Panzerotti Recipe

Forget boring calzones! If you’re seeking a truly unforgettable Italian experience, look no further than the Panzerotto. These golden-fried pockets of goodness, bursting with savory fillings and oozing with cheese, are a culinary staple in Puglia and beyond. We first encountered these delights at the legendary Luini bakery in Milan, just steps from the Duomo’s grandeur. One bite, and we were hooked. The crispy crust, the melty mozzarella, the explosion of flavors – it was pure magic.

Photo of Jason eating an Authentic Panzerotti in Milan, Italy

But what if you can’t hop on a plane to Italy right now? Fear not, fellow food adventurer! This recipe will transport you to the heart of Puglia, right from your own kitchen. So, let’s ditch the takeout menus and embark on a journey of deliciousness together.

A Bite of History: Panzerotti’s Origins

Legend has it that the Panzerotto was born in the 18th century as a way for farmers to carry a portable, filling lunch. Fast forward to today, and these fried treasures are a beloved street food enjoyed across Italy. Each region boasts its own variations, but the core elements remain constant: a fluffy dough, a savory filling, and a satisfyingly golden crunch.

Photo of pepperoni panzerotti

The Art of Authenticity: Key Ingredients and Ratios

While variations abound, here’s what you’ll need for a classic Apulian-style panzerotti:

  • “00” Flour: This Italian flour is key for a soft, yet slightly chewy dough. Don’t worry if you can’t find it, all-purpose flour will work in a pinch.
  • Active Dry Yeast: This little packet is the magic behind the fluffy dough. Ensure it’s fresh for optimal rise.
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil: A good quality olive oil adds richness and flavor to both the dough and the filling.
  • Tomato Passata: This smooth, unseasoned tomato sauce forms the base of the filling. Opt for a high-quality brand for the best results.
  • Mozzarella Cheese: Freshly grated mozzarella is essential for that irresistible melty goodness. Consider adding ricotta for an extra creamy texture.
  • Seasonings: Salt, pepper, oregano, and a pinch of red pepper flakes create a symphony of flavor in the filling.
Ordering the Panzerotti in Milan

Beyond the Basics: Exploring Panzerotti Variations

This recipe is just the springboard for your panzerotti adventures! Here are some ideas to personalize your experience:

  • Vegetarian Delight: Swap the mozzarella for ricotta and add sautéed vegetables like spinach, peppers, or mushrooms.
  • Meat Lovers Paradise: Include cooked Italian sausage, prosciutto, or Speck ham in your filling.
  • Spice it Up: Add a drizzle of hot sauce or chili flakes for an extra kick.
  • Sweet Surprise: Try a dessert panzerotti filled with Nutella, ricotta or chopped fruit.

At Luini Panzerotti, you can pick up a few hot pies to go in a paper bag. The panzerotti are available both baked and fried, and in both sweet and savory combinations.

Photo of tourists enjoying panzerotti in Milan

History of Luini Panzerotti in Milan

Luini’s panzerotti recipe is a closely guarded secret kept by Giuseppina Luini’s son and grandchildren. Giuseppina moved from Puglia to Milan in 1949, when she opened the family bakery at Via S. Radegonda 16. She was the first person to bring the panzerotto to Milan.

Although Giuseppina first concentrated on making bread for local hotels and restaurants, she wanted to bring a taste of Puglia to Northern Italy. She began making her grandfather’s panzerotti recipe on the side, and the Milanese were hooked.

Today, the bakery draws massive crowds who rave over their savory stuffed pastries.

Luini’s panzerotti fillings might include classic tomato and mozzarella, or perhaps onions, olives and tomato. More unique seasonal choices include tuna, corn and mozzarella — or sausage, sauerkraut and mustard.

Photo of sweet panzerotti pastries

Their sweet panzerotti fillings include ricotta cheese and chocolate, plums, apples and walnuts — or mixed berries with custard. No matter what filling you choose, it’s sure to be delicious!

Panzerotti Fillings

Following are a few combinations that are popular at Luini in Milan. Use the panzerotti recipe below to make your favorite variation!

  • Mozzarella & Tomato
  • Prosciutto & Mozzarella
  • Spinach & Ricotta cheese
  • Spicy Salami & Mozzarella
  • Onion, Olives & Tomato
  • Zucchini & Mozzarella
  • Eggplant, Mozzarella & Tomato 
  • Speck Ham & Fontina cheese
  • String beans & Scamorza cheese
  • Pesto, Tomato & Mozzarella
  • Tuna, Corn & Mozzarella
  • Mushrooms & Ricotta cheese
  • Sausage, Sauerkraut & Mustard
  • Mozzarella, Tomato, Anchovies & Olives

Ready for more Culinary Adventures?

Head over to my YouTube channel for video demonstrations of more than 300 recipes! I’ll guide you through each step, sharing tips and tricks, and revealing insider secrets gleaned from the chefs around the world. Let’s embark on more delicious adventures together! You can also follow me on Facebook, Instagram, TikTok and X!

Photo of pepperoni panzerotti

Panzerotti (Fried Mini Calzones)

Recipe by Jason Hill -
Have you ever tried a panzerotti? During our recent visit to Milan, our tour guide Lele Leoni Dickson took us to Luini Panzerotti where we enjoyed the most delicious street snacks in the city.
No ratings yet
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 5 minutes
Rising Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 35 minutes
Course Appetizer, Main Course
Cuisine Italian
Servings 4


1 Deep Fryer or Heavy Bottomed Sauce Pot for frying


  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 ounce active dry yeast
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 2 cups 00 Caputo flour or all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt

Sample Panzerotti Fillings:

  • Mozzarella & Tomato
  • Prosciutto & Mozzarella
  • Spinach & Ricotta cheese
  • Spicy Salami & Mozzarella
  • Mozzarella, Tomato, Anchovies & Olives


  • Combine olive oil, yeast and water into a bowl of your Kitchen Aid stand mixer. Let yeast dissolve, about 5 minutes.
  • Whisk together the flour and salt in another mixing bowl.
  • Run mixer on low speed and add flour to the yeast mixture. Continue mixing about 8 minutes, or until the dough is smooth.
  • Place dough in a bowl lightly greased with olive oil. Brush the dough with a little more olive oil and cover the bowl with plastic wrap.
  • Let the dough rise at room temperature until it doubles in size, about 1 hour.
  • Place the dough on a floured work surface and knead for a few minutes.
  • Cut dough into six even pieces, and roll into round 1/2-inch circles.
  • Add your desired filling and and fold the dough over into a half-moon shape.
  • Seal the edges with your fingers or a fork so the filling is secure.
  • Place the filled panzerotti in a floured casserole dish and cover with a towel as you prepare the oil.
  • Fry panzerotti in a deep fryer until golden brown. Alternatively, you can fry them in a large sauce pot with at least 1 inch of oil over medium-high heat.
Let's get cooking!Subscribe to my cooking videos on YouTube at @ChefTips!
Keyword Italy, pizza, pizza dough
Join me on Facebook!Like and follow @ChefTips on all social media!

AboutJason Hill

Hi, I’m Jason Hill, host of YouTube’s “Chef Tips” series. I graduated from culinary school in 1998, and gained my experience working the lines in Southern California. I launched my cooking videos in 2007. I love sharing quick and easy recipes that get people back in the kitchen.

Leave a Reply