Homemade Panzerotti

published Dec 16, 2021
Panzerotti Recipe

Homemade pizza hot pockets better than anything from the freezer case.

Makes8 (about 6-inch) panzerotti

Prep35 minutes to 40 minutes

Cook16 minutes

Jump to Recipe
We independently select these products—if you buy from one of our links, we may earn a commission. All prices were accurate at the time of publishing.
panzerotti split open with cheese pull on plate
Credit: Photo: Christopher Testani; Food Styling: Jesse Szewczyk

I was introduced to panzerotti, a marvelous precursor to the hot pocket, on a trip to Milan a few years ago, and have never forgotten it. Panzerotti are deep-fried filled Italian dough pockets that are crunchy on the outside but pillowy and gooey with melted cheese on the inside — a guaranteed hit the next time you want to shake up pizza night. In this recipe, we use Faith’s grilled pizza dough since it’s so easy to work with, and stuff the panzerotti with diced fresh mozzarella cheese, crushed tomatoes, and oregano.

Who Invented Panzerotti?

Panzerotti were invented in central and southern Italy, but can now be found in other parts of the country.

Credit: Photo: Christopher Testani; Food Styling: Jesse Szewczyk

What’s the Difference Between Calzones, Panzerotti, and Stromboli? 

While similar in shape and filling, calzones are baked and panzerotti are deep-fried. Stromboli differs in that the filling is rolled up in the dough in a tight coil before being baked. It’s also often served sliced.

What Should I Serve with Panzerotti?

Serve panzerotti with a simple green salad and a glass of wine for a simple yet satisfying meal.

Panzerotti Recipe

Homemade pizza hot pockets better than anything from the freezer case.

Prep time 35 minutes to 40 minutes

Cook time 16 minutes

Makes 8 (about 6-inch) panzerotti

Nutritional Info

Ingredients

For the dough:

  • 3/4 cup

    plus 2 tablespoons warm water (100 to 110ºF)

  • 1 tablespoon

    granulated sugar

  • 1 (1/4-ounce) packet

    active dry or instant yeast (2 1/4 teaspoons)

  • 2 tablespoons

    olive oil, plus more for the bowl

  • 2 1/2 cups

    all-purpose flour, plus more for rolling

  • 2 teaspoons

    kosher salt

For the filling and frying:

  • 8 ounces

    fresh mozzarella cheese (not low moisture)

  • 1/2 cup

    tomato purée, tomato passata, or strained tomatoes

  • 3/4 teaspoon

    dried oregano

  • 1/2 teaspoon

    kosher salt

  • 3 cups

    canola, vegetable, or safflower oil, for deep frying

Instructions

Make the dough:

  1. Place 3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons warm water in the bowl of a stand mixer (or large bowl if kneading by hand). Sprinkle with 1 tablespoon granulated sugar and 1 packet active or instant dry yeast, stir to combine, and let sit until foamy, about 5 minutes.

  2. Add 2 tablespoons olive oil and stir to combine. Add 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour and 2 teaspoons kosher salt. Mix with the dough hook attachment on the lowest speed until a mostly smooth dough forms that doesn’t not stick to the sides of the bowl, 6 to 7 minutes. (If kneading by hand, stir the dough together until shaggy, then transfer to a work surface and knead by hand until smooth, about 3 minutes.)

  3. Remove the dough from the bowl and lightly coat the bowl with olive oil. Return the dough to the bowl. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap or a kitchen towel and let rise in a warm place until puffed and increased in bulk by about 1 1/2 times, 1 to 1 1/2 hours. Meanwhile, make the filling.

Make the filling:

  1. Drain and pat 8 ounces fresh mozzarella cheese dry with a paper towel. Cut into small dice (about 1 1/2 cups). Place in a medium bowl, add 1/2 cup tomato passata or purée, 3/4 teaspoon dried oregano, and 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, and stir to combine. Divide the filling into 8 portions (2 slightly heaping tablespoons each) and place on a large plate. Refrigerate until ready to assemble.

Assemble and fry:

  1. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Gently punch down the dough and divide into 8 (2 1/2 to 3-ounce) portions. Working with 1 piece at a time, roll the dough in tight circles against an unfloured work surface while pressing slightly down. When you feel the dough start to tighten and smooth out, continue rolling it in a circular motion, but slowly lift your fingers to form a cage around the dough with your fingertips brushing the work surface. When a fairly smooth ball forms, stop and place the ball on the baking sheet. Loosely cover the dough balls with plastic wrap.

  2. Lightly flour a work surface and rolling pin or dowel. Working with one dough ball at a time, roll and stretch it into a 6-inch round about 1/8-inch thick. Place one portion of the filling onto the center of the round and flatten slightly. Fold each round in half, making sure the top half completely covers the bottom half and pressing out as much air as possible.

  3. Press down to seal the edges together. Pick up the panzerotto and roll the rounded edge under itself by about 1/4 inch. Place back on the work surface and seal the rounded edge further by pressing down with the tines of a fork. Return to the baking sheet, keeping the dough balls and panzerotti under the plastic wrap at all times. Start heating the oil when you have filled half the panzerotti.

  4. Heat 3 cups canola oil in a Dutch oven or 10-inch high-sided skillet over medium-high heat until 350ºF. Fit a wire rack over a second baking sheet. Fry the panzerotti in batches of 2: Add to the hot oil and fry until golden brown, flipping once, 1 1/2 to 2 minutes per side. Use a spider or slotted spoon to transfer to the wire rack. Let cool 5 minutes before serving.

Recipe Notes

Using pizza dough: You can use store-bought pizza dough for the panzerotti (they might be chewier depending on the type of dough). You will need 1 1/4 pounds dough to make the full recipe; if you only have 1 pound of dough, divide it into 6 pieces instead (you will have leftover filling). Let the pizza dough come to room temperature before using. If the dough is hard to work with, let it rest for a few minutes for the gluten to relax before trying again.

Smaller panzerotti: For smaller, appetizer portions of panzerotti, divide the dough into 16 pieces and roll each into a 4-inch round. Fill each with 1 slightly heaping tablespoon of the filling and fry 4 at a time.

Storage: Leftovers can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 4 days or frozen for up to 2 months. Reheat in a 300ºF oven until warmed through, about 15 minutes if refrigerated or 30 minutes if frozen.