These classic Meatball Subs are the perfect quick and easy weeknight meal. They’re made with buttery sub rolls piled with tender meatballs, marinara, and ooey-gooey mozzarella cheese.
Easy Meatball Sandwich Recipe
On busy weeknights, it can be hard to come up with a dinner that everyone likes—especially something quick and easy.
Luckily, this delicious meatball sub recipe is a hit with everyone, every time.
This recipe is kept extra simple with frozen meatballs and store-bought marinara, so it comes together in no time at all!
It’s hearty, filling, tasty, and will delight even the pickiest of eaters.
What Does a Meatball Sub Contain?
- Marinara Sauce: Use your favorite variety of store-bought marinara, spaghetti sauce, or pasta. Or, whip up a batch of homemade sauce.
- Meatballs: I use frozen meatballs, but feel free to make a homemade batch of meatballs instead.
- Butter: I like to use unsalted butter so I can control the saltiness of the sandwiches.
- Seasonings: We’re seasoning the butter with a combination of garlic powder, onion powder, and salt.
- Hoagie Buns: If you can’t find hoagie buns, hot dog buns will work too; they just won’t fit as many meatballs. Whole wheat buns are a great substitute!
- Mozzarella Cheese: Use freshly shredded mozzarella for the best texture and flavor.
How to Make Homemade Meatball Subs
Scroll to the recipe card below for full instructions and ingredient amounts!
These classic meatball sub sandwiches are ready in just over 30 minutes!
- In a pan, simmer the marinara sauce and the frozen meatballs until the meatballs are cooked all the way through.
- While the meatballs cook, combine butter, garlic powder, onion powder, and salt in a bowl.
- Split the hoagie buns in half lengthwise, but leave them attached at the bottom. Slather the insides with the garlic butter, and place the buns on a baking sheet.
- Then broil in the oven until the butter is melted and the buns are golden brown.
- Remove the buns from the oven, then divide the prepared meatballs between each. Top with marinara sauce then add cheese on top of the sauce. Bake at 300ºF until the cheese melts.
Tips and Variations
- Use freshly shredded cheese. Pre-shredded cheese contains an anti-caking agent that can be gritty when the cheese is melted. I recommend shredding fresh mozzarella off the block for that creamy, gooey texture.
- Pre-toast the hoagie rolls. Toasting the rolls with the garlic butter before adding the toppings gives them a little bit of structure so they hold up better under the pasta sauce.
- Serve immediately. These sandwiches are best served right away!
- If you want to save even more time, use pre-made garlic butter or make it ahead of time using my garlic herb butter recipe.
- Spice them up. Give your sandwiches a kick of heat by sprinkling red pepper flakes in the sauce or on top of the finished subs.
- Add basil. Give them a fresh flavor twist with a sprinkle of fresh basil or top each sandwich with a little bit of pesto.
Storage and Reheating
Refrigerator: While a meatball sub is best served right away, leftovers can be wrapped in foil or an airtight container and stored in the fridge for 3-5 days.
Reheating: To reheat, wrap the meatball sandwiches in aluminum foil (if they aren’t already wrapped), then bake at 350ºF for 10 minutes or until the sandwiches are warmed through.
What is the Best Sauce for Meatball Subs?
Whatever your favorite marinara sauce is! I like to keep it simple by grabbing a jar of marinara sauce at the store.
Feel free to do the same and use your favorite brand.
Alternatively, if you have a homemade marinara sauce that you love, feel free to whip that up instead.
What Cheese is Best for Meatball Subs?
A traditional meatball sub is topped with mozzarella cheese, which is what I usually use in this recipe!
It’s creamy, it’s gooey, and it rounds out the more savory flavors in the sauce and meatballs perfectly.
Now, if you want to try another type of cheese, you can totally do that too.
Freshly shredded parmesan cheese, sliced provolone cheese, or even a dollop of ricotta are both delicious options.
Can You Make Meatballs Subs in the Slow Cooker?
Yes, you can prepare some of the components of meatball subs in the slow cooker. Add the marinara sauce and frozen meatballs and cook on LOW for 2-3 hours or HIGH for about 1 ½ hours.
Making the garlic butter and toasting the rolls have to be done separately.
Using a crock pot is a great way to cook for a crowd, make a large family dinner, or prep for a football season party!
- 24 ounces marinara sauce
- 16 ounces frozen meatballs
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- ¼ teaspoon onion powder
- ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
- 4 hoagie buns
- 1 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded off the block
- In a large pan, simmer the marinara and frozen meatballs for 10 to 15 minutes. While the meatballs simmer, make the garlic butter.24 ounces marinara sauce16 ounces frozen meatballs
- In a small bowl, combine softened butter, garlic powder, onion powder, and salt. Split the hoagie buns in half lengthwise, leaving them attached at the bottom. Apply the garlic butter to the inside of the buns.4 tablespoons unsalted butter½ teaspoon garlic powder¼ teaspoon onion powder¼ teaspoon kosher salt4 hoagie buns
- Place the buns on a baking sheet or in a pan, and broil them for 2 to 3 minutes until they begin to toast and the butter begins to melt.
- Remove the buns from the oven and divide the meatballs between each of the buns with several spoons of marinara sauce. Top with shredded cheese, and return to the broiler.1 cup mozzarella cheese
- Bake at 300°F for an additional 2 to 3 minutes until the cheese is melted.
- Scroll up and see the post for tips, storage information, and FAQs.