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 use spaghetti noodles instead of toothpicks, the noodles cook and you don’t have to make a mess trying to remove them.

  2. 5 stars
    Father’s day treat for myself. Braciole is a favorite, this is my new go-to recipe. Loved the sauce, so much better than traditional tomato sauce I used in the past.. Made it with pork tenderloin and was done in an hour and a half. My wife suggested putting some king mushrooms in with the meat, they were fantastic. Served over polenta. Will made it again and have leftovers — thanks much.

    1. Hi, Joe, Thanks so very much and so happy you love this recipe. Using pork is a great idea. Appreciate your taking the time to come back and comment and rate.

  3. Excellent recipe. Very well written.

    I know this dish is generally made with tougher cuts of meat but I have quite a bit of 1/8” boneless ribeye steaks that I need to find a use for. Would they work in this recipe? Perhaps not simmering very long?

    1. Hi, Adele, Thanks so much for your question. I think you’re on the right track with not cooking very long. I would make the sauce first; perhaps simmer it for 30-45 minutes. Fill the rolls as directed. Brown the rolls then place in the simmering sauce to just cook them through. The other thing you could do with all that thinly sliced ribeye are stir fries. Just cut them into strips and brown. Thanks again and hope this works out for you.

  4. I don’t know what I did wrong, but my sauce is extremely thin and tastes bitter. I used a decent cabernet sauvignon, and followed the recipe. The sauce doesn’t seem to have much of a tomato sauce flavor, I wouldn’t use it over pasta, and I don’t know how to salvage it.

    1. Hi, Carolyn, Thanks so much for getting in touch and so sorry something didn’t work. Bitter or too tangy? If too tangy, it could be the tomatoes. Sometimes a beef broth can have an off taste. The sauce isn’t supposed to be heavy tomatoey like a tomato pasta sauce. You could add a little sugar to counteract the bitterness/tanginess. It’s hard to know exactly without tasting it and seeing the products you used. If it’s too thin, cool down some of the cooking liquid, stir it into some flour to form a paste, then add it back to the sauce and simmer to thicken it. Again, so sorry and hope this helps a little.

  5. 5 stars
    Excellent recipe, very versatile and tasty. I make my grandmother’s German Beef Rouladen recipe at least a couple of times a year. (Same concept as the Braciole but filled with bacon and thinly sliced pickles). Fortunately, my butcher (of German descent) cuts the beef round as thin as 1/4 inch, so I have very long, very thin slices of meat and don’t have to pound them myself.
    You may want to ask your butcher if they can do the same (they do have the tools)!
    Greetings from Michigan.

    1. Hi, Ursula, Thanks so very much and so happy you enjoyed! Yes, love rouladen! Have been wanting to get a recipe up for it; hopefully this year. Would love to have an old-fashioned butcher in this area, but sadly, have to rely on the Krogers of the world for sliced top round. My husband purchased a slicer for beef jerky a while back so he can do it for me now. Thanks again and appreciate your taking the time to come back and comment.

  6. Great recipe! Do yourself a favor and buy braciole meat. I used round steak and it took a lot to pound thin. I doubled it and baked in the oven. It made a lot of sauce so I froze the left overs for next time!

    1. 5 stars
      Hi, Jenice, Thanks so much and so happy you love this recipe! Braciole meat may be available in larger cities with Italian-American communities, but in my area or small communities, I highly, highly doubt it. Thanks again!

      1. Hi, Billy, Thanks for your question. Typically its thinly cut and pounded top round steak. The person who mentioned “braciole meat” may have a source in an Italian-American community where thin cuts of beef are sold already pounded. Thanks again and hope you enjoy!

  7. 5 stars
    Your braciole looks amazing, but I’m wondering if I can use another cut of meat to make them? I remember my neighbor used eye round.

    1. Hi, Dennis, Thanks so much for your question. You can use any cut of meat that allows it be thinly sliced. A sirloin roast would work as would a chuck roast. If you don’t have a slicer, it’s best to have your butcher do it. If you want to try slicing it yourself without a slicer, it’s very helpful if you freeze the meat for an hour or two. You don’t want it rock hard, you just want it semi-frozen so it’s firm. Thanks again! Great question!

  8. 5 stars
    These look like absolute comfort food! Question – I’m not a wine drinker and rarely use it in cooking. Could I double up on the beef stock or maybe go with a beef consommé?

    1. Hi, Lori, Thanks so much for your great question! Yes, you absolutely can. I often suggest using additional beef broth or stock in place of alcohol for people who don’t want it. When the braciole have finished braising, you can always add a splash of balsamic vinegar or red wine vinegar if you want the acidic edge that wine provides. Thanks so much and hope you enjoy!

  9. 5 stars
    I’m getting ready to make this for our upcoming Sunday dinner so I have two days to prep. You say use a dry red wine. What specific red wine do you recommend? Merlot, cabernet sauvignon, Syrah? I don’t drink a lot of wine so I don’t know which ones are dry. Thanks for your help!!

    1. Hi, Amanda, Thanks so much for your question. All of those are dry but you don’t want to use anything that is too heavy, “jammy,” or bold. Merlot or pinot noir are both good choices as is a lighter cabernet. I usually recommend a Robert Mondavi Woodbridge cabernet which is drinkable, doesn’t cost a lot and is available in small cartons for around $5 each. Just make sure whatever you use IS drinkable.
      Thanks again! Great question!

    1. What does joining metals together with molten copper and zinc have to do with this dish, Sally?

  10. 4 stars
    Saw this being made in The Bear, so naturally I wanted to try it. The directions were incredibly easy to follow; the flavor of the beef and filling were amazing! I do feel like the wine in the sauce was a bit overpowering for me, personally. Overall, this was great and I plan to make this again in the future!

  11. 5 stars
    Love the sauce flavor! Easy to make it, however, the meat was dry but tender. Is there any way to avoid this? Was it overcooked?

    1. Hi, Corinne, Thanks so much and so happy you enjoyed! It’s possible it got overcooked, but that’s the nature of top and bottom rounds because they are so lean. If you’re familiar with ground round, it has very little fat. If you had used something like a chuck roast, it would shrink a lot because of all the connective tissue, which is what makes a pot roast so tender. The fact that the round is thinly sliced and pounded should help to tenderize it. Thanks again!