Beef cannelloni

Beef cannelloni

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(48 ratings)

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 a dairy product made from separating whole milk or cream into fat and…

  • 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, questions and tips

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11th Mar, 2020
I halved the recipe, including the sauce, but discovered that I should have taken notice of previous reviewers and not halved the sauce. It would have been perfect with more sauce. Also it took me longer than 45 mins to prepare, putting the meat in the tubes was time consuming. It was probably nearer 60 minutes. That said, it was a lovely dish, and will do again with adaptions.
5th Feb, 2020
This went down very well with the whole family. I halved the recipe for the meat but made the whole recipe for the cheesy topping due to previous comments and I was glad I did as I used it all. I also just used plain passatta and plain cream cheese and it was still good. I also only had 400g of beef mince so I finely chopped up some mushrooms and put some red lentils in to simmer in the sauce and no-one noticed the difference. I made the mince the day before which again I was glad I did as filling the cannelloni tubes took longer than I thought. I stood them up on a plate and filled them that way so I didn't get in a mess, it just took a bit of time. Would definitely make again
14th Jan, 2020
Very popular dish in our house. I use plain cream cheese and simply add some garlic and herbs to the topping mix. The most time-consuming element is filling all of the cannelloni tubes!
13th Jan, 2020
I have made this a couple of times .. last time I didn't use the garlic and herb soft cheese and I loved it even more. Great recipe and a firm family favourite ...
Greg Bester's picture
Greg Bester
13th Nov, 2019
Made this tonight. As always I threw my own flair at it. I used my mom's bolognese recipe for the filling. It's not that far off from the original recipe. I ended up making my own passata with cherry tomatos, canned chopped tomatoes in tomato juice and fresh basil. Whizzed it up in the blender, added some sugar, garlic and a pinch of salt and reduced down. For the white sauce I made the bechamel base as per the recipe, then added mild and soft white cheddar cheese, garlic and dried herbs (origanum, sage and parsley). Topped with grated yellow cheddar, Parmesan, left over cherry tomatoes and sprinkled with fresh finely chopped basil. Delicious! :)
15th Oct, 2019
Delicious - a favourite with the whole family. I added mushrooms to the meat sauce - just remember to chop them small otherwise they won't fit in the tubes!
shikiraclare's picture
27th Aug, 2017
Not sure why yet my supermarket doesn't sell Cannelloni tubes and is one of the largest and most competitive food retail chains in the UK. Tried to substitute the tubes with Lasagne sheets that you can par-boil, yet far too hot and slippery to start rolling into cigar shapes, so ended up frustrated - made 'lasagne- -di-carnevale' with plenty of cheeses that already contained herbs - a really fragrant and exciting cuisine that satisfied the appetites of my guests. I never use shop brand sauces either, as they typically contain loads of sugars and emulsifiers. Prefer instead to use Passata (despite the salt and sugar) in them, a lot more healthier choice and spice it up with fresh garlic, chilli's, Paprika, chilli powder, Cumin and tinned sweet corn that has been drained. As with all meat dishes, always only ever use small amounts and bulk it out with celery, lentils and grated carrot - reduces blood sugar levels and helps with diabetic wellbeing, yet taste is never compromised because always add a huge variety of organic-dried herbs and spices.
13th Oct, 2015
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!
16th Sep, 2015
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.
4th Jul, 2015
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!


16th Jan, 2018
If you cook alll straight away, would it be safe to freeze leftovers?
goodfoodteam's picture
22nd Jan, 2018
Thanks for your question. Yes, you can freeze the leftovers.
31st Aug, 2015
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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