Meatball Sub Sandwiches feature homemade meatballs covered in tangy marinara sauce, topped with gooey fontina (or mozzarella cheese) AND provolone cheese, all loaded on a hoagie roll! Top with fresh basil, red pepper flakes, and grated parmesan cheese for extra flavor. And serve with plenty of napkins!
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 subs!
I actually started making these as 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 a signature homemade sauce and meatball combo that’s insanely flavorful and surprisingly easy. And best of all, it yields giant meatball subs that are so delicious they’ll leave you craving more. Even if you’re super stuffed from inhaling one!
The best part? The meatball mixture comes together in less than 5 minutes, thanks to little shortcuts like using garlic powder and onion powder instead of chopping them up fresh. And the meatballs and marinara sauce can both be made in advance. You can store them in the fridge for up to 5 days, or freeze them for up to 2 months! Then reheat before you plan on making your meatball sub sandwiches.
To save even more time, you can even shred your cheese a few hours in advance and store it in the fridge until needed. Just be sure to shred your own cheese, as it melts better – and tastes better – than pre-shredded cheese, which is treated with preservatives and stabilizers.
Let’s make Meatball Subs!
- Step 1: These meatballs are baked, so you’ll want to preheat your oven. And set out a large baking sheet – do NOT line 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.
- Step 2: Make your meatballs! This is seriously as easy as busting out a large bowl, and combing your ground beef, ground pork, salt and pepper and seasonings, eggs, parmesan cheese, bread crumbs, and some lukewarm water. I know the water may sound odd, but trust me here! The water makes the meatballs so moist and juicy without adding more fat (like milk). Also don’t over bake your meatballs. They only need 18 to 20 minutes, or until they’re cooked through and no longer pink.
- Step 3: While your meatballs bake, make your marinara sauce! You can also do this up to 2 days in advance, then reheat the meatballs and sauce before serving.
- Step 4: Assemble your sandwiches! You’ll want to preheat your broiler before you begin so it’s nice and hot when your ready to pop your baking sheet in. Then you’ll slice open your hoagie rolls, pile in some meatballs, and top with plenty of extra sauce and cheese.
- Step 5: Finally, you’ll pop your pan in the oven and bake until the cheese is golden and gooey, but keep an eye here, as they can burn fast!
Some people like to brush their hoagie rolls with garlic butter or olive oil, which I don’t find 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.
More Homemade Meatballs Recipes:
- Italian Sausage Meatballs
- Easy Baked Meatballs
- Baked Turkey Zucchini Meatballs
- Mozzarella Stuffed Turkey Meatballs
- Turkey Meatballs with Asiago and Fresh Herbs
Easy Italian Meatball Sub Sandwiches
For the Meatballs:
- 1 pound (454g) ground beef
- 1 pound (454) ground pork
- 3 and 1/2 teaspoons garlic powder
- 3 teaspoons onion powder
- 2 and 1/2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 2 large eggs
- 1 cup (100g) parmesan cheese finely grated
- 1 and 1/2 cups panko breadcrumbs
- 3/4 cup (171ml) water
For the Sauce:
- 1/3 cup (76ml) olive oil
- 8 cloves garlic minced
- 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- 2 28 ounce cans crushed tomatoes with basil
- 1 and 1/2 teaspoons salt
- 1/2 teaspoon granulated sugar
- 1 and 1/2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
- 1/2 cup fresh basil leaves chopped
For the Subs:
- 8 crusty sub rolls cut in half
- 8 ounces provolone cheese shredded
- 6 ounces fontina cheese shredded
- 2 ounces parmesan cheese finely grated
- fresh basil torn, for garnish, optional
For the Meatballs:
- Preheat the oven to 425 degrees (F). Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
- In a large bowl combine ground beef, pork, garlic powder, onion powder, Italian seasoning, black pepper, salt, egg, cheese, and breadcrumbs.
- Slowly add the water, a few tablespoons at a time, mixing with your hands until everything is just combined. Don't over mix here or it'll make the meatballs tough. The mixture should be very moist but still hold its shape when rolled into meatballs.
- Using an ice cream scoop or large spoon, scoop about two and half tablespoons of meat into your palms and roll it into a ball. Place the ball on the prepared baking sheet. Repeat with all of the meat.
- Place the baking sheet in the oven to bake for 20 minutes, or until they're cooked though.
- While the meatballs bake, make your marinara sauce!
For the Sauce:
- Heat oil in a medium-sized pan over medium-low heat. Add in the garlic and sauté for one minute, or until the garlic is golden and fragrant. Add the crushed red pepper flakes.
- Add in the crushed tomatoes, salt, sugar, and seasoning and stir well to combine. Simmer the sauce for at least 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Stir in basil and cook for 5 more minutes. Season with additional salt and pepper to taste.
- When meatballs are done cooking, add them to the sauce, stir to coat, use as directed below.
For the Subs:
- Preheat the oven to broiler. Slice the sub rolls in half, being sure to cut only 3/4 of the way through the roll.
- Place 5 meatballs into each sub roll. Spoon extra sauce on top of each roll. Then divide the shredded provolone and fontina cheeses evenly on top of rolls.
- Carefully place the subs onto a baking sheet and place under the broiler until the cheese is melted and gooey and slightly golden brown in some spots. Keep a close eye here, you don’t want them to burn! Remove from heat, sprinkle with basil and parmesan, and serve warm!
- Remove from heat, sprinkle with basil and parmesan, and serve warm!