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Meatball Subs

close up of the end of a meatball sub
Juicy meatballs simmered in a delicious, thick tomato sauce and topped with ooey-gooey melted cheese make these meatball subs a fantastic choice for a quick meal.
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Table of Contents
  1. MEATBALL SUBS INGREDIENTS
  2. HOW TO MAKE THIS MEATBALL SUBS RECIPE
  3. HOW TO SERVE
  4. STORAGE
  5. MORE RECIPES YOU’LL LOVE
  6. JUMP TO RECIPE

These meatballs subs feature juicy meatballs cooked in a rich tomato sauce and then served on a soft bun with melted cheese. There is so much flavor in these delicious sandwiches and homemade is always better than takeout.

Check out our other warm sandwich options. Our fried chicken sandwich and sloppy joes are both fantastic choices. 

MEATBALL SUBS INGREDIENTS

You will need:

For the Meatballs:

  • 3¾ pounds (60 ounces) lean ground beef
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 cup Italian seasoned panko bread crumbs
  • ½ cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • ¼ cup olive oil

For the Sauce:

  • 2 (28-ounce) cans of crushed tomatoes
  • 1 (15-ounce) can tomato sauce
  • 1 cup sweet onion, small diced (about 1 medium-sized onion)
  • 1 tablespoon garlic, minced (about 2 cloves)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon fresh parsley, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil leaves
  • 1 teaspoon granulated sugar
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper

For the Sub Sandwich:

  • 4 hearty sub rolls (approximately 7 to 8 inches long each) 
  • 8 slices mozzarella cheese (from the deli section, not a block of cheese)
  • ½ cup grated parmesan cheese, divided
  • Additional chopped fresh parsley for garnish if desired

PRO TIP

Make sure you choose a hearty sub roll for these meatball subs. Softer rolls will not hold up to the sauce and meatballs. The ones that I have found work best are from your local bakery or the bakery department at the grocery store. Also, a large loaf of french bread, cut into 4 sections, works great too.

SUBSTITUTIONS AND ADDITIONS

CHEESE: If you prefer a sharper cheese, you can substitute sliced provolone cheese for the sliced mozzarella. In addition, if you can not find sliced mozzarella cheese, you can use grated mozzarella cheese in its place.

GROUND MEAT: You could also use ground pork or a mixture of pork and beef in this delicious recipe.

SPICY: Make your homemade meatball sub with a bit of a kick by mixing in a little bit of red pepper flakes.

BREAD: Choose a long roll that will hold 2-3 meatballs and won’t fall apart. Hoagie buns, sub buns, or French bread would work perfectly.

TOPPINGS: Add sauteed bell peppers, onions, and mushrooms on top of your meatballs as extra toppings.

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HOW TO MAKE THIS MEATBALL SUBS RECIPE

PRO TIP

This great recipe makes a large meatball. If you prefer a smaller-sized meatball, you can make 24 (2.5-ounce) meatballs with this same recipe. You can freeze the extra meatballs and sauce together in a freezer-safe, lidded container for up to 2 months. When you are ready to use them, you will need to thaw the container in your refrigerator. Once they are thawed, you can place them into a large pot and reheat them on medium-low heat.

STEP ONE: In a 6-quart pot, on medium heat, add the olive oil, onions, garlic, dried basil, salt, and pepper. Saute for 5 minutes. 

STEP TWO: then add the crushed tomatoes, tomato sauce, and sugar. Stir to combine, then reduce the heat to medium-low heat and simmer the sauce while you move forward with making the meatballs. Make sure to stir your sauce every so often to make sure it doesn’t burn. 

STEP THREE: In a large mixing bowl add the ground beef, eggs, panko, parmesan cheese, fresh parsley, garlic powder, salt, and black pepper. Using a large wooden spoon, mix all the ingredients together until well combined.

PRO TIP

Be careful not to overwork the beef mixture because that causes tough meatballs.

STEP FOUR: Preheat your oven to 350°F. Prepare a rimmed baking sheet with a piece of parchment paper to cover the bottom. Set aside.

STEP FIVE: Using a kitchen scale, divide the meatball mixture and weigh out 12 (5-ounce) meatballs. Shape your meatballs by lightly rolling them in your hands, then place the formed meatballs, in rows, on the prepared sheet pan.

PRO TIP

If you do not own a kitchen scale, you can use an extra-large (3-inch) cookie scoop as a guide for your meatball size. A full scoop will make approximately a 4.5 to 5 ounce meatball.

STEP SIX: In a large, heavy-duty skillet, heat the ¼ cup olive oil. Once the oil is hot, place 6 of your shaped meatballs into the skillet. You will brown your meatballs on all sides. This should take about 8 to 10 minutes. Once you have browned your meatballs on all sides, remove them from the skillet and return them to the baking sheet. Repeat this step with the remaining meatballs. When you are done, you should have 12 browned meatballs back on your parchment-lined baking sheet.

STEP SEVEN: Place your baking sheet, with the browned meatballs, into the oven to finish baking the meatballs for 30 minutes. 

STEP EIGHT: Once you remove your cooked meatballs from the oven, place them into your pot of simmering sauce for another 30 minutes on medium-low heat.

STEP NINE: Preheat your oven to BROIL. Line a rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil and set it aside. 

STEP TEN: At this point, you can assemble your sub sandwiches by opening your sub roll lengthwise. Place 3 meatballs into each of the sub rolls. Top your meatballs with 2 slices of the deli sliced mozzarella cheese. Place your assembled meatball subs onto the aluminum foil-lined sheet tray and put them under the broiler for 2 to 3 minutes, or until your cheese has melted and your sub roll has crisped up slightly.

STEP ELEVEN: You can garnish your sub with a couple of spoonfuls of additional sauce, grated parmesan cheese, and chopped parsley if desired. 

HOW TO SERVE

Serve your hearty meatball subs with a Caesar salad or cucumber salad on the side to add greens to your plate.

A great way to use any extra sauce and meatballs is to cook spaghetti noodles according to package directions and top them with your reheated sauce, meatballs, and a sprinkle of grated parmesan cheese. You can serve this with a side of garlic toast and green salad.

STORAGE

IN THE FRIDGE: These easy Italian meatball subs should be enjoyed immediately. If you wish to save any extra pasta sauce, or if you want to make the homemade meatballs and sauce ahead of time, you can store the cooled sauce and meatballs in a covered container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. When you are ready to assemble your subs to eat, you will need to place the meatballs and sauce back into a 6-quart pot and reheat them on medium-low heat for approximately 10 to 15 minutes. You can then follow steps 9 to 11.

IN THE FREEZER: You can freeze the extra meatballs and sauce together in a freezer-safe, lidded container for up to 2 months.

Tender meatballs and flavorful tomato sauce make this meatball sub sandwich recipe far better than anything from the sub shop. They make for an easy and filling meal which you could prep the meatballs ahead of time and throw them together for dinner on busy weeknights.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

What are the best buns for meatball subs?

This meatball sub recipe would be perfect on sub buns or a hoagie roll. What you are looking for is a bun that is sturdy enough not to fall apart when the marinara sauce soaks in.

What other toppings could I add to my meatball sub?

These subs have plenty of options for toppings. Anything you usually get on your subs would be delicious. Try sauteing bell peppers, onions, and mushrooms for tasty options.

Could I use ground pork or chicken instead of beef in this recipe?

Any ground meat would work in this recipe depending on your preference.

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close up of the end of a meatball sub

Meatball Subs

5 from 1 vote
Juicy meatballs simmered in a delicious, thick tomato sauce and topped with ooey-gooey melted cheese make these meatball subs a fantastic choice for a quick meal.
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 20 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 35 minutes
Servings 4 subs

Ingredients
  

Meatballs

  • 3 ¾ pounds lean ground beef (60 ounces)
  • 2 eggs lightly beaten
  • 1 cup Italian seasoned panko bread crumbs
  • ½ cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 2 tablespoons fresh parsley chopped
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • ¼ cup olive oil

Sauce

  • 56 ounces crushed tomatoes (2 28-ounce cans)
  • 15 ounces tomato sauce
  • 1 cup sweet onion small diced (about 1 medium-sized onion)
  • 1 tablespoon garlic minced (about 2 cloves)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon fresh parsley chopped
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1 teaspoon granulated sugar
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper

For the sub sandwich

  • 4 hearty sub rolls approximately 7-8 inches long each
  • 8 slices mozzarella cheese from the deli section, not a block of cheese
  • ½ cup grated parmesan cheese divided
  • chopped fresh parsley for garnish if desired

Instructions
 

  • In a 6 quart pot, on medium heat, add the olive oil, onions, garlic, dried basil, salt, and pepper. Saute for 5 minutes.
  • Add the crushed tomatoes, tomato sauce, and sugar. Stir to combine, then reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer the sauce while you move forward with making the meatballs. Make sure to stir your sauce every so often to make sure it doesn’t burn.
  • In a large mixing bowl add the ground beef, eggs, panko, parmesan cheese, fresh parsley, garlic powder, salt, and black pepper.
  • Using a large wooden spoon, mix all the ingredients together until well combined.
    Pro Tip: Be careful not to overwork the beef mixture because that causes tough meatballs.
  • Preheat your oven to 350°F. Prepare a rimmed baking sheet with a piece of parchment paper to cover the bottom. Set aside.
  • Using a kitchen scale, divide the meat mixture and weigh out 12 (5-ounce) meatballs. Shape your meatballs by lightly rolling them in your hands, then place the formed meatballs, in rows, on the prepared sheet pan.
  • In a large, heavy-duty skillet, heat the ¼ cup olive oil. Once the oil is hot, place 6 of your shaped meatballs into the skillet. You will brown your meatballs on all sides. This should take about 8 to 10 minutes. Once you have browned your meatballs on all sides, remove them from the skillet and return them to the baking sheet. Repeat this step with the remaining meatballs. When you are done, you should have 12 browned meatballs back on your parchment-lined baking sheet.
  • Place your baking sheet, with the browned meatballs, into the oven to finish baking the meatballs for 30 minutes.
  • Once you remove your cooked meatballs from the oven, place them into your pot of simmering sauce for another 30 minutes on medium-low heat.
  • Preheat your oven to BROIL. Line a rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil and set it aside.
  • At this point, you can assemble your sub sandwiches by opening your sub roll lengthwise. Place 3 meatballs into each of the sub rolls. Top your meatballs with 2 slices of the deli sliced mozzarella cheese. Place your assembled meatball subs onto the aluminum foil-lined sheet tray and put them under the broiler for 2 to 3 minutes, or until your cheese has melted and your sub roll has crisped up slightly.
  • You can garnish your sub with a couple of spoonfuls of additional sauce, grated parmesan cheese, and chopped parsley if desired.

Nutrition

Calories: 1483kcal | Carbohydrates: 86g | Protein: 132g | Fat: 68g | Saturated Fat: 25g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 5g | Monounsaturated Fat: 31g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 412mg | Sodium: 3411mg | Potassium: 3213mg | Fiber: 12g | Sugar: 31g | Vitamin A: 2289IU | Vitamin C: 51mg | Calcium: 821mg | Iron: 29mg
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Proudly Prepared by the Spaceships Kitchen

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  1. Gloria says

    5 stars
    These are hearty and delicious – I make the meatballs ahead of time and then assemble subs for a quick lunch or dinner. SO GOOD!

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