Irresistible, melt-in-your-mouth Cheesy Italian Meatball Sliders for a party, game day or dinner win!
When you take the BEST juicy, flavorful Italian meatballs, bathe them in rich, zesty marinara, smother them in mozzarella and cocoon them in hollowed out toasted garlic butter rolls you get the most ridiculously palate pleasing sliders ever! Because meatball sliders on Hawaiian rolls + cheese + marinara = UNFORGETTABLE!
I hope you all had a very Merry Christmas and are excited to ring in the New Year with all sorts of party food like these Cheesy Italian Meatball Sliders! They are guaranteed to be the hit of the night – any night you serve them – and are truly one of my favorite appetizers/meals of all time (look for my 2017 Favorite’s Post later this week!).
Because really, does it get any better than amazingly tender, flavor exploding, meatballs bathed in aromatic sauce and blanketed with hot, gooey mozzarella cheese?! Maybe only if the meatballs and sauce were self contained in a hollowed out roll so everything doesn’t spill out sloppy Joe style but instead you devour your layers of buttery toasted roll and cheesy meatball in every saucy contained bite!
This brilliant idea of creating a meatball pocket comes from this FB video. I was mesmerized by this method and so excited to try it out but I didn’t want to follow the video’s meatball and marinara sauce recipe – because they were lacking – and I will never share anything that isn’t the best possible version for my awesome readers – so I slightly adapted the meatballs and marina from my favorite Baked Italian Meatball Skillet and I can’t wait for you to devour the satisfyingly decadent results!
How to Make Cheesy Italian Meatball Sliders
For this Cheesy Italian Meatball Sliders Recipe, we start with a package of Hawaiian Sweet Rolls. Instead of slicing them in half like most slider recipes, we cut out a circle in the top of each slider.
To remove the hole filling, I find it easiest to press down on the dough hole you’ve just cut, and then pull the hole back up. This separates the dough so as you pull it back out, you are left with a hollow space for the meatball. Keep in mind that the meatball will be large and is not meant to fit entirely inside the hole, rather just the bottom half of the meatball will be cradled in the hole.
Next, we whisk together butter with some dried parsley and garlic powder and envelop the inside and outside of the rolls. Feel free to use fresh garlic and parsley (you’ll need 3X the mount of dried) but I prefer dried for more even distribution. We bake for 10 minutes to achieve beautifully toasted buttery, garlic bread flavor and texture. This toasting also helps our Cheesy Italian Meatball Sliders from becoming soggy even after becoming saucy with marinara smothered meatballs.
Next, the BEST meatballs in. the. world. These Italian meatballs are truly the star of this Cheesy Italian Meatball Sliders recipe with their wonderfully soft and tender texture, an entire 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese and the perfect amount of seasonings. While we brown them in some oil, we simmer our Marinara Arrabbiata Sauce. To make this Marinara, you simply whisk all your pantry friendly ingredients in a saucepan and simmer for 5 minutes. You can substitute with jarred marinara if you are in a pinch, but I guarantee this homemade version is super simple and waaaaaay better and about to become your go-to marinara for everything.
Marinara Arabbiata or sugo all’arrabbiata in Italian, is a spicy tomato sauce and this one is wonderfully rich, seasoned to perfection and tastes like its been simmering all day. It does have a kick of heat so if you don’t like heat or want to make this extra kid friendly, then I would reduce the red pepper flakes to 1/4 teaspoon. I used 1/2 teaspoon and it was perfect for my medium spicy palate and subdued by all the cheeeeeese and cocoon of garlicky rolls.
Once the meatballs are cooked, you add the marinara sauce to the skillet and gently coat the meatballs then place a coated meatball in each roll hole and top with some of the remaining sauce.
Finally, we top with cheese and bake for 5-10 minutes to achieve ooey gooey cheesiliciousness.
How to Prep Cheesy Italian Meatball Sliders in Advance
These Cheesy Italian Meatball Sliders are best served right away while the cheese is still melty but they also make delicious leftovers. If you are looking to make them in advance for a party or dinner, you can do most of the prep ahead and then just assemble when ready to serve.
- You can prep your rolls entirely. Just be sure to let them cool after toasting then store in their original packaging so they don’t get stale.
- You can make the marinara sauce completely beforehand and refrigerate then warm in the microwave or stove before assembling.
- For the meatballs, you can roll them all beforehand and store in the refrigerator. For the moistest meatballs, I suggest cooking them when ready to assemble so they are not “cooked” twice. They will still be delicious if cooked and reheated but they will be the very best if just cooked and served.
- Lastly, you can have all your cheese shredded and ready to go!
Now dig into these ridiculously delicious Cheesy Italian Meatball Sliders. They might be one of your favorite bites of 2017!
Want to try these Cheesy Italian Meatball Sliders?
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©Carlsbad Cravings Original inspired by this FB video.
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