These delicious and easy Banh Mi meatball subs (inspired by the tasty Vietnamese sandwich) are easily one of my favorite sandwiches ever!

Years ago, after completing a grueling, restrictive diet to prepare for cancer treatment, my first meal request when I could eat anything again was a delicious, over-the-top, amazing sandwich. Sandwiches are one of my favorite food groups, and these delicious Banh Mi meatball subs are top of that list!

Assembled banh mi meatball sub on cream striped plate.

What is Banh Mi?

Banh Mi is technically the Vietnamese term for “bread” – but Banh Mi encompasses the sandwiches that are popular as Vietnamese street food.

They usually consist of soft bread, flavorful meat, spicy sauce, pickled veggies, and cilantro.

The sauce for this meatball version is ultra-simple:

  • mayo or Greek yogurt
  • green onions
  • sriracha
Glass bowl with mayo, sour cream, green onions and sriracha.

Easy Pickled Veggies

These quick-pickled veggies might be my favorite part of the entire sandwich. Crunch, salty, sweet, tangy, they are YUMMY.

  • matchstick or shredded carrots
  • matchstick or shredded cucumbers
  • sugar
  • rice vinegar
  • salt
  • sesame oil
Glass bowl with shredded carrots and cucumbers.

Vietnamese-Inspired Meatballs

I don’t claim anything in these sandwiches to be truly authentic, but the Vietnamese-inspired flavors definitely shine through.

The meatballs are packed with flavor!

  • ground pork or ground turkey (or a combination)
  • fresh or dried basil
  • garlic + green onions
  • fish sauce (don’t be scared of this! it packs a delicious salty punch)
  • sriracha or sweet Thai chili sauce
  • sugar + salt + pepper
Glass bowl with ground turkey, ground pork, green onions, garlic, ginger, sriracha.

The meatballs are browned in a skillet before finishing off in the oven. I like to brown them in sesame oil for an extra level of flavor.

Cooked meatball in skillet.

Assembling Banh Mi Meatball Sub

The vehicle for all these delicious sandwich ingredients is a fluffy-but-sturdy bun.

I use this recipe for French bread rolls, usually subbing some of the all-purpose flour out for whole wheat flour.

I assemble the sandwich as follows:

  • cilantro
  • meatballs
  • pickled veggies
  • sauce

If you are after more sauciness, add a layer of the creamy dressing on the bottom before the cilantro.

Banh mi meatball sub on parchment paper.

Favorite Sandwich Ever

These easy banh mi meatball subs are an absolute explosion of flavor.

The combination of flavors and ingredients might be unusual or new or maybe even a bit out of your comfort zone, but I promise, the step into unknown sandwich territory will be worth it!

A few other rave reviews:

Susannah: These were so good!  We mixed the relish and dressing one day in advance to speed things up on a busy weeknight. For the meatballs, we used a combination of pork breakfast sausage and ground pork from our freezer.  Even our pickiest eaters loved these sandwiches!  We can’t wait to have them again!

Melissa: Oh my gosh!  These were divine!!  We will be eating these frequently.  My 6-year old said she “loved them.”  

Kristine: Best sandwich EVER! Spicy, sweet, and fresh the perfect combination. I crave this bad boy. Literally, all out CRAVE it, have to have it. Mel, this is a slam dunk as with pretty much all of your recipes. My family and I thank you! 

Rachel: Wow- these were FANTASTIC!
Kids were nervous about relish veggies at first but devoured this sandwich after the first bite – thanks Mel!!

Half eaten banh mi meatball sub on parchment paper.

One Year Ago: Slow Cooker White Bean Chicken Chili
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Three Years Ago: Texas-Style Blueberry Cobbler

Banh mi meatball sub on cream plate.

Easy Banh Mi Sandwiches {Vietnamese Meatball Sub}

4.86 stars (54 ratings)


Spicy Sauce:

  • cup mayonnaise or plain Greek yogurt
  • 1 tablespoon sriracha or sweet Thai chili sauce (see note)
  • 1 green onion, white and green parts finely chopped, white and green parts finely chopped


  • 2 large carrots, coarsely grated or cut into thin matchsticks (about 1/2 cup)
  • 1 English cucumber, coarsely grated or cut into thin matchsticks (about 1/2 cup)
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • ½ teaspoon coarse kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil


  • 2 pounds ground pork, ground turkey or a combination
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh basil or 2 teaspoons dried
  • 4 garlic cloves, finely minced
  • 2 green onions, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon fish sauce (see note)
  • 1 tablespoon sriracha or sweet Thai chili sauce
  • 1 ½ tablespoons sugar
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1-2 teaspoons sesame or vegetable or coconut oil, for browning



  • For the sauce, in a small bowl, whisk together the mayo, green onions and sriracha. Cover and refrigerate. This can be made several days in advance.
  • For the relish, toss together the carrots and cucumber. In a small bowl, whisk together the sugar, vinegar, salt and sesame oil. Pour over the vegetables. Cover and refrigerate. The relish can be made a day or so in advance.
  • For the meatballs, preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. In a large bowl, combine the ground pork (or turkey), basil, garlic, green onions, fish sauce, hot sauce, sugar, cornstarch, salt and pepper. Scoop the mixture into 1- to 2-inch meatballs. Heat the sesame oil (or other oil, if using) in a large 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium heat until hot and rippling. Add the meatballs in a single layer and brown on all sides.
  • Transfer the browned meatballs to a foil-lined baking sheet and repeat with remaining meatballs (adding additional oil if necessary). Bake the meatballs for 15 minutes. Remove from the oven (I like to place the cooked meatballs one by one on a layer of paper towels to absorb any excess grease).
  • To assemble the sandwiches, slice the buns or baguettes in half. Spread the dressing on the top half of the bread. Layer cilantro to taste on the bottom half. Place 3 or so meatballs (will depend on how big you made them) on top of the cilantro. Drain the relish and place a heaping spoonful on top of the meatballs. Press on the sandwich top and devour.


Spiciness: for the creamy dressing, use the sriracha sauce if you like things spicy. I’ve made the sandwiches both ways and while I enjoy the heat, my kids don’t as much, so I usually use the sweet Thai chili sauce which still has a kick to it but also has a bit of sweetness.
Fish Sauce: don’t be scared of fish sauce. It adds great flavor. If you don’t have it or prefer not to use it, consider adding a bit of soy sauce and increasing the salt if needed (fish sauce packs a salty punch).
Bread: the traditional bread vehicle for a Banh Mi is a crusty-type baguette. I go the unauthentic route and stuff all the goodness inside fluffy homemade bread (baked into the shape of longer hoagie buns instead of dinner rolls).
Serving: 1 Serving, Calories: 811kcal, Carbohydrates: 47g, Protein: 32g, Fat: 54g, Saturated Fat: 15g, Cholesterol: 119mg, Sodium: 1266mg, Fiber: 2g, Sugar: 14g

Recipe Source: adapted from this recipe at Bon Appetit (after a reader, Sarah, sent it to me)

A meatball banh mi sub sandwich on a white plate.