I make calzones a lot and have figured out some helpful tips I think are worth sharing. There’s nothing worse than spending the time to buy everything, assemble, bake, and then discover it feels like there’s nothing inside! They are easy to prep and work perfectly to prep in advance.
1) Preheat the oven to 400-degrees AND preheat the pan or pizza stone.
This helps the bottom of the calzone get crisp enough and not soggy.
2) Prep inside ingredients while the oven is preheating. Today’s example is turkey meatballs, shredded mozzarella, and fresh spinach. I like to keep fillings simple and varied. Mess around with the cheese a veggie or whatever else. The best calzones have a few textures and don’t only have wet ingredients.
some of my favorites have been: Chicken Cordon Bleu (chicken cutlets, shredded swiss, and ham); Cheeseburger Calzone (ground chicken, American or cheddar, tomatoes, spinach, and special sauce); Prosciutto, Apple, and Brie (with only those ingredients or swapping pear for apple); and of course turkey meatball, spinach, and mozzarella.
3) Assemble your calzone on the surface you’re baking it on. I can’t even imagine trying to move a calzone. By using a hot pan or pizza stone it will actually cook the bottom of your calzone a tiny bit while you assemble! Multi-tasking! Fill that calzone more than you think is necessary. Seriously. Really fill it up so much that you have to stretch the dough to close it up. You want layers and the filling to reach completely to the edges and piled high.
Close it up by pinching the dough around the insides. Put some pressure on the fillings to spread them out again. Don’t squish it completely though.
4) Cut some slits into the top so air can come out. This allows it to vent and cook better. I bake mine for about 30 minutes or so at 400-degrees. Bake for 15 if you’re going to freeze it and cook it the rest of the way later, or if you’re serving it another day. Then you’ll bake it the rest of the way and it won’t be overcooked. Brush the tops with eggwash if you want them shiny. I often skip this and just spray a bit of olive oil over the tops for some shine.
5) Cut and enjoy! Or, Label with preheating instructions if you’re not the one cooking it the rest of the way.