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Cheesy Stuffed Italian Meatball Sliders

Irresistible, melt-in-your-mouth Cheesy Italian Meatball Sliders for a party, game day or dinner win!  The BEST juicy, flavorful Italian meatballs are bathed in rich, zesty marinara, smothered in mozzarella and cocooned in hollowed out toasted garlic butter rolls for the most palate pleasing sliders ever! 
Course Appetizer, Main Course
Cuisine Italian
Prep Time 25 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Servings 12 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

Marinara Arrabbiata

  • 1 14.5 oz. can fire roasted diced tomatoes, not drained
  • 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


  • 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 1/2 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.

Prep Ahead

  • 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!