Easy homemade calzones with tangy goat cheese, fresh basil, and Italian sausage (no ricotta!) Make four individual calzones, or 1-2 large ones to slice and share on pizza night.
There are SO MANY GOOD THINGS happening in these homemade calzones.
We love regular ol' pizza as much as the next person, but there's just something irresistible about wrapping your favorite toppings up inside fresh dough with a blanket of melty, gooey cheese.
You can make homemade pizza dough with our favorite Fifteen Minute Pizza Dough recipe (yes - it only takes 15 minutes!), or grab some store bought dough to save time. Serve with a bowl of Quick and Easy Pizza Sauce for dipping (but again: grab store-bought sauce if you're short on time!)
You can get four personal sized calzones out of this recipe, but here's the thing about calzones (and pizza): there's really no perfect formula to it. So if you want more or less of a topping, or you'd rather throw these toppings on top of a regular pizza, or into a deep dish, or inside of one gigantic calzone, do it! We won't mind.
Our Basic Order of Operations
Assemble the calzones
Divide the dough into 2 equal portions and flatten each into a rough circle. (Keyword: Rough. These don't have to be perfect!) We like to do this right on the baking sheet so you don't have to move the calzones around later.
Note: We made 2 medium calzones here, but you can also split the dough into 4 pieces for individual calzones or make one giant calzone to slice and share. The number and size of calzones will also depend on the pizza dough you use.
Layer the mozzarella, cooked Italian sausage, basil, and goat cheese across half of each dough circle, leaving a small border along the edge.
Seal them up
Pull the empty side of each calzone up over the filling and pinch the outer edges together to seal.
This will be more or less difficult depending on your specific pizza dough: if the edges aren't sealing well, brush a bit of water along the edges to help them stick, then press them together gently.
And again: Don't worry about getting this perfect! Even a less-than-perfect calzone edge (like we have in these photos - whoops!) will still taste great.
Cut slits and brush with olive oil
Cut 2-3 small slits in the top of the dough. (This lets steam escape while the calzones bake so it doesn't build up and eventually pop open a seam, which results in all the cheese oozing out onto the baking sheet.)
Brush each calzone with olive oil and bake at 450° Fahrenheit until golden brown. Serve with a side of pizza sauce for dipping and enjoy!
Note: You can use an egg wash instead of olive oil if you'd like deeper color or more shine. We like olive oil here because it's a bit quicker, doesn't leave you with leftover egg wash, and still tastes great!
Calzone vs. Pizza vs. Stromboli
What is a calzone, anyway? (Besides a hunk of carby, cheesy heaven *swoon*.) A calzone is pizza’s cool cousin - lots of the same ingredients, just wrapped in a lil' dough envelope to create a pizza pocket with the toppings stuffed inside. Traditional calzones also include ricotta cheese, although we swapped that for some tangy goat cheese here.
A stromboli is similar to a calzone, except it’s rolled (almost like a pinwheel sandwich or a cinnamon roll) instead of folded in half. Some strombolis have a layer of pizza sauce baked in with the fillings; with calzones, the sauce is usually served on the side for dipping.
Riffs and Substitutions
This recipe is very forgiving - change it up and make these calzones your own! A few of our favorite ideas:
- Swap the cheeses. Use parmesan, gruyere, asiago, pecorino romano, havarti, ricotta, or whipped feta cheese in your filling.
- Skip the sausage and make a vegetarian version (we love adding mushrooms, spinach, red onions, and roasted red peppers).
- Go for classic pizza flavors by adding your favorite toppings like pepperoni, mozzarella, black olives, and bell peppers.
Round out these calzones with an easy side dish to turn pizza night into a full meal. Some of our favorite things to serve with this homemade calzone recipe:
- Get in your greens with a quick arugula salad or a Spinach Prosciutto Salad.
- Our Crusty Roasted Garlic and Rosemary Bread and Jalapeño Cheddar Bread both make out of this world garlic bread.
- Don’t forget the Homemade Pizza Sauce for dipping!
A Few FAQs
Luckily, these calzones reheat REALLY well. The microwave will likely lead to a soggy crust, so our recommendation is to reheat them in the oven at 400 degrees Fahrenheit until warmed throughout.
If you want to make a batch of these for a quick meal later, assemble and score (cut slits) as directed, then freeze uncooked calzones on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Once frozen, transfer them to a freezer safe container. Don’t forget to label and date! To bake, add the frozen calzones to a baking sheet, brush with olive oil, and pop them in a COLD oven, then heat the oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit and bake until golden.
These easy Italian sausage calzones are perfect for pizza night!
- Heat oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Line a large baking sheet with a piece of parchment paper or a nonstick baking mat.
- Divide your pizza dough into 2 equal portions and flatten each piece into a rough circle, about ¼" thick. (We like to do this right on the baking sheet if there’s space, so you don’t have to move the calzones later!)
- Layer the mozzarella, cooked Italian sausage, basil, and goat cheese across half of each dough circle, leaving a small border along the edge. Feel free to eyeball this - use as much or as little of each ingredient as you prefer!
- Pull the empty sides of each calzone up over the filling. Pinch the sides together to seal the calzone. Pro tip: If your calzone doesn’t want to form a good seal, brush the edges with a bit of water to help them stick.
- If you formed your calzones on a cutting board, transfer them to your prepared baking sheet now, leaving a bit of space between each one.
- Use a sharp knife to cut 2-3 small slits in the top of each calzone (this allows steam to escape during baking so the crust doesn’t split open).
- Brush each calzone with a thin layer of olive oil.
- Bake at 450° Fahrenheit for 15-25 minutes or until calzones are golden brown.
- Serve immediately with a side of pizza sauce for dipping.
Additions and Substitutions. This recipe is very forgiving - mix it up however you like! Use different cheeses (pre-shredded mozzarella, gruyere, fontina, havarti, parmesan, asiago, pecorino romano, ricotta) or add your favorite pizza toppings to the filling (black olives, bell pepper, mushrooms, pepperoni, etc). Use a teaspoon of dried basil instead of the fresh basil if you like.
Leftovers. Store leftover calzones in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4 days. Reheat on a sheet pan in a 400° oven for 5-10 minutes until warmed through.
Keywords: pizza, calzone, sausage
This post was originally published in 2013. It was updated in 2022 to include updated recipe notes, extra tips and FAQs, and a few small changes to streamline the recipe and make it easier than ever.