkle a little mozzarella on top. 
  1. Use either an oven to bake at 350 F or a pan to fry. For grilling, use a grill with medium heat. Cook in olive oil for 8 to 10 minutes until they turn golden brown. Turn them to cook on the other side. 
  1. Place them on a paper towel to soak up excess oil. Cut them into half to resemble a sandwich.  Serve hot with a dipping sauce. 
  1. For storing, place freshly made calzones on a tray and keep them in the refrigerator. They remain fresh for three days. Take them out and reheat them at 350°F before serving.

Other Similar Foods and Their Categories

A number of foods around the world look the same but are classified differently. 

  • Turnover- Pastry 
  • Hot Dog- Taco
  • Sloppy Joe- Sandwich
  • Burrito- Roll 
  • Taco- Wrap 
  • Quesadilla- Sandwich
  • Hot Pocket- Sandwich.


  • What is a pizza sandwich?

It is a hybrid version of both pizza and sandwiches. The Italians use pizza Bianca to make this food. Typically, there is pizza dough for the bread portion. It has toppings like pepperoni and cheese as the filling. So, it is more of an open sandwich.

  • How to make a gourmet calzone?

You can ask for calzones with some exquisite ingredients for a classic dinner option at any fancy Italian restaurant. It includes pie meatballs or roasted chicken, a blend of cheese, mozzarella and ricotta, goat cheese, and classic marinara. 

  • Can calzone be eaten for breakfast?

Although not an ideal choice, we can eat calzones for breakfast. Some restaurants offer calzones with eggs, ham, or pepperoni as fillings, including the usual ingredients. You can also ask for veggie calzones. These are simple to make at home.

Final Words

So, the debate is settled – are calzones sandwiches or pizzas? Neither are calzones  sandwiches nor pizza. They are folded and sealed turnovers into a half shape. But we must agree that these savory Italian pies are amazing in taste. Even if they are limited to ingredients, we can choose and customize the fillings according to our taste.

The most interesting part is that they are also available as sweet dishes. We can easily make them home and store them for a few days. Even with the slight fat amount, these are fresh and high-quality.