These Italian Sausage and Cheese Calzones are perfect for an after school or afterwork snack. It’s a lot less mess than a slice of pizza as it is often referred to as a “folded pizza”. The pizza dough wraps the filling of the calzone in a tight and beautiful burrito-like shape to keep the various fillings staying in place. Making these calzones from scratch gives you a peace of mind as you are aware of all the ingredients that go into making this dish. Some warm tomato soup or marinara sauce are popular options to pair with this popular Italian closed sandwich. This homemade calzone takes the concept of a “hot pocket” to the next level and is sure to impress anyone you share it with!

A calzone is an Italian oven-baked folded pizza that first originated in Naples. There are many different regional variations. It is usually made from salted bread dough and baked in an oven with fillings like ham, salami, mozzarella, ricotta, Parmesan or pecorino cheese. These sandwich-sized meals are often sold at lunch counters or street vendors in Italy because of how portable and convenient they are. The three different kinds of cheeses and the onions in this recipe add complexity in the umami flavors and pair extremely well with the rest of the tomatoey marinara sauce and slightly spicy red pepper and pepperoncinis. Just prepare the Italian sausage and add the rest of the ingredients onto the pizza dough, as you would when you’re making a pizza. Don’t forget to braid the pizza dough towards the end to contain the filling!

If you’re looking to have an Italian-themed party, here are some dishes, appetizers, desserts and drinks that we recommend from this list of 15 Italian Recipes. Start off with a light, seasonal and classic Caprese Salad recipe and move onto this Tomato Basil Arancini recipe as an appetizer. Offer the drink pairing of this refreshing and citrusy Mint Limonata. After the meal, end the evening with this twist on the classic Tiramisu, Mini Tiramisu Eclairs, and I’m sure your company will thank us.

  • Yields: 1 Calzone
  • Difficulty: Medium
  • Total: 60 Mins 
  • Active: 30 Mins 

Ingredients (12)

  • 1 package, refrigerated pizza dough
  • 1 – 2 cups marinara sauce
  • 1 ½ cups whole-milk Ricotta cheese
  • 1 ½ cup Provolone cheese, grated
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, shredded
  • 1 cup Italian sausage (mild or hot)
  • ½ cup red pepper, finely diced
  • ½ cup sweet onion, finely diced
  • 2 tablespoons diced pepperoncini (or banana peppers)
  • 1/4 cup green olives (optional), pitted and halved
  • 3 tablespoons melted butter
  • 3 tablespoons dried basil


  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. In a sautee pan, heat 1 tablespoons of oil on medium heat. Add peppers, onions and olives (if using) and sautee for 3-5 minutes, until softened. Add Italian sausage and cook until meat has heated through. Once complete, remove from heat and allow to cool to room temperature.
  2. Roll out pizza dough to the size of a half sheet pan. Cut 1 inch strips all the way down each of the long sides of the dough, from the edge of the filling to the outer edge of the dough to weave with.
  3. In the center of the dough, spread sauce, ricotta, provolone and meat mixture.
  4. “Braid” the bread by starting with the strips in each top corner, laying them over the filling and criss crossing over each other. Continue braiding and tuck the last braid under when you get to the end.
  5. Brush the braided dough with melted butter, then bake for about 30 minutes or until golden brown. (Some dough will take longer or should be baked at a higher temperature. Please check the directions on your pizza dough for temperature and cook times.)
  6. When finished, give the calzone one more brush with some melted butter and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and basil flakes. Cut diagonally to serve.