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Stromboli Vs Calzone – What Is The Difference?

Italian cuisine is some of the nicest and most popular food you can find in the entire world. Aside from various pasta dishes, the most popular type of Italian dish is pizza. 

Both stromboli and calzone are incredibly similar to pizza and can usually be found in pizza restaurants. They may have the same ingredients as pizza, but they are actually both a bit different. 

But what makes them different? How do you differentiate between the two? In this article, we’ll be going over everything you need to know about stromboli and calzone, and what makes them their own unique dishes. 

Stromboli Vs Calzone - What Is The Difference?

What Is Stromboli?

Let’s dive straight in and talk about stromboli. The dough in the Stromboli starts off uncooked in prep, then you add your ingredients.

Once this is done, the whole piece is rolled up, sort of like a burrito, and then it is baked in the same way pizzas are. A stromboli is also washed in white egg on the top and rough the edges, to give the dough a crispy look and taste. 

Before it is baked, some holes are usually added to the top as vent holes, which will help with the baking and keep the stromboli from getting soggy and spoiled.

Because the sauce will bubble, it’s better for it to bubble out of the top rather than spoil the whole dish by coming out of the bottom. 

Stromboli is usually made with meat as their main ingredient. You can add vegetables, but you will more often than not come across stromboli that is absolutely loaded with meat.

This is because the stromboli was designed for the dough and other toppings to be wrapped around the meat before baking. 

This doesn’t mean that vegetarians can’t enjoy them at all though. There are lots of stromboli recipes you can switch the meat out and put vegetables in.

You can add lots of ingredients to stromboli, from meat to vegetables, so they are perfect for almost all dietary needs. Because it is so much like a pizza in terms of dough and ingredients, any pizza toppings would work in this dish. 

A good tip to follow if you want to make stromboli though is to avoid using wet ingredients such as pineapple. These ingredients can ruin the integrity of the dish and make it harder to bake and eat.

Stromboli is often considered a type of cooked sandwich, which is one of the reasons it’s so popular among food enthusiasts… who doesn’t love a good sandwich? 

What Is Calzone? 

Now you know what a stromboli is, what is a Calzone?

The calzone was created sometime in the 18th century in Naples, Italy, so they have been around for quite a while now.

They are made from the same dough and ingredients as a standard pizza, but instead of putting it straight in the oven once the sauce and toppings have been put on, it is instead folded first. 

Once it is folded, it is then washed in white egg and the edges of the calzone are crimped, giving it a shine and the shape a bit more definition. 

Like stromboli, you can fill a calzone with practically any ingredients you’d use for a pizza. One of the most common and popular calzone fillings is spinach and ricotta, which is not only delicious but perfect for vegetarians. 

Calzones are great served by themselves because they are usually big and filling, but if you want to find a side dish to go with them, one of the most popular is a small salad. You can experiment with the salad in any way you’d like. 

Some people like to add bits of fruit to their salad to give it a little kick of sweetness, but you can make the salad in any way you think would complement the calzone itself. 

What Is The Difference Between Stromboli & Calzone?

There are a few differences between the stromboli and calzone and we’re going to go over them now so you can learn to differentiate between them. 

One of the biggest differences between the two is their shape. Stromboli looks more like a burrito, it’s long and rectangular, whereas the calzone is more crescent mooned shaped.

When you bite into a stromboli, you will see layers of dough and toppings, and a calzone is more just filling without the layers. 

Stromboli can be eaten with your hands, but when it comes to eating a calzone, it is advised to use a knife and fork because it can get quite messy! 

The biggest difference in terms of ingredients is the red sauce. Stromboli usually has red sauce regardless of any other toppings, but a calzone usually never has the red sauce as the main ingredient.

Instead, it is served alongside the calzone as a dipping sauce. 

Another big difference between stromboli and calzone is that calzones are usually made and baked individually, whereas stromboli can be made in one long, folded piece of dough, and then they are cut up before being served. 

They are extremely similar in terms of tastes and ingredients, but as you can see, the stromboli and calzone are actually quite different. Once you know how to differentiate between them, you’ll always be able to tell which is which. 

Calories & Nutrition In Stromboli And Calzone

Calories & Nutrition In Stromboli And Calzone

If you’re concerned about the calories and nutritional value of the stromboli and calzone, then we can put to bed any worries or reservations you have here. 

Stromboli dishes are much higher in calories than a calzone. When they are ready to eat, the stromboli has over 900 calories.

Because stromboli is usually filled with meat, this makes them higher in protein and the meat will naturally make the calorie count higher. You can make stromboli at home with fewer calories though, especially if you use low-fat meats. 

Calzones on the other hand have a lot fewer calories in them. When they are cooked, there are usually around 300 calories in total.

It does purely depend on the filling choice when it comes to your calzone calorie count though, so this is just a base calorie number to start with.

When you add the red sauce as a side dip, it actually doesn’t add too many extra calories, so you don’t have to worry about that! 

The overall amount of calories will change in both dishes depending on the fillings and if you choose to use full-fat meats and cheeses.

You can usually find out the calorie count in these dishes at restaurants and if you choose to make them at home, you can track them as you go. 

How Is Calzone Different From Pizza?

So if a calzone is referred to as a “folded pizza” how is it actually different from a pizza at all? At first glance, they do seem to be the same thing, but there are some big differences between the two. 

Pizzas are always made with a base and toppings. They have red sauce and they usually include mozzarella cheese as their main cheese.

Calzones on the other hand, usually never have red sauce in the main dish. Instead, it is used as a side dip. The main cheese is usually not mozzarella either, but ricotta.

But you can mix and match whatever cheese you want in a calzone! It doesn’t have to be ricotta every time.

Although pizzas and calzones are even more similar than stromboli and calzone, they are still different. The best way to tell the difference is if it’s folded or not and if the red sauce is included or used as a side sauce. 

Whichever you choose to have though, they are both equally as delicious as the other and it’s worth trying both! 

Stromboli Vs Calzone, Which Is Better?

There’s no fair way to choose which is better between the two. They both taste really, really similar, especially if you’re using the same toppings in each, but it really comes down to your personal preference. 

Do you want a pizza that’s more like a sandwich or do you want a pizza that’s more like a pie? You could be really in the mood for a stromboli one day, but then next time, you could want a calzone instead. 

So the best advice we can give you is to try both and work out which one you like more! 


Hopefully, you’ve got a much better idea of what a stromboli and a calzone actually are now. Though they are really similar, they have very key differences that make it easy to tell which is which when you know what you’re looking for. 

The beauty of both the stromboli and the calzone is that they come in so many different flavors that you’re sure to find one that suits your dietary needs and your preferred palette.

Once you find a stromboli or calzone that you really enjoy, there will be no going back! 

So take the information we’ve given you here and go and find that perfect pizza alternative, we’re sure you’ll absolutely love it! 

Jess Smith