These Italian meatball subs are filling, hearty and crazy delicious. The meatballs can be made ahead of time and it makes the dish a snap to throw together.

Oooh, I love meatball subs. And this particular version is the best. Ever.

This meal makes a monthly appearance in our home, at least, thanks to my wonderful friend, Mariann, who passed it along to me several years ago.

A surefire hit for a meal my kids and husband will devour with no complaining, these subs are filling, hearty and the flavors are crazy delicious.

meatball and cheese sub sandwich on a white plate

The great thing is that the meatballs can be made ahead of time and the sauce is a snap to throw together and heat through.

I use the amazing and versatile French Bread roll recipe for the buns and the combination of the soft, homemade bread, creamy mozzarella cheese and out-of-this-world tender and flavorful meatballs smothered in rich tomato sauce is a meal made in heaven.

This is one of my go-to meals for company or when I am taking dinner to someone.

Just last week, I made the meatballs subs and served them with a large green salad, fresh fruit and vegetables, baked chips and a trifle dessert I’ll be posting next week that is so stunning and tasty, it’s a wonder I shared it with the guests at all (I’m quite territorial over good food, I must admit).

bite taken out of an italian meatball and cheese sub sandwich

What To Serve With This:

French Bread Rolls (for the bun)
An awesome side like this: Barbecue Macaroni SaladColeslaw, or these Boston Baked Beans
Fresh vegetables and/or green salad


Italian Meatball Subs

4.84 stars (25 ratings)


For the meatballs:

  • 1 cup unseasoned bread crumbs or crushed saltines
  • ¾ cup shredded Parmesan or mozzarella cheese
  • ½ cup milk
  • ½ cup low-sodium beef broth
  • ½ cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 ½ tablespoons dried oregano
  • 3 cloves garlic, finely minced
  • 1 ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons ground black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons dried basil
  • ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes, optional
  • 2 pounds ground beef or ground turkey

To dredge the meatballs:

  • 1 ½ cups flour in a shallow baking dish

For the sandwiches:

  • 1 recipe French Bread Rolls, shaped into sub rolls and baked according to the recipe
  • Sliced mozzarella or provolone cheese

For the sauce:

  • 1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 ½ teaspoons dried basil
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon sugar, this helps cut the acidity of the tomatoes
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt


  • In a large bowl, mix all of the meatball ingredients together EXCEPT the meat. Let the mixture sit for 10-15 minutes so the breadcrumbs/crackers can soak up the liquid a little bit. Add the meat and mix well with your hands until all the ingredients are combined.
  • Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Line a rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil and lightly grease the foil. Form golf ball-sized meatballs and dredge them in the flour until lightly coated. Place the meatballs on the baking sheet about one inch apart. Bake for 20 -25 minutes until the meatballs are completely cooked through.
  • When the meatballs come out of the oven, let them sit for about 15 minutes. Gently scrape off any fat and place the meatballs in a 9X13-inch baking dish (or similar size). Pour the hot tomato sauce over the meatballs.
  • To assemble the sandwiches, slice the buns in half. (If desired, lay the buns flat open on a baking sheet and top one side with cheese – toast in the oven for 4-5 minutes at 400 degrees until the buns are toasted and cheese is melted.) Place 3-4 meatballs on each bun and top with desired amount of sauce. Serve immediately with lots of napkins.
  • For the sauce, combine the sauce ingredients in a medium saucepan and bring to a low simmer. Simmer for 10-15 minutes on low. Keep warm until the meatballs are finished baking.


Make-Ahead: when I make these, I often prepare and bake the meatballs earlier in the day. To reheat, I place the meatballs in the pot with the simmering sauce and let them warm up together.
Freezable: and since I know someone will ask, the meatballs freeze great. Freeze them, unbaked, on a baking sheet. Once frozen, they can be placed in a freezer-safe ziploc bag. Bake them (without thawing first), adding 6-7 minutes to the baking time. Incidentally, they also freeze great after they have been baked. Freeze them in a freezer-safe ziploc bag and reheat them in the simmering sauce until they are warmed through.
Serving: 1 Meatball Sub, Calories: 793kcal, Carbohydrates: 72g, Protein: 43g, Fat: 37g, Saturated Fat: 15g, Cholesterol: 158mg, Sodium: 1556mg, Fiber: 5g, Sugar: 11g
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Recipe Source: adapted from my friend, Mariann