Meatball Parm Garlic Bread Bowls

Okay, this one is going to make you stop, drop, and drool. What happens when you draw inspiration from and combine the likes of a meatball Parmesan hero, a deep dish pizza, a crock of French onion soup, garlic bread and a Georgian-style khachapuri (aka a “cheese boat”)? You get the most photo-worthy and sharable comfort dish known as Meatball Parm Garlic Bread Bowls! And as incredible as it looks, it’s super easy to make. This recipe has you baking my meatballs and then briefly simmering them in some marinara, but they can also be made in your Instant Pot (just see Jeff’s Tips in the recipe card below). Get ready for a serious meal you’ll want to make for yourself and your favorite guests again and again where you’ll not only lick the bowl clean, you’ll eat it instead!

Watch The Video!

Meatball Parm Garlic Bread Bowls

Make The Meatballs

Large mixing bowl with meatball ingredients surrounding it
Preheat your oven to 350°F. Then, in a large mixing bowl…
meatball ingredients in mixing bowl
…add all the meatball ingredients (see the recipe card below).
Hands mixing meatball ingredients in bowl
With clean hands, get in there and mix everything up until it’s well-combined (I actually find this to be quite fun and therapeutic)…
Mixed meatball ingredients forming one giant meatball in bowl
…and forms into one giant mother of a meatball.
Pinching some meat off the giant meatball
From there, pinch off some meat from the mega ball…
Rolling the pinched-off meat from the giant meatball into individual golf balls-sized meatballs.
…and roll the meat into individual balls around the size of a golf ball.
Placing rolled meatballs on baking sheet lined with parchment paper
Place them on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet.
Placing tray of meatballs into preheated oven
Once the oven’s preheated, pop the meatballs in and let them bake into the prizewinners they’ll become.
Simmering marinara sauce on the stove in a covered sauté pan
While the meatballs are baking, add some marinara to a large sauté pan, cover with a lid and heat on low. This will bring the sauce to a simmer.

Prepare The Bread Bowls

two bread bowls
Meanwhile, as the meatballs bake and the sauce is heating, let’s prepare our bread bowls!
cutting the tops off the bread bowls
You can use any kind and size bread bowl you wish. I prefer semolina or sourdough and get them from the bakery of my supermarket (Panera also works – their Asiago one rocks). Carefully cut the tops off the bowls, making sure you don’t get too deep as we want the bottom in tact to support everything we’ll be filling them with! (TIP: you can save the tops of the bread bowls for additional garlic bread which we’ll get to in a few steps).
removing excess bread within the bread bowls
Then, hollow out the bowls by hand, removing most of the excess bread as we will need room for all the cheese, meatballs and sauce. Again, just be sure not to remove ALL the bread as we need some for support to contains all the goodness we’ll be filling the bowls with. (TIP: you can save the excess removed bread for future breadcrumbs or even for the breadcrumbs for the meatballs! See Jeff’s Tips in the recipe card below).
Hollowed-out bread bowls
This is exactly what it should look like when done!

The Garlic Butter Sauce

Garlic butter sauce ingredients
The garlic butter situation here is optional, but I say go for it! Take some butter, Italian seasoning, grated Parmesan and either Better Than Bouillon Roasted Garlic Base or some minced garlic…
Melting the butter in microwave and mixing the garlic butter ingredients together
…and melt the butter in the microwave and combine the ingredients all together.
mixing the garlic butter ingredients together
Mmmmm. Garlic butter sauce!
Brushing the inside of the bread bowls with the garlic butter sauce
Using a silicone brush, dab the garlic butter into the bread bowls (see Jeff’s Tips in the recipe card below).

Say Cheese!

Lining the bread bowls with slices of provolone cheese
From there, we’ll line them with slices of provolone cheese, overlapping if necessary so the bottoms and walls of the bowls are fully coated.

Simmer The Meatballs

Removing baked meatballs from the oven
When the meatballs are done baking, remove from the oven. They will look and smell melt-in-your-mouth glorious! Set the oven to broil.
Placing the meatballs in the simmering marinara sauce.
Transfer the meatballs to the pan of simmering marinara…
Covering the pan with the meatballs simmering in the sauce for a few moments.
…and cover with the lid, allowing the balls to simmer in and infuse the sauce with their juices for a few minutes more.

Assemble The Bread Bowls

Ladling meatballs into cheese-lined bread bowls resting on a baking sheet
Now comes the final step to assembling these Meatball Parm Garlic Bread Bowls. Place them on a baking sheet and ladle in a few meatballs per bread bowl (usually about 3)…
Ladling sauce over the meatballs in the bowls
…and ladle in some of that simmering sauce, which will melt the provolone into the walls of the bread bowls.
Sprinkling some grated Parmesan on top of the marinara covered meatballs in the bread bowls.
Top with some grated Parmesan…
Placing slices of mozzarella cheese on top of the bread bowls, overlapping the sides a bit.
…and tuck it all in under the covers that will be a few (or many) slices of mozzarella! (TIP: Overlapping the sides of the bread bowls a bit will give it that French onion soup effect where the cheese cascades over the sides of the crock!). Feel free to brush more of the garlic butter along the sides of the bread bowls. Repeat the process for all the bowls of cheesy, meaty balls you’re making.
Brushing excess garlic butter on the removed tops of the bread bowls as an extra bonus.
(Oh yeah. Remember the tops of the bread bowls we cut off? Feel free to brush on any excess garlic butter and bake with the meatball Parm garlic bread bowls for an added bonus).

Broil

Placing the prepared meatball Parm garlic bread bowls in the oven on broil.
Place in the broiling-hot oven for a few minutes and allow the cheese to become all melty and bubbly-brown. (NOTE: Just keep an eye on it as all ovens vary and we don’t want the cheese or bread to burn).
Broiled meatball Parm garlic bread bowls where the cheese is melty and bubbly-browned
Once they look like this, they’re perfectly done! Using a spatula, carefully transfer the meatball Parm garlic bread bowls…

Dig In

Plated meatball Parm garlic bread bowls
…to plates where you’ll want to dig in immediately!
Digging into the cheesy bread bowl with a fork
Are you ready? Because I am.
Form pulling out a meatball covered in cheese.
I really REALLY am.

The Taste Test

Man showing meatball Parm garlic bread bowl
It’s perfectly fine to want to show off the artistic and edible masterpiece you’ve just made. In fact you’ll want to share it to all your socials as well!
Man showing the cheese pull from the bread bowl
First off, from the second you stick your fork into it just look at that cheese pull that will occur.
Two men showing off cheese pulls from their bread bowls
I mean you’ll want to immediately grab a friend because, well, COME. ON.
Both men looking dumbfounded and laughing.
It’s so outragrously good you’ll both look dumbfounded and laugh at the ame time. It’s like the most incredible food you’d find at an Italian street food festival or a fair or at a Disney park during one of their now year-round food festivals!
Man biting into bread bowl.
And yes, the best part is that it’s so good, you’ll eat the garlic bread bowl! Folks, if you spoil yourself with this remarkable experience, there’s a good chance you’ll fall into a food coma for the next few hours, which will definitely be a win-win for all! If you can’t sleep, just make and devour this and it’ll do the job. 😉
Yield: 4-6

Meatball Parm Garlic Bread Bowls

Meatball Parm Garlic Bread Bowls

Okay, this one is going to make you stop, drop, and drool. What happens when you draw inspiration from and combine the likes of a meatball Parmesan hero, a deep dish pizza, a crock of French onion soup, garlic bread and a Georgian-style khachapuri (aka a "cheese boat")? You get the most photo-worthy and sharable comfort dish known as Meatball Parm Garlic Bread Bowls! And as incredible as it looks, it's super easy to make! This recipe has you baking my meatballs and then briefly simmering them in some marinara, but they can also be made in your Instant Pot (just see Jeff's Tips in this recipe card). Get ready for a serious meal you'll want to make for yourself and your favorite guests again and again where you'll not only lick the bowl clean, you'll eat it instead!

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 35 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes

Ingredients

The Meatballs

  • 1 pound ground beef (80%-85% lean – the less lean, the better for meatballs!)
  • 1/2 pound ground pork
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/3 cup plain breadcrumbs (see Jeff's Tips)
  • 6 cloves (2 tablespoons) crushed garlic
  • 2 teaspoons seasoned salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 2 tablespoons dried parsley
  • 1/3 cup whole milk
  • 1 large egg, slightly beaten
  • 5-6 cups marinara sauce (try to use a good one like Rao's or Victoria)

The Bread Bowls

  • Bread bowls of your choice (I like semolina and sourdough from my supermarket’s bakery or an Asiago from Panera) 
  • About 3-5 slices provolone cheese per bread bowl
  • About 2-4 slices mozzarella cheese per bread bowl
  • Grated Parmesan cheese, for topping

Optional Garlic Butter

  • 1/2 stick salted or unsalted butter, melted for 30 seconds in the microwave
  • 2 teaspoons grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • 1/4 teaspoon Better Than Bouillon Roasted Garlic base OR 2 teaspoons minced garlic

Instructions

  1. 1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. In a large mixing bowl, take ALL of the meatball ingredients (except the sauce) and mix together well by hand. Everything should form together into one huge meatball. From the giant meatball, take some meat and roll into individual meatballs the size of a golf ball. For reference, this should make about 12-16 when all’s said and done.
  2. Place the meatballs on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet and bake for 25 minutes. As the meatballs are baking, place the marinara sauce in a 4.5-5-quart sauté pan and set to medium-low heat until it simmers. Then, cover the pan and reduce the heat to low.
  3. Add the cooked meatballs to the sauce, cover with the lid again and let the meatballs simmer in the sauce for about 5-10 minutes. This way, the juices from the meatballs really infuse the sauce!
  4. While the meatballs are simmering, increase the oven temperature to broil and prep the bread bowls. Carefully cut the top of each bread bowl in a circle, making sure not to slice through the bottom. Remove most of the excess bread and hollow it out, leaving some bread on the sides and bottom for some cushioning support. If using the garlic butter, combine all those ingredients in a bowl, microwave for 30 seconds, mix to combine, and lightly brush the inside of the hollowed-out walls of the bread bowls (see Jeff's Tips).
  5. Place the bread bowls on a foil-lined baking sheet. Then, layer in the provolone so the bottom and walls are covered, overlapping if necessary (NOTE: How many slices you will need will depend on how large the bread bowl is, usually 3-5 per bowl). Ladle in a few meatballs (usually 3 will fit) followed by a generous amount of sauce until it comes up to the brim of the bread bowl. Sprinkle on some Parmesan and then top with a few slices of mozzarella cheese until covered (usually 2-3 per bowl), overlapping if necessary. Feel free to brush any additional garlic butter sauce on the sides of the bread bowls.
  6. Broil in the oven for 3-5 minutes until the cheese begins to get bubbly brown (NOTE: Keep an eye on it as all ovens vary). Enjoy immediately while the cheese is still hot, melty and stretchy!

Jeffrey's Tips

To make the meatballs in the Instant Pot vs. baking in the oven, follow this recipe and then begin with Step 4 as the meatballs are pressure cooking.

No breadcrumbs on hand or want to live the "waste not, want not" mantra? Use the hollowed-out bread from the bowls as the breadcrumbs for the meatballs! Just rip into small pieces and toast it for a few minutes before breaking down into crumbs and then make your meatballs!

Use any excess garlic butter sauce to brush on the bread bowl tops and broil with the bread bowls for extra garlic bread!

If you want to pre-toast your garlic bread bowls, bake them in the oven for about 5 minutes on 450°F in between Steps 4 & 5 before lining with the provolone cheese.

Reader Interactions

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Skip to Recipe