Meatball Marinara Poppers Appetizer

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If you love meatballs, you’ll love this easy Marinara Meatball Appetizer! Homemade or frozen meatballs are topped with a delicious homemade marinara sauce that is simple to make and full of flavor. It’s a great appetizer for the holidays!

Meatballs make a great appetizer because they are poppable, portable and pair well with a variety of sauces. We prepare meatballs for just about every party! Some of my favorites include Grape Jelly MeatballsBuffalo Ranch Meatballs and Sweet and Sour Meatballs.

A close up image of meatballs with marinara and cheese and toothpicks stuck in them.

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Party Ready Meatball Appetizers

Having easy appetizers on hand and ready to go is essential during the holiday season. Meatballs are traditionally a favorite at parties, but if you make them yourself it can be a little time-consuming. My kids love meatballs, so I always make sure to have a package of frozen meatballs on hand in case I’m just not feeling up to all the rolling. 

These Marinara Meatball Appetizers are:

  • Easy to make – I love a homemade marinara sauce (and mine is incredibly easy to make) but I make it easy on myself by using frozen meatballs along with fresh grated Mozzarella cheese. Just a few easy steps is all it takes!
  • Quick – This meatball appetizer takes only 20 minutes from start to delicious finish.
  • Perfectly portable – Keep some toothpicks handy so guests can easily grab a meatball to snack on.
An overhead image of a platter of meatballs with cheese and sauce

Ingredients

  • Meatballs You can use a package of frozen meatballs, or make your own homemade meatballs for this appetizer. I usually use beef, but Turkey Meatballs or Chicken Meatballs work great too.
  • Mozzarella Cheese – freshly grated off the block for the best results. Pre-shredded cheese has an anti-caking agent that keeps the shreds from clumping in the bag, but also prevents melting.
  • Marinara sauce – Use my homemade sauce, or a jarred marinara or spaghetti sauce.
  • Parsley – for garnish, optional.

How to Make Marinara Meatball Appetizers

  1. Pop frozen meatballs in the microwave or bake them in the oven.
  2. Make the marinara or pour from a jar into a small bowl.
  3. Arrange the meatballs on a baking sheet. Spoon a little sauce on top and then shredded cheese.
  4. Broil for a few minutes or until the cheese is melted and bubbly. Garnish with fresh minced parsley if desired.
two images in collage format of meatballs on a pan with sauce and cheese
Super Simple Homemade Marinara Sauce

Storage

Refrigerate: Store leftovers in a sealed container in the fridge for up to 3-4 days.

Freeze: Freeze once meatballs are completely cooled.

Reheat: To reheat, place in a casserole dish and cover with foil. Reheat at 400 degrees for about 10 minutes. Placing them in the deeper dish keeps the cheese from sticking to the foil.

Pro Tips

  • Use a block of Mozzarella cheese, instead of the pre-shredded package.
  • Keep this recipe super easy and simple and use precooked, frozen meatballs and your favorite jarred pasta sauce.
  • Add a sprinkle of fresh chopped parsley for color. Basil works too but can brown when chopped so I usually defer to parsley.
A hand reaching in and picking up a meatball appetizer off of a platter with a toothpick.

More Appetizer Meatballs

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A close up of meatballs with cheese

Meatball Poppers with Simple Marinara Sauce

4.75 from 12 votes
If you love meatballs, you’ll love this easy Meatball Marinara Poppers Appetizer. Homemade or frozen meatballs are topped with a delicious homemade marinara sauce that is simple to make and full of flavor. It’s a great appetizer for the holidays!
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 20 mins
Total Time 30 mins
Course Appetizer
Cuisine Italian
Servings 8 servings
Calories 276kcal

Ingredients
  

  • 40 Meatballs fresh or frozen
  • 8 ounces Mozzarella Cheese, freshly grated
  • 1 cup marinara sauce or any favorite red sauce
  • fresh minced parsley

Instructions
 

  • Line a baking sheet with foil. Place frozen meatballs on the tray and bake according to package instructions.
  • Remove meatballs from the oven and switch the oven to broil. Top meatballs with a spoonful of sauce and about a teaspoon or so of shredded Mozzarella. Place the pan under the broiler for several minutes, watching closely, or until cheese is melted and bubbly.
  • Serve immediately, with toothpicks for easy eating.

Notes

  • Use fresh Mozzarella if you can, instead of the pre-shredded package. The pre-shredded cheese you buy at the grocery store has preservatives that help keep the shreds from clumping, but also prevent proper melting. But the block of cheese and shred or slice yourself – it’s so much better!
  • Keep this recipe super easy and simple and use precooked, frozen meatballs and your favorite jarred pasta sauce.
  • Add a sprinkle of fresh chopped parsley for color. Basil works too but can brown when chopped so I usually defer to parsley.
  • Store leftovers in a sealed container in the fridge for up to 3-4 days.
  • Freeze once meatball appetizers are completely cooled. To reheat, place in a casserole dish and cover with foil. Reheat at 400 degrees for about 10 minutes. Placing them in the deeper dish keeps the cheese from sticking to the foil.

Nutrition

Calories: 276kcalCarbohydrates: 2gProtein: 19gFat: 21gSaturated Fat: 9gCholesterol: 73mgSodium: 377mgPotassium: 324mgFiber: 1gSugar: 2gVitamin A: 324IUVitamin C: 3mgCalcium: 157mgIron: 1mg

Kristin Maxwell

Kristin Maxwell is the creator and main recipe developer, writer, and photographer of Yellow Bliss Road. A self-taught cook and self-appointed foodie, she specializes in easy, flavorful and approachable recipes for any home cook.

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Comments

  1. Part of our Thanksgiving mid-day tailgate while we watch football from the living room this year. Thanks for the great idea!