So many nonnas would roll over in their graves if they knew my secret: I made this Italian Beef Braciole without hard boiled egg (or raisins). Gasp!
This EASY Beef Braciole recipe is the best Italian comfort food. Juicy flank steak, tomato sauce, herbs and cheese make up this delicious Italian rolled steak! Whether you’ve eaten it for years or just heard the word on the Sopranos, you’ll are going to love this recipe.
Rolled Italian beef has a few names. The most popular is, of course, braciole, but you might also see it called braciola or involtini.
What Makes This Recipe Different?
Other than just being a solid base recipe, there are a few reasons why this recipe for beef braciole is slightly different.
- No Egg– I just can’t get behind braciole with egg! There is something I don’t like about chopped up egg rolled into my steak.
- No Raisins– Nor do I like the old school beef braciole filling using raisins. So I made my own. Some may call it unauthentic and others boring, but I like it. Listen, I’m Italian and I know good Italian food– so whether you like it or not, this is how I like mine.
- Small Bundles– The biggest difference is that your rolls using a milanese style will be individual bundles that (to me) resemble dolomites (stuffed grape leaves). If wrapped well, you can get away with no using toothpicks or butchers twine, but you can use these tools if needed.
- Quicker Cooking– The other benefits to using these single serving beef filets is that they cook a little faster and more evenly. These take about 45 minutes as opposed to nearly 2 hours using a thicker flank steak.
What is beef braciole?
The first step of making beef braciole is knowing how to pronounce it or how to spell it. It is pronounced bra-CHO-le.
The second is knowing what that means. Beef Braciole simply means a stuffed Italian Beef Roll. Rolled Beef. It can also be made with pork, veal, lamb or chicken. As long as it is pounded thin and rolled with a savory filling, it counts.
Now that it’s out of the way… onto the important stuff. The beef.
What Cut of Beef is Used to Make Beef Braciole?
Traditionally, Italian beef braciole is made with flank steak tenderized to a very thin measurement. Think about 1/4 inch thick.
Flank steak is a little tougher and needs some TLC to be fork tender. Tenderizing and then cooking low and slow. But sometimes it is hard to find a large cut of flank steak, my grocer often sells half pieces instead of whole. Those large pieces are best when you want a large roll to cut into pinwheel pieces.
The alternative is using other cuts of beef. Thin cuts also include skirt steak and flat iron, however these aren’t as lean and either require more trimming or will just have more fat.
But the best option is to find Milanese style beef. This is often found in Latin grocery stores, but can be requested at the butcher counter. Milanese just refers to a thin cut of beef. It is typically made from the top round or bottom round. Instead of tenderizing until then, the beef is cut thin from the start.
This is commonly achieved by freezing the whole roast and then slicing on a commercial grade deli slicer. Much like how I make my beef carpaccio.
Can I Slice My Own Beef Milanese Style?
Unless you have a commercial grade deli slicer like I mentioned above, I don’t recommend slicing your own beef. However, the butcher at your local grocery store should be able to do this easily!
These cuts also need a little help to be tender, but have no fear, a low and slow simmer will achieve this, and your stuffed beef braciole will turn out just fine.
Ingredients for Beef Braciole
The ingredient list is fairly short.
- Beef – See all of our notes regarding the cut of beef.
- White onion – Yellow onion can also be used. I don’t recommend a red onion for this recipe, but it can be used in a pinch.
- Garlic cloves– Use fresh garlic, the jarred stuffed doesn’t have the right flavor, it is sweeter. Minced, pressing or grating will give you the maximum garlicky flavor.
- Flat parsley– Also known as Italian parsley, it gives the flavor of “parsley” that you think of when you think of Italian food. Curly parsley is more for decorative use. I do like using a fresh parsley for this recipe, dried won’t pack enough punch.
- Seasoned Bread Crumbs– Seasoned crumbs just have a blend of dried Italian seasoning. If you have plain, just add 1 teaspoon of dried herbs.
- Olive oil– For wetting the bread crumbs and cooking. It has a higher smoke point with tasty flavor. Other neutral oils will also work. Avocado oil is another good option.
- Parmesan cheese – Freshly grated will melt the best. Do not use a shaker cheese, it is highly processed and stays grainy. Pecorino romano is another pick.
- Tomato sauce– Plain sauce is used so you can add your own seasoning. Like a blank slate waiting to be painted.
- Dried oregano– Dried has a spicy and pungent flavor that can sometime offer more flavor than the fresh option. Make sure it is within 6 months old for maximum flavor.
- Salt & Pepper– For seasoning and used to taste. I like kosher salt, but fine salt can also be used, just in less volume. Freshly ground pepper will always give more flavor.
How to Make Beef Braciole
While it is slightly labor intensive, this recipe comes together in a snap.
- Prepare oven and skillet. Preheat oven and heat one tablespoon olive oil in a small skillet over medium heat.
- Sauté onion, garlic and parsley. Add chopped onion, garlic and flat parsley. Sauté until softened. Add breadcrumbs and remaining olive oil. Toss until it is fully mixed and pasty.
- Add cheese. Remove from heat and add Parmesan cheese. Set aside.
- Add mixture to beef. On a cutting board, place a couple tablespoons breadcrumb mixture on the short edge of the beef. Roll up, folding in the edges like an envelope.
- Roll and repeat with rest of beef. Place, seam side down, in an oven safe skillet. Repeat with remaining filets. Season with salt and pepper, if desired.
- Brown. Brown beef rolls over medium heat.
- Top with sauce. In a separate bowl, combine tomato sauce with dried oregano. Top beef rolls with tomato sauce.
- Bake. Place in oven, uncovered. Remove and allow to rest before serving.
- Garnish– Sprinkle with more cheese and fresh parsley for garnish.
There are many ways to put your own spin on this recipe. No family in Italy makes it the same, so feel free to test some new fun ways to make your own proprietary taste.
- Sweet- If you want to try adding raisins for a chewy salt note, feel free! Also use raisins. Some like to soak them in a liqueur or chicken broth before adding so they are plump.
- Spicy- Instead of a plain marinara, consider using a fra diavolo sauce or adding 1-2 teaspoons of crushed red pepper flakes to the mix.
- Prosciutto- Bacon makes everything better and prosciutto is basically Italian bacon. Wrap the small beef bundles in wide slice of prosciutto before browning.
- Pine Nuts- Add some crunch by stirring in 1-2 tablespoons of toasted pine nuts to the stuffing mixture.
How to Serve Beef Braciole
Most of the time, it is served with a side of pasta or over pasta to soak up the remaining sauce. Long, thin strands like spaghetti, angel hair and linguine are most traditional, but honestly use whatever floats your boat.
Consider starting with a nice side salad and of course, garlic bread. I like to add something green to the mix like broccolini or brussels sprouts. And no Italian feast is complete without dessert. Cannoli dip , cannoli cupcakes or individual tiramisu is delicious!
Storage Make Ahead & Freezing
You can easily store this beef braciole recipe.
How to Store Beef Braciole
You can store any leftover beef braciole in an airtight container. It will last in the refrigerator for up to three days.
I don’t recommend making this ahead of time. The breadcrumbs will get soggy and the sautéed veggies won’t heat up with the same texture.
Can I Freeze Beef Braciole?
I personally wouldn’t freeze this recipe. The breadcrumbs and sautéed veggies just don’t reheat the same!
Frequently Asked Questions
Browning meat before braising is important because it helps to lock in the juices of the meat. No one likes dry meat, so I don’t recommend skipping this step!
You don’t have to, but it helps to break down the fibers and tenderize the meat while keeping it moist. You can buy a jarred marinara or make your own marinara sauce.
I don’t recommend skipping this step because it helps to release liquid from the onions. If you don’t do this, then your sauce will end up watery.
More Dinner Recipes
Need more options? Here are more delicious easy dinner ideas.
Italian Beef Braciole Recipe (without Egg)
- 2 tablespoons olive oil , divided
- 2 tablespoons white onion , chopped
- 2 cloves garlic , minced or pressed
- 1 tablespoon flat parsley , chopped
- 1/2 cup seasoned bread crumbs
- 1 tablespoon Parmesan cheese , finely grated
- 1 pound thinly sliced beef (6-7 thin fillets)
- 1 1/2 cups plain tomato sauce
- 1 tablespoon dried oregano
- Parmesan , for garnish
- Preheat the oven to 275°F.
- Heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil in a large, oven safe skillet over medium heat.
- Add the onion, garlic and parsley. Saute until just softened and fragrant. Add the breadcrumbs and the remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Toss until it is fully mixed and pasty.
- Remove from the heat and add the Parmesan cheese. Set aside.
- Place one thin slice of beef on a cutting board. Spoon a heaping 1 tablespoon of the breadcrumb mixture on the short edge. Roll up, folding in the edges like an envelope. Set aside on a plate. Repeat with remaining filets.
- Heat the same skillet you used for sauteing over medium heat. It should still have some olive oil left, if dry, add 1-2 teaspoons more.
- Place the beef rolls, seam side down, into the skillet. Brown the rolls on all sides, approximately 5 minutes to do all.
- In a separate mixing bowl, stir together the tomato sauce with dried oregano. Pour over the beef rolls.
- Cook in the oven, uncovered, for 45 minutes.
- Remove, top with additional parmesan cheese and allow to rest for 5 minutes before serving.
- If you've tried this recipe, come back and let us know how it was in the comments or star ratings.