These gluten free calzones, packed with all your favorite fillings and flavors, are the ultimate comfort food. They even reheat beautifully.
What makes this gluten free calzones recipe special?
Once you have a reliable recipe for gluten free pizza dough, there’s an argument to be made that you don’t need a separate recipe for calzones.
But if you’ve ever seen most of the glutenfree calzones recipes out there, you’ll notice that they’re too pale, and the dough is just too thick.
I make calzones for my family with a just-right crust, in the just-right way. It browns deeply, and the filling shines.
When the crust is too thick, the filling gets overwhelmed. That’s just not the way I remember calzones from the pizza place.
This is the way I remember calzones were. The way they should be…
The gluten free pizza crust that works best
If you’re interested in the science of gluten free baking, read this section. Otherwise, keep scrolling for the recipe.
Like any bread-based recipe, using a pizza crust recipe with the right hydration ratio is super important. The hydration ratio is the ratio of water to flour weight in bread.
(Remember that 1 fluid ounce (volume) of water is equal to 1 ounce (weight) of water. And 1 ounce = 28 grams.)
The higher the hydration number, the more water is in the dough, and (typically) the softer it will be. Gluten free baking typically calls for higher hydration values overall, since our flours soak up more water in general. But there’s still a range.
Our recipe for basic gluten free pizza crust would work, of course, but it would make a crust that is slightly thicker than perfect—and still drier. That recipe has a hydration ratio of about 60%.
Remember that we’re making a pizza pocket. Calzones are like a whole pizza, folded in half, so the crust is doubled in every bite. You don’t want just a mouthful of dough.
Our recipe for NY style pizza crust is lovely, but it’s way (way) too soft to shape into a calzone. Its hydration ratio is 84%. That’s high.
The pizza recipe here is in the middle, at 70%. It’s just right. We can shape it, and it rises beautifully in the oven—but it isn’t doughy.
Tapioca starch/flour and sweet white rice flour
I’ve always loved baking with tapioca starch/flour. Its only flaw is that it is sometimes referred to as tapioca starch, other times tapioca flour, indiscriminately.
But tapioca starch is unique among starches, as it gives gluten free baked goods stretch and bite. It also helps them crisp in the oven.
Plus, it’s inexplicably Paleo, so it makes all my Paleo recipes better. By the way, yes that seems ridiculous, but I don’t make the rules.
What is sweet white rice flour?
Sweet white rice flour is also known as glutinous rice flour, but as long as it’s milled properly and not contaminated, is gluten free. It’s made from short grain white rice.
When you ask if you can eliminate it in my recipes, the answer is always no. Removing rice is like removing gluten. It turns everything completely upside down.
But sweet white rice flour, since it’s made from short grain white rice, behaves a bit like tapioca starch. I’ve been making homemade rice noodles, and tapioca starch and sweet white rice flour seemed nearly interchangeable in that application.
Cheers to a sometime substitute for tapioca starch. Tapioca starch, I still love you very much.
Ingredients and substitutions
You cannot make this pizza dough without yeast. Try using our recipe for yeast free gluten free pizza dough in its place.
If you’d like to replace the instant yeast with active dry yeast, you’ll need to use 25% more yeast (multiply the amount of instant yeast by 1.25) and hydrate the yeast separately. Then, add it to the rest of the dough ingredients.
GF Flour/tapioca starch
Be careful, as always, when selecting your all purpose gluten free flour blend. Please click the link in the ingredients list and familiarize yourself with what works and what doesn’t.
I highly recommend using Better Batter (or my mock blend) in this recipe. But my other all purpose blends should work.
I’ve tested this recipe with superfine sweet white rice flour, gram for gram, as a replacement for tapioca starch/flour. I’m happy to report that it works quite well. Please see the full discussion above.
There is quite a lot of dairy in the filling, but none in the pizza crust. You can try using dairy-free versions of all the ingredients, if you have access to them.
I really like Violife dairy free cheeses, especially since they have so many available varieties. Their smoky cheeses actually taste quite similar to their conventional counterparts.
I include an egg in the filling because it really helps hold the ricotta cheese together in the oven. Otherwise, the cheese is more likely to leak out.
If you can’t have eggs, try using much less ricotta, and less filling over all. Eliminate the egg. For the egg wash, just use cream.