Beef braciole is Italian-American comfort food at its best!  Comprised of thinly sliced beef rolled with breadcrumbs, cheese, pine nuts, and raisins, this is truly a dish that you will crave every time you’re making a pot of sauce.

Italian Beef Braciole Recipe with pine nuts, raisins, parsley, parmigiano reggiano, and garlic.

Editor’s Note: Originally Published May 16, 2018.  Updated with full process shots and expanded info.

The sauce takes on the flavor of the braciole as the beef slowly tenderizes during the braising process.  And for this braciole recipe you will definitely want to make a big pot of Sunday Sauce and Meatballs!

They just go so well together.  It’s rare that we don’t cook braciole and meatballs at the same time.  Don’t forget the pork chops and the Italian sausages.  Use a big pot!

This recipe has complete process shots down below with the added bonus of showing how to make pork braciole as well. 

Do not be intimidated by this dish –  it’s simply rolled Italian beef braised in sauce.  

Rolling beef or chicken is a great way to make an impressive-looking dish.

And before I go on, there are a million ways to make “authentic beef braciole”.  Recipes will differ from one part of NYC to the next, and most Italian-American families have a recipe for it, no doubt thinking theirs yields the best braciole.  This is my family’s recipe.  We love it, and hope you do too!

And if you do like this braciole recipe be sure to try these Sicilian meatballs with similar ingredients.

Ingredients shown: breadcrumbs, garlic, parsley, parmesan, raisins, pine nuts and kitchen twine.


Ingredients shown above: 

  • breadcrumbs – Italian seasoned or plain are both fine.  There’s so much flavor in the braciole filling that it really doesn’t matter.  If you do use seasoned breadcrumbs, extra salt will not be necessary.
  • garlic 
  • parsley
  • pignoli nuts (pine nuts) – Gives a great flavor and texture.
  • raisins – This is probably the most important ingredient to get that authentic braciole flavor.  It’s the way my family has made it for generations.
  • kitchen twine – Helps to tie the braciole.  Toothpicks can also be used.  I use twine and then place a toothpick in “special requests”.  For example, if someone does not want raisins in their braciole, I will make one without raisins and the toothpick lets me know which one is raisin-free.
  • beef – The beef (not shown) can be a variety of cuts.  Braciole (involtini) are typically made with cheap cuts of beef such as top round or bottom round, sliced thin.  Buy thin cuts to make the process easier for pounding the meat flat.  The whole beef preparation process is shown below.

Italian Beef Braciole recipe process after being rolled up and tied together.

How to make beef braciole

Note: Each number corresponds to the numbered pic in the process collage.

  1. Start by toasting 3 Tablespoons of pine nuts in a pan on medium-low heat, being careful not to burn them.  This should take about 5-7 minutes.
  2. Grate a 1/2 cup of parmigiano reggiano or good quality parmesan cheese.

Beef braciole recipe process shot collage group number one.

  1. Make a paste from 2 cloves of garlic with the back of your knife or by using a garlic press.
  2. Mince a 1/2 cup of fresh parsley.
  3. Shown are 4 pieces of top round steak sliced thin.
  4. If any of the pieces are thicker than about 3/8″, pound them flat with a meat mallet.

Beef braciole recipe process shot collage group number two.

  1. Aim to get the pieces as flat as possible and to about a 1/4″ thick.  They do not have to be perfect!
  2. Place kitchen twine beneath each piece of meat like shown.  Sprinkle each piece with a touch of salt and pepper and spread the garlic paste onto each piece.
  3. Sprinkle a layer of breadcrumbs then layer the cheese.  Try to keep the ingredients a touch away from the meat’s edge to help in the rolling process.
  4. Add the parsley, pignoli nuts and raisins.

Recipe process shot collage group number three.

  1. Roll the braciole like shown and tie them off.
  2. Trim the excess twine.
  3. Heat a large pan coated with olive oil heat to medium heat.
  4. After the pan is well coated and hot, add the braciole, making sure to not crowd them.  Sear the braciole meat on all sides until nicely browned (about 10-15 minutes).

Recipe process shot collage group number four.

  1. Add the seared beef into the sauce and let them braise slowly with the lid slightly ajar.  Keep the sauce on a low simmer and make sure to turn the braciole every so often.
  2. After about 2 hours (longer is better) they will be nice and tender.

Pork braciole – why not?

Making pork braciole is just as easy.  Only difference is to trim the fat and butterfly the boneless pork chops like shown in pic 1 below.  Pound them flat like pic 2 below, fill them, tie them and sear them.  Cook the pork braciole in the sauce for a minimum of 2 hours.

Pork braciole recipe process shot collage.

What to serve with beef braciole

Serve braciole with  Sunday Sauce, Meatballs, and the pasta of your choice.  Make it all together, the sauce is quite simple and just improves with the braciole addition.  All of these sides are great:

Beef braciole close up in grey plate.

Top tips

  • meat – Many cuts of beef can be used like top round, bottom round, eye of round or flank steak.  They should all be pounded flat to within a 1/4-3/8″ thick.  Larger cuts of meat (this recipe makes small braciole) can be used to make one large one.  For assistance in rolling out a large braciole, check out how it was done with plastic wrap in this Steak Pinwheel recipe.
  • breadcrumbs – Seasoned or unseasoned are fine.  Use a good amount but don’t go too heavy as it could make it difficult to roll the braciole.
  • cooking time – The longer the braciole braises, the better.  The meat goes from tough to tender as it cooks just like it does in this Brasato Al Barolo.   2-3 hours is a good amount of time, but longer will definitely not hurt.  Just keep the tomato sauce set to a very low simmer.
  • leftovers – Italian beef braciole can be stored in the fridge for up to 3 days.  It will taste even better the next day.  Just reheat on a stovetop until completely heated through.  Freeze for up to 3 months.

Italian Beef Braciole recipe seared.

Questions & concerns

  1. How to properly cook braciole in sauce:  Braciole should be cooked low and slow in a pan deep enough to completely submerge the meat.  Ideally, cook braciole in a large pot of sauce/gravy.
  2. Types of braciole fillings:  Braciole are filled with a variety of ingredients.  Variations include breadcrumbs, grated Parmigiano Reggiano or pecorino, parsley, raisins, pignoli nuts, layered prosciutto, layered mortadella and hard boiled eggs.
  3. Can you overcook braciole?  If the sauce is kept too high, yes, they could fall apart.  Keep the sauce real low.  Low and slow is the goal!

Italian Beef Braciole Recipe plated.

More beef dishes that you’ll love

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Italian Beef Braciole

5 from 11 votes
Prep: 30 minutes
Cook: 3 hours
Total: 3 hours 30 minutes
Servings: 4
A classic in many Italian-American households.  A thin coating of breadcrumbs, cheese, raisins, and pine nuts is spread on pounded flank steak.  Roll up, sear and cook in red sauce, the longer the better.


  • 1.25-1.5 pound top round
  • 3 Tbsp pine nuts
  • 1/2 cup chopped parsley
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 cup breadcrumbs
  • 1 Tbsp garlic paste
  • 3 Tbsp raisins
  • 3 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 cup grated parmigiano reggiano
  • 1 roll kitchen twine


  • Pound out beef into 4 equal pieces roughly 1/4" thick.  Using plastic wrap on bottom and top of meat makes it easy to flatten meat and avoid a mess.  A good size for the meat is 5" by 7". This allows for an easy roll up and ability to tie them up like in the picture. 
  • Arrange the 4 pieces of meat out on a cutting board and spread a 1/4 of the garlic paste on each piece.  Next, sprinkle them with salt and pepper. 
  • Then sprinkle 1/4 of the breadcrumbs, raisins, cheese, parsley, and pine nuts onto each piece.
  • You should have a thin layer of the mixture on each of the 4 pieces.  Roll them up tightly and tie kitchen twine around them to keep them together.  Don't be shy with the twine, it will all be taken off before the meat is served.  Toothpicks can also be used.  
  • Heat a large pan on medium heat with olive oil.  Sear the pieces on all sides, turning them every 2 minutes or so to brown them nicely.  The whole frying process should take roughly 10-15 minutes.
  • After the braciole is fried, add to pot of sauce and braise for 2-3 hours on low heat with lid left slightly ajar. 
  • Remove braciole from sauce and cut away twine with knife or kitchen scissors.  Serve with grated parmagiano reggiano, bread, and pasta for a complete meal.  Enjoy!


  • meat - Many cuts of beef can be used like top round, bottom round, eye of round or flank steak.  They should all be pounded flat to within a 1/4-3/8" thick.  
  • breadcrumbs - Seasoned or unseasoned are fine.  Use a good amount but don't go too heavy as it could make it difficult to roll the braciole.
  • cooking time - The longer the braciole braises, the better.  The meat goes from tough to tender as it cooks.   2-3 hours is a good amount of time, but longer will definitely not hurt.  Just keep the tomato sauce set to a very low simmer.
  • leftovers - Italian beef braciole can be stored in the fridge for up to 3 days.  It will taste even better the next day.  Just reheat on a stovetop until completely heated through.  Freeze for up to 3 months.


Calories: 390kcal | Carbohydrates: 30g | Protein: 50g | Fat: 13g | Sodium: 550mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

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This recipe was originally published on May 16, 2018.  It was completely updated on July 17, 2019.

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  1. 5 stars
    I made this Sunday with the pine nuts and raisins for the first time, and I have to say that it was delicious. Thought maybe the raisins would make it to sweet ,but it was perfect! Definitely a keeper!

    1. You can use already cooked Sunday sauce or do it all on the same day. I normally start the sauce, then prep the braciole. Sear them in a pan and get them in the sauce for 3 hours. You can cook them longer than 3 hours, I sometimes go up to 5 or 6, but they will fall apart if cooked too long. Hope this helps.

  2. 5 stars
    Thank you for this wonderful recipe. I made this along with your Sunday sauce for Christmas dinner yesterday and it was absolutely perfect. We lost my grandmother this year and I wanted to recreate her meals for my family and I never got her braciole recipe and her sauce recipe only listed ingredients, no instruction. I followed your braciole recipe and melded your sauce and her sauce recipe together — the flavors brought her memory flooding back. My family was so glad to enjoy my grandmothers’ flavors again even though she wasn’t here and I’m so proud to be able to carry on her legacy, thanks to your recipe help.

    The step by step instructions with photos was SO incredibly helpful for this dish. I doubled the recipe and did find that there was way too much breadcrumbs and parmesan to fit, so I’ll do a bit less next time. I was also hesitant about the raisins — it seemed like a weird addition to me but after reading the comments above, I decided to trust the process and I’m so glad I did. They weren’t weird at all and it wasn’t obvious you were eating raisins, just soft little bursts of sweetness to complement the rich savory flavors. The end result was a tender, comforting, bundle of delicious love that my family couldn’t stop raving about, and family members who never had braciole were shocked at this new dish.

    For the Sunday sauce, after 3 hours it was still incredibly acidic and the flavors didn’t feel deep enough, so I ended up cooking it on low for about 7 hours and adding a but of sugar every hour to help with the acidity. After this, it was perfect and so similar to my grandmother’s sauce. Thanks for your note about how you let is simmer all day sometimes, it was the perfect affirmation to my instincts to keep it on low heat until those flavors developed. I can’t wait to explore your site further to bring life to my grandmother’s memory. This Christmas was a delicious one!

    1. Hello Natalie. So sorry about your Grandmother. I don’t have many of my Grandmother’s recipes either because she too didn’t write most of them down. The raisins are a very common ingredient in Sicilian cooking and some people love them while others hate them. My Uncle Tony added them to not just braciole but his meatballs as well. I’m glad you took the chance to make the braciole with them! Anyway, thanks for the wonderful feedback and I’m thrilled to hear how well it all turned out for you!

    1. Absolutely. Just sear them first in the pot attachment on the stove. Finish Cooking the braciole in the Crock-Pot nice and slow until tender ( about 3-4 hours) on low.

  3. This reminded me of a recipe my grandma used to make so I had to give it a try. It was so good and the recipe was easy to follow.

  4. We made this yesterday. It was wonderful!! I had some pistachio mortadella in the fridge as well as some olives and added them both to the stuffing. We will definitely make it again. Thanks!!

    1. Thank you very much! Mortadella is a nice ingredient to add. I have never tried olives in braciole, but it sounds like a great idea!

  5. 5 stars
    I have been looking for a good braciole recipe! My ex boyfriend’s mom used to make the best braciole. Unfortunately we didn’t part on good enough terms for me to snag that recipe. I’ll have to try this one out!

  6. 5 stars
    Yum Yum!! My mom is Italian and always made this growing up. I haven’t made it in years. Meatballs always seem easier. lol! Yours looks excellent. I’ve been inspired now to make it for my hubby!

    1. Hey thanks Michele. Yes I do agree that meatballs seem a little easier. I think in the end though, they both take roughly the same amount of time, and both do real well in a pot of sauce!