Spicy Meat Lovers Calzone (no ricotta!)

The one to make for the carnivores in your crew! A blend of sharp and soft Italian cheeses hold a blanket of hot Italian sausage and pepperoni make the best spicy meat lovers calzone filling.

What I have here is a meat lover’s and ricotta hater’s dream. Spicy meat lovers calzone is the official title of this one thanks to loads of hot Italian sausage, pepperoni and layers of cheese. And it all starts with an overnight rise of a no knead calzone dough.


This post contains links to affiliate websites including Amazon. I make a small commission for any purchases made using these links. Thank you!

Calzone without ricotta

overhead shot of baked pepperoni and cheese calzone on a wooden board.
Meat lovers calzone – freeze them for dinner!

I glossed over the fact that this calzone is made without any ricotta. That’s right. None. If you’re a purist, you might be offended that I’m calling this a “calzone” but if you have to have some in it, add it in. Or take an easier route and make my Italian sausage and ricotta calzone. It’s a keeper too!

Ingredient rundown

Italian sausage and pepperoni on a white plate with calzone dough and bowls of parmesan and fresh mozzarella.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Hot Italian sausage. Bulk preferred meaning it’s in links with casing. Can’t find it? Use links and gently cut the casing with a sharp knife and squeeze out the sausage into a bowl.
  • Pepperoni. Keep things simple and buy it already sliced. I use Boar’s Head when I can find it.
  • Fontinella cheese. Not fontina cheese but fontinella. It’s a really sharp Italian cheese that I love and grew up eating. It’s usually in the Italian cheese section in the grocery.
  • Fresh mozzarella. Gives the stringy cheese pull and mild flavor to balance the fontinella. I typically buy it at Costco because you get a double pack so I can make vodka sauce pepperoni pizza 😊
  • Calzone dough. It doesn’t get any easier than stir flour, yeast and salt, add water and mix. You can also use your favorite store bought pizza dough.

Pro tip

If you plan to use store bought pizza dough to make this no ricotta calzone recipe, I recommend cutting into thirds to make 3 calzones.

How to make sausage and pep calzone

calzone dough topped with fresh mozzarella and sprinkled with grated fontinella cheese.
1. Roll out calzone dough to about 7″ wide. Add sliced fresh mozzarella and sprinkle over fontinella cheese.
calzone being topped with Italian sausage and pepperoni on a floured wooden board.
2. Top with Italian sausage and layer on slices of pepperoni.
wooden board with unbaked, open faced calzone and pepperoni fresh mozzarella on top before closing.
3. Over the pepperoni, tear on some more fresh mozzarella and a sprinkling of oregano and parmesan. Add crushed red pepper, if using.
cornmeal sprinkled pizza peel unbaked calzone being brushed with egg.
4. Fold the dough over the filling and crimp the edges. Then, brush on some beaten egg all over the top of the calzone.
unbaked calzone with parmesan and oregano on a floured wooden board.
5. Shower the top with parmesan and more oregano and then bake for about 20 minutes before checking.
Baked calzone on a wooden board with parmesan and marinara dip nearby.
6. The finished calzone should be golden. It might get a little juicy on top but it will recede as it cools and cooks.

Insider info

If your fresh mozzarella is a little “wet”, lay pieces between two paper towels set on a plate. Top with a heavy pan and press. Use as directed.

-Josie + Nina

Tips to perfect calzone making

This is a pretty wet dough recipe. Have plenty of flour on hand to liberally douse your hands and counter with flour. Don’t be shy with the flour!

Keep the dough covered until you’re ready to make a calzone so that it doesn’t dry out.

Have your ingredients sliced, diced and ready to go on bowls, plates or a big cutting board.

Everyone’s ovens are different so keep an eye on your calzone at around the 20 minute mark. You want it golden brown and crispy. Check the bottom as well!

Serve with some of this 10 minute seasoned marinara dip. A calzone’s dream team!


Refrigerate leftovers wrapped in parchment and then foil for up to 3 days.

Reheat in a 350° oven on a sheet pan for 15 minutes or in an air fryer for 8-10 minutes at 365°.

Even more for the meat lovers

If 2 types of meat in calzone aren’t enough, feel free to add more! Get crazy and add:

  • Diced pancetta. Known as Italian bacon, you can buy it already diced at most groceries or at Trader Joe’s if you have one nearby.
  • Applewood smoked bacon. I’d cook this up and cut into 2″ pieces.
  • Prosciutto. A little more delicate since it’s so thin, I’d layer this close to the cheese and try and cut it crosswise for easier eating.
  • Soppressata. Now we’re talking! Spicy #1!
  • Capicola. And spicy #2!

Made this recipe?

I’d love it if you’d share your review and leave a star rating and comment!

Finished meat lover calzone baked and close up
No ratings yet

Spicy Meat Lovers Calzone without Ricotta

The one to make for the carnivores in your crew! A blend of sharp and soft Italian cheeses hold a blanket of hot Italian sausage and pepperoni make the best meat lover calzone filling.
Prep Time:5 minutes
Cook Time:35 minutes
Dough rising time – 12 hours min:18 hours
Total Time:18 hours 40 minutes
Servings 6 calzones



For the calzone dough

  • 2 ¼ cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting; can use bread flour
  • 2 ¼ cups "00" flour, or pizza flour;
  • ½ teaspoon instant yeast, generous
  • 4 teaspoons kosher salt, I used Diamond Kosher; otherwise use 2 teaspoons if using Morton's Kosher salt
  • 2 cups warm water, about 105° or so
  • cornmeal for sprinkling, for sprinkling pizza peel

For the filling

  • ½ lb Italian sausage , bulk preferred; or 3 links with casing removed
  • 6 oz sliced pepperoni, I use Boar's Head or Hormel
  • 1 lb fresh mozzarella cheese, sliced
  • 6 oz fontinella cheese , grated; divided
  • 6 Tablespoons parmesan, divided
  • crushed red pepper, optional



For the dough

  • In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour and yeast together. Next, stir in the salt.
    Pour in the water and mix with either a wooden spoon or a stand mixer (fitted with the paddle attachment) on low until combined. The dough will be shaggy.
    Cover the bowl with plastic wrap first and then cover with a clean dish towel to rise overnight for 12-18 hours.
    2 ¼ cups all-purpose flour, 2 ¼ cups "00" flour, ½ teaspoon instant yeast, 4 teaspoons kosher salt, 2 cups warm water
  • The next day, sprinkle a generous tablespoon of flour or so on a clean counter. Remove the dough to the counter. (It might be pretty loose)
    Gently pull the far side edge of the dough towards you over top of the dough. Next, pull the closest side over top the opposite way and repeat from side to side. Add flour as needed in 1 Tablespoon increments so that the dough isn't sticking to the board.
  • Cut into 6 even pieces and shape into rounds. Place on a floured sheet pan and cover lightly with plastic wrap to rise for another hour.
    If you don't plan on using all the dough, I recommend place each in its own ziploc bag and let rise in the bag for another hour (at least). Freeze or refrigerate the dough you don't plan to use.

For the filling

  • Heat a medium skillet over medium high heat until warm. Crumble in the sausage and cook, stirring with a wooden spoon, until the sausage is browned about 8 minutes or so.
    Remove the sausage to a paper-towel lined plate to drain. Set aside to cool.
    ½ lb Italian sausage

Form the calzone

  • Preheat oven to 425°. I recommend using a baking stone or pizza steel. Place in the oven as it preheats and as you make the calzones.
    If you don't have a baking stone or pizza steel, then preheat a cast iron skillet in the oven.
  • Remove one calzone dough round from the bag. It will be pretty soft. Flour the counter or a cutting board. Depending on the humidity, if the dough is sticking pretty well to the bag, it's a sign it might need a little more flour so sprinkle over some and work it in until it feels smooth but still very stretchy. It shouldn't stick to the board.
    Start at the center use your fingers to shape the calzone into a flat circle about 7-8" in diameter and ¼" thick.
  • Draw an imaginary line across the circle of dough. On one half tear up 3 slices of fresh mozzarella leaving about ¼" rim on the edge of the dough. Layer over about 4 slices of fontinella.
    Sprinkle over ⅙ of the cooked Italian sausage followed by ⅙ of each of the pepperoni and a sprinkling of parmesan cheese and oregano.
    Tear up one more slice of fresh mozzarella over the meat. Add a little crushed red pepper here for even more heat.
    6 oz sliced pepperoni, 1 lb fresh mozzarella cheese, 6 oz fontinella cheese, 6 Tablespoons parmesan, crushed red pepper
  • Stretch the unfilled side of dough over the filled side. Pinch or roll the edge seam closed. You can also use a fork to crimp the edges.
  • Cut slits in the top near the center so steam can escape. Make sure the calzone slides on the board and if needed because it's now heavier, sprinkle a little more flour between the calzone and the board.
  • Brush any excess flour off the top with a pastry brush. Use the brush to paint on some beaten egg all over the calzone. Sprinkle with parmesan, oregano and some flaky sea salt.
    cornmeal for sprinkling, 1 egg, flaky sea salt
  • Place unbaked finished calzone on a pizza peel sprinkled with cornmeal and carefully slide the calzone onto the preheated baking stone.
    Bake until golden on top about 25 minutes and the edges are crisp. Serve with some homemade marinara dipping sauce on the side.


  • I highly recommend using a baking stone to make/bake pizzas and calzones on the center rack of the oven.
  • If you can’t find/don’t have “00” flour, you can use all AP or bread flour.
  • Unused dough can be frozen up to 3 months.
  • Store leftovers in the refrigerator wrapped in plastic wrap and then a sealed bag for up to 3 days.
  • Reheat in a 350° oven for about 10 minutes until warmed through. 
  • If using store bought pizza dough, I recommend buying 2 lb to make 6 calzones.
Like things even spicier? Sprinkle in some crushed red pepper before closing up the calzone.
Airfryer tips. Air fry for 8-10 minutes at 365°.
Course: Main Course, Pizza
Cuisine: Italian
Author: Lori Murphy
Did you make this recipe? Tag @josieandnina or tag #josieandnina!

Leave a Comment or Ask A Question

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


    1. So sorry Lynn for taking a minute to get back to you…had to leave town unexpectedly! So— depending on the temp and humidity of your kitchen, it can vary but you are looking for a soft dough that doesn’t stick. I like to be able to move/slide it across the counter or a board before topping it because the toppings can weigh things down. You might have to add as much as 1/4 cup of flour but I start with just a tablespoon or so and work it in. Hope that helps and please let me know if you have any more questions!

      1. You replied FAST!! THANK YOU! This is very helpful! I plan to get on this soon! I appreciate your information and offer to help more, if need be!

        1. You got it Lynn! Please keep me posted and let me know any feedback on the recipe, the way its written and any way I can help make it as user-friendly as possible! Have a great day!😊