Get ready to score big with these mini Meatball Sliders! Whether you're cheering on your favorite team or simply looking for a quick family dinner, these homemade sandwiches are a guaranteed win.
Easy snack dinners are a win-win for everyone. These mini meatball subs come together in the oven in less than 40 minutes, and our kids love them because they taste amazing!
We love to serve them on small buns with a side of homemade mac and cheese. It's a warm, family-friendly meal our whole crew enjoys!
Once you try these homemade cheesy meatball sliders, you'll understand why they're a regular part of our meal rotation. Your whole family is sure to love them too!
Why Make This Meatball Sliders Recipe
Our tasty sliders feature homemade meatballs made with ground beef, breadcrumbs, and seasonings. They are cooked in marinara sauce and then topped with mozzarella cheese, creating a comforting meal.
- Quick and easy. Although there are a few steps to make the meatballs from scratch, they're really quick. Just remember to thaw the meat before making the meal.
- Warm and satisfying. The homemade meatballs are simmered in a warm tomato sauce and then served on a roll with cheese.
- Family-friendly. The crowd-pleasing sandwiches are easy and fun to prepare, making them perfect for a quick weeknight dinner.
Since the meatballs are made from scratch, you will need a handful of simple ingredients.
- Ground Beef - We use regular ground beef, but you could also use ground turkey or add half Italian sausage.
- Seasonings - For lots of flavors, season the meat with dried basil, salt, pepper, and minced garlic. You can use Italian seasoning instead of dried basil.
- Large Egg - Holds the meat mixture together.
- Breadcrumbs - Helps absorb any excess moisture.
- Parmesan Cheese - Adds a salty, savory flavor that makes this homemade meatball recipe unforgettable!
- Pepperoni - Finely chop pepperoni to add to the homemade sauce.
- Crushed Tomatoes - This will cook in the pepperoni and seasonings for a savory, satisfying flavor.
- Hawaiian Sweet Rolls - Focus on small, soft rolls holding 1-2 meatballs each. Dinner rolls work well, too.
- Mozzarella or Provolone Cheese - Choose a good melting cheese for these cheesy Italian meatball sliders.
- Melted Butter - Helps the Parmesan and fresh herbs stick to the top of the rolls.
- Fresh Parsley - This optional garnish adds a pop of color and a fresh flavor to these mini Italian sliders.
How to Make Meatball Sliders
Preparing delicious meatballs from scratch is the most time-consuming part of the recipe. Once cooked, add marinara sauce, cheese, and slider rolls to complete the meal!
Make the Meatballs
- Place the ground beef in a large bowl, breaking it into small pieces.
- Add the salt, pepper, onion powder, minced garlic, parsley, egg, Parmesan cheese, and bread crumbs. Lightly mix until fully incorporated.
- Shape into 12 meatballs about the size of a golf ball. Place about an inch apart on the prepared baking sheet, then bake for approximately 15-20 minutes.
Prepare the Pepperoni Parmesan Sauce
- Place the olive oil and pepperoni in a small saucepan over medium heat. Cook for a few minutes, then add garlic, and cook 1 minute more.
- Add tomatoes, basil, salt, pepper, and Parmesan cheese. Simmer for about 10 minutes to blend flavors, then set aside.
Assemble and Bake the Sliders
- Remove the Hawaiian rolls from the package. Use a long, serrated knife to cut the buns in half horizontally without separating them. Place the bottoms of the rolls in a 9x13 pan.
- Layer 6 slices of mozzarella cheese on the bottom half of the bread. Spread about ½ cup of the sauce in an even layer over the cheese.
- Place meatballs on each bun, then spoon more sauce on top. Place the remaining cheese slices over the meatballs, then cover with the top half of the buns.
- Brush the buns with melted butter, then sprinkle them with grated Parmesan cheese and parsley. Bake for 15 minutes or until the cheese is melted and the buns are golden brown. Serve with remaining sauce.
Turn these pull-apart meatball sliders into a complete meal by serving them with these delicious sides.
In the Refrigerator - Cover leftovers with foil or plastic wrap or place them in an airtight container. They are best eaten within 2-3 days.
In the Freezer - Allow the meatball sliders to cool completely, then wrap them tightly in plastic wrap or aluminum foil. Freeze them in an airtight container or a freezer bag for up to 3 months. Thaw them in the refrigerator overnight before reheating.
To Reheat - Preheat the oven to 350°F, and bake the sliders for 10-15 minutes until they're hot and the cheese is melted.
Tips and Tricks
- Line your baking sheet with foil. This will save you from washing a pan later. Remember to spray the foil with nonstick baking spray so they don't stick.
- Add water. If you like softer meatballs, add two tablespoons of water to your dried breadcrumbs and mix before adding to the ground beef.
- Chop the pepperoni quickly. Place the pepperoni in the refrigerator to chill beforehand to make it easier to chop.
- Don't overbake the meatballs. Don't overcook the meatballs, or they'll be dry and tough. Cook them to 160°F using a digital thermometer. Remember, the sandwiches bake again after assembly.
- Use marinara sauce. Instead of making the tomato sauce from scratch, use a jar of your favorite sauce. Although, don't skip the steps with the pepperoni and parmesan.
- Use grated onion. If you don't have onion powder, add one small grated onion.
- Stuffed Meatballs - Stuff each meatball with a small ball of fresh mozzarella or a cube of provolone.
- Use Frozen Meatballs - For a faster dinner, use frozen or premade meatballs and let them simmer in pasta sauce.
- Make it Spicy - Replace half the ground beef with spicy Italian sausage or add red pepper flakes.
- Make Garlic Bread Meatball Sliders - Brush garlic butter inside the rolls, then toast them in the oven for a crispy crunch.
This releases the flavor of the pepperoni and seasons the sauce.
Prepare the sauce and baked meatballs ahead of time, then store them in an airtight container in the fridge. To serve, take them out of the fridge for 30 minutes before assembling and baking.
Buying premade meatballs from the meat counter at your local grocery store is an excellent substitute for this recipe. We prefer using fresh meatballs instead of frozen ones since they are of similar size to the meatball recipe.
Using frozen meatballs is an option. Follow the baking instructions on the package. Since frozen meatballs are usually smaller, you may need to adjust how many meatballs go on each slider bun.
More Easy Dinners
- Buffalo Chicken Wraps
- Alfredo Ravioli
- Stuffed Shells with Meat
- Chicken Ole
- Sweet and Sour Crockpot Chicken
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*This post was first published in April 2013. It was updated and then republished in January 2024.