These chicken bacon ranch calzones come together quickly and are absolutely delicious for an easy weeknight dinner idea. Use pre-made dough or use your favorite recipe. Make one big calzone or make mini ones like I did!
What is a calzone, anyway?
The simplest definition is that a calzone is a pizza that's been folded over and sealed before baking. Any number of fillings can be used inside. Some believe that a true calzone includes ricotta as one of the ingredients.
Calzones can be one big piece that's cut apart to feed several people, or they can be made personal-sized like these chicken bacon ranch calzones!
What's The Difference Between Calzone and Stromboli?
A calzone starts with a circular pizza dough, while a Stromboli starts with a big rectangle. The toppings are added to the dough and then rolled up cinnamon roll style, baked, and served. Like calzones, one large Stromboli can be cut apart to feed multiple people.
Ingredients For Chicken Bacon Ranch Calzone
If you have some leftover cooked chicken and don't want it to go to waste, making easy calzones is perfect to use it all up! Here's what you need:
- Pizza Dough: I am not a fan of canned pizza dough, so when I'm looking for something premade I head to my grocery store's bakery, where they sell 16-ounce bags of raw pizza dough. It's perfect! If you also have a favorite pizza dough recipe, you can make that as well.
- Cooked chicken: You'll need about 2 generous cups. You can use any combination of light or dark meat. Whatever you have will work! You can also boil or bake raw chicken breasts or thighs if you are starting from scratch.
- Bacon: I used 5 slices of crispy bacon that I baked in the oven. Again, since this is a leftover-friendly recipe, you can save some bacon from a previous breakfast.
- Red Onion: I know some people find red onion very strong. I used a cup of chopped onion, but you can use less (or more!) depending on your preference. You can also use regular onion if that is more your speed.
- Ranch Dressing: Use your absolute favorite variety! I used about a half of a cup. Again, use more or less!
- Cheese: Keeping in line with this being a quick recipe, I grabbed a bag of pre-shredded mozzarella.
- Egg: I like to beat up an egg and brush it on the tops of the calzones before baking them to promote browning. It also gives it a lovely sheen!
- Garlic Powder: An optional ingredient. I sprinkle a tad on the egg wash for additional flavor. You can add parsley flakes and parmesan as well - yum!
Use this technique as a starting point and change up the ingredients however you see fit. Use different varieties of onions, use a mixture of types of cheese, add mushrooms, sprinkle in some extra herbs and spices, and more! You can use traditional pizza sauce in place of the ranch dressing.
I'm certain you can cobble together the equipment needed with what you already have in your kitchen, but here's what you'll need to make the perfect chicken bacon ranch calzone:
- Large Baking Sheet: any kind will do, but since you'll be making 8 6-inch calzones, make sure it's fairly large so you can bake 'em up all at once.
- Parchment Paper: You can just spray the pan with cooking spray instead, but I like using parchment for making the clean-up a breeze. As in, throw the paper away and put the (cooled) pan back into the cabinet, haha.
- Rolling Pin: You can press the dough out with your fingers as well, but if you have a rolling pin, go for it.
Make A Single Calzone Instead
If rolling out, filling, folding, and sealing 8 mini calzones is more work than you were hoping for when making dinner, go ahead and make one big calzone, bake as directed, and then cut it apart (let it cool a few minutes first) and serve!
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Storage and Reheating Instructions
Seal leftover and fully-cooled calzones in a zip-top bag or in an airtight container. Keep leftovers in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
For best reheating, use the oven! Reheating calzone in the oven will help re-crisp the crust so you aren't eating soggy leftovers.
To Reheat: Preheat oven to 400F and place cold calzone on a baking sheet. Reheat for anywhere from 15-20 minutes - watch it closely. Poke a hole in the crust to test that the filling is warm enough for you.
Can You Freeze Chicken Bacon Ranch Calzones?
Yes, you can! Calzones will freeze and reheat just fine, though you may find the texture changed after the process.
To Freeze: Wrap cooled calzones in plastic wrap, making sure it is fully sealed to keep out the air. Place wrapped calzones in a freezer safe zip top container and freeze for up to 3 months.
To reheat: Use reheating instructions above, though give it an extra 5-10 minutes in the oven. You can put the frozen calzones directly into the oven.
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Frequently Asked Questions
- What are some shortcuts to make this recipe faster to prepare?
Use shredded rotisserie chicken from the grocery store, premade pizza dough, and pre-shredded cheese. You could even use pre-frozen chopped onion if you can find it in your local stores!
- Can I make one large chicken bacon ranch calzone instead of minis?
Yes, you can put all of the filling into the full sized pizza dough and slice it apart after baking.
- Are these calzones appropriate for meal prepping and freezing?
Yes, see freezing instructions above for making this recipe in advance to enjoy throughout the week.
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As always, thank you so much for visiting my blog and trying my recipes!