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This meatball sliders recipe pairs sweet Hawaiian rolls with Italian meatballs, marinara sauce, plenty of gooey cheese, and a garlic butter sauce on top. It’s the perfect crowd-pleasing appetizer!

overhead view of cooked meatball sliders with marinara sauce

One of the easiest things to make when you need an appetizer recipe everyone loves is some kind of sliders with Hawaiian rolls! The possibilities are almost endless because just about anything pairs well with soft, sweet Hawaiian bread.

For example, Italian meatballs are delicious made into mini meatball bombers on Hawaiian slider rolls!

Here we start with a pound of ground beef and combine it with savory onion and garlic, Italian-style seasoned breadcrumbs, parmesan cheese, and a few pantry-staple seasonings to make homemade meatballs.

overhead view of mini meatball sandwiches on slider buns

Then we douse the baked meatballs in marinara sauce and a good amount of cheese. But it doesn’t end there; these are meatball sliders with a twist! Once the sliders are assembled, we brush the top of the bread with garlic butter to make these into little garlic bread meatball sandwiches.

This recipe is great for a holiday appetizer! I made it as part of our Christmas Eve spread and got requests to make it again as for our New Years Eve appetizer dinner. Meatball sliders are also a great potluck dish, or game day appetizer!

front view of meatball slider on small plate with bite showing inside

Hawaiian Roll Meatball Sliders Ingredients and Substitutions

Ingredients Explained

In this section I explain the ingredients and give substitution ideas where applicable. For the full recipe (including the ingredient amounts), see the recipe card below.

Italian Meatball Ingredients

italian meatball ingredients
  • Lean ground beef – use 85 to 90% lean
  • Onion and garlic – fresh onion and garlic adds tons of savory depth of flavor to our Italian meatballs
  • Italian seasoned breadcrumbs – breadcrumbs help keep the meatballs juicy and flavorful
  • Parmesan cheese – parmesan adds a ton of flavor and functions as a binder in meatballs
  • Egg – egg acts as a binder in meatballs
  • Dried Italian herb seasoning, salt, and black pepper – these pantry-staple seasonings help create flavorful meatballs

Garlic Butter Topping

garlic butter ingredients
  • Salted butter – if you don’t have salted butter, use unsalted butter and add a generous pinch of salt
  • Garlic powder – or use 2 cloves of fresh garlic, peeled and crushed
  • Dried Italian herb seasoning – for extra flavor

Other Ingredients

meatball slider ingredients
  • King’s Hawaiian Original Sweet Rolls – you’ll need 1 12-ounce package with 12 slider rolls; here we slice through the rolls horizontally, add the slider fillings, and then place the top half of the rolls on top before baking, which results in pull-apart meatball sliders
  • Marinara sauce – you can use your favorite store-bought or homemade marinara sauce; anything you’d normally use on meatballs with spaghetti or meatball bombers will be perfect here
  • Mozzarella cheese – I like to use freshly-shredded mozzarella cheese because it can get down between the meatballs; mozzarella gives these sliders a great cheese pull!
  • Provolone cheese – the slightly sharp, nutty flavor of provolone is a great contrast to milky mozzarella
  • Fresh parsley – this adds a pop of green color (but it’s completely optional)

Instructions

Make the Italian Meatballs

how to make homemade baked italian meatballs
  1. Add the beef, onion, garlic, breadcrumbs, parmesan cheese, egg, dried Italian herb seasoning, salt, and black pepper to a large bowl.
  2. Use your hands to combine the mixture. 
  3. Divide the meat mixture into 12 equal portions and roll each portion into a ball.
  4. Arrange the balls on a baking tray so they’re not touching, and bake until fully cooked, about 15 to 18 minutes at 400F.

Assemble the Sliders

how to assemble meatball sliders
  1. Put the entire tray of rolls onto a cutting board and horizontally slice through them. You should be able to pick up the top of the rolls as a unit.
  2. Place the bottom half of the rolls on the prepared baking tray. Spread on 1/2 cup marinara sauce, and then put 1 meatball on each roll. Top with the remaining 1/2 cup marinara sauce.
  3. Sprinkle the mozzarella evenly across the top. Then top with the provolone slices.

Bake the Sliders

how to bake meatball sliders on hawaiian rolls
  1. Place the top half of the rolls on top. Spoon on the garlic butter sauce.
  2. Cover the rolls with foil and bake for 20 to 25 minutes at 375F, removing the foil during the last 3 to 5 minutes to brown the top.

Storage and Reheating

Store leftover meatball sliders covered in the fridge for up to 3 days.

These reheat well in the oven or air fryer at 350F. Cover them with foil to prevent over-browning. In the oven it takes about 10 to 12 minutes, and in the air fryer it takes about 8 to 10 minutes.

overhead view of pulling one slider onto plate showing cheesy mozzarella pull

Meatball Sliders Recipe FAQs

What’s the Easiest Way to Make Meatballs the Same Size?

When a meatball recipe says it makes a certain number of meatballs without specifying the size for them (for example, this recipe makes 12 meatballs instead of 2-tablespoon meatballs), there is a simple trick for getting all the meatballs the same size.

how to easily shape meatballs
  1. Make the meatball mixture as directed. Press the meat mixture evenly into a baking tray (be sure to go all the way to the edges and corners). Score the meat mixture into however many meatballs the recipe says it makes.
  2. Roll each scored section into 1 meatball.

How Do You Make Meatball Sliders with Frozen Meatballs?

If you’re pressed for time or already have frozen meatballs on hand, you can use frozen meatballs to make these sliders! To do so, thaw the meatballs and heat them according to the package directions. Then proceed with the rest of the recipe as written.

front view of meatball sliders on serving platter

What Do You Serve with Meatball Sliders?

You can serve meatball sliders as part of an appetizer spread. Here are a few other appetizers that pair well:

And you can easily turn these sliders into a main meal! Here are a few suggestions for what to serve with sliders to make them into a full meal:

More Delicious Appetizers to Try

mini meatball sandwiches with marinara and cheese

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Meatball Sliders Recipe

Prep Time20 minutes
Cook Time40 minutes
Yields: 12 servings
This meatball sliders recipe pairs sweet Hawaiian rolls with Italian meatballs, marinara sauce, plenty of gooey cheese, and a garlic butter sauce on top. It’s the perfect crowd-pleasing appetizer!

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Ingredients
 

Italian Meatballs:

Garlic Butter Topping:

Other:

  • 12 ounce package King’s Hawaiian Original Sweet Rolls with 12 slider rolls
  • 1 cup marinara sauce divided
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 6 slices provolone cheese about 1 ounce per slice
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh parsley for garnish

Instructions
 

Make the Meatballs:

  • Preheat the oven to 400F.
  • Add the beef, onion, garlic, breadcrumbs, parmesan cheese, egg, dried Italian herb seasoning, salt, and black pepper to a large bowl. Use your hands to combine the mixture.
  • Divide the meat mixture into 12 equal portions and roll each portion into a ball. Arrange the balls on a baking tray so they’re not touching, and bake until fully cooked, about 15 to 18 minutes.

Make the Garlic Butter Topping:

  • Stir together all ingredients in a small bowl and set aside for now.

Assemble the Sliders:

  • Preheat the oven to 375F. Line a small baking tray with foil.
  • Put the entire tray of rolls onto a cutting board and horizontally slice through them. You should be able to pick up the top of the rolls as a unit.
  • Place the bottom half of the rolls on the prepared baking tray. Spread on 1/2 cup marinara sauce, and then put 1 meatball on each roll. Top with the remaining 1/2 cup marinara sauce. Sprinkle the mozzarella evenly across the top, and then top with the provolone slices. Place the top half of the rolls on top. Spoon on the garlic butter sauce.

Bake the Sliders:

  • Cover the rolls with foil and bake for 20 to 25 minutes, removing the foil during the last 3 to 5 minutes to brown the top.
  • Serve warm, garnished with fresh parsley.

Notes

  • Recipe Yield and Serving Size: This recipe makes 12 sliders; if you’re serving this as an appetizer, each slider is 1 serving. The nutritional information given is an estimate for 1 slider.
  • Storage: Store leftover meatball sliders covered in the fridge for up to 3 days.
  • Reheating: These reheat well in the oven or air fryer at 350F. Cover them with foil to prevent over-browning. In the oven it takes about 10 to 12 minutes, and in the air fryer it takes about 8 to 10 minutes.

Nutrition

Calories: 279kcal | Carbohydrates: 18g | Protein: 18g | Fat: 15g | Saturated Fat: 8g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 4g | Trans Fat: 0.4g | Cholesterol: 69mg | Sodium: 555mg | Potassium: 255mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 506IU | Vitamin C: 3mg | Calcium: 219mg | Iron: 2mg

Nutritional information is automatically calculated and should be used as an approximate.

Course: Appetizer
Cuisine: American, Italian
Keyword: Meatball Slider Recipe, Meatball Sliders, Meatball Sliders on Hawaiian Rolls, Meatball Sliders Recipe, Pull Apart Meatball Sliders

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Faith, author of An Edible Mosaic.
About Faith

I’m the writer, recipe developer, photographer, and food stylist behind this blog. I love finding the human connection through something we all do every day: eat! Food is a common ground that we can all relate to, and our tables tell a story. It’s my goal to inspire you to get in the kitchen, try something new, and find a favorite you didn’t know you had.

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