If you didn’t grow up with Italian food, you might think there isn’t much of a difference between a calzone and a stromboli. After all, both involve pizza dough stuffed with meat and cheese, so how different can they really be, right? Wrong! While there can be some confusion if you don’t know the language of Italian-American food, there is a actually a big difference, and here’s why.

Their origins

Calzones and stromboli can be traced to entirely different origins. Calzones are 100%-certified Italian food—from Italy. The original idea and recipes came from 18th century Naples where locals developed a casual way of eating a pizza on the go. In fact, the plural of calzone, calzoni, translates to “pant leg” or “trouser,” reflective of the fact that the calzone’s original purpose was to serve as a “walk around pizza.” Ingredients and techniques vary throughout different regions in Italy, just as they do for other Italian cuisine.

Stromboli originated in the strong Italian-American neighborhoods of south Philadelphia in the 1950s.  It’s believed the stromboli is named after the Isle of Stromboli, a 12.6 sq. kilometer island just north of Sicily, which holds one of the world’s most active volcanos—Mt. Stromboli—erupting every 15 to 20 minutes.

Also see: The History of Pizza: A Shared Slice of Italian-American Heritage.

Two different shapes

As a rule of thumb, calzones are folded like a taco, and stromboli are rolled like a burrito. Calzones are sealed by pinching the edges shut, while stromboli are rolled until the dough in the back seals itself off.

These different techniques result in end products of very different shapes. Rolling a stromboli leads to more of a elongated rectangle or cylinder, and the fold of a calzone results in a half-circle or half-moon.

How they are served

The different shapes also lend themselves to different purposes. Calzones are usually a single serving, though modern day calzones have become quite large and sharable. The elongated stromboli is meant to be sliced and shared with multiple people.

What they are filled with

Because they’re both derivatives of pizza, there can be a lot of crossover when it comes to fillings. It’s common to see meats like pepperoni or ham, vegetables, and herbs used in either.

Cheese is where they differ. Calzones use a blend of ricotta cheese and other cheeses to create a soft, gooey cheesy filling. Stromboli does not use ricotta at all. Stromboli use primary mozzarella to keep moisture levels low—a necessity to cook the interior dough.

Sauce is also treated differently. Calzones never have tomato sauce on the inside of the dough—but you are likely to be offered a side dipping cup of marinara. Stromboli, while also dip-able, may already have a layer of sauce smeared on the dough pre-roll.

Make your own ricotta and mozzarella cheese with these fun, easy kits.

which is most delicious?

So which is better? Calzones or stromboli?

We say, there is definitely room for both in our pizza-loving hearts! Rolled, folded or sliced, in these troubled times, I think we can all agree on anything that means we get to eat more pizza.

Also see, For Italians, Pizzelle have always made the holidays.

Make your own ricotta and mozzarella with cheese kits from EverybodyShops.com.

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Meghan is a full-time writer exploring the fun facts behind food. She lives a healthy lifestyle but lives for breakfast, dessert and anything with marinara. She’s thrown away just as many meals as she’s proud of.