Beef Braciole Recipe

4.54 from 627 votes
2 hours 30 minutes
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Beef Braciole (Braciola) is a classic, hearty, homestyle Italian-American dish perfect for a cozy Sunday dinner or whenever you want to make an impression!  Thin slices of beef surround a savory filling slowly braised in a wine-infused sauce for a comforting yet elegant dish.

“Could not get enough of it! Doubled the recipe as there were nine of us, and it all went. Some even got some bread and wiped the dish clean!” — Pinterest Review

Beef Braciole in oval white serving dish with serving spoon on blue striped towel.

What is Braciole?

Beef Braciole (also known as braciola, involtini, or bruciuluni in Sicilian) is a traditional Italian-American roulade made with thinly sliced beef, such as a top round, rolled around a flavorful filling. Sometimes, a larger cut, like flank steak, is used. Pork is another meat that is occasionally used.

An authentic Italian braciola filling usually consists of breadcrumbs, cheese, garlic, herbs, and sometimes cured meats like prosciutto or pancetta. Depending on the cook preparing it, it may include raisins, pinenuts, or spinach.

The beef braciole rolls are then secured with kitchen twine or toothpicks, browned, and slow-braised in a tomato-based sauce, often infused with wine and sometimes aromatic vegetables. The slow cooking tenderizes the beef, resulting in a rich, comforting dish.

Beef Braciole is featured prominently in an episode of Everybody Loves Raymond as the only dish Ray Barone’s wife, Debra, could make.

No matter what you fill it with or which cut you make it with, Beef Braciole is a delicious, hearty, Italian-style dish you’ll love!

Why This Recipe is a Keeper!

I adapted this Beef Braciole recipe from one in The Sopranos Family Cookbook.  A client, who was a show fan, requested I prepare that specific recipe.

A couple of tweaks later, this recipe for Italian braciole has been a favorite on my personal chef menu ever since. Since I first published it, it has been pinned almost 100,000 times and has received hundreds of 4—and 5-star ratings—the most of any Beef Braciole recipe on the internet!

This Beef Braciole recipe:

  • Is a little picky, but it is easy overall and does not require difficult techniques. Once you make it, you’ll agree it wasn’t difficult.
  • It can be made ahead at various stages. See the FAQs below for all the info.
  • Reheats beautifully and, like most braised meat recipes, often tastes better the next day.
  • Freezes, thaws, and reheats perfectly.

Here’s how to make authentic Italian Beef Braciole!

Beef Braciole cut in half to expose filling.

How to Make Beef Braciole:

Recipe Ingredients:

Here’s everything you’ll need to make this Beef Braciole recipe and instructions for preparing the ingredients. The exact quantities are on the recipe card below.

Ingredients for Beef Braciole.

Ingredient Notes and Substitutions:

  • Beef Top Round: The top round is one of the most budget-friendly cuts of beef and is perfect for Italian braciole meat. It’s very lean and tough and comes from the well-exercised portions of the leg and rump. The top round is often roasted and sliced for roast beef. However, thinly slicing and pounding the meat before cooking, as in this beef braciole recipe, results in the same tenderness. Thinly sliced sirloin roast will also work. The top round cut I purchased from my local Kroger was labeled “Milanesa,” so it was meant for Beef Braciole.
  • Prosciutto: Also known as Parma ham, both domestic (U.S. produced) and imported from Italy are available near the deli section of your grocery store. Domestic is fine for this recipe; you’ll save a little money.
  • Italian Breadcrumbs: Also called seasoned dry breadcrumbs, they’re dry breadcrumbs with Italian seasonings such as oregano, garlic, and parsley added.
  • Italian Seasoning: This kitchen staple generally includes dried basil, dried oregano, dried rosemary, dried thyme, and dried marjoram.
  • Dry Red Wine: When cooking with wine, you want to use a wine you enjoy drinking. It doesn’t need to be expensive, but a bad wine will only yield a bad result. I like to use a Cabernet because I like the full flavor, but a Pinot Noir or Merlot, which are lighter, will also work. NON-ALCOHOLIC SUBSTITUTION: Substitute beef broth with 2 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar. Add more to taste after the beef is cooked. Red wine vinegar is another option.
  • Crushed Tomatoes: Use the best canned crushed tomatoes you can afford, like San Marzano. I like Mutti for the best fresh Italian tomato flavor. San Marzano tomatoes are more expensive, however, the investment is worth it.

Step-By-Step Instructions:

  • Gather and prep all the ingredients.
  • Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
  • Cut the top-round slices in half widthwise to have 12 equal pieces.
  • Place the beef on a cutting board or other flat surface.
  • Place a zipper-top bag over each beef slice and gently pound to 1/4 to 1/8-inch thickness.
  • Mince 4 cloves of garlic; slice the remaining 8 cloves.
  • In a small bowl, combine the minced garlic, parsley, cheese, breadcrumbs, salt, and black pepper to taste.
  • Place a prosciutto slice over each piece of beef, then sprinkle the filling evenly over the prosciutto (2 to 3 tablespoons per slice).
  • Roll the beef into a cylinder, tucking in the sides to hold the filling as you roll. Secure with toothpicks.
12 completed Beef Braciole rolls on white cutting board before being browned.
  • Heat the olive oil in a Dutch oven or large pot over medium-high heat.
  • Working in two batches of six each, place the beef rolls in the pot, seam side down first, which will help to seal it. Cook, turning the meat occasionally until each roll is nicely browned on all sides, adjusting the heat as necessary to prevent burning. Transfer to a plate and repeat with the remaining six rolls.
Six beef rolls in white Dutch oven after being browned.
  • Add the wine to the Dutch oven. Bring to a boil, scraping up any browned bits. Let the wine boil for 2 to 3 minutes to reduce it and cook off some alcohol.
Red wine added to white Dutch oven after beef rolls are browned.
  • Add beef broth, tomatoes, sliced garlic, and Italian seasoning. Return the beef rolls to the pot and bring back to a simmer.
  • Place a dampened piece of parchment paper (or aluminum foil) over the Dutch oven, then place the cover over the pot.
  • Place in the oven and cook for 1 1/2 to 2 hours, turning the rolls after 1 hour. (My sweet spot for tenderness is usually around 1 hour and 45 minutes.) >>>STOVETOP: Cover and cook on low heat, occasionally turning until beef is tender and easily pierced with a fork, about 1 1/2 hours. >>>SLOW COOKER: 3 to 4 hours on high, 5 to 6 hours on medium, or 7 to 8 hours on low.
  • Transfer the beef braciole to a platter and tent with foil to keep warm. Remove the toothpicks.
  • Place the pot back on the stove. Put the flour in a heat-proof bowl, then remove some hot cooking liquid. Stir until smooth to create a slurry. Slowly add the slurry to the liquid in the pot, bring to a simmer, and cook until thickened.
  • Season with salt and black pepper to taste.
  • Add a pinch of sugar if needed.
  • Pour the sauce over the beef rolls on the platter. Garnish with chopped fresh parsley.
  • Serve over pasta, potatoes, or polenta with additional grated cheese, if desired.
Fully cooked Beef Braciole in white oval dish garnished with fresh parsley.
  • That’s it!! Authentic Italian Beef Braciole!

Chef Tips and Tricks:

  • When pounding/tenderizing braciole meat, place a zipper-top plastic bag over it. The double thickness will stand up to pounding all 12 pieces. You can use plastic wrap, however, it’s flimsy and tears easily.
  • If your work surface is large enough and you can spread some freezer or parchment paper out, the pounding, stuffing, and rolling will go faster if you have all 12 pieces in front of you. That enables you to see how much filling is on each piece. At the very least, spread six out and divide half the filling among the pieces. I never directly place raw meat or poultry on my countertop for food safety reasons.
  • Sealing the cooking vessel before placing it in the oven is key so the liquid doesn’t evaporate too much. Some reduction will take place. To do that, crumple up a piece of parchment paper and run it under the faucet. Shake off the excess, place it over the top of the cooking vessel, put the lid on, and place it in the oven. You can also do this with aluminum foil.
Beef Braciole in oval white serving dish with serving spoon on blue striped towel.

Money-Saving Tip:

  • Use domestic prosciutto rather than Italian imported prosciutto.
  • If you have a meat slicer, buy a whole top round roast and slice it yourself. The price can increase when a market or grocery store adds a prep step. First, place the roast in the freezer for 45 minutes to an hour, which makes it very easy to slice. Another benefit to doing it yourself is the slices will all be even width.
Beef Braciole in oval white serving dish with serving spoon

Frequently Asked Questions:

How do you make Italian Beef Braciole on the stovetop?

To cook braciole in a pot on the stovetop, cover and cook on low heat, occasionally turning until beef is tender and easily pierced with a fork, about 1 1/2 hours. Be careful that it doesn’t boil because boiled meat is tough. It should be low, slow, and consistent. If cooking Beef Braciole on the stovetop, you may not need the flour to thicken the sauce as it will reduce as it simmers.

Can you cook Beef Braciole in a slow cooker?

Yes, absolutely! Assemble, brown, and deglaze as directed. Place in your slow cooker, and cook 3 to 4 hours on high, 5 to 6 hours on medium, or 7 to 8 hours on low. Keep in mind low cookers tend to water down flavor because of the steam produced. Prop the lid up towards the end to allow some of the steam to escape and the flavor to concentrate.

Can you make Beef Braciole ahead of time?

Yes! Beef Braciole can be made ahead at several stages.
>>>Get the beef braciole/rolls/roulades assembled to the point of browning. Cover and refrigerate. When ready to cook, proceed with the browning and braising.
>>>Get everything done to the point of placing it in the oven. Cool the liquid, place the meat in the braising liquid and refrigerate. When ready to cook, place it in the oven. You’ll need to add extra time if the pot is cold out of the refrigerator.
>>>Get everything cooked, cooled, and refrigerate until needed. When ready to serve, reheat in the oven, stovetop, or slow cooker. This is how I did it for my personal chef clients.

Can you freeze Beef Braciole?

Sure can! Cool thoroughly, then place in an airtight container.  Store in the freezer for 1 to 2 months.  Thaw in the refrigerator, then reheat in a 350-degree oven until heated.

Beef Braciole cut in half to expose filling.

Storage:

  • Store any leftovers in the refrigerator. Reheat in the oven or toaster oven at 350 degrees until hot.

Serve with:

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Beef Braciole in oval white serving dish with serving spoon.

Beef Braciole Recipe

4.54 from 627 votes

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By: Carol | From A Chef’s Kitchen
Beef Braciole (Braciola) is a classic, hearty, homestyle Italian-American dish perfect for a cozy Sunday dinner or whenever you want to make an impression!  Thin slices of beef surround a savory filling slowly braised in a wine-infused sauce for a comforting yet elegant dish.
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 2 hours
Total Time 2 hours 30 minutes
Course Beef
Cuisine Italian
Servings 6
Calories 570 kcal

Ingredients
  

  • 6 thin slices boneless top round - about 2 pounds, preferably sliced 1/8-inch to 1/4-inch but no more
  • 12 large cloves garlic
  • 1/2 cup chopped Italian (flat-leaf) parsley - (approximately 1 small bunch), plus more for garnish
  • 1 cup shredded Parmesan or Romano cheese - plus more for serving if desired
  • 2 tablespoons seasoned dry breadcrumbs
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper - to taste
  • 12 thin slices prosciutto
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 cups dry red wine
  • 2 cups beef broth
  • 1 can (28-ounce) crushed tomatoes - preferably a good imported Italian brand such as Mutti
  • 2 teaspoons dried Italian seasoning
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • Pinch sugar - if needed

Instructions
 

  • Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
  • Cut the top-round slices in half widthwise to have 12 equal pieces. Place the beef on a cutting board or other flat surface. Place a zipper-top bag over each beef slice and gently pound to 1/4 to 1/8-inch thickness.
  • Mince 4 cloves of garlic; slice the remaining 8 cloves.
  • In a small bowl, combine the minced garlic, parsley, cheese, breadcrumbs, salt, and black pepper to taste.
  • Place a prosciutto slice over each piece of beef, then sprinkle the filling evenly over the prosciutto (2-3 tablespoons per slice).
  • Roll the beef into a cylinder, tucking in the sides to hold in the filling as you roll. Secure with toothpicks.
  • Heat the olive oil in a Dutch oven or large pot over medium-high heat. Working in two batches of six each, place the beef rolls in the pot, seam side down first, which will help to seal it. Cook, turning the meat occasionally until each roll is nicely browned on all sides, adjusting the heat as necessary to prevent burning. Transfer to a plate and repeat with the remaining six rolls.
  • Add the wine to the Dutch oven. Bring to a boil, scraping up any browned bits. Let the wine boil for 2-3 minutes to reduce it and cook off some alcohol.
  • Add beef broth, tomatoes, sliced garlic, and Italian seasoning. Return the beef rolls to the pot and bring back to a simmer.
  • Place a dampened piece of parchment paper (or aluminum foil) over the Dutch oven, then place the cover over the pot. Place in the oven and cook for 1 1/2-2 hours, turning the rolls after 1 hour. (My sweet spot for tenderness is usually around 1 hour and 45 minutes). STOVETOP: Cover and cook on low heat, occasionally turning until beef is tender and easily pierced with a fork, about 1 1/2 hours. SLOW COOKER: 3-4 hours on high, 5-6 hours on medium, or 7-8 hours on low. Prop the lid up towards the end to allow some of the steam to escape and the flavor to concentrate.
  • Transfer the beef braciole to a platter and tent with foil to keep warm. Remove the toothpicks.
  • Place the pot back on the stove. Put the flour in a heat-proof bowl, then remove some of the hot cooking liquid. Stir until smooth to create a slurry. Slowly add the slurry to the liquid in the pot, bring to a slow simmer, and cook until thickened.
  • Season with salt and black pepper to taste. Add a pinch of sugar if needed. Pour the sauce over the beef rolls on the platter. Garnish with chopped fresh parsley. Serve over pasta, potatoes, or polenta with additional grated cheese if desired.

VIDEO

Notes

If cooking on the stovetop, you may not need the flour to thicken the sauce because of how the sauce will reduce.
MAKE AHEAD:
  • >>>Get the beef braciole/rolls/roulades assembled to the point of browning. Cover and refrigerate. When ready to cook, proceed with the browning and braising.
    >>>Get everything done to the point of placing it in the oven. Cool the liquid, place the meat in the braising liquid and refrigerate. When ready to cook, place it in the oven. You’ll need to add extra time if the pot is cold out of the refrigerator.
    >>>Cook and cool everything, then refrigerate until needed. When ready to serve, reheat in the oven, stovetop, or slow cooker.
FREEZER-FRIENDLY:  Cool thoroughly, then place in an airtight container.  Store in the freezer for 1-2 months.  Thaw in the refrigerator, then reheat in a 350-degree oven until heated.

Nutrition

Serving: 2 | Calories: 570kcal | Carbohydrates: 8g | Protein: 63g | Fat: 24g | Saturated Fat: 8g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 11g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 163mg | Sodium: 832mg | Potassium: 1006mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 584IU | Vitamin C: 9mg | Calcium: 275mg | Iron: 6mg

These are estimated values generated from a nutritional database using unbranded products. Please do your own research with the products you’re using if you have a serious health issue or are following a specific diet.

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4.54 from 627 votes (589 ratings without comment)

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220 Comments

  1. I’d like to make a double batch for us [8 rolls], so can the rolls be frozen? Cooked or uncooked? If cooked, plain or covered in sauce? Thank you.

    1. Hi, Betty, Thanks much for your question. I would recommend you cook everything as the recipe states, cool everything completely, then freeze it. Thaw in the refrigerator and reheat in the oven at 350 or so. Thanks so much and hope you enjoy!

  2. 5 stars
    Made this tonight and it was amazing. Waaaaay different from the braciole my mother used to make, hers more of a spaghetti sauce than what this is, but this was better. Will definitely make again as my family has requested/commanded that.

    1. Hi, John, Thanks so very much and happy everyone enjoyed! I wonder if your mother made more of a “Sunday” sauce; braciole is sometimes included. Thanks again!

    1. My Italian-born grandfather made Braciole too, but the sauce was a marinara with pasta. I just made this and it’s cooking now; I can’t wait to eat it and serve it to my family! But I’m not sure what to eat with it since it’s not a spaghetti type of sauce… or maybe it will still work with pasta…or rice… we shall see lol

      1. Hi, Tamara, Thanks so very much and I am hoping everyone enjoys it. I think it’s good with a hearty pasta such as rigatoni or with polenta. Also great with potatoes! Thanks again!

  3. 3 stars
    Actually, redact my earlier one star review. Reheated, this is EXCELLENT — I just found it a little more difficult than the description stated. Taste – five stars, protocol – one star.

    1. Hi, Jan, Thanks so very much!! I totally get it. Braised dishes often do well with a little time to sit and for the flavors to meld. It’s why I always tell readers to let soups sit for a bit before serving. I really appreciate your coming back to tell me. If you find a way to simplify it, please let me know that, too. Thanks again!

    1. This is an excellent recipe and really authentic. You obviously have no taste for the good stuff!!! Actually, this is an EASY recipe to make!!! You might just want to stick to those microwave meals and call it good…. lol. Have a great day.

      1. Hi, Heidi, Thanks so much and so happy you love this recipe!! People have different levels of cooking knowledge so perhaps that’s it? Thanks again so very much!!

  4. I’m going to cook this in my oven tonight. If I cooked it longer than 2 hours would the meat get tough? I used top round with my own sauce and added wine and beef broth. Tastes amazing!

    1. Hi, Germaine, Thanks so much for your question. You should be okay at 325 degrees. You could also check them at 1.5 hours and see how they’re doing. If they’re nice and tender, just turn the heat off and let them stay in the oven; they’ll stay hot in that liquid and the residual heat of the oven. Thanks again and hope you enjoy!

    2. I made my rolls that were a bit bigger I think and I changed the sauce a bit. I added sautéed onions and carrots and some minced basil to the sauce. I cooked mine for 2 hours. I removed the rolls and cut the butchers twine off the rolls. I used my immersion blender to blend the veggies into the sauce smoother and put the rolls back into sauce, placed back in oven at 300 degrees for another 30 min and it came out tender with thicker sauce that didn’t need flour. It was very tasty. I put it over thick twisted Gentile Gragnino Napoli pasta.

      1. Hi, Susan, Thanks so very much! Love that you own an immersion blender–they’re so handy! Great tip to puree the veggies to thicken the sauce without flour. Thanks again!

  5. 5 stars
    Simpler and more flavorful than a lot of other recipes I’ve made, which is a win-win for the cook and his wife!

    After having made it a few times I’ve tweaked things to my preference: I add minced shallots and rosemary to the stuffing and use the trimmings from the beef to start the sauce. I also drape the outside in a fairly thin slice of pancetta. Instead of toothpicks I use butcher’s twine to tie little parcels that are easy to remove after cooking with kitchen shears. I strain the sauce and just before serving I add just a few drops of lemon juice (or sherry or red wine vinegar). This adds some balance: the sauce is incredibly rich.

    I also repurpose what I’ve strained out of the sauce to make a quick “bolognese” by adding a little bit of the sauce that if I don’t use it all with the braciole back into it and serving over tagliatelle. Makes a great 10 min lunch.

    Even without any of these additions though, its a great recipe that can be made in about 45 minutes to an hour of active time.

  6. Hello! I want to make this but our family can’t have alcohol, so what would you substitute for the wine? More beef broth? A little red wine vinegar? Thanks.

    1. Hi, Karen, Thanks so much for your question. You can definitely use a little red wine vinegar in addition to more beef broth. You can also use pomegranate juice, but only use half compared to the wine–so only 1 cup but then use 3 cups beef broth. Let me know how it works. Thanks again so much and hope you enjoy!

  7. 5 stars
    This was amazing. Prepped the roll-ups a few hours in advance and left them in the fridge to make things easier. The sauce was awesome, froze the leftover sauce. Going to use it with some clams, calamari and scallops over pasta. Thank you for sharing.

    1. Hi, Rusty, Thanks so much and so glad you enjoyed! Love that you’re finding another use for the leftover sauce. Thanks again!

  8. 5 stars
    I love how easy and flavorful these are. Hands down the BEST beef braciole recipe on the web! I love your helpful tips and tricks. No more intimidation about this classic. Thank you!!

    1. Hi, Traci, Thanks so very much!! I’ve been making this for clients for 20 years so I HAD to share it! Thanks again and glad you enjoyed!!

  9. 5 stars
    My family LOVED IT! So easy and delicious. Will definitely make this OFTEN. Thanks for sharing!