Ham and Cheese Calzone
Say hello to your new favorite calzone recipe! Stuffed with juicy, flavorful Smithfield® Anytime Favorites™ Diced Ham and gooey cheese, these delicious pizza pockets are a filling meal that you can have on the go or a fun dish to serve to guests at a party. Don’t forget the sauce on the side, as the only thing better than a calzone is a calzone dipped in warm pizza sauce!
This post is sponsored by Smithfield®. All opinions are my own!
Calzone for lunch, calzone for dinner, calzone for breakfast, calzone as a just because snack – I can eat a calzone anytime, anywhere!
What’s not to love? Delicious pizza dough, check. Tons of juicy, flavorful ham, double check. Lots and lots of cheese, triple check!
They are also incredibly versatile and a great way to use up leftovers. So if you have leftover ham or turkey after Thanksgiving/Christmas, make calzone! I guarantee you won’t be sorry! 😋 😋 😋
What is Calzone?
I like to say that a calzone is a pizza in sandwich form! They can be baked or fried and stuffed with meat (salami, ham, pepperoni) or vegetables and cheese.
It originated in Naples, Italy, in the 18th century. Today, sandwich-sized calzoni are often sold by Italian street vendors and at lunch counters, as they make an easy meal to eat while standing up or walking.
A good calzone should be enough for only one person, as they are really not for sharing!
Finally, it is worth noting that calzone is pronounced kal-zo-ne and not kal-zown, like most people pronounce here in the States. Also, the plural of calzone is calzoni!
Calzone VS Stromboli
While calzone and stromboli are indeed similar, they are not the same thing!
- A calzone is folded into a half moon and has the edges crimped, like an empanada. A stromboli is rolled in a spiral, like a roulade.
- As I mentioned before, calzoni are meant to be personal, not for sharing. Stromboli, on the other hand, is meant to be sliced and shared!
- Calzone is an authentic Italian dish. Stromboli is Italian-American and originated in Philadelphia.
- Tomato sauce never goes inside a calzone, as it is meant to be served on the side for dipping. But it can definitely go inside stromboli!
To make this calzone recipe, you will need:
- Pizza Dough – You can buy store-bought or – even better – make your own!
- Cheese – You will need mozzarella for the filling and grated parmesan to sprinkle on top. I recommend shredding/grating your own!
- Ham – I am a big fan of Smithfield® Anytime Favorites™ Diced Ham for calzoni.
- Tomato – I like to add a little bit of diced tomato to my calzoni. You can omit if you prefer!
- Oregano – A touch of oregano brings that pizza flavor and aroma that we all love! If you like it hot, you could also add red pepper flakes.
- Pizza Sauce – You’ll need pizza sauce to brush on the outside of the calzoni (for color and a touch of flavor) and for serving.
The best ham for Calzone!
I love using Smithfield diced ham when I make this ham and cheese calzone recipe! The ham is cured and already diced into bite-size pieces, so the only prep I need to do is open the package. It is full of flavor and extremely delicious!
It is also fully cooked, gluten-free and 95% fat free, making it perfect for people with dietary restrictions. And if you are interested in nutrition information, each serving provides 9 grams of protein!
When making calzone, I much prefer using diced ham (versus sliced), as I think that adds a nice texture to every bite.
A 8 oz package of Smithfield diced ham is enough for 4 calzone and you might have some leftovers, which is great because this ham is also delicious on salads, pasta dishes, quiches, casseroles, soup, frittatas and omelettes!
FYI – The Diced Ham is found with the rest of Smithfield ATF items in the ‘smoked meats’ section near the hotdogs. 😊 What I love about ATF in general is that all the products are fully cooked and some are pre-sliced and pre-portioned, so it’s super convenient! If you’re craving a bigger portion of meat in your calzone, try the Cubed Ham!
How to Make Ham and Cheese Calzone
Making calzone is as easy as making pizza! Don’t be intimidated by the folding part. You will get better and better at it the more you make them!
You will also notice that I like to brush my calzoni with pizza sauce instead of an egg wash. It not only gives them a nice color, but adds flavor too! Plus, a sprinkle of parmesan (preferably Parmigiano-Reggiano) make them even more delicious.
Recommended tools and equipment: bench scraper, parchment paper, baking sheet, kitchen brush, paring knife.
Here’s how I make this calzone recipe. As always, you will find the printable (and more complete) version of the recipe at the end of this post!
Step 1: Prepare the dough.
- Make the pizza dough, if making from scratch, or bring your store-bought dough to room temperature (so it stretches easily).
- Divide the dough into 4 equal parts.
- Roll each piece into a 1/4-inch thick circle. You can do it by hand, like you would pizza, or use a rolling pin if your pizzaiolo skills are not as sharp! 😉
Step 2: Fill and Fold the Calzoni.
- Top each calzone with a generous layer of shredded mozzarella, followed by diced ham, diced tomatoes and a sprinkle of oregano. Make sure to add the toppings to the bottom part of the center, leaving about 1-inch around it so you can seal the calzone.
- Wet your fingers with cold water and spread around the edges of the dough. That will make it easier to seal the calzoni.
- Fold the top part of the dough over the toppings, creating a half-moon shape, and press the edges together. Use your fingers to roll the bottom edges up and over the top edges, crimping them together.
Step 3: Bake!
- Place the calzoni on a parchment paper lined baking sheet. You can also bake your calzoni on a pizza stone or using an wood fired pizza oven!
- Brush with pizza sauce.
- Using a sharp knife, cut 2 to 3 steam vents on top of each calzone.
- Sprinkle with grated parmesan cheese.
- Bake at 500ºF for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown! Let them cool for at least 10 minutes before serving.
- Make sure not to pull the dough too tightly when stretching and folding, or your calzoni can burst in the oven!
- Chances are at least one of your calzoni will burst anyway. It is okay! They’ll still be delicious.
- I find that the calzoni are already perfectly seasoned since the ham is flavorful, but you can also add a touch of salt and pepper if you’d like!
- Resist the temptation to bite into one as soon as it’s out of the oven! The filling is extra hot and will run out, and you risk ending up with a burnt tongue. Ouch!
What to serve with Calzone?
Calzone is traditionally served with a side of warm pizza sauce! You can also serve a side salad, such as a simple green salad, Caesar salad or an Italian salad.
As you can imagine, variations are endless, as you can fill your calzoni with whatever your heart desires!
Pepperoni, Smithfield® bacon, different types of cheese, ricotta, veggies, you name it. You can even make a calzone party and let your guests create their own calzone recipe!
Calzone is also a great way to use leftover ham from the holidays and pretty much anything that has been sitting in your fridge. Anytime Fresh Diced Ham is great because it’s already pre-diced/pre-cut, which makes it a more convenient option. If you have a whole or half ham or an Anytime Fresh quarter ham, and want another meal option, you can dice up that ham for this recipe!
Frequently Asked Questions
While I prefer freshly made calzoni, they can be made ahead and reheated. They keep well in the fridge for 3-4 days!
Yes! You can freeze calzoni for up to 3 months. Make sure they are completely cool, then place them on a parchment paper lined baking sheet, cover with plastic and freeze until they are frozen solid. Once frozen, you can remove them, wrap individually in plastic wrap and store in freezer bags so it’s easier to defrost one at a time.
Reheat your calzone in the oven, at 350ºF until warmed through. You can reheat them straight from frozen.
Ham and Cheese Calzone
- Preheat oven to 500ºF.
- Divide your pizza dough into 4 equal parts. On a floured surface, roll each piece of dough into a ¼-inch thick circle, about 6 inches in diameter.
- Add a layer of mozzarella (about ½ cup), diced ham (about ¼ cup), diced tomatoes and a sprinkle of oregano to the lower part of the pizza circle, leaving about 1-inch space around for sealing.
- Dip a finger in a little bit of cold water and spread around the edges. Fold the top half of the dough over the toppings, sealing the edges together and creating a half-moon shape. Crimp the edges together all around.
- Transfer the calzoni to a parchment paper lined baking sheet. Brush them with the pizza sauce, the use a sharp paring knife to make 2 or 3 slits on top so steam can escape.
- Sprinkle the calzoni with the grated parmesan cheese.
- Bake the calzoni in the preheated oven for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown. Let them rest for 10-15 minutes before serving.
- Serve with warm pizza sauce on the side, for dipping.