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Easy Italian Meatball Sub Sandwiches

Easy Italian Meatball Sub Sandwiches
Easy Italian Meatball Sub Sandwiches


Homemade meatballs and tangy marinara sauce make these meatball sub sandwiches the best ever! Topped with gooey fontina (or mozzarella cheese) AND provolone cheese, and piled on top of a hoagie roll, these are a crowd-pleaser! Top with fresh basil, red pepper flakes, and grated parmesan cheese for extra flavor. And serve with plenty of napkins!

We Love Meatball Sandwiches

Sunday night is SUB NIGHT in our house. Some nights I make sausage and pepper subs or French dip sandwiches. Other nights, when it’s too darn hot to cook, I make Italian hoagies. But more often than not, I make these hearty Italian meatball sub sandwiches!

I actually been making meatball subs since I was a little kid! Back then, I used frozen meatballs and spaghetti sauce because my cooking skills were quite limited. But over the years, I slowly crafted my signature homemade meatballs and marinara sauce. And the combo is insanely flavorful and surprisingly easy.

Why you’ll Love this Meatball Sub Recipe

  • The homemade meatballs are moist, ultra flavorful, and so easy!
  • Tangy marinara sauce coats the meatballs in a giant flavor hug.
  • No messy frying required… the meatballs are made on a baking sheet.
  • Fontina and provolone cheese are melted on top of the hoagie rolls for an ultra gooey meatball sub experience.
  • The meatball mixture comes together fast thanks to shortcuts like using garlic powder and onion powder instead of fresh.
  • You can make both the meatballs and sauce in advance. You can store them in the fridge for up to 5 days, or freeze them for up to 2 months.
  • You can shred the cheese a few hours in advance and store it in the fridge. Freshly shredded cheese melts better and tastes better than pre-shredded cheese, which contains preservatives and stabilizers.
How to make homemade meatballs for meatball subs.How to make homemade meatballs for meatball subs.

How to Make Homemade Meatballs: Bust out the Baking Sheet!

  • Baking Prep: Preheat the oven 30 minutes before you plan on baking. Do NOT line the baking sheet it with parchment paper. You’ll be putting these under the broiler and parchment will catch fire. If you don’t want to make a mess on your baking sheet, line it with foil.
  • Make the Homemade Meatballs: In large bowl combine the ground beef, pork, seasonings, eggs, parmesan cheese, bread crumbs, and water. Water may sound odd, but it makes the meatballs so moist and juicy without adding more fat (like milk).
  • Shape the Meatballs: Using an ice cream scoop or large spoon to help you make evenly shaped and sized meatballs. Once scooped, roll the meat into neat little balls and place them on the baking sheet.
  • Bake the Meatballs: Take care not to over bake your meatballs. They only need 18 to 20 minutes to cook through and no longer be pink. But this time can vary depending on your oven.

Want to freeze these homemade meatballs? Place the baked and completely cooled meatballs in a freezer bag and transfer to the freezer. When you store them properly this way, you can freeze them for up to 2 months.

Can I Use All Ground Beef?

Absolutely! You can use all ground beef instead of a beef/pork mix. You can also use all ground turkey or ground chicken, but the meatballs will be a little drier and less juicy. You can also use ground veal or ground sausage instead of ground pork.

How to make marinara sauce for meatball sub sandwichesHow to make marinara sauce for meatball sub sandwiches

Meatballs and Sauce: How to Make Marinara Sauce

  • Ingredient Prep: Mince, measure, and chop all ingredients needed before you begin making the sauce.
  • Cook the Garlic: Gently heat the olive oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Add the garlic and sauté for about one minute. Until the garlic is golden and fragrant but not brown or burnt. Add the crushed red pepper flakes.
  • Make the Marinara Sauce: Add in the crushed tomatoes, salt, sugar, and seasoning and stir well to combine. Simmer the sauce for at least 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  • Season to Taste: Stir in the fresh basil and cook for 5 more minutes. Season with additional salt and pepper to taste.

When the meatballs finish cooking, add them to the sauce, stir to coat, and use as directed below. Or cool the marinara sauce completely and place in the fridge for 5 days. You may also transfer the cooled marinara sauce to a freezer bag and store in the freezer for up to 2 months.

How to Make Meatball Subs: Assembly

  • Preheat the Oven: It’s finally time to assemble your sandwiches! You’ll want to preheat your broiler before you begin so it’s nice and hot when you’re ready to pop your baking sheet in.
  • Slice the Hoagie Rolls: Use a sharp serrated knife to cut the rolls down the middle, but don’t cut all the way through the roll. You can leave the rolls as is, or pull some of the excess bread out from the center of the roll. People know this as gutting the roll.
  • Add the Homemade Meatballs: Pile on some meatballs, about 5 per rolls usually fits best. And of course top with plenty of extra marinara sauce.
  • Time for Cheese: Top the meatballs and sauce with shredded cheese. This will be nice and gooey once baked. Transfer the meatball sub sandwiches to a large baking sheet.
  • Bake the Meatball Subs: Place the baking pan in the oven and bake until the cheese is melted, golden, and gooey. Keep an eye here, as they can burn fast!

Some people like to brush their hoagie rolls with garlic butter or olive oil. I don’t find this necessary because these sandwiches have SO much flavor! But if you’d like to try it, you definitely can. Simply brush the outside or inside of the roll lightly with either choice before popping the meatball subs in the oven.

What to Serve with Meatball Subs

More Homemade Meatballs Recipes:

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Easy Italian Meatball Sub Sandwiches

Ashley Manila

Homemade meatballs and tangy marinara sauce make these meatball sub sandwiches the best ever! Topped with gooey fontina (or mozzarella cheese) AND provolone cheese, and piled on top of a hoagie roll, these are a crowd-pleaser! Top with fresh basil, red pepper flakes, and grated parmesan cheese for extra flavor. And serve with plenty of napkins!