Italian Meatball Pull Apart Bread

ITALIAN MEATBALL PULL APART BREAD IS IRRESISTIBLY CHEESY, BUTTERY, AND SAUCY AKA THE BEST PARTY FOOD!

This Pull-Apart Bread is bursting with juicy, flavorful Italian meatballs, bathed in rich, zesty marinara, smothered in mozzarella and cocooned in garlic buttery biscuits.  It’s a cheesy, decadent appetizer that everyone will love you for OR a super fun dinner with self-contained meatballs! 

stringy cheese shot of garlic pull apart bread being pulled away

Pull Apart Bread

With football and holiday parties galore, it means its time for epic appetizers like Bacon Ranch Cheese Ball, Slow Cooker Honey Buffalo Meatballs, Cheesy Jalapeno Popper Dip and of course pull apart bread!  There is something magical about pull apart bread recipes.  It’s the bread.  It’s the cheese.  It’s the butter.  And everything else stuffed in between.

I am so in love with pull apart breads, I’ve already shared: Buffalo Chicken Pull Part Bread,  Cheesy Sausage Pull Apart Bread, Bacon Ranch Pull Apart Bread and Cheesy Pesto Pull Apart Bread.  But of course, there is always room for one more outrageously delicious pull apart bread recipe, so I give you Cheesy Italian Meatball Pull Apart Bread.

This Pull Apart Bread is a combination between my juicy Italian Meatball Stuffed Slides and the method I use in my Italian Sausage Pull Apart Bread.  So essentially, the Italian meatballs are the star of this pull apart bread recipe with their wonderfully soft and tender texture, an entire ½ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese and the perfect amount of seasonings.

This Italian Meatball Pull Apart Bread is your new favorite way to eat meatballs OR your favorite new pull apart bread appetizer!  I just call it the best dinner ever.

top view of pull apart bread with biscuits and cheese

How do you make pull apart bread with biscuits?

  • Step 1 – Prepare Pan: Grease a 12 cup bundt pan with 2 tablespoons softened butter. Set aside.
  • Step 2 – Marinara:  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 until ready to use, stirring occasionally. Mash tomatoes to reach desired consistency (optional).
  • Step 3 – Make Meatballs:  Meanwhile, make meatballs by whisking egg in a large bowl. Add all remaining meatball ingredients. Using clean hands, gently mix everything until well-blended, taking care not to overmix. Roll dough into 16 equal meatballs.
  • Step 4- Cook Meatballs:  Heat 2 tablespoon olive oil in a skillet 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.
  • Step 5 – Layer:  Lay biscuits out separately on a flat surface. Create an indent in each biscuit with the back of a tablespoon to cradle the meatball.  Top each biscuit with a heaping tablespoon mozzarella cheese followed by 1 meatball.
showing how to make pull apart bread by laying out biscuits and topping with cheese and meatballs
showing how to make pull apart bread by adding meatballs and cheese to biscuits
  • Step 6 – Assemble:  Stack 3-4 biscuits together…
showing how to make pull apart bread by stacking biscuits together with cheese and meatballs
  • Turn on their side and place in greased bundt pan. Repeat with the remaining biscuits, arranging biscuit stacks in pan to create a ring – it will be tight.
showing how to make pull apart bread by adding laying biscuits in a bundt pan
  • Step 7 –  Garlic Butter:  Whisk together all of the Garlic Butter ingredients in a small bowl and evenly drizzle all over ring.
  • Step 8 – Bake:  Bake pull apart bread for 30 minutes. Let cool 5 minutes then flip over onto a baking sheet.
showing how to make pull apart bread by baking biscuits until golden
  • Step 9 – More Cheese:  Sprinkle with the remaining cheese (about 1 cup) and bake for an additional 5 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean and cheese is melted.  Serve with remaining Marinara.
showing how to make pull apart bread by adding cheese to top of baked biscuits

Notes About Pull Apart Bread

  • Pan Size:  Make sure you use a 12-cup bundt pan because you will need every inch of it to squeeze your meatballs and biscuits into.
  • Grease Pan:  Make sure to generously grease your bundt pan with butter so the dough doesn’t stick – the butter also adds a fabulous buttery flavor to the pull apart bread. We use softened butter instead of melted butter so the butter will actually stick to the sides of the pan and not run all over.
  • 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.
  •  Jarred Marinara:  You can substitute the homemade marinara 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.
  • Frozen Meatballs:  You can substitute the Italian meatballs with frozen meatballs and cook according to package directions but I cannot guarantee the end result will be spectacularly delicious.
  • Tomatoes:  The Marinara Arrabbiata uses diced fire roasted tomatoes which you can leave whole or I like to mash mine up once the sauce has simmered after 5 minutes or so.
  • Cheese: Use freshly grated mozzarella for both superior flavor and melting capabilities.
  • Garlic Butter Substitute:  You can substitute the fresh parsley and fresh garlic for 1 teaspoon dried parsley and 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder.
far away view of pull apart bread made in a bundt pan with meatballs and cheese

HOW TO PREP PULL APART BREAD AHEAD OF TIME

This Cheesy Italian Meatball Pull Apart Bread is best served right away while the cheese is still hot and melty.  If you are looking to make the pull-apart bread in advance for a party or dinner, you can do most of the prep ahead and then assemble when ready to bake.

I don’t recommend assembling the pull apart bread completely beforehand because the saucy meatballs can make the biscuits soggy.

To prep pull apart bread in advance:

  • Marinara:  You can make the marinara sauce completely beforehand and refrigerate then warm in the microwave or stove.
  • Meatballs:  You can roll the meatballs all beforehand and store in the refrigerator.  For the moistest meatballs, I suggest cooking them when ready to assemble the pull apart bread 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, assembled and served.
  • Cheese:  You can have all your cheese shredded and ready to go!
up close of pull apart bread with a juicy meatball

WANT TO TRY THIS PULL APART BREAD RECIPE?

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©Carlsbad Cravings by CarlsbadCravings.com

side shot of cheesy pull apart bread being pulled
side shot of cheesy pull apart bread being pulled

Italian Meatball Pull Apart Bread

This Pull-Apart Bread is bursting with juicy, flavorful Italian meatballs, bathed in rich, zesty marinara, smothered in mozzarella and cocooned in garlic buttery biscuits.  It’s a cheesy, decadent appetizer that everyone will love you for OR a super fun dinner with self-contained meatballs! 
Servings: 16 meatballs
Prep Time: 25 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes

Ingredients

  • 2 16.3 oz. pkgs. refrigerated biscuits I use Pillsbury Grand 8 biscuits each
  • 8 oz. shredded mozzarella cheese divided (about 2 cups)
  • 2 tablespoons butter softened
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

Meatballs

  • 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

Marinara

  • 1 14.5 oz. can fire roasted diced tomatoes with juices
  • 1 15 oz. can tomato sauce
  • 1-2 teaspoons sugar to taste
  • 1 tsp EACH garlic powder, onion powder, dried basil
  • 1/2 tsp EACH salt, pepper
  • 1/4 tsp EACH dried thyme dried rosemary
  • 1/4-1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

Garlic Butter

  • 4 tablespoons butter melted
  • 3 garlic cloves minced
  • 1 tablespoon freshly chopped parsley or 1 tsp dried

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  • Grease a 12 cup bundt pan with 2 tablespoons softened butter. Set aside.

Marinara Arrabbiata

  • 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 until ready to use, stirring occasionally. Mash tomatoes to reach desired consistency (optional).

Meatballs

  • Meanwhile, make meatballs by whisking egg in a large bowl. Add all remaining meatball ingredients. Using your hands, gently mix everything until well-blended, taking care not to overmix. Roll dough into 16 equal meatballs.
  • Heat 2 tablespoon olive oil in a large skillet 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.

Assemble

  • Lay biscuits out separately on a flat surface. Create an indent in each biscuit with the back of a tablespoon to cradle the meatball. Top each biscuit with a heaping tablespoon mozzarella cheese followed by 1 meatball (leave remaining marinara behind and transfer to a serving bowl).
  • Stack 3-4 biscuits together, turn on their side and place in greased bundt pan. Repeat with the remaining biscuits, arranging biscuit stacks in pan to create a ring – it will be tight.

Garlic Butter

  • Whisk together all of the Garlic Butter ingredients in a small bowl and evenly drizzle all over ring.

Bake

  • Bake Ring for 30 minutes. Let cool 5 minutes then flip over onto a baking sheet. Sprinkle with the remaining cheese (about 1 cup) and bake for an additional 5 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean and cheese is melted.
  • Garish with fresh parsley (optional) and serve with remaining Marinara.

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4 Comments

  1. pamela says

    hi i wanted to ask can you make this ahead of time

    • Jen says

      Hi Pamela! If you scroll up a little bit above the recipe I have a section on this 🙂

  2. Baby Bleu says

    A friend of mine served a pull-apart bread recipe a few weeks ago at a family gathering. At first I thought it was children’s food, but when I saw the grown-ups hovering over it, realized that it was fun food for everyone. What are your thoughts on a vegetarian pull-apart bread?

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