Italian Bollito (Boiled Beef)



Slow cooking, a handful of aromatic herbs, and a careful choice of meat cut: these are the secrets to making a delicious bollito. With its tender and flavorful meat, boiled beef is a timeless classic of Italian home cooking, usually served with boiled vegetables, aromatic sauces, and mustard (particularly in the Lombardy region). Among the most famous recipes, we remember the Piedmontese boiled meat made with mixed meats and traditionally served with tantalizing vegetable-based sauces such as horseradish sauce and salsa rubra. Boiled beef is prepared by simmering beef in plenty of water flavored with herbs and vegetables, resulting in very tender and flavorful meat with a simple taste and a rich and nutritious broth, excellent dishes that cannot be missed in winter menus. And if you are looking for a tasty idea to use leftover boiled meat, try our boiled meat and ricotta meatballs!

Pork 2.2 lbs (1 kg) - for boiled
White onions 4.2 oz (120 g) - about 1
Celery 2
Carrots 3.9 oz (110 g) - (about 1)
Parsley 1 tuft
Thyme 1 sprig
Bay leaves 3 leaves
Cloves 3
Ground black pepper 4
Coarse salt 1 tbsp (15 g)
Water 17 cups (4 l)

How to prepare Italian Bollito (Boiled Beef)

To prepare the bollito, first clean the onion 1, then stud it by inserting cloves into its flesh 2. Make a bouquet garni with thyme, parsley, and bay leaves, and then tie it with kitchen twine 3.

Peel the carrot 4, wash and trim the celery 5. The vegetables are ready, pour the water into a wide pot with high sides 6,

immerse the carrot, the onion 7, the celery 8, and the bouquet garni 9.

Add salt 10 and bring to a boil. Meanwhile, tie the piece of meat with kitchen twine so that it maintains its shape during cooking (11-12). To perform the tying, we recommend consulting our guide on How to tie a roast.

Once the water has reached a boil, add the meat 13. After a few minutes of cooking, impurities in the form of foam will begin to appear on the water's surface: these are the coagulated proteins of the meat that you will need to remove using a slotted spoon (skimmer) 14; after removing all the impurities, add the peppercorns 15 (if added earlier, you risk removing them with the spoon) and lower the heat to the minimum.

The boiling should last about 3 hours and be very gentle since a violent boil would damage the meat by shredding it and making it fibrous; we recommend checking the cooking level by piercing the meat with a carving fork 16 to check its consistency. When the boiled beef is perfectly cooked, drain it with a slotted spoon, let it drip and place it on a cutting board, then remove the twine 17 (if you used it) and cut it into slices about 2/5 of an inch thick using a knife with a smooth and long blade 18. Arrange the slices of meat on a serving dish and serve with boiled vegetables and, if you like, some mustard.

How to store

The bollito can be stored in the refrigerator for a couple of days or frozen if you have used fresh ingredients. It is possible to filter and store the meat broth obtained from cooking, perhaps freezing it in ice cube trays, so it's ready and portioned for any occasion!


The best cuts for a good boiled beef are: the brisket, the chuck and round, the plate, the top and bottom shoulder, the tongue, the neck and the belly.