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Italian Meatball Buns

These soft little rolls come with a surprise inside—savory Italian meatballs. They're wonderful dipped in marinara sauce, making them fun for my grandkids and adults, too. I love how easy they are to put together. —Trina Linder-Mobley, Clover, South Carolina
  • Total Time
    Prep: 30 min. + rising Bake: 15 min.
  • Makes
    2 dozen


  • 12 frozen bread dough dinner rolls
  • 1 package (12 ounces) frozen fully cooked Italian meatballs, thawed
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 cup minced fresh basil
  • 1-1/2 cups marinara sauce, warmed


  • Let dough stand at room temperature until softened, 25-30 minutes.
  • Cut each roll in half. Wrap each portion around a meatball, enclosing meatball completely; pinch dough firmly to seal. Place on greased baking sheets, seam side down. Cover with kitchen towel; let rise in a warm place until almost doubled, 1-1/2 to 2 hours.
  • Preheat oven to 350°. Bake buns until golden brown, 12-15 minutes. Brush tops with oil; sprinkle with cheese and basil. Serve with marinara sauce.
Nutrition Facts
1 bun with 1 tablespoon sauce: 98 calories, 4g fat (1g saturated fat), 13mg cholesterol, 253mg sodium, 12g carbohydrate (2g sugars, 1g fiber), 5g protein.
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Average Rating:
  • Joey
    Jun 30, 2019

    I had high hopes for these as I’ve made pepperoni rolls for our neighborhood countless times to much excitement, but was thinking I could throw something new out there. Nope! I’m sorry but these just tasted simply and boringly like a meatball in a roll, which of course is what they are, but I don’t understand the abundance of rave reviews previously posted. I might try them again with some cheese inside, as well, maybe a dab of pesto, I don’t know, needs SOMETHING.

  • 7833louis
    Feb 4, 2019

    Every Christmas my family has an appetizer competition. I submitted this one and won. My kids then ruled one cannot submit a recipe more than once because they figured their appetizers would never win if I submitted these again. However, they have requested I make these each year. And they are soooooo easy! Thanks for sharing!

  • ms11145
    Jan 28, 2019

    Either my meatballs were bigger or my rolls smaller, because I did not cut these into half. Great recipe. I did sprinkle some grated mozzarella cheese onto the bread dough and then placed a meatball on top of the cheese. These will be fun to serve to a youth group.

  • justmbeth
    Jan 7, 2019

    This was a great addition to appetizer night. Simple to assemble once dough is thawed.

  • suefalk
    Sep 29, 2018

    How did I not think of this! Great appetizer, or to use up leftover meatballs. Simple and quick - and delicious.

  • cindiak
    Sep 26, 2018

    Served these at a party and everyone raved about them. I did make my own meatballs as I don't care for the frozen ones.

  • cinderbe
    Feb 5, 2018

    Can these be made ahead of time and then reheated? If so, how should I reheat them?

  • kindle1244
    Dec 14, 2017

    I have recently discovered our local Italian deli freezes bags of their mini meatballs which are PERFECT for this treat. I can also get fresh pizza dough there and fresh mozzarella and parmesan which makes this the easiest and most delicious snack extremely easy. We will be making these often. So glad to have found this recipe!

  • meliss.beyer
    Feb 5, 2017

    I made these using pizza dough that I had on hand instead of the rolls. They were very simple to make and came out great! I also added some shredded mozzarella cheese with the last few minutes left to bake. They took about 5 minutes longer to bake since they were touching in the pan.

  • Corwin44
    Dec 21, 2015

    I brought these to a fondue party to dip into my pizza sauce/ marinara fondue. Everyone raves about these. My niece especially liked that these were mini versions of her favorite sandwich the meatball sub. I used frozen mini meatballs and and a package of 24 round bread dough rolls. I didn't need to split the rolls as the mini meatballs fit perfectly into one. The little snacks looked just like the picture. These were easy and fun and will make them again.