Cheesy Italian Meatball Sliders are irresistible, melt-in-your-mouth delicious for a party, game day or dinner win!
These Meatball Sliders are the result of taking juicy, flavorful Italian meatballs, bathing them in rich, zesty marinara, smothering them in mozzarella and cocooning them in hollowed out toasted garlic butter rolls. drool. 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, do meatball sliders 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 Tasty’s Meatball Sliders Recipe 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 Meatball Sliders
- For this 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.
the Best Meatballs for Meatball Sliders
- 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 ½ 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 ¼ teaspoon. I used ½ 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…
- Bake for 5-10 minutes to achieve ooey gooey cheesiliciousness.
How to Prep 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!
Looking for more Meatball Recipes?
- Honey Buffalo Meatballs
- Italian Meatballs
- Cranberry Meatballs
- Korean Meatballs
- Parmesan Meatballs
- Swedish Meatballs
Want to try these Cheesy Italian Meatball Sliders?
Pin them to your APPETIZER, PARTY, DINNER, MEAT or ITALIAN Board to SAVE for later!
Find me on Pinterest for more great recipes! I am always pinning :)!
©Carlsbad Cravings by CarlsbadCravings.com
Cheesy Stuffed Italian Meatball Sliders
- 1 large egg
- 1 pound lean ground beef
- 1/2 cup Italian seasoned breadcrumbs
- 1/2 cup freshly finely grated Parmesan cheese
- 1/2 cup diced onion
- 2 tablespoons milk
- 1 tsp EACH dried parsley, dried basil, garlic powder
- 1/2 tsp EACH dried oregano, dried rosemary, salt, pepper
- Preheat oven to 350°F.
- Cut a large hole into the top of each Hawaiian roll (see above photos) in order to fit a meatball later. Press down on the dough hole and then remove the hole of dough to create a space for the meatball.
- Whisk together melted butter, 1 teaspoon dried parsley and ½ teaspoon garlic powder. Brush the insides and outside of the rolls with the butter mixture.
- Bake rolls at 350 degrees F for 10 minutes then set aside.
- Meanwhile, stir together all of the Marinara Arrabbiata ingredients in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Decrease heat to a simmer and cook for 5 minutes then keep warm on low until ready to use, stirring occasionally. Mash tomatoes to reach desired consistency (optional).
- Meanwhile, make meatballs by whisking egg in a large bowl. Add all remaining meatball ingredients. Using clean hands, gently mix everything until well-blended. Be careful not to overmix or your meatballs will be tough. Roll dough into 12 equal meatballs.
- Add 2 tablespoon olive oil to a large nonstick skillet and heat over medium heat. Add meatballs to skillet and brown on all sides. Once cooked through, remove pan from heat and CAREFULLY add Marinara Sauce so it doesn’t spit and splatter. Gently coat meatballs in sauce.
- Place each meatball and some sauce into each bread hole (the entire meatball will not fit in the hole - only the bottom of the meatball will sit in the hole). Top meatballs with more sauce then evenly top with mozzarella. Bake at 350 degrees for 5-10 minutes or until cheese is melted. Garnish with fresh parsley if desired. Best served immediately.
- You can prep your rolls entirely according to instructions. After baking, let them cool then store in their original packaging so they don't get stale.
- You can make the marinara sauce completely beforehand according to instructions 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!
Did You Make This Recipe?
Tag @CarlsbadCravings and Use #CarlsbadCravngs
Leave a Review, I Always Love Hearing From You!
©Carlsbad Cravings Original inspired by this FB video.
Never miss a Carlsbad Cravings Creation:
You might also like: