Catalan cannelloni has the flavour of Barcelona and Christmas Time. Catalan people call them ‘canelons’ and we love them!

When December begins, the city dresses in its best and one can enjoy very pleasant walks through the streets full of Christmas lights.


There is no Christmas Time without gastronomic traditions. Also, Catalan traditions vary from those of the rest of Spain.

Here, Christmas Time is celebrated especially on Christmas Day (December 25th) where the famous escudella and carn d’olla (Christmas stock) are usually cooked, which will be the basis for the preparation of typical dishes such as the famous Galets Soup (broth with typical shell pasta) or the delicious canelones (Catalan cannelloni which is cooked with the meat that has been used to make the broth). Canelones are eaten as a family on San Esteban day (December 26th), which is also a holiday in Catalonia.

A part of these dishes is traditional Christmas desserts such as polvoronesturronesmazapán (marzipan), but especially neules (tube-shaped wafers) crunchy and delicious when accompanied by a glass of Cava (sparkling wine from Catalonia).

 ‘Canelons’ or cannelloni, a recipe with history

If you are in Barcelona at Christmas Time, you must taste them! As a gift for you, I give here my Catalan cannelloni recipe (below).

Catalan cannelloni is eaten all year round in Barcelona, but the most typical occasion is Boxing Day (26th of December), taking advantage of the roast meat leftover from Christmas lunch.

This plate is a little different from Italian cannelloni. Try both and discover which are the differences. Both are delicious, but my taste prefers ‘Canelons’. Of course!

For me, these are the basic differences between Catalan and Italian cannelloni. Here, in Barcelona, they are stuffed with roast meat, while there minced meat, mixed with a ‘sofregit‘ of tomatoes, is added directly.

Cannelloni filled with seafood over a prawn velouté

Well, I have to say that cannelloni is a relatively recent addition to Catalan cuisine. They were introduced by the Italian chefs of the Barcelona bourgeoisie at the end of the 19th century.

From then on, they began to become very popular across the country and appear in cookery books.

Why eat Catalan cannelloni?

First, because they are delicious! Obviously. Besides, this pasta has the flavour of Barcelona and Christmas Time, because of that any local good restaurant in town cooks their special cannelloni for Christmas Time. Meat, fish, seafood, veggie, or vegan, it has got many classes of Catalan cannelloni.

Try them on! Don’t regret it!

Catalan style cannelloni filled with meat and béchamel, accompanied by mushrooms.

Recipe Catalan Cannelloni

The secret of its recipe: Is made by filling rectangular sheets of pasta with meat, fish, or vegetables, rolling them up.

Then, the best chefs cook them covering with béchamel sauce and gratin them with cheese, and heat them in the oven for some minutes.


Ingredients (4 people)

  • 16 cannelloni wrappers
  • 200 g pork loin
  • 100 g veal
  • 200 g chicken
  • 2 chicken livers
  • 1 onion
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 tomato
  • 1 glass of white wine
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • Béchamel sauce
  • grated cheese
  • butter
  • olive oil
  • salt
  • pepper
  • water


  1. Boil the cannelloni wrappers in a pan with water, salt, and a drizzle of oil.
  2. Cool, spread on a cloth, and dry.
  3. Roast the meat seasoned with salt and pepper with the cinnamon, garlic, onion, and tomato.
  4. When half roasted, prepare a wine reduction. Stain the juice, remove the cinnamon stick, and put it through the mincer.
  5. Mix the mince with some béchamel sauce and spread over the cannelloni wrappers.
  6. Roll the cannelloni wrappers, place them on the buttered baking tray, coat with the béchamel, and put the grated cheese and some knobs of butter on top.
  7. Bake at 180ºC for 15 or 20 minutes to warm and brown.
  8. Add a drizzle of dry sherry when you cook the Béchamel sauce
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