We're getting close to the Super Bowl, and it's not about who wins the trophy, but rather who wins the snack table. If you show up with these super fun sliders, that will be you. The real secret to these beauties is placing the meatball in through the top of the roll, versus splitting and stuffing in the traditional manner. Maybe it's the symmetry, or center of gravity, that makes these just feel right in your hand. If you're short on time, using pre-made meatballs will do.

Recipe Summary

prep:
25 mins
cook:
40 mins
additional:
5 mins
total:
1 hr 10 mins
Servings:
18
Yield:
18 rolls
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Ingredients

18
Original recipe yields 18 servings
The ingredient list now reflects the servings specified
Ingredient Checklist

Directions

Instructions Checklist
  • Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C).

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  • Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and 2 cloves garlic; cook and stir until onion is soft, about 5 minutes.

  • Place beef in a large bowl. Add onion-garlic mixture, parsley, egg, bread crumbs, and 1 large handful of fontina cheese, reserving the rest for topping. Season with salt, pepper, and cayenne. Mix by hand until just combined. Scoop meat mixture into 24 mini muffin cups; meatballs need not be perfectly round.

  • Bake in the preheated oven until no longer pink in the centers, about 12 minutes. Leave oven on. Let meatballs cool briefly while you make the garlic butter.

  • Melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Add remaining minced garlic once butter starts to bubble; stir, then immediately remove from heat. Stir well and set aside.

  • Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil; coat foil with remaining olive oil. Transfer rolls, still attached, to the baking sheet. Cut a hole in the top of each roll, about 2/3 of the way down. Brush garlic butter over the insides and outsides of the rolls.

  • Bake until golden brown, about 8 minutes. Pour about 1 tablespoon tomato sauce into each hole. Stuff meatballs into the holes. Top each roll with a spoonful of tomato sauce and remaining fontina cheese. Sprinkle Parmesan cheese on top.

  • Continue baking until cheese is melted, 12 to 15 minutes. Garnish with more parsley. Let rolls sit for 5 to 10 minutes to firm up; transfer to a serving platter.

Chef's Notes:

Feel free to substitute provolone cheese for the fontina.

I used Hawaiian rolls, but will try regular less-sweet ones next time.

I'm not sure who invented this technique, but I first saw it on a blog called Cooking for Keeps, so they get the credit for now.

Editor's Note:

Nutrition data for this recipe includes the full amount of bread. The actual amount of bread consumed will vary.

The magazine version of this recipe reduces baking times slightly as well as the amounts of rolls and olive oil used.

Nutrition Facts

400 calories; protein 21g 42% DV; carbohydrates 45.6g 15% DV; fat 9.8g 15% DV; cholesterol 78.3mg 26% DV; sodium 653.9mg 26% DV. Full Nutrition

Reviews (21)

Read More Reviews

Most helpful positive review

Rating: 4 stars
01/16/2019
A little time consuming but very tasty. However sometimes there is little too much bread ratio depending on how much you scoop out vs. the size of the meatball. I would make again only make the meatballs flatter so they take up more space in the slider. I did not change the recipe at all and it was great! Read More
(3)
27 Ratings
  • 5 star values: 22
  • 4 star values: 4
  • 3 star values: 1
  • 2 star values: 0
  • 1 star values: 0
Rating: 4 stars
01/15/2019
A little time consuming but very tasty. However sometimes there is little too much bread ratio depending on how much you scoop out vs. the size of the meatball. I would make again only make the meatballs flatter so they take up more space in the slider. I did not change the recipe at all and it was great! Read More
(3)
Rating: 5 stars
03/27/2019
I followed the recipe exactly and it was awesome! I have now made them 3 times! I suggest Rao’s marinara for the sauce! Read More
(2)
Rating: 5 stars
02/08/2019
They tasted great! Long prep time for me. Used King's Hawaiian sweet rolls and would use them again next time. Read More
(2)
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Rating: 5 stars
02/08/2019
Everyone loved this. Wouldn't change a thing. Read More
(2)
Rating: 5 stars
02/06/2019
I made as directed for our super bowl party. I actually made two one with veggie meatballs and one with beef ones. I had both and thought they were both excellent. Some of the sweetness of the Hawaiian rolls gets lost when cooked in the over next time I may just use regular rolls. Read More
(1)
Rating: 5 stars
02/25/2020
Two Super Bowl parties this is now a staple app Read More
(1)
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Rating: 5 stars
02/20/2019
This recipe was great! It was a big hit at the party I took it to. Read More
Rating: 5 stars
02/07/2020
Only thing I would do differently, increase the size of the meatball. Other than that, you can tweak it anyway you want. Read More
Rating: 5 stars
04/12/2020
I would absolutely make it again. Absolutely delicious! Only thing I would do differently would be to raise my oven rack so that the roll bottoms do get so overdone. However, the firmness of the roll bottoms is what makes it possible to eat with your fingers and be finger food certified!! Read More