These Italian dunkers will bring back fond memories of this classic school lunch favorite. Hot dog buns slathered in garlic butter and topped with mozzarella cheese — delish!
Cheesy Italian Dunkers
I don’t know who invented Italian dunkers, but they must be a cheese genius. A cheese-nius, perhaps? It really doesn’t get any easier or tastier than hot dog buns covered in garlic butter and mozzarella and baked to perfection.
Dunk this cheesy bread into marinara sauce for the ULTIMATE flavor experience. Yum!
With one bite, you’ll be taken back to those precious elementary school days when they served this tasty dish up, and—not surprisingly—EVERYONE got school lunch that day. The kids will (obviously) love them, too!
why you’ll love ’em!
- It’s a super simple yet delicious recipe that everyone will love!
- You only need a handful of basic ingredients; most may already be in your pantry or fridge.
- These garlic butter dunkers taste amazing with marinara sauce!
What You’ll Need for Italian Dunkers
- Butter: you can use salted or unsalted butter for the garlic butter, but salted butter makes everything better. Just be sure whatever butter you use is softened!
- Garlic powder: you can’t have Italian dunkers without garlic! We used simple garlic powder to flavor the butter to perfection.
- Hot dog buns: not only does this recipe give your leftover hot dog buns new life, but they have a nice pillowy soft inside and crunchy outside when cooked!
- Mozzarella cheese: mozzarella cheese because it melts like perfection and makes things extra gooey and delicious!
- Italian seasoning: when it comes to Italian dunkers, no other seasoning can compete. It tastes SO good with the garlic butter and marinara sauce.
- Marinara sauce: garlic bread and marinara were a match made in Italian heaven. Don’t skip out on the sauce!
How to Make Italian Dunkers
MAKE THE GARLIC BUTTER
In a small bowl, mix the softened butter and garlic powder and set aside.
ASSEMBLE YOUR DUNKERS
Keep the 4 hot dog buns stuck together and half them as you would a hamburger bun. Next, spread 1 tablespoon of garlic butter on the cut side of each half and sprinkle ¼ cup of mozzarella over the butter. Then top it off with ½ teaspoon of Italian seasoning.
AIR FRY TO PERFECTION
Air fry your prepped Italian dunkers for 3 minutes or until the cheese has melted and the hot dog buns are a nice golden brown.
Oven instructions: Preheat the oven to 400℉ and bake Italian dunkers for 10 minutes.
DUNK, DUNK, DUNK!
You’re Italian dunkers are ready to eat! Dunk them in your favorite marinara sauce or pizza sauce, and enjoy every bite!
Use gluten-free ciabatta rolls for a gluten-free recipe that tastes just as delicious.
You can add pepperoni, sliced tomatoes, more cheese, or even red pepper flakes for a kick of spice!
Aside from marinara sauce, pizza sauce can be a great alternative or substitution. However, you can take this meal in a totally different direction and dunk your bread in ranch dressing, melted cheese, alfredo, or bolognese sauce for a new flavor experience!
Allow the Italian dunkers to cool completely before placing them in an airtight container. Store in the fridge for up to 5 days, or in the freezer for up to 3 months.
How to Freeze Italian Dunkers
To reheat Italian dunkers from frozen, warm them through in the air fryer or bake in the oven at 350ºF for 10-12 minutes.
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter softened
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- 4 hot dog buns
- 2 oz. shredded mozzarella cheese ~½ cup
- 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
- 8 oz. marinara sauce
- Mix the butter and garlic powder and set aside.
- Keeping the 4 hot dog buns stuck together, half them how you would a hamburger bun. Spread 1 tablespoon of butter on the cut side of each half. Sprinkle ¼ cup of mozzarella on each open half of the hot dog buns. Top with ½ teaspoon of Italian seasoning on each half.
- Air fry at 400℉ for 3 minutes. Continue until everything has been cooked.
- Dunk immediately in marinara sauce.
Tips & Notes
- The marinara sauce can be served at room temperature or heated on the stove or microwave. Pizza sauce would be a great alternative.
- To make these in the oven, preheat the oven to 400℉ and bake for 10 minutes.
- To make these with ciabatta rolls, follow the same steps but air fry for 4 minutes. The oven takes the same amount of time as the hot dog buns, 10 minutes. Cut in half to form dunkers.
- We used mozzarella cheese, but pizza cheese (typically a mix of mozzarella and provolone) would be a great alternative.