Alternative names Panzarotti, calzoni fritti, fritte, frittelle
Type Savoury pie, turnover
Place of origin Italy
Region or state Apulia
Main ingredients Tomato, mozzarella
Cookbook: Panzerotti  Media: Panzerotti

A panzerotto (Italian: [pantseˈrɔtto]) ( listen ), also known as panzarotto[1] (Italian: [pantsaˈrɔtto]), is a savory turnover which resembles a small calzone, both in shape and in the dough used for its preparation. The term usually applies to a fried turnover rather than an oven-baked pastry (i.e. a calzone),[2] though calzoni and panzerotti are often mistaken for each other.[2][3][4][5]

Panzerotto originates in Central and Southern Italian cuisine but is now popular in the United States and Canada as well, where it is often called panzerotti ( listen ) or panzarotti as a singular noun (plural panzerotties/panzarotties or panzarottis/panzarottis).[6]


The noun panzerotto comes from a diminutive of panza, a regional variation of Italian pancia ("belly, tummy"), referring to the distinctive swelling of the pastry which reminds of belly bloating in a figurative sense.[7]

Albeit etymologically related, the word pansoti (Italian: [panˈsɔti]) refers to a totally different food from panzerotti, denoting a kind of ravioli which is typical of Genoa.


Boiled panzerotti

Panzerotti originated in Central and Southern Italy, especially in the Apulian cuisine. They are basically small versions of calzoni but are usually fried rather than oven-baked, that is why they are also known as calzoni fritti ("fried calzones") or pizze fritte ("fried pizzas") in Italy, most typically in Campania. In parts of Apulia, such as Molfetta and Mola di Bari (both in the Metropolitan City of Bari),[8] panzerotti also go by the name of frittelle or frittelli ("fritters"),[9][10][11] while in Brindisi they are known as fritte (a local variation of frittelle).[12] One can also find boiled panzerotti, similar to ravioli.

The most common fillings for this turnover are tomato and mozzarella, but spinach, mushrooms, baby corn and ham are often used. Another filling is onions stir fried in olive oil and seasoned with salted anchovies and capers, a seasoning which, mixed with bread, is also used for stuffed bell peppers in Apulia.

A different recipe for panzerotti is panzerotti di patate ("potato panzerottis"), a specialty from Salento which consists of mashed potato croquettes rather than panzerotti as the term is most typically intended.[13]

North America

Panzerotti are also consumed in the United States and North America as a whole, where they were imported by Southern Italian immigrants at the time of the Italian diaspora.

As for their shape and texture, they can come in various sizes, from 4 to 12 inches (10 to 30 cm), and are most commonly semicircular. They consist of a pocket of dough filled with varying amounts of melted mozzarella cheese, tomato sauce and any reasonable number of fillings, which is then wrapped, salted and deep-fried. Panzerotto rises during this process, creating a pocket containing a considerable amount of steam which should be partially released prior to eating.


Since the mid-1960s, panzerotti have been a popular fast food item in Canada. Commercialized frozen versions are called Pizza Pockets or Pizza Pops.

Pizza puff

Pizza puff

A pizza puff is a deep-fried dough pocket filled with cheese, tomato sauce, and other pizza ingredients such as sausage. Indigenous to Chicago, pizza puffs can be found at some casual dining restaurants there.[14][15][16][17]

See also


  1. ""Panzarotto" or "panzerotto"". Vocabolario Treccani. Treccani, la cultura italiana. Retrieved 2015-12-05.
  2. 1 2 "La vera ricetta dei panzerotti pugliesi". 2009-03-03. Retrieved 2015-12-05.
  3. Sarkar, Suhashini (June 29, 2015). "Panzerotti: The Empanada’s Italian Cousin", Saveur. Retrieved February 13, 2016.
  4. Minchilli, Elizabeth (December 11, 2014). "Making Panzerotti in Barivecchia", Elizabeth Minchilli in Rome. Retrieved February 13, 2016.
  5. "Deep Fried Panzerotti", Retrieved February 13, 2016.
  6. As it happens with many loanwords from the Italian language, in particular with nouns referring to food (e.g. macaroni, panini, zucchini, etc.).
  7. "Panzerotto". Garzanti Linguistica. Retrieved 2015-12-05.
  8. "Panzerotti", Culinaria Italia. Retrieved February 13, 2016.
  9. "Quindici OnLine - L'informazione a Molfetta - Tradizioni molfettesi: Tra le frittelle di San Martino e il ricordo di un lettore di Quindici". Retrieved 2013-05-15.
  10. "Degustazione di frittelle al Centro polivalente per disabili". 2006-10-27. Retrieved 2013-05-15.
  11. Molfetta - Wikipedia, Retrieved 2013-05-15
  12. "Panzerotti fritti: i migliori 10 del Salento". 2014-06-10. Retrieved 2015-12-06.
  13. "Spizzica in Salento....: panzerotti di patate salentini". 2012-02-27. Retrieved 2015-12-06.
  14. "Pizza Puff: Your New Favorite Fried Pizza Product", American Fun Fact of the Day, July 2, 2015. Retrieved February 13, 2016.
  15. Kuban, Adam (December 15, 2010). "What Is a Pizza Puff"?, Serious Eats. Retrieved February 13, 2016.
  16. Pirnia, Garin (February 15, 2015). "15 Foods Invented (or Perfected) in Chicago Besides Deep Dish Pizza", Mental Floss. Retrieved February 13, 2016.
  17. Zemans, Daniel (August 12, 2009). "Albano's Pizzeria in Cicero: The Biggest and Best Pizza Puff in Chicago", Serious Eats. Retrieved July 24, 2016.
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