Italian Braciole Recipe with Tender Strips of Steak & Sauce (2024)

What is Braciole?

Table of Contents hide

What is Braciole?

History of Braciole

The Meats

Braciole Fillings

Neapolitan Braciole

How to Cook Braciole

Traditional Italian Beef Braciole Recipe

Authentic Italian Braciole Recipe

Thinly sliced, tender strips of steak rolled together with cheese and bread crumbs then fried and slow cooked in a rich tomato sauce…now that sounds like a fantastic dinner!

If this also makes your mouth water, then you have come to the right place. It’s time to learn all about the Italian favorite, braciole.

History of Braciole

Before there was braciole, there was involtini which in Italian means ‘little bundles”. Involtini is a thinly sliced meat, usually chicken, beef or pork, which is rolled together with cheese and bread crumb mix.

If this sounds like braciole to you, then you are correct! Involtini and braciole are essentially the same dish with different names.

So how did braciole get its name?

Well, braciole comes from the cooking technique called alla brace which means grilling the meat over charcoal and also from a cut of meat with bone.

Braciole became the more common term to refer to involtini in the Italian American community and has stuck with the dish.

Braciole in Northern and Southern Italy are two very different things. Northern Italian braciole is simply thinly cut pork or veal that is pan fried.

Southern style braciole is what is most recognizable today and more closely resembles the involtini described earlier.

Sicily, Calabria and Naples all make braciole with cuts of pork and beef, rolled with cheese and breadcrumbs, ties with string and then stewed in a tomato sauce.

Slow cooking the rolled meats in sauce is really what braciole is all about.

The Meats

The most common meats used in braciole are veal, pork and beef top round.

However, as the term braciole mainly refers to the dish construction (rolled, stuffed meat cooked in sauce), chefs took many liberties with the dish, making braciole with almost any kind of meat.

Pork braciole, beef braciole…it is all delicious!

To perfect the meat for braciole, the already skinny slices are pounded to be as thin and tender as possible and since the meat gets tender in such a manner, it is fine to use cuts that are cheaper.

As the braciole slow cooks in sauce for some time, the meat will also begin to soften. In fact, braciole were a low-cost dish for many years, primarily for lower income families.

No need to pay for the fanciest slices of meat to make this Italian classic!

Braciole Fillings

The filling for authentic Italian braciole is typically very straight forward- breadcrumbs, cheese and possibly some herbs.

Some recipes incorporate eggs into the filling to make it thicker and more hearty while others get creative with cheese combinations using provolone, parmesan and mozzarella together.

While it goes against the traditional Italian style braciole, caramelized onions or toasted garlic are also fantastic to roll inside. So many things to try!

Neapolitan Braciole

Different regions of Italy have developed their own versions of braciole but the Neapolitan braciole is worth noting for its difference to the classic dish.

While most braciole has a filling of just cheeses, breadcrumbs, and herbs, the Neapolitan braciole contains pine nuts and raisins for a sweet and savory combination.

It is also common to find slices of prosciutto within the layers of Neapolitan braciole. Still cooked in an Italian Sunday sauce, this version is much different from the typical involtini of other Italian regions.
Italian Braciole Recipe with Tender Strips of Steak & Sauce (1)

How to Cook Braciole

We are going to focus on a traditional style braciole but keep in mind the many variations mentioned that you can try.

Once you have the basic method of authentic Italian braciole down, you can do so much to make the dish your own!

Lay the thin slices of steak on the counter and pound them as flat as possible, then season the meat with salt and pepper to encourage the juices to come to the surface.

While the steak is tenderizing, you can work on the filling which is a fairly quick process.

The herbs, breadcrumbs and cheeses are simply mixed together in a bowl to make the braciole filling – how easy is that!

The filling is then sprinkled across the thin meat slices.

It is best to keep the filling about 1/8 of an inch away from the edge of the meat to prevent it from falling out later on.

Begin to roll the meat by starting at the skinniest end and rolling it upward like a jelly roll.

The braciole rolls are then tied together with butchers twine or skewered with toothpicks to hold the filling.

Pan sear the braciole in olive oil over high heat briefly, just enough to brown the outside of the roll. You may skip this step, but it definitely adds flavor to the dish.

Then, into the sauce the meat goes! This is the part that takes a good amount of time but it is worth the wait.

Slow cooking the meat in the sauce will add flavor which truly makes braciole a special dish.

Nothing beats braciole in sauce! Authentic Italian Braciole is best when served on its own however you can also serve it on top of pasta.

Traditional Italian Beef Braciole Recipe

This Authentic Italian Braciole Recipe is an amazing version of beef braciole and is great when cooked in a homemade Italian Sunday sauce.

Get ready to have your mouth water as this recipe will taste like your Italian grandma made it from scratch!

Italian Braciole Recipe with Tender Strips of Steak & Sauce (2)

Authentic Italian Braciole Recipe

In Italy Braciole are called involtini, you can probably found a version of this recipe for each region but the most traditional braciole recipe hails from Campania. Try this out and let us know what you think!

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Course: Secondi

Prep Time: 15 minutes minutes

Cook Time: 1 hour hour

Total Time: 1 hour hour 15 minutes minutes

Servings: 8

Calories: 385kcal

Author: Guido Pedrelli


  • 2 pounds flank steak thinly sliced
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 1 cup grated parmesan
  • 1/2 cup grated provolone
  • 1/2 cup Italian breadcrumbs
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp dried basil
  • 5 Tbsp olive oil
  • 4 cups Tomato Sauce (or your grandmas Italian 'Sunday' Sauce!)


  • In a medium sized bowl, mix together the garlic powder, cheeses, breadcrumbs, and dried basil. Set the mix aside

  • Lay the flank steak on a clean surface and pound flat with a meat tenderizer. Sprinkle with the salt and pepper.

  • Evenly distribute the breadcrumb filling among the flank steaks and roll, beginning on the short end, all the way up like a jelly roll. Tie the rolls closed with butchers twine to secure the braciole.

  • Pour the olive oil into a large pot and heat over medium high heat. Sear the braciole rolls for about 30 second on each side, just to brown the meat quickly.

  • Add the tomato sauce to the pot and lower the heat to low. Cover and cook the braciole for an hour, basting the rolls occasionally to ensure they do not dry out.

  • Serve hot along with the sauce!



Calories: 385kcal | Carbohydrates: 12g | Protein: 32g | Fat: 23g | Saturated Fat: 10g | Cholesterol: 85mg | Sodium: 1287mg | Potassium: 753mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 5g | Vitamin A: 760IU | Vitamin C: 8.7mg | Calcium: 243mg | Iron: 3.8mg

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Interested in an another Italian American classic recipe? Check out the authentic chicken parmigiana recipe and history.

Italian Braciole Recipe with Tender Strips of Steak & Sauce (2024)


What is the best cut of meat for braciole? ›

I prefer top round (often sold as London broil) for braciole. It's inexpensive and works great. Depending on where you shop, you may be able to find thinly sliced top round that's marked as “for braciole”, but if you need to filet a whole top round, I walk you through that process in the steps below.

Why is my braciole tough? ›

Further, if you haven't pounded the meat thin enough, it can still be tough after cooking, so make sure to pound it to an even, thin slice. Lastly, the cooking time matters, as if you cook it too short it can be tough, so make sure to cook it slow and prolonged to get a more tender result.

What does braciole mean in Italian? ›

Braciole is an Italian-style roulade, a rolled and stuffed meat. It is also called involtini, or bruciuluni in Sicilian. The etymology of the word translates to slice of meat rolled over coals. The meat — typically beef, veal, or pork — is pounded thin and stuffed with prosciutto, breadcrumbs, cheese, and herbs.

How do you butterfly flank steak for braciole? ›

Season with salt and pepper. Butterfly the steak horizontally (the striations and grain should run horizontal at the end), opening the top flap like a book until it is one flat piece. Gently pound out with a meat mallet to even the thickness. Season both sides with salt and pepper.

What is the most tender cut of steak to cook? ›

The most tender of all cuts of beef, tenderloin steaks are lean and known for their delicate, butter-like texture and thick cut. These mouthwatering steaks are so tender they can be “cut with a butter knife.” Tenderloin steaks are commonly known as filets or filet mignon.

What can I use instead of flank steak for braciole? ›

The other common way to make braciole is to use the top round cut of beef, which is a little less expensive than flank steak. Instead of being prepared as one long, thin roast, top round is sliced and pounded into multiple smaller steaks that are then rolled into individual bundles.

Does cooking tough meat longer make it tender? ›

This is certainly true when it comes to notoriously tough cuts of meat like beef brisket and pork shoulder. Cooking these cuts of meat slowly, either by braising, stewing or grill roasting, is the best way to get these tasty cuts of meat meltingly tender.

How do you make steak not rubbery? ›

Tenderize with Tools: Before cooking, use a meat mallet to tenderize your steak. This breaks down tough muscle fibers and can make your steak more tender. Low and Slow: For certain cuts, it's better to cook them at a lower temperature for a longer time.

What is the difference between braciole and braciola? ›

In Italy, "braciole" often refers to simple grilled slices of meat, usually pork. This is because "braciola" can be a term for any piece of meat cooked over embers or "braci." These are typically smaller pieces of meat, simply seasoned, grilled, and enjoyed right off the fire.

What to serve braciole with? ›

What do You Serve with Braciole?
  1. Pastas, like ziti or penne.
  2. A risotto side dish will also pair nicely with this braciole recipe.
  3. You can also serve braciole with polenta.
Mar 2, 2023

How do I get my flank steak tender? ›

Tenderize the steak with shallow cuts: Remove the steak from the refrigerator a half hour before cooking. Cut away any tough connective tissue on the surface of the steak. Using the tip of a sharp knife, poke small cuts into the meat, almost all the way through.

How do you cook flank steak so it's not chewy? ›

Rub a flank steak with olive oil, season it with salt and pepper and slide it onto a foil-lined sheet pan for easy cleanup. Then just broil it until it's medium-rare, 6 to 8 minutes. No flipping needed.

What's the best kind of meat to use for Italian beef? ›

The cut of beef used for Italian beef is typically chuck. The beef is slow cooked until fall-apart tender, then piled high in a hoagie bun with some of the meat's tasty, sloppy cooking juices.

What is the most flavorful cut of meat? ›

The Ribeye is generally considered to be the most flavourful steak. These steaks are cut from the ribs and contain a lot of marbling throughout. The muscle from where the Ribeye is cut, isn't used often so the meat is very tender.

What are the best cuts of meat to pressure cook? ›

Chuck roast, brisket and short ribs are the best cut because they contain a lot of connective tissue. During both slow & pressure cooking, that connective tissue breaks down and turns into gelatin giving the beef a rich, meaty flavour and a tender, juicy texture.

What cut of beef is most like flank steak? ›

The best meat to use instead of flank steak is skirt steak, flat iron steak, flap (sirloin tip) steak, tri-tip steak, and hanger steak (in that order).


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