This tender Italian beef braciole recipe is a hearty, delicious dish cooked in sauce in the oven. The ultimate Italian comfort food, that is perfect for a Sunday family dinner or a festive holiday meal.
This post was originally published in January 2020 and has been updated for content.
One of my husband's favorite meals for special occasions is a classic Italian braciole. Making this brings back memories of his Gram pounding out flank steak early on Sunday mornings.
Braciole or braciola is an Italian dish made from thin slices of beef rolled up in a roulade with cheese and bread crumbs inside. The roll is secured with toothpicks or cooking twine, seared in a pan, and braised in rich Sunday gravy or marinara.
🥩 Ingredient notes
- Beef - Flank steak is the cut of beef traditionally used for Italian braciole. This is what I prefer to use because it is hearty and holds up well to braising. Use top round or bottom round, sliced thinly, for a less expensive option. I prefer to leave my flank steak in one piece and pound it thin. Butterfly the flank steak and then pound it out for an even thinner roll.
- Filling - Italian seasoning, garlic, olive oil, and parmesan cheese make up the savory filling for the Italian braciole recipe. Pecorino romano or asiago cheese can be substituted or added to the mix for extra flavor.
- Sauce - I use my favorite Sunday sauce for this braciole recipe. Use your favorite store-bought marinara if you prefer instead.
📋 Substitutions and variations
- Gluten-Free - Use gluten-free breadcrumbs in the braciole filling.
- Fresh Herbs - Substitute the Italian seasoning with 2-3 Tablespoons of chopped fresh basil, fresh oregano, and fresh parsley.
- Filling - Golden raisins, toasted pine nuts, or cooked ground Italian sausage are other filling ingredients sometimes used in a classic braciole recipe. Layer thin slices of prosciutto on the flank steak before adding the breadcrumb mixture for an extra delicious taste.
🔪 Step by step instructions
Spread the stuffing ingredients evenly over the meat, leaving about one-half inch around the edges. Starting on the long side, roll the meat up tightly like a jelly roll, with the breadcrumbs inside.
Secure the large roll with kitchen twine by tying the string around one side of the roll and double-knotting it. Wrap the string around the roll again and then loop it through itself about one inch below the first knot. Continue until the entire roll is secured, double knotting at the end.
Pour the sauce over the top and around the rolled meat, then cover the pan with foil or a lid. Cook the beef in the oven for 30 minutes, then remove the cover and spoon some of the sauce over it.
Replace the cover and then let it cook for an additional 30 minutes. Braise it again with the sauce, then cook uncovered for an additional 30-60 minutes. The beef should be fork tender and the sauce should be reduced.
Let the braciole rest for about 10 minutes and then remove the butcher's twine. Use a sharp knife to slice the braciole and serve with the delicious tomato sauce.
If you ever don't recognize a tool or skill that I mention, be sure to look it up in our Glossary of Cooking Terms and Definitions for more information.
⭐ Expert tips
- When pounding out the meat, start in the center and work outwards, gently pressing out as you are pounding.
- Press the breadcrumb mixture into the meat to help it stick.
- Soak the twine in olive oil before tying it so it doesn't stick to the meat after cooking.
- Cooking times for this Italian beef braciole will depend on how thick the slices of beef are. Thick slices will take longer to braise, while thinner slices will take less time to become tender.
- Let the braciole rest for at least 10 minutes before slicing to help it stay juicy.
- Scrape the bottom of the pot to remove any browned bits and then mix into the sauce. It has a ton of flavor to make a rich tomato sauce that pairs well with the braciole.
🥘 Alternative cooking methods
Slow Cooker - To make this Italian braciole recipe in a slow cooker, simply brown the rolled and tied beef in a pan on the stovetop and then add it to the slow cooker. Cover with the sauce and ½ cup of beef stock and then cook on high for 3-4 hours or low for 6-8 hours until tender. Allow the braciole to rest for 10 minutes after cooking before slicing and serving it.
⏲️ Make ahead instructions
Roll, tie, and wrap the Italian braciole in plastic wrap. Store in the refrigerator for 24 hours or place in a freezer bag and store in the freezer for 1 month. Thaw frozen braciole in the refrigerator. At cooking time, remove the plastic wrap and then follow the directions for cooking.
🥡 Storage suggestions
Keep leftover braciole in an air-tight container in the refrigerator for 3-5 days and in the freezer for up to 1 month. Thaw frozen leftovers in the refrigerator and then reheat in the oven or microwave.
For a quick overview of this recipe, then check out my web story for this braciole in marinara sauce.
🍽 More sunday dinner ideas
If you loved this recipe for tender italian beef braciole recipe, try these other sunday dinner recipes that I know you will love too!
- Classic Italian Lasagna Recipe
- Easy Dutch Oven Chicken and Rice
- Baked Mostaccioli with Ricotta Cheese
- Crispy Baked Eggplant Parmesan
Tender Italian Beef Braciole Recipe in Sauce
- Preheat the oven to 300°.
- Use a meat tenderizer or rolling pin to pound out the flank steak to even thickness and to thin it out. Start in the middle and work outwards, gently pressing out while pounding.
- In a small bowl, stir together the breadcrumbs, garlic, parmesan cheese, italian seasoning, and 3 Tablespoons of the olive oil.
- Spread the breadcrumb mixture evenly over the flank steak, leaving approximately ½ inch around the edges. Press the breadcrumbs into the meat to help it stick.
- Starting with the long side of the meat, tightly roll up the beef with the breadcrumb mixture on the inside and tuck the edges inside to help the filling stay in.
- Cut a piece of kitchen twine that is four times the length of the braciole and tie it around one side of the beef roll, double knotting it. Wrap the twine around the roll and pull it through itself about one inch below the first knot. Continue doing this until the entire roll is secured and then double knot the twine at the end.
- Sear the braciole in the pan for 2-3 minutes on each side until browned.
- Pour the sauce over and around the entire braciole. Cover the pan and place in the preheated oven to cook for 30 minutes.
- After 30 minutes, remove the cover and braise the meat by spooning the sauce from around the braciole on to the top of it. Replace the cover and cook for another 30 minutes.
- Remove the cover and return the pot to the oven to cook uncovered for 30-60 minutes, until the meat is fork tender and the sauce is reduced.
- Remove the braciole from the oven and let it rest for 10 minutes. Remove the twine and slice into 1-2 inch thick pieces for serving.
- Beef - Use thinly sliced top round or bottom round for a less expensive version. Butterfly the flank steak and then pound it out for an even thinner roll.
- Cheese - Substitute parmesan for pecorino romano or asiago cheese.
- Herbs - Substitute the Italian seasoning for 2-3 Tablespoons of chopped fresh basil, oregano, and parsley.
- Other Filling Ingredients - Add toasted pine nuts, golden raisins, or cooked ground Italian sausage. Thin slices of prosciutto can also be added on top of the meat before the bread crumbs are added.
- Gluten-Free - Use gluten-free breadcrumbs.
- Dairy-Free - Use a dairy-free parmesan substitute.
- Slow Cooker - Sear the rolled and tied braciole in a pan on the stovetop and then place it in a slow cooker. Cover with the sauce and ½ cup of beef broth and cook on high for 3-4 hours or low for 6-8 hours until tender.
- Make Ahead - Roll, tie, and wrap the braciole in plastic wrap and store in the refrigerator for 24 hours or place in a freezer bag and freeze for 1 month. Thaw frozen braciole in the refrigerator and then cook as directed.
- Leftovers - Keep leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 3-5 days and in the freezer for up to 1 month. Frozen leftovers should be thawed completely in the refrigerator. Reheat in the oven, on the stovetop, or in the microwave.