These oven-baked Caprese sliders are a yummy appetizer, small bite, snack, or meal. Fresh tomatoes, pesto, & mozzarella combine for an easy Italian sandwich recipe. The layers of Italian ingredients come together into one small but mighty flavor explosion.
Gooey melted cheese, juicy tomatoes, & bright herby basil is the classic combo in this Caprese slider recipe. Like the popular salad, the fresh ingredients are so wonderful on their own, it is a no fuss but delicious hot sandwich.
It's the perfect vegetarian recipe for parties, birthdays, and holidays. The red, green, & white colors make it fun for Christmas. Anytime you want an easy Italian snack or appetizer, this is the recipe for you. Make it a complete lunch alongside a delicious Italian Chopped Salad.
I love sliders because you can make so many different varieties. They all have soft Hawaiian rolls, some kind of melty cheese, & other flavorful ingredients. This one is a personal favorite & I get rave reviews whenever I serve them. If you want a meaty slider, try my Roast Beef & Cheddar Sliders with Caramelized Onions. You will too!
Caprese style salad calls for fresh mozzarella, tomatoes, basil, & olive oil. Like the salad, the main ingredients in the slider sandwiches are mozzarella & tomatoes. There are two layers of cheese for the cheesiest melty slider ever.
Then comes the pesto which represents the olive oil and basil seasoning duo. All of this is stacked inside sliced sweet or savory Hawaiian slider rolls. Baste everything with a buttery herb topping & viola - Italian-inspired slider heaven.
- Hawaiian Rolls
- Sliced Fresh Mozzarella
- Shredded Mozzarella
- Roma Tomatoes
- Premade Pesto
- Salted Butter
- Garlic Powder
- Dried Basil
See the recipe card for quantities.
Here are the easy step-by-step instructions to make this baked sliders recipe with Italian ingredients. It only takes a few minutes to cut the ingredients and assemble them. In under 30 minutes, this recipe is ready to enjoy.
Before you begin preparing everything, preheat the oven to 375°. Next, gather all the ingredients. If your fresh mozzarella is not pre-sliced. Slice it into rounds that are ½" thick. You will need about 9 slices. Wash and slice the tomatoes. ½" thickness works best.
Grab your best bread knife (serrated knife). Slice the Hawaiian rolls in half horizontally. Try your best to make the tops and bottoms of equal thickness.
Place the bottoms in a 7x11 rimmed baking dish. Let the tops rest on the side.
Spread the pesto sauce over the surface of the rolls.
Top the pesto with a single layer of fresh mozzarella slices.
Top the mozzarella with a single layer of tomato slices. Then sprinkle the shredded mozzarella evenly over the tomato layer. For the final step of assembling the Caprese sliders, add the top layer of rolls.
Herb & Butter Slider Topping
These Caprese sliders have an amazing herb & butter topping. It bakes into those soft rolls for so much added yumminess. Do not skip this step!
In a small microwave-safe bowl, melt the butter. Whisk in the spices; garlic powder, paprika, & basil, to combine.
Using a pastry brush, brush the roll tops with the butter mixture. Little pools of butter between the rolls are fine, it will bake into the bread and not be soggy.
Hint: For added garlic goodness - sprinkle on some additional garlic powder at the end once the butter mixture is brushed on.
Baking the Sliders
To keep the rolls soft, it is best to bake them covered. Without the foil, the bread gets crispy and dries out a bit. If you do want a crispy top, remove the foil in the last 5 minutes only.
Cover the baking dish with foil and place it in the preheated oven. Bake for 15 minutes or until the mozzarella is melty. The tops will be buttery and it will smell like amazing garlic bread.
How to Serve Hawaiian Roll Sliders
Once everything is warm and the cheese has melted, remove the foil. Let the sliders cool a bit and set them for 2 minutes before slicing. This helps the cheese from running out as you cut them.
Slice into individual sliders along the lines between each roll. Use a spatula to remove and look at all that gooey mozzarella cheese. The tomatoes will be warm and the pesto will be baked into the bread too.
If these are for a party, slice them and leave them in the baking dish. Or move them to a platter. I like serving these with other small bites that are Italian-inspired like my oven-roasted artichoke hearts.
Substitutions & Variations
If you have dietary or allergy requirements, here are a few changes you can make. These substitutions and variations for ingredients are suitable when making Caprese baked sliders.
- Hawaiian Rolls - you can use sweet or savory rolls. Any slider-sized bun or roll will work for these.
- Roma Tomatoes - use your favorite tomato instead, keeping in mind that ones with lots of seeds and "guts" may make the sliders soggy.
- Spicy - add 1 teaspoon of crushed red pepper flakes to the butter herb topping.
- Nut-Free - purchase or make a homemade pesto without nuts if you have a nut allergy.
This recipe is a vegetarian slider already as written. Kids and adults will love these hot sliders without any alterations.
A baking dish, pastry brush, and a really good bread knife are important for making these sliders. Here are my recommendations for a few great bread knife choices and some other tools every kitchen needs.
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To store leftover homemade sliders, place them in an air-tight container or top the baking dish with foil again. Store in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Reheat in the oven, toaster oven, or microwave.
I do not recommend freezing these sliders either before or after baking. The bread will not hold up well in the freezer with the tomatoes and pesto. Defrosting will change the texture and result in a soggy texture.
Make it a party with these Caprese sliders. This recipe is a great vegetarian option when feeding a crowd. The recipe can easily be doubled, tripled, etc for birthdays, parties, weddings, showers, & holidays. This recipe is one of the dozens of the Best Sliders using Hawaiian Rolls & you will love them all.
Assembling sliders ahead of time is a great way to save time later. It is a good make-ahead appetizer, snack, or lunch. I pre-assemble sliders for parties all the time.
I suggest assembling the sandwiches and placing them in the refrigerator. When ready to serve, add the topping, cover, & bake. You may need a few more minutes in the oven since the ingredients are cold versus room temperature.
The classic Caprese salad has fresh mozzarella so I wanted to stay true to the flavor combination and include it in the recipe. However, fresh mozzarella does not melt like the shredded kind.
So also having the shredded mozzarella makes sure it melts together with the other ingredeints. It is not only fun, yummy, and stringy but the melted mozzarella is the "glue" to hold the sliders together.
- Serrated Bread Knife
- 11x7 rimmed baking dish
- Pastry Brush
- 12 Hawaiian Sweet Rolls
- ½ cup pesto sauce
- 8 ounces sliced fresh mozzarella
- 2 Roma/plum tomatoes
- 1 cup shredded mozzarella
- 2 tablespoons salted butter
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- ¼ teaspoon dried basil
- ¼ teaspoon paprika
- Preheat oven to 375°.
- Grab your best bread knife (serrated knife) that has a long blade. Ideally, the blade would be as long as the sliders are wide. Slice the Hawaiian rolls in half horizontally. Try your best to make the tops and bottoms of equal thickness.Place the bottoms in a 7x11 rimmed baking dish. Let the tops rest on the side.
- Wash and slice the tomatoes. ½" thickness works best.
- Spread the pesto sauce over the surface of the rolls.
- Top the pesto with a single layer of fresh mozzarella slices.
- Top the mozzarella with a single layer of tomato slices.
- Sprinkle the shredded mozzarella evenly over the tomato layer.
- Add the top layer of rolls to finish assembling the sandwich sliders.
- In a small microwave-safe bowl, melt the butter. Whisk in the spices to combine.
- Using a pastry brush, brush the roll tops with the butter mixture.
- Cover the baking dish with foil and place it in the preheated oven.Bake for 15 minutes or until the mozzarella is melty.
- Remove the foil and let set for 2 minutes before slicing. Slice into individual sliders & serve.
|Amount per serving|
|% Daily Value*|
|Total Fat 13.6g||17%|
|Saturated Fat 6.6g||33%|
|Total Carbohydrate 18g||7%|
|Dietary Fiber 1.3g||5%|
|Total Sugars 7g|
|Vitamin D 1mcg||7%|
|*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calorie a day is used for general nutrition advice.|