Step into my kitchen and let's whip up the most mouth-watering Meatball Subs you've ever tasted! This recipe combines tender, juicy meatballs smothered in a rich, homemade tomato sauce and generously topped with melted cheese, all nestled within a crusty sub roll. It's the kind of hearty, comforting dish that makes you feel like you're sitting in your favorite Italian restaurant, right at your own dinner table!
There are few things in this world more enjoyable than sinking your teeth into a savory, hearty, toasty, melty Meatball Sub.
It's the ultimate Italian-inspired comfort food!
This Meatball Sub recipe is so rich and filling; it's like a hug on a plate. Seriously, there's just something so cozy about the blend of flavors and textures.
The next time you're looking for an easy weeknight meal that will take away all the stress of your day, give these Homemade Meatball Subs a try.
I know you're going to love them as much as I do!
Ingredients for Making Meatball Subs
- Ground beef — You want about 1 pound of ground beef. For the best flavor, I recommend buying 85% lean. If you prefer to make turkey meatballs, use ground turkey. You can also make this with Italian sausage or ground pork.
- Panko breadcrumbs — Breadcrumbs absorb the juice from the beef as it cooks, which prevents the meatballs from drying out. If you don't have panko breadcrumbs, regular works just fine.
- Parmesan — I always recommend grating your own. Pre-grated comes with anti-caking agents that dampen the flavor.
- Eggs — You'll use 2 large eggs to help bind together the meatballs.
- Seasoning — A blend of Italian seasoning, garlic powder, sea salt, and fresh ground black pepper will bring out the natural flavors of the other ingredients. You could add in 1 to 2 cloves garlic, red pepper flakes or parsley if you like.
- Bread — Italian rolls are my go-to for the best Meatball Sub. To prevent the bread from getting soggy, toast it before assembling your meatball sandwich.
- Marinara — Use my slow cooker homemade marinara sauce for a full flavor spaghetti sauce that takes flavors from good to great. If you want to buy pasta sauce, I recommend a low-sugar brand like Rao's for maximum flavor without unwanted additives.
- Mozzarella — Just like the parmesan, grate your own for the best flavor. Provolone cheese slices can also be used.
Tips & Tricks
- If possible, season the meat 24 hours in advance. This will allow the flavors to meld and the salt to penetrate the fibers for juicer, more tender Italian meatballs.
- Lightly butter and toast the bread while the meatballs are baking. This will keep the bread from getting soggy when you add the marinara.
- You can substitute regular bread crumbs if you don't have Panko breadcrumbs on hand.
- For a fun twist, use garlic bread in place of the buns.
- Have some pre-made meatballs hanging out in the back of your freezer? You could easily make Meatball Subs with frozen meatballs! Just cook them according to the directions, then assemble the subs as directed.
Easy Side Dishes
- When it comes to sides for Meatball Subs, this no-fuss Italian Chopped Salad is a great way to round out the meal.
- Quinoa Pasta Salad is quick to make, packed with flavor, and easily customizable, so feel free to use whatever veggies you have on hand!
- You'll love the sweet heat, vibrant tang, and fresh crunch of No Mayo Coleslaw alongside your hearty sub.
- Air Fryer Curly Fries are easy to make and loved by everyone.
Frequently Asked Questions
What toppings go on a meatball sub?
Simple cheese and marinara are the classic toppings for an easy Meatball Sub bake.
This recipe calls for mozzarella, but you could certainly use provolone, fontina, or parmesan if you prefer.
Want to add even more flavor? You can play around with toppings like alfredo sauce, bell peppers, onions, basil, or whatever else your heart desires.
What kind of bread is best for a meatball sub?
I think Italian sub rolls that have been buttered and toasted are grat, but you could also use a hoagie roll.
Toasting the bread will help keep it from getting soggy as you add the marinara, meatballs, and cheese.
What sauce goes on meatball subs?
I always recommend a good marinara with simple but bold flavor. If you're looking for an easy recipe, try my homemade Crockpot Marinara!
What's the best store-bought sauce for meatball subs?
If you don't have time to make your own marinara, feel free to grab a jar from the store instead. Rao's is my go-to brand because it's lower in sugar and has a deep, complex flavor.
They can be assembled a few hours before as long as the bread is well-toasted. Before serving, make sure to stick them in the oven to get the cheese nice and melty.
Tools Needed to Make Homemade Meatball Subs
- Large bowl
- Wire rack
- Rimmed baking sheet
Store any leftover meatballs in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to four days. Extra bread rolls should be kept in a zip-top plastic bag or bread bag at room temperature.
How to Make Meatball Subs
Preheat the oven to 475° F.
In a large bowl, combine the ground beef, panko breadcrumbs, parmesan cheese, eggs, Italian seasoning, garlic powder, salt, and pepper. Form the mixture into 24 meatballs.
Transfer the meatballs to a wire rack set on a rimmed baking sheet. If you like you can brush them with avocado or olive oil.
Bake, turning once, for 13 minutes or until cooked through.
Place the toasted sub rolls on a clean baking sheet. Add four cooked meatballs to each one (depending on the size of the rolls), then top with the marinara and spinkle with the cheese.
Bake for 5 to 7 minutes until the cheese is melted and bubbly. You could also place them under the broiler for about 3 minutes if you prefer.
You May Also Like These Italian-Inspired Recipes
- With ground beef, mozzarella, ricotta, marinara, and noodles, it's hard to go wrong when you make Baked Spaghetti.
- These easy Italian Burgers are a great way to elevate burger night!
- The decadent combination of garlic sausage, pasta, and roasted garlic in a three-cheese sauce makes Creamy Roasted Garlic Sausage Pasta pure comfort food.
- Slow Cooker Eggplant Parmesan is cheesy, delicious, and only takes a fraction of the effort of traditional Eggplant Parm.
- 1 pound ground beef
- ½ cup panko breadcrumbs
- ¼ cup finely grated parmesan cheese
- 2 eggs beaten
- 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- ½ teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
- 6 Italian Sub Rolls split and butter toasted
- 1 cup marinara sauce room temperature or warmed
- 6 ounces shredded mozzarella
- Preheat the oven to 475° F.
- In a large bowl, combine the ground beef, panko breadcrumbs, parmesan cheese, eggs, Italian seasoning, garlic powder, salt, and pepper.
- Form into 24 meatballs.
- Transfer to a rack set on a rimmed baking sheet and cook, turning once, for 13 minutes, or until cooked through.
- Place the buns on a clean baking sheet and four meatballs to each.
- Top with the marinara and cheese.
- Bake for 5 to 7 minutes, until the cheese is melted and bubbly.