If you've ever wondered how to make stromboli like they do at your favorite old-school pizza parlor, this Easy Stromboli Recipe is for you! It's like a rolled-up pizza filled with your favorite toppings and plenty of gooey cheese, then baked so that the crust is on the outside.
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When I was researching foods the state of Delaware is known for as part of my American Eats series, I kept coming across the Nic-o-boli from Nicola Pizza in Rehoboth Beach, a popular seaside destination in Delaware.
For someone like me who has never been there or experienced it, trying to figure out exactly what a Nic-o-boli is was a little confusing. From what I can tell, Nicola's Nic-o-boli is a cross between a calzone and a stromboli. You can get all sorts of fillings, but the classic ingredients of a Nic-o-boli stromboli seem to be ground beef, cheese, and tomato sauce.
And it has a huge cult following. Like, a following big enough to inspire Former President George H.W. Bush to have actual, authentic Nic-o-boli shipped to the White House and cause other famous personalities to rave about them too.
So I thought I would share my best stromboli recipe with you to represent Delaware since I think it's probably fairly similar to Nic-o-boli, even if it's not exactly the same!
Why We Love This Recipe
- Make each stromboli your own, you can easily customize this recipe with your favorite pizza toppings.
- This recipe uses fresh ingredients, but you can use store-bought dough to make this recipe even quicker and easier!
- Ready in just 35 minutes, it's perfect for a busy weeknight dinner for the whole family!
What You'll Need
Scroll down to the recipe card below this post for ingredient quantities and full instructions.
- Sugar - White granulated sugar works well to aid the yeast.
- Yeast - I used active dry yeast which needs to be proofed in warm water before adding the rest of the ingredients to the dough.
- Salt - To enhance the flavors of the dough.
- Flour - All-purpose flour will work well for this recipe but you can use bread flour if you prefer.
- Oil - To keep the dough moist and malleable. Use olive oil or another neutral-flavored oil.
- Beef - Use lean ground beef for the best flavor with the least grease.
- Cheese - Use mozzarella cheese for that classic margherita flavor.
- Sauce - Use my Homemade Marinara Sauce or your favorite pizza sauce with Italian seasoning for the base.
- Egg - To help bind the edges of the stromboli together so the fillings don't fall out!
How to Make Stromboli
- Make pizza crust. To make the dough, combine the warm water, sugar, and yeast and let sit for 5 minutes. After the yeast has proofed for 5 minutes and is foamy, add the salt and 1 cup of flour and mix well.
- Knead. Continue to add the remaining flour, kneading until smooth for about 5 minutes. Use olive oil to lightly grease a clean bowl. Transfer the dough to the greased bowl, giving it a quick turn to coat in the oil. Cover with plastic wrap and let rest for 30 minutes.
- Roll the dough. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F for at least 20 minutes. While the oven preheats, roll the dough into a large rectangle - just like you would when making cinnamon rolls.
- Make stromboli fillings. For the super simple, but surprisingly delicious ground beef and cheese stromboli that I think might be sort of similar to the original Nic-o-boli, just brown some ground beef and grate some mozzarella cheese. Or sauté some sliced sweet peppers and onions in a little oil in a pan until soft.
- Add fillings. Next, add the prepared fillings in the center of the dough in a line. Leave a 2-inch border around the edges of the pizza dough. For the classic Nic-o-boli approach, use the browned ground beef, marinara sauce, and mozzarella cheese.
- Alternative sweet pepper and salami filling. If you want to try one of our other favorite stromboli fillings, layer salami and sauteed sweet peppers with mozzarella cheese.
- Add eggwash. Brush the edges of the dough with egg wash. This helps seal the stromboli when you're rolling it up so that the insides don't leak out while it's baking.
- Seal the ends. Fold the short ends over first so that the filling doesn't spill out as it cooks.
- Roll. Then roll/fold the stromboli up and place it seam side down on an overturned prepared baking sheet covered in parchment paper.
- Bake. Slash the top a few times with a sharp knife to help vent the steam as the stromboli cooks. Bake in the preheated oven for 25-30 minutes until browned on top and cooked through.
- Serve. Let rest for 10 minutes before slicing. Serve with marinara sauce or ranch dressing on the side.
For anyone who has never heard of or had stromboli before, it's similar to a calzone, but instead of folding and sealing the edges, a stromboli is rolled up on itself into a cylinder, a little like when you make cinnamon rolls.
You bake it as a log so that all the cheese and toppings stay in the middle.
Wikipedia says that Stromboli probably got its name either from the volcanic island of Stromboli, just off the north coast of Sicily, or from the movie about the island (whose active volcano supposedly inspired J.R. Tolkien when creating the fictional Mount Doom of Mordor in "The Lord of the Rings") that starred Ingrid Bergman in the 1950s.
When distinguishing between stromboli and calzone, the best distinctions I have found are in terms of shape and fillings. Although even then, it sounds like there is no clear-cut quality that sets one apart from the other.
The main difference is their shape. While calzones are more semi-circle, crescent-shaped, like a half moon, stromboli is made in a long cylinder or a log shape.
The other difference is filling and flavor. Stromboli is most frequently filled with Italian cold cuts (think salami, prosciutto, soppressata, and such) and cheese but no sauce. Calzone, on the other hand, has basically anything a pizza might have, including sauce.
Even so, there don't seem to be any hard and fast rules about what goes into one or the other, so if you want to go ahead and fill your stromboli with sauce, you go for it!
Leftover stromboli can be stored in an airtight container or Ziploc bag in the refrigerator for 2-3 days. Allow it to cool to room temperature before putting it in the fridge.
Tips for Success
- It's totally optional to brush the top of the stromboli with egg wash. It gives the finished stromboli a beautiful, glossy brown finish. But I actually prefer no egg wash. It has that drier, slightly rougher, flour-dusted texture and flavor that I associate with pizza parlors. See the difference between the ground beef stromboli pictures (no egg wash) and the sweet peppers and sausage stromboli pictures (with egg wash).
- If you opt to use tomato sauce, you can make marinara sauce from scratch or buy it in a bottle from the store. I typically pick up Classico or Bertolli marinara to have on hand for crazy nights or when I'm just feeling lazy. But you might want to cook it down a bit over medium-low heat until it thickens slightly so it isn't too watery when you put it in the stromboli.
- Preheat your oven for a good 20 minutes or more before putting your stromboli in to cook. Even though ovens say they are preheated, it actually takes longer than most ovens account for in order to fully heat.
- Turn the baking sheet upside down as it will help your stromboli to cook evenly in your home oven if you don't have a pizza stone. This is a trick I use with normal pizzas too.
- Make your favorite homemade pizza dough. This recipe uses a single-batch version of my own pizza dough. Any homemade dough (even store-bought pizza dough) would work. You can easily double the pizza base recipe and make multiple strombolis so that there are leftovers since my family of 4 can easily tackle one stromboli for dinner on our own.
I made two of my favorite homemade stromboli recipe variations for this post: a super basic ground beef, cheese, and pizza sauce combo that was inspired by the Nic-o-boli, and a sweet pepperoni salami stromboli because sweet peppers bring me joy!
Here are some other stromboli fillings that you might want to try: pepperoni, sweet Italian sausage, ham, chicken, thinly sliced steak, fresh spinach, mushrooms, fresh basil, sun-dried tomatoes, artichoke hearts, roasted garlic, or eggplant (stromboli is one of my favorite ways of using eggplant, actually).
Substitutions and Variations
- Pizza base. Use store-bought dough for the base of this pizza roll, or you can even use Italian bread dough.
- Spice it up. Red pepper flakes, jalapenos, or a spicy sauce are all delicious ways to bring heat to this dish.
- Fresh herbs and greens. Add fresh herbs and leafy greens in with the fillings. Alternatively, add them on top of the dough after it's rolled as a garnish to add nutrients and more flavor.
- Garnish. Sprinkle the top with Parmesan cheese and some Italian herbs like dried basil and oregano before baking.
- Cheese. Use your favorite cheeses in Stromboli to create a flavor combination that suits your tastes. Mozzarella cheese is a classic choice, but cheddar, Mexican cheese mix, goat's cheese, or feta would also taste great with the right fillings.
Stromboli makes such a delicious main dish, served with a good salad on the side, like this Spinach, Bacon, and Egg Salad with Creamy Honey Mustard Dressing, or veggies like Roasted Broccoli. It can also be served as an appetizer, dipped in extra marinara or ranch. It's great for game day parties with Toasted Ravioli or Jalapeno Poppers.
More Pizza Night Recipes To Try
- Chicago Deep Dish Pizza
- Four Cheese Pizza with Tomato Basil Arugula Salad
- Chicken Tikka Masala Pizza
- Whole Wheat Veggie Pizza
- Crescent Roll Pizza
Did you make this recipe?
Let me know what you thought with a comment and rating below. You can also take a picture and tag me on Instagram @houseofnasheats or share it on the Pinterest pin so I can see.
Easy Stromboli Recipe
- 1 cup warm water
- ¾ teaspoon sugar
- ½ Tablespoon active dry yeast
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 ¼ to 2 ½ cups all-purpose flour
- 2 Tablespoons olive oil
- ¾ pound ground beef, browned
- 1 ½ cups mozzarella cheese
- ½ cup marinara or pizza sauce
- 1 egg, beaten
- In a large bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook attachment, combine the warm water, sugar, and yeast and let sit for 5 minutes.
- After the yeast has proofed for 5 minutes and is foamy, add the salt and 1 cup of flour and mix well. Continue to add the remaining flour, kneading until smooth for about 5 minutes.
- Use the olive oil to lightly grease a clean bowl and transfer the dough to the bowl, giving it a quick turn to coat in the oil. Cover with plastic wrap and let rest for 30 minutes.
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F for at least 20 minutes. While the oven preheats, roll the dough into a large, thin rectangle. Top with the ground beef, marinara sauce, and mozzarella cheese, leaving a 2-inch border around the sides.
- Brush the border with the egg wash, then fold the short ends over the edges of the filling and roll the stromboli into a cylinder-shaped log.
- Transfer the stromboli to an overturned baking sheet lined with parchment paper with the seam side down. Brush the top with remaining egg wash (if desired) and cut diagonal gashes across the top with a sharp knife. Bake in the preheated oven for 25-30 minutes until browned on top and cooked through.
- Let rest for 10 minutes before slicing. Serve with marinara sauce or ranch dressing on the side.
- Amount: As written, the recipe makes 1 stromboli, which is enough for 4 people as a meal or 8 people as an appetizer. But the recipe easily doubles to make 2 strombolis at a time.
- Storage: Leftover stromboli can be stored in an airtight container or Ziploc bag in the refrigerator for 4-5 days. Allow it to cool to room temperature before putting it in the fridge.
- Sweet Pepper and Salami Stromboli: Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a skillet and sauté ½ sliced onion and 1½ cups sliced sweet peppers until soft. Fill the stromboli with the sautéed vegetables along with some sliced salami and 1½ cups of mozzarella cheese.
More States I Have Visited in my American Eats Series
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