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A panzerotti from the Luini bakery in Milan
Alternative namesPanzarotti, calzoni fritti, fritte, frittelle
TypeSavoury pie, turnover
Place of originItaly
Region or stateApulia
Main ingredientsTomato, mozzarella

A panzerotto (Italian: [pantseˈrɔtto] (About this soundlisten)), also known as panzarotto[1] (IPA: [pantsaˈrɔtto]) plural panzerotti (IPA: [pantseˈrɔtti] (About this soundlisten)), is a savory turnover which resembles a small calzone, both in shape and 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] The best way to describe a panzerotti is a pizza, but deep fried.

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 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 resembles a belly bloating.[7]

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


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]

The most common fillings for this turnover are tomato and mozzarella, but spinach, mushrooms, baby corn and ham are often used. Peeled whole tomatoes are drained and dried to be used as a filling as using non dried tomatoes will cause the dough to rip due to the moisture. Another filling is onions sauteed in olive oil and seasoned with salted anchovies and capers.

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[edit]

Panzerotti are also consumed in North America, 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),[original research?] 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 folded over, 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.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ ""Panzarotto" or "panzerotto"". Vocabolario Treccani. Treccani, la cultura italiana. Retrieved 2015-12-05.
  2. ^ a b "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[circular reference]
  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.