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What’s the Difference Between Calzone and Stromboli?

People have become so used to a normal pizza that they perhaps don’t even understand what we mean by these other terms. So, do both terms mean the same thing, or is there a difference between a Calzone and a Stromboli?

If you want to move away from your typical pizza, you may have noticed a couple of other options on the menu at your pizzeria. Those options could very well be a Calzone and a Stromboli, but what are they?

That is the question we plan on answering today.

We prefer to enjoy our pizza in any way we see possible. So we admit to being a bit partial to trying something different.

Undoubtedly, a Calzone or Stromboli style can taste amazing, but we know that not everyone knows the difference.

Well, that will change in the space of the next few minutes.

calzone and stromboli

The Answer

While they come with several similarities, you will also find some differences between a Calzone and a Stromboli.

Yes, they use the same ingredients, but the way those ingredients are then handled and put together ultimately leads to the difference.

One of the main differences comes in the cheese that’s typically used. A Calzone uses Ricotta cheese, but you will find that missing when it comes to the Stromboli option.

But that’s not the only difference. 

Instead, there are typically differences in the sauce and whether or not something is capable of being dipped or not.

Add in the way it’s made, rolled, and even folded, and you start to see how both options can come across as completely different.

So, we have a few important points to work through with our explanation.


But before we go ahead and dive into the differences when it comes to how you make both, there is a difference even with the origins.

The Calzone was created in Naples, Italy. That means it is an authentic Italian style of pizza. However, the same does not apply to Stromboli.

Instead, the Stromboli was created in Philadelphia by Italians who had moved to the United States.

It’s another example of how they took something Italian in origin and molded it to suit the local preferences.

But clearly, both were created by people at least with Italian origins, so it’s not all that bad. Also, both are designed to be ‘portable pizza’ options, so they have the same idea.


One is For Sharing

You will also find a difference in the sharing aspect with both options. The Stromboli works better for sharing than the Calzone. It all comes down to how you make both options.

But the overall sense is that a Stromboli intends to make it easy for you to cut it into ‘slices’, whereas it just doesn’t work with a Calzone. 

However, as both taste so good, we understand why you may not even want to share a Stromboli.

More About the Cheese

So we just said how a Calzone has Ricotta whereas the Ricotta does not appear in a Stromboli, but that’s not the only difference. In a Stromboli, you will typically find lots of Mozzarella, including Mozzarella for a very good reason.

You see, Ricotta contains a lot of moisture, which can cause problems with how Stromboli is made. So, Mozzarella is a better option simply because it contains much less moisture. 

That means your Stromboli will not end up falling apart simply because it is far too wet, thanks to the toppings. You wouldn’t want that happening to you, would you?

But like we said in our initial answer, cheese is not the only difference.

The Fillings

Staying inside the pizza for a second, you will notice that the fillings can come across as different between the two options. 

You will usually find that the Stromboli comes with tomato sauce inside the filling. The Calzone will often leave the tomato sauce out.

Instead, the Calzone is then viewed by some as more of something you dip rather than rely on the sauce inside the pizza.

Instead, it focuses on Riccota cheese as the main source of moisture in the filling. That does then change the taste of both the Calzone and Stromboli.

As we said earlier, it does come down to your personal preference regarding the cheese aspect.


Layers of Fillings

Something else you may notice as a difference is how the Stromboli effectively has layers of fillings.

This does not appear in the Calzone where some people feel it’s more of a mess when it comes to the fillings.

Also, this happens thanks to how the pizza is then sealed. However, we will discuss that later.

But if you cut into both options, you would see what we mean regarding the clear difference.

Cut into a Calzone, and you will see that pile of filling. Cut into a Stromboli, and it changes since you will have something that resembles a pinwheel thanks to how it’s made.

You then feel as if the Stromboli would create less mess. It explains how it manages to hold so much of the filling without too many problems. It’s because the dough holds things together.

The Sealing of the Pizza

Both options work as a sealed form of a pizza, but the way you seal them also varies depending on whether you want to produce a Calzone or a Stromboli.

Here’s a potentially easier way of thinking about the difference for all Mexican food lovers.

Typically, a Calzone comes across as more of a taco style. However, a Stromboli is closer to a Burrito style to folding and sealing.

But for those unfamiliar with what those differences may be, here’s another way of looking at it.

The crust is always folded to make the seal when making a Calzone. For Stromboli, the crust is then rolled rather than folded to make the seal.

Remember they both use the same crust to the same general thickness. It’s just the way that you handle them that’s different.

This folding is then responsible for the fillings looking different. We mentioned earlier how the Stromboli creates almost like a pinwheel effect, and it’s because of the rolling approach. 

As the Calzone is merely folded over, it also explains how the fillings merge in that typical fashion.

It also partly explains why the fillings then change slightly as well.

It’s a slight difference, ultimately leading to two very different outcomes. However, both still taste amazing when done correctly.

The Folding Means Different Shapes

But it’s worth mentioning that the way both versions are folded leads to them even starting off life in different shapes. 

A Calzone starts off life with the dough in a circle. You then simply fold over that dough into what then becomes a half-circle. That gives you the typical Calzone shape.

But a Stromboli is then made differently. You start with the dough in more of a rectangular shape.

You then need to roll the dough into more of a cigar shape, and it just would not work the same if you tried to do this with a circular piece of dough.

When you look at how it’s folded, you better understand how one option makes it easier to share than the other.

A Stromboli is lined up to be cut into sections thanks to the cigar shape. It doesn’t come across as practical when you look at how a Calzone is folded. 

Overall Conclusion

So if you thought Calzone and Stromboli were the same, hopefully, you have changed your opinion.

Instead, you have two options that simply use the same ingredients to give you two different outcomes.

It just comes down to personal preference as to which one you get. If made correctly, Calzone and Stromboli can taste amazing.

After all, the toppings and quality of the crust are the most important thing rather than how it’s folded.

But we do suggest thinking more carefully about the cheese you like. If Ricotta is not your thing, then avoid the Calzone.

There’s a good chance it contains a lot of Ricotta in the filling. So, you would then probably not enjoy it as much.

But that one point aside, we suggest giving either option a try. You may find you prefer it to a normal pizza or even realize it’s worth getting it once in a while to provide you with something different.