Beef cannelloni

Prep: 45 mins Cook: 1 hr, 20 mins


Serves 12
This is easier than you think to make and is so delicious, make double and pop one in the freezer

Nutrition and extra info

  • Freezable

Nutrition: per serving

  • kcal479
  • fat23g
  • saturates12g
  • carbs39g
  • sugars9g
  • fibre2g
  • protein31g
  • salt1.28g
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  • 1kg lean minced beef
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
    olive oil

    Olive oil

    ol-iv oyl

    Probably the most widely-used oil in cooking, olive oil is pressed from fresh olives. It's…

  • 1 large onion, finely chopped



    Onions are endlessly versatile and an essential ingredient in countless recipes. Native to Asia…

  • 4 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 2 x 660g jars passata with basil
  • large pinch caster sugar
  • 400g dried cannelloni tubes

For the topping

  • 50g butter



    Butter is made when lactic-acid producing bacteria are added to cream and churned to make an…

  • 50g plain flour
  • 600ml whole milk
  • 140g soft cheese with garlic and herbs
  • 140g Parmesan, grated



    Parmesan is a straw-coloured hard cheese with a natural yellow rind and rich, fruity flavour. It…


  1. For the filling, dry-fry the beef in a non-stick pan on a medium-high heat, breaking up with a wooden spoon until browned – about 10 mins. Remove and set aside. Add the oil and cook the onion for 5 mins, until soft. Add the garlic for 1 min more, then tip in the beef and 1½ jars of the passata sauce and the sugar. Simmer for 20 mins while you make the white sauce.

  2. Heat the butter in a small pan. When foaming, stir in the flour for 1 min. Add the milk gradually, stirring all the time to achieve a lump-free sauce, then bubble for 2 mins while stirring. Remove from the heat and stir in the soft cheese with seasoning until dissolved. Set aside, covered with cling film to stop a skin forming.

  3. To assemble, pour the remaining tomato sauce into the base of 2-3 large baking dishes or 12 individual ovenproof dishes or foil containers. Spoon the beef into the cannelloni tubes using a teaspoon and lay on top of the sauce. Pour on the white sauce, then sprinkle with Parmesan. If freezing, allow to cool, then freeze wrapped well in cling film. To eat straight away, heat oven to 200C/180C fan/gas 6 and cook for 40-45 mins until the pasta is tender and topping golden. Defrost frozen cannelloni thoroughly, then cook as above for 50 mins-55 mins (or see tip).

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Comments (34)

allielovetocook's picture

A bit of a faff, but well worth the effort! I halved the quantity but did three-quarters of the sauce (although a bit extra of the soft cheese). I couldn't get Passata with Basil, so I used a plain one (700g jar) but added around a teaspoon of both basil and oregano for flavour - it needs it or it's a bit bland. This meant that the meat sauce was delicious (used the entire big onion rather than half), once I added a little salt and pepper. And the white, cheesy sauce? .. mmmmmm, so lovely! I added about 50ml of extra milk and by the time it cooled the sauce was perfect. On dishing out I said to my daughter (who'd requested Cannelloni as she'd never tried it) "don't be expecting this again, it's too much faffing!" .. however, upon eating it I rapidly changed my mind!! This recipe is definitely a keeper!

clough91's picture

Made half the quantity of mince mixture and the full quantity of white sauce which made 6 large portions. Added a bay leaf and about half a teaspoon of dried thyme and oregano to the meat mixture while it was simmering. Next time I'd cover it with foil for the first ten minutes while its in the oven as I found the cheese had browned before the pasta had finished cooking.'s picture

This was my first time making cannelloni though I do often make lasagne. I have a little girl who often comes to play with my daughter and always asks for macaroni cheese. I persuaded her to give cannelloni a go as a change, as I bought some tubes on a whim. (How wild of me!) They wolfed this, as did everyone else who was in the house at the time. It really was delicious and very easy to make. I followed the recipe more or less exactly, which was different from my lasagne one, only I had one bottle of passata, rather then 2, which I used for the meat sauce so I used a little bit of the meat sauce in the bottom of the dish to stop the tubes sticking instead of the recommended held-back tomato sauce, which worked. I had plenty of meat sauce left to make another for the freezer, as recommended, but not enough white sauce and I mention it as I made the base for the cannelloni anyway and will make white sauce some other time, let cool and plonk it on the frozen meat sauce and cannelloni then pop back in the freezer to complete it, which I often do with other things and I hope that tip is of use to someone, I find the comments on here really helpful. Thank you good food!

lurvlyloz's picture

First time making cannelloni and it was very tasty. Easy to follow recipe

Dee Willow's picture

Has this recipe changed since all of these positive comments below?
I have followed step 1 and tipped my beef in with the tomato sauce.
Made my white sauce as per step 2.
In step 3 I need the mince and sauce separate so the sauce goes in the dish and the beef goes in the cannelloni tubes!!

elise251's picture

Add 1 1/2 jars to the mince, the remaining 1/2 is used to go in the bottom of the dish.
Hope that helps.

Suzyfinethank's picture

I made this dish for the first time today excellent easy to follow

jenniea1's picture

Absolutely delicious

nicolepdcfc's picture

Made this for dinner and couldn't wait for leftovers the next day! Lovely.

RichieBoo's picture

This as to be by far the nicest Beef Cannelloni I've ever tasted and the only one 've ever made (always bought pre-made before TUT TUT!) Followed the recipe to the "T" but now I add a bit more soft & hard cheese. We always fight for the left over piece! :)

fruitcake44's picture

I cheated a bit with this and used a jar of tomato and basil pasta sauce adding extra garlic and italian herbs. I put the cooled meat mixture into a plastic food bag with the corner cut off to fill the cannelloni tubes which was very quick and easy. I only halved the cheese sauce for 3 of us and glad I did as it needed it, we also found the topping a bit thick so I would add more milk next time and would reduce the cooking time to 30-35 mins as it had dried out a bit. We still enjoyed it though and I will be making this again.

rich_kavanagh's picture

Top tip - put mince mix in to a piping (icing bag) and then quickly and easily fill the tubes! The does mean you need to avoid large lumps but if you cook brown of the mince first then cut you veg small it will not be an issue! Hope this helps folks ( editor - could edit the recipe to recommend this method as it will help people a lot!

judithsimpson's picture

I made this last night and it was good, but everyone said they prefer lasagne. Maybe it was just the different flavours that put them off. I made a half portion, but noted previous comments and used practically a whole portion of the topping - it needs it. To fill the tubes easily, cool the meat sauce in the fridge overnight, use the smallest spoon you have and stand each tube in a teacup as you go. Sitting down to do it helps as well!

abcdefghijord's picture

Made this the other night, I added oregano to the sauce mix. I made my own by adding garlic to a carton of chopped tomatoes and whizzed up in the blender. I did plan to add a bit of pesto to the sauce mix but the jar got smashed a few days before! I usually simmer my mince for 1-2 hours to make sure it's tender, I followed the instructions and found the beef to be less tender. Will cook out for longer next time. I also found there wasn't enough sauce to make the cannelloni's tender. I cooked to the specified time and ended up with sticky al dente cannelloni. I also added a glass of red wine to the mince before adding the tomato mix. I underestimated how long it would take to fill the cannelloni, time consuming and messy but worth it in the end. Made a great alternative to lasagne. Will make again but add more sauce and cook the beef for longer to make it more tender. Loved the garlic and herb white sauce though!

happyred2's picture

Made this tonight and found it to be very bland and tasteless. I followed the recipe to the letter so cannot understand why its getting such good reviews. Definitely will not be making it again.

yvonne robertson's picture

made this in the morning and my daughter helped me fill the cannelloni tubes as this part is really time consuming, heated through in the evening and it went down a treat, very tasty will defo make again.

ethompsone's picture

Delicious! I used lasagne and rolled each sheet. Although I loved the cheese sauce made with the soft garlic cheese, I think next time - and there will definitely be a next time - I will use more milk to make the sauce more runny!

ramblinghaggis's picture

literally just made this and it was absolutely lovely. Made to the recipe, though i added fresh basil leaves to the mince as well as the basil passata. Prefer this dish to lasagne, much easier to serve!

rachaelcake's picture

This dish was delicious!! I persevered with the cannelloni tubes by filling them by standing them on end in the baking dish then leaning them down. This stops the filling coming out and ensures it does not spill all over the table! Mine needed about 10 minutes less than the time. But other than that it was a delicious meal for all of the family.

minnakw's picture

Great change from lasagna. Used lamb mince instead and was delicious.


Questions (1)

Dormouse7's picture

To make this without jars of stuff and ready made tubes, I guess you use fresh cooked lasagna sheets for the tubes but how best to make the passata?

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