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Pull Apart Meatball Sliders

Pull Apart Meatball Sliders are a fun way to make meatball subs for a crowd! Garlic bread slider buns stuffed with cheese and meatballs for the perfect bite.

pulling apart a meatball slider

Pull Apart Meatball Sliders Recipe

Growing up I always LOVED meatball subs. They are saucy, cheesy and warm the soul! The only thing I don’t like is how messy they can get during get togethers, movie nights, holiday gatherings and game day celebrations.

In comes pull apart meatball sub sliders. Image all the great flavors of a classic meatball sub but in a 2-3 bite mini slider form… how fun! No need to worry about messy subs. These are a perfect finger food for your next get together and a great family dinner!

If you love meatballs subs as much as I do this isn’t the only variation I have! Check out my fun and easy recipes for Meatball Subs on a Stick and Meatball Sub Cups. If you love sliders try out my Jalapeno Bacon Ranch Sliders, and Big Mac Sliders!

What are Pull Apart Meatball Sliders?

Pull apart meatball sliders are a twist on the classic meatball sub. Slider buns (or dinner rolls) have their tops cut out to create a hole for a meatball and cheese to be stuffed into.

The buns are brushed with garlic butter and toasted. They are then stuffed with mozzarella cheese, meatballs coated in marinara sauce and then topped with even more mozzarella! Baked until golden brown, with lots of melty cheese, they are simply divine.

One of the secrets to these pull apart meatball sliders is that the meatballs are extra moist and tender. The secret trick is that when the slider buns are cut to create the small hole, the cut out pieces of bread are soaked in milk and then added to the ground beef meatball mixture. The soaked bread keeps the meatballs tender and moist!

pull apart meatball sliders topped with parmesan cheese, parsley and basil on a cookie sheet

What to Serve with Pull Apart Meatball Sliders

I love having a sandwich, soup and salad family dinner! It’s an easy weeknight meal that I can pull together in under an hour.

Soup Pairings

Salad Pairings

What is in Pull Apart Meatball Sliders?

bowls with ground beef, onion, garlic, salt, Italian seasoning, parmesan, milk, parsley, garlic, butter, marinara, mozzarella cheese and slider buns. the ingredients to make pull apart meatball sliders

Slider Ingredients

  • Slider Buns – I love using Kings Hawaiian Slider Buns as they have a sweeter flavor than regular dinner rolls or slider buns. The garlic butter pairs perfectly with the slight sweetness of the buns, making the ultimate garlic bread sliders!
  • Butter, Garlic, Parsley – to kick these meatball sliders up a notch they are not made in regular slider buns… they are made in garlic bread buns! A mix of melted butter, garlic and parsley is brushed over the buns before they are toasted.
  • Marinara Sauce – homemade or store-bought marinara sauce can be used. I like to make the meatballs from scratch but use a store-bought marinara to cutdown on prep time. But you can definitely use store-bought meatballs and marinara sauce!
  • Mozzarella – I love using mozzarella cheese for meatball sliders as it melts so well and has a great flavor. You can use any cheese you have on hand – cheddar, marble, Monterrey jack or even a spicy Havarti or jalapeno Monterrey jack for a spicy slider!

Meatball Ingredients

  • Ground Beef – medium or lean ground beef is my go to for meatballs, or a combination of extra lean ground beef and ground pork. You can also use ground chicken or ground turkey for this recipe for a leaner option.
    • Milk – the secret to tender and moist meatballs is to soak bread in milk and mix it into the meat. As the meat cooks the soaked bread keeps the meatballs moist. When the slider buns have their tops cut out to create the hole for the meatball, the cut out bread is saved and soaked in milk.
  • Onion – very finely minced or shredded onion is mixed into the meatballs which is another secret to keeping meatballs moist… and flavorful!
  • Garlic – the more garlic the better in my books so of course these meatballs are packed with fresh garlic.
  • Italian Seasoning (or dried oregano, basil and parsley) – I always have a jar of Italian seasoning in my pantry. It is a perfect spice blend for meatballs.
  • Parmesan – adds a cheesy and salty flavor to the meatballs.
  • Salt
pull apart meatball sliders topped with parmesan cheese, parsley and basil on a blue platter with marinara sauce to dip

How to Make Pull Apart Meatball Sliders

Full Printable Recipe at Bottom of Page

slicing slider buns and topping with garlic butter

Prepare the Slider Buns

1 Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a sheet pan or baking tray with parchment paper. Remove the slider buns from the packaging and transfer to the sheet pan.

2 Use a knife to carefully slice a hole in the top of each slider bun 2/3 of the way through the bun. Set the cut out bread aside in a small bowl.

3 Prepare the garlic butter by mixing together the melted butter, minced garlic, and minced parsley in a small bowl.

4 Brush the garlic butter on the tops, sides and cut centers of the slider buns until evenly coated.

5 Place the sheet pan in the oven and bake for 5 minutes, or until lightly toasted.

soaking bread in milk and adding to ground beef with spices to make meatballs for sliders

Prepare the Meatballs

1 Pour 2 tbsp of milk over the cut out bread pieces and mix until evenly coated. Use a fork to mash the bread into small pieces.

2 In a large bowl add all of the meatball ingredients and the soaked bread. Mix until evenly combined. Divide the meat into 12 portions and shape the meatballs.

shaping seasoned ground beef to make meatballs

Cook the Meatballs

STOVE TOP COOKING METHOD
Add a splash of cooking oil to a frying pan on medium heat. Working in batches, add the meatballs to the pan and brown on all sides, about 5-8 minutes, or until cooked through.

OVEN BAKING METHOD
Preheat oven to 400°F. Bake the meatballs on a parchment paper lined sheet for 20 – 25 minutes, or until cooked through.

AIR FRYER COOKING METHOD
Preheat Air Fryer to 400°F. Working in batches, add the meatballs to the air fryer (leaving a small space between each meatball). Air fry for 8 – 12 minutes or until cooked through.

tossing meatballs in marinara sauce and then putting in slider buns to make meatball sliders

Assemble the Sliders

1 Transfer the cooked meatballs to a large bowl and pour the marinara sauce over them. Mix until evenly coated.

2 Evenly divide 1/2 cup of the mozzarella cheese into the bottoms of each slider bun. Top with a meatball.

topping meatball sliders with marinara sauce, parmesan cheese, parsley and basil

3 Add a spoonful of marinara sauce on top of each meatball. Divide the remaining 1/2 cup of the mozzarella cheese on top of each meatball.

4 Transfer the sliders back to the oven and bake for 8-10 minutes or until the cheese is melted.

Garnish with additional shredded parmesan cheese, fresh basil and parsley. Serve and enjoy!

pull apart meatball slider with a bite taken out of it

Tips for the Best Pull Apart Meatball Sliders

  • Meatballs – for this recipe I highly recommend trying my homemade meatball recipe. There is a secret ingredient that keeps the meatballs tender and moist… bread soaked in milk! When making the sliders a section of bread needs to be cut out of the tops of the buns to create a space for the meatball. Instead of letting that bread go to waste it is the secret ingredient in the meatballs. The bread is soaked in milk and then mixed into the meatballs, keeping them tender and moist.
  • Slider Buns – you can use any variety of slider bun or dinner roll. I personally love Hawaiian sweet rolls, the sweetness adds a little something special to the recipe when paired with the garlic butter. Be sure to toast the buns after spreading the garlic butter or else the centers will be too soft when the meatballs are added in.
  • Marinara Sauce – store-bought or homemade marinara sauce works great for this recipe. You can get creative and use alfredo sauce, Rose pasta sauce, pesto or a spicy marinara sauce!
pull apart meatball sliders topped with parmesan cheese, parsley and basil on a blue platter with marinara sauce to dip

FAQs Pull Apart Meatball Sliders

How to reheat Pull Apart Meatball Sliders?

To reheat, transfer the sliders to a parchment paper lined sheet pan, cover with foil and bake for 8-10 minutes on 350°F. Remove the foil and bake for an additional 3 minutes.

How to store Pull Apart Meatball Sliders?

Store cooled sliders in an air tight container in the fridge for up to 3 days. If you need to stack the sliders place a piece of parchment paper between them so they don’t stick together.

Can I make Pull Apart Meatball Sliders ahead?

Follow the recipe as per usual and store in the fridge up to 1 day in advance. Just before serving remove the sliders from the fridge and bake for 8-10 minutes on 350°F. Remove the foil bake for an additional 3 minutes, or until warmed through.

Can I freeze Pull Apart Meatball Sliders ?

Yes! Meatball sliders are freezer friendly. Transfer the cooled, baked sliders to a freezer safe container or Ziploc bag and freeze for up to 6 months. For best results wrap the cooled sliders in plastic wrap and then place in a container or Ziploc bag.

To reheat, thaw the sliders in the fridge overnight and bake covered with foil for 5-10 minutes on 350°F. Remove the foil and bake for an additional 3 minutes, or until warmed through.

To reheat from frozen, cover with foil and bake for 15-20 minutes then remove the foil and bake an additional 3 minutes, or until warmed through.

pull apart meatball sliders topped with parmesan cheese, parsley and basil on a blue platter with marinara sauce to dip

Looking for More Family Dinner Recipes?

Enjoy!

– Sab

Disclosure: I only recommend products I would use myself and all opinions expressed here are my own. This post may contain affiliate links that at no additional cost to you, may earn me a small commission.

pulling apart a meatball slider

Pull Apart Meatball Sliders

Pull Apart Meatball Sliders are a fun way to make meatball subs for a crowd! Garlic bread slider buns stuffed with cheese and meatballs for the perfect bite. These are a great finger food for your next get together or a delicious family dinner!
5 from 2 votes
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 15 mins
Total Time 30 mins
Course Appetizer, Main Course
Cuisine Italian
Servings 12 Sliders
Calories 228 kcal

Equipment

Ingredients
  

Sliders

  • 12 Hawaiian slider rolls, or slider buns or dinner rolls
  • 2 tbsp milk
  • 1 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded
  • 2 cups marinara sauce, homemade or store bought

Meatballs

  • 1 lb lean ground beef
  • 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
  • 1/2 medium onion, shredded or finely minced
  • 4 cloves garlic , minced
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1.5 tbsp Italian seasoning, or ½ tbsp each dried oregano, basil and parsley

Garlic Butter

  • 1/4 cup butter, melted
  • 2 cloves garlic , minced
  • 2 tbsp parsley, minced

Garnish (Optional)

  • 1 tbsp parsley, minced
  • 1 tbsp Parmesan cheese , grated
  • 1 tbsp fresh basil, minced

Instructions
 

Prepare the Slider Buns

  • Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a sheet pan or baking tray with parchment paper. Remove the slider buns from the packaging and transfer to the sheet pan.
  • Use a knife to carefully slice a hole in the top of each slider bun 2/3 of the way through the bun. Set the cut out bread aside in a small bowl.
  • Prepare the garlic butter by mixing together the melted butter, minced garlic, and minced parsley in a small bowl.
  • Brush the garlic butter on the tops, sides and cut centers of the slider buns until evenly coated.
  • Place the sheet pan in the oven and bake for 5 minutes, or until lightly toasted.

Prepare the Meatballs

  • Pour 2 tbsp of milk over the cut out bread pieces and mix until evenly coated. Use a fork to mash the bread into small pieces.
  • In a large bowl add all of the meatball ingredients and the soaked bread. Mix until evenly combined. Divide the meat into 12 portions and shape the meatballs.
  • Cook the Meatballs
    STOVE TOP COOKING METHOD
    Add a splash of cooking oil to a frying pan on medium heat. Working in batches, add the meatballs to the pan and brown on all sides, about 5-8 minutes, or until cooked through.
    OVEN BAKING METHOD
    Preheat oven to 400°F. Bake the meatballs on a parchment paper lined sheet for 20 – 25 minutes, or until cooked through.
    AIR FRYER COOKING METHOD
    Preheat Air Fryer to 400°F. Working in batches, add the meatballs to the air fryer (leaving a small space between each meatball). Air fry for 8 – 12 minutes or until cooked through.
  • Transfer the cooked meatballs to a large bowl and pour the marinara sauce over them. Mix until evenly coated.

Assemble the Sliders

  • Evenly divide 1/2 cup of the mozzarella cheese into the bottoms of each slider bun. Top with a meatball.
  • Add a spoonful of marinara sauce on top of each meatball. Divide the remaining 1/2 cup of the mozzarella cheese on top of each meatball.
  • Transfer the sliders back to the oven and bake for 8-10 minutes or until the cheese is melted.
  • Garnish with additional shredded parmesan cheese, fresh basil and parsley. Serve and enjoy!

Video

Notes

Reheating
To reheat, transfer the sliders to a parchment paper lined sheet pan, cover with foil and bake for 8-10 minutes on 350°F. Remove the foil and bake for an additional 3 minutes.
Storage
Store cooled sliders in an air tight container in the fridge for up to 3 days. If you need to stack the sliders, place a piece of parchment paper between them so they don’t stick together.
Make Ahead
Follow the recipe as per usual and store in the fridge up to 1 day in advance. Just before serving remove the sliders from the fridge and bake for 8-10 minutes on 350°F. Remove the foil bake for an additional 3 minutes, or until warmed through.
Freezing
Transfer the cooled, baked sliders to a freezer safe container or Ziploc bag and freeze for up to 6 months. For best results wrap the cooled sliders in plastic wrap and then place in a container or Ziploc bag.
To reheat, thaw the sliders in the fridge overnight and bake covered with foil for 5-10 minutes on 350°F. Remove the foil and bake for an additional 3 minutes, or until warmed through.
To reheat from frozen, cover with foil and bake for 15-20 minutes then remove the foil and bake an additional 3 minutes, or until warmed through.
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NUTRITION

Calories: 228kcalCarbohydrates: 20gProtein: 14gFat: 10gSaturated Fat: 5gPolyunsaturated Fat: 0.4gMonounsaturated Fat: 3gTrans Fat: 0.3gCholesterol: 43mgSodium: 737mgPotassium: 293mgFiber: 2gSugar: 4gVitamin A: 486IUVitamin C: 5mgCalcium: 130mgIron: 3mg
This nutrition information is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator. See our full nutrition disclosure here.
pull apart meatball sliders topped with parmesan cheese, parsley and basil on a blue platter with marinara sauce to dip

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