Flavorful & Easy: Homemade Meatball Subs

Looking for a hearty and quick dinner idea? Meatball subs are the answer. These delicious subs boast juicy meatballs, tangy marinara sauce, and gooey melted cheese, all nestled within warm, toasty sub rolls. Perfect for a satisfying meal that’s easy to make and thoroughly enjoyable.

How to Make a Fruit Pizza:

History and Origins of the Recipe:

The meatball sub, also known as a meatball hero or grinder, has roots in Italian-American cuisine. In the early 20th century, Italian immigrants in the United States created a version of this classic using the rich flavors of their traditional meatballs and homemade marinara sauce, paired with crusty sub rolls. It quickly became a beloved dish in many American households.

Tools Needed, Number of People, Cooking Time:


  • Baking sheet
  • Large mixing bowl
  • Saucepan

Yield: Serves 4

Preparation Time: 15 minutes
Cooking Time: 20 minutes

Ingredients and Possible Substitutes:

  • 1 pound ground beef: Substitute with ground turkey or chicken for a leaner option.
  • 1/2 cup breadcrumbs: Use crushed crackers or oats as substitutes.
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese: Pecorino Romano or Asiago cheese can be used as alternatives.
  • 4 sub rolls: Hoagie rolls or crusty Italian rolls are good substitutes.
  • 1 cup marinara sauce: Homemade or store-bought tomato sauce works well. Add Italian seasonings for extra flavor.


Mistake 1: Overmixing the Meatball Mixture

Avoid overworking the meatball mixture, as this can lead to dense and tough meatballs. Gently combine the ingredients just until they’re mixed, which helps retain the meatballs’ tender texture.

Mistake 2: Meatballs Falling Apart

For better cohesion, ensure the meatball mixture has an appropriate balance of binding ingredients like breadcrumbs, cheese, and eggs. If needed, chill the formed meatballs for 15-30 minutes in the fridge before baking.

Mistake 3: Burning the Sub Rolls

While toasting the sub rolls, keep an eye on them as they crisp up quickly. A light toasting is ideal to keep the rolls crispy on the outside but soft inside.

Mistake 4: Not Monitoring Broiling

When broiling the meatball subs to melt the cheese, avoid leaving them unattended. Broil just until the cheese is golden and bubbly, preventing over-browning or burning.


1. Can I make the meatballs in advance?
Absolutely! The meatballs can be formed and refrigerated overnight or frozen for up to three months before baking. Just adjust the baking time accordingly.

2. How can I ensure the meatballs are fully cooked?
Test the doneness of the meatballs by using a meat thermometer. They should reach an internal temperature of 160°F (71°C).

3. Are there options to make the subs vegetarian?
Vegetarian or vegan meatball substitutes are available and work well in this recipe. Opt for plant-based meat alternatives and vegan cheese.

4. Can I use different cheeses?
Certainly! Experiment with different cheese varieties, such as provolone, fontina, or a blend of mozzarella and cheddar.

5. Can I use frozen meatballs for this recipe?
You can use frozen meatballs, but ensure they are fully cooked and thawed before adding them to the sauce. Adjust the cooking time accordingly.

The meatball sub is a delicious and classic dish with roots in Italian-American cuisine. It’s an easy and satisfying meal, ideal for busy weeknights or casual gatherings.

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