Is a Calzone a Sandwich? Exploring the Classification of a Popular Italian Dish

Opinions differ on the subject of whether a calzone counts as a sandwich. Some contend that a calzone does not qualify as a sandwich because it is simply a folded pizza, while others think it does.

Calzone Sandwich

The issue of what constitutes a sandwich is at the center of the discussion.

A sandwich is defined as “two or more slices of bread or a split roll with a filling in between” by the Merriam-Webster dictionary.

Since calzones are frequently constructed with pizza dough and folded in half rather than being placed between two slices of bread, they might not fall under this description of a sandwich.

Some contend that a calzone is sufficiently comparable to a sandwich to qualify as one, though.

In the end, one’s definition of a sandwich may determine whether a calzone qualifies as one. While some could contend that it satisfies the definition of a sandwich, others might disagree.

Ultimately, it is up to each person to determine whether they think a calzone counts as a sandwich or not.

Defining a Sandwich

When it comes to defining a sandwich, there are a few different approaches to consider. In this section, we will explore the traditional definition and the legal definition of a sandwich.

Calzone mozzarella and tomato

Traditional Definition

Traditionally, a sandwich is defined as a dish consisting of two or more slices of bread with fillings in between. The bread can be any type of bread, such as white, wheat, or rye.

The fillings can be anything from meat and cheese to vegetables and spreads. The key is that the bread acts as a container for the fillings, and the sandwich is eaten with the hands.

Legal Definition

The legal definition of a sandwich is a bit more complicated. In some jurisdictions, there are specific laws that define what a sandwich is and what it is not.

For example, in Massachusetts, a sandwich is defined as “any food item made with bread, rolls, or a similar product.”

However, not all jurisdictions have such specific laws. In those cases, courts have had to determine whether a particular food item qualifies as a sandwich. In general, courts have looked at the following factors:

  • The presence of bread or a bread-like product
  • The presence of a filling
  • The manner in which the food is eaten

For example, in one case, a court determined that a burrito was not a sandwich because it was typically eaten with a fork and knife, rather than with the hands.


The definition of a sandwich can vary depending on the context. While the traditional definition focuses on the presence of bread and fillings, the legal definition can be more specific and take into account the manner in which the food is eaten.

Ultimately, whether a calzone qualifies as a sandwich may depend on the specific laws and court rulings in a given jurisdiction.

What is a Calzone?

A calzone is a type of Italian dish that is often described as a folded pizza or turnover. It is made using pizza dough, which is stuffed with various fillings such as cheese, meat, vegetables, and sauce.

Calzone Sandwich

The dough is then folded over the filling, creating a half-moon shape, and baked or fried until crispy on the outside and hot and gooey on the inside.

Origin and History

The origin of the calzone can be traced back to Naples, Italy, where it was first created in the 18th century. The name “calzone” means “stocking” or “trouser” in Italian, which is believed to refer to the shape of the dish.

Calzones were originally made as a portable meal for workers who needed a convenient and filling lunch. Today, calzones are enjoyed all over the world and can be found on the menu of many Italian restaurants.

Preparation and Ingredients

To make a calzone, you will need pizza dough, which is typically made using flour, water, yeast, and salt. The dough is then rolled out into a circle or rectangle, depending on the desired shape and size of the calzone.

half cut calzone

Next, the filling is added, which can include a variety of ingredients such as mozzarella, ricotta, tomato sauce, meat, vegetables, and parmesan cheese. The filling is placed on one half of the dough, leaving enough space around the edges to fold over and seal the calzone.

Once the filling is added, the other half of the dough is folded over the top, and the edges are crimped together to seal the calzone.

Some recipes call for an egg wash to be added to the top of the calzone before it is baked or fried, which gives it a shiny and golden appearance. Calzones can be baked in the oven or fried in a pan, depending on personal preference.

A calzone is a delicious and satisfying Italian dish that is similar to a pizza but with a unique twist. It is made using pizza dough and a variety of fillings, which are folded over and baked or fried until crispy and golden brown.

Whether you prefer meat, vegetables, or cheese in your calzone, there is no denying that this dish is a classic and beloved Italian favorite.

Is a Calzone a Sandwich?

When it comes to the debate of whether a calzone is a sandwich or not, opinions are divided. Some people argue that a calzone is simply a type of sandwich, while others believe that it is a distinct dish that should not be classified as a sandwich.

Calzone Sandwich

In this section, we will explore both sides of the argument.

Arguments for a Calzone as a Sandwich

Those who believe that a calzone is a sandwich often point to the fact that it is made with bread and contains a filling.

They argue that a calzone is essentially a turnover or a folded sandwich, with the dough acting as the bread and the filling acting as the filling.

In fact, some people even refer to calzones as “pizza sandwiches” because they are made with similar ingredients to pizza.

Furthermore, calzones can be customized with a variety of fillings and toppings, just like sandwiches. You can add ham, onions, pepperoni, sausage, veggies, and more to your calzone to create a unique flavor profile.

This versatility is another reason why some people consider calzones to be a type of sandwich.

Arguments against a Calzone as a Sandwich

On the other hand, those who argue that a calzone is not a sandwich typically point to the fact that it is not made with sliced bread. Instead, calzones are made with a crust or pastry that is folded over the filling to create a half-moon or cylindrical shape.

This is different from a sandwich, which is typically made with two slices of bread that are filled with ingredients.

Additionally, the preparation of calzones is different from that of sandwiches. Calzones are typically made with a yeast-based dough that is allowed to rise, while sandwiches are made with a quick bread dough that doesn’t require rising time.

This difference in preparation is another reason why some people argue that calzones should not be considered sandwiches.

The debate over whether a calzone is a sandwich or not is a contentious one. While some people believe that a calzone is a type of sandwich due to its filling and versatility, others argue that it is a distinct dish that should not be classified as a sandwich due to its unique shape, crust, and preparation.

Ultimately, the decision of whether to classify a calzone as a sandwich or not is up to individual interpretation.


After researching and analyzing various sources, we have come to the conclusion that a calzone is not a sandwich.

Although a calzone and a sandwich share some similarities, such as filling and bread, there are key differences that set them apart.

Firstly, a sandwich typically consists of two separate slices of bread, while a calzone is made from a single piece of dough folded over and sealed shut.

This difference in structure is significant and distinguishes the two food items.

Secondly, a calzone is traditionally filled with pizza toppings such as cheese, tomato sauce, and meat, while a sandwich can have a much wider variety of fillings.

The limited range of fillings for a calzone further sets it apart from a sandwich.

Finally, the origins and cultural significance of a calzone are distinct from those of a sandwich. While a sandwich has a long history and cultural importance in many parts of the world, the calzone is a relatively recent invention and is primarily associated with Italian cuisine.

While a calzone and a sandwich may share some similarities, they are ultimately two distinct food items with different structures, fillings, and cultural significance.


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