We present a method for creating simulated galaxy catalogs with realistic galaxy luminosities, broadband colors, and projected clustering over large cosmic volumes. The technique, denoted Addgals (Adding Density Dependent GAlaxies to Lightcone Simulations), uses an empirical approach to place galaxies within lightcone outputs of cosmological simulations. It can be applied to significantly lower-resolution simulations than those required for commonly used methods such as halo occupation distributions, subhalo abundance matching, and semi-analytic models, while still accurately reproducing projected galaxy clustering statistics down to scales of r ∼ 100 h −1kpc . We show that Addgals catalogs reproduce several statistical properties of the galaxy distribution as measured by the Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS) main galaxy sample, including galaxy number densities, observed magnitude and color distributions, as well as luminosity- and color-dependent clustering. We also compare to cluster-galaxy cross correlations, where we find significant discrepancies with measurements from SDSS that are likely linked to artificial subhalo disruption in the simulations. Applications of this model to simulations of deep wide-area photometric surveys, including modeling weak-lensing statistics, photometric redshifts, and galaxy cluster finding, are presented in DeRose et al., and an application to a full cosmology analysis of Dark Energy Survey (DES) Year 3 like data is presented in DeRose et al. We plan to publicly release a 10,313 square degree catalog constructed using Addgals with magnitudes appropriate for several existing and planned surveys, including SDSS, DES, VISTA, Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer, and Rubin Observatory’s Legacy Survey of Space and Time.