Baked Meatball Subs are an easy meaty saucy delicious delight. Indulgent comfort food that makes weekends what they are, the whole family will love to wrap their chops around one of these. A meatball hoagie if you please! Juicy beef meatballs smothered in sauce, loaded into buns, topped with cheese and baked to crispy perfection are the must try easy meatball subs recipe you need.
🤍 Recipe Highlights
I have summarised everything that you will come to know and love (LOVE ❤) about the recipe in the points below:
- Homemade meatball subs recipe: sure you could go out for subs and you could stand in line waiting at the food court, but you won't have a say in how fresh, hot and saucy your meatball sub is 😉. Homemade subs give you fresh ingredients, the comfort of home and you know exactly what ingredients went into making them.
- Budget friendly: there is nothing in this recipe that will break the bank. Beef mince is cheaper than other cuts of meat or use store bought meatballs if you please. (Loaded meatball subs with a thick rich tomato sauce for around $10 to $15 for 4 meals, who is up for it?)
- Smart easy: if you want to get some cooking done during the day so that dinner is pretty much done when 'dinner time' hits the clock, this is the recipe for you. Start early in the day and you will pat yourself on the back as soon as the aroma of the meatballs and sauce starts wafting its way through the house 🥰!
- Versatile: be it game day, a family gathering, the kids saying they are 'starving' or simply wanting quick and easy, meatball subs will tick a lot of 'get food to the hungry asap' boxes!
- Family friendly: whilst there is flavour from the parsley, dried basil and Italian herbs, it is not too intense flavour. So everyone from little kids to big will like to have a sub on their plate begging for the eating!
- Easy dinner idea: feel like pasta but don't feel like cooking pasta? These meatball subs save time, energy and effort using store bought bread rolls that need very little prep time! You can have your meatball without cooking pasta to go with it!
The photo below is to show you everything you need to make the recipe. Please refer to the printable recipe card for specific ingredient measurements as well as detailed instructions.
As you can see the recipe calls for:
- Bread rolls, hot dog buns, hoagie rolls: these are the 'hot dog' style buns that are long and can be opened on the side and stuffed. They are good to use as they hold the filling inside and the edges get nicely crisped up and toasted when baked.
- Ground beef mince: reasonably economical and often marked down at the supermarket in the late afternoons. This freezer friendly cut of meat is versatile and full of flavour.
- Breadcrumbs: an ingredient in the meatballs to help absorb moisture.
- Garlic: chunky minced garlic from a jar is fine or chop 2 fresh garlic cloves.
- Dried onion: saves time and tears and delivers great onion flavour.
- Parsley: this dried herb is one of the 2 key herbs that we use to add flavour to the meatballs, not the sauce.
- Basil: this is the 2nd dried herb we use in the actual meatballs.
- Egg: this helps bind the meatball mixture together. You can gently whisk it or simply crack it into the bowl and mix it in with the other ingredients.
- Salt and pepper: a little of each goes into the meatball mix for seasoning.
- Olive oil: used to cook the meatballs.
🍜 Sauce for Meatball Subs
- Passata: also known as tomato puree in some countries, we use it to make a hearty sauce to smother the meatballs in and help fill our buns with sauce.
- Crushed tomatoes: go for a version that is plain with no additional flavour or herbs as we are adding our own in.
- Tomato paste: thick and full of tomato flavour. This can also be used as a quick go to pizza sauce!
- Worcestershire sauce: a great ingredient for sauces, marinades and meat dishes for a little extra oomph in flavour.
- Beef stock cube: adds additional flavour to the sauce.
- Shredded Mozzarella cheese: grated, used to top the subs before they are popped into the oven.
- Fresh basil leaves (optional): but a great garnish adding flavour and a pop or 2 of contrasting colour!
Tasty Tip: I like to offer a number of substitutions and variations to give you options when making the recipe. If in doubt of any of the above ingredients, or wanting alternatives, read this section (further below) before jumping into the instructions on how to make the recipe which are coming next 😉👌.
Here are the step by step instructions to make the recipe. We start by making the meatballs. You will need a mixing bowl, chopping board and spoon.
- Add meatball ingredients to bowl (Photo 1)
- Combine (Photo 2)
- Roll into individual meatballs (Photo 3)
- Cook in olive oil (Photo 4)
👩🍳 How to Make Baked Meatball Subs
To make the subs we need to start by making the meatballs and sauce. Do this by adding all of the ingredients needed to make the meatballs to a mixing bowl. Then use clean dry hands to mix together.
Next you need to roll the beef mixture into balls. Use a tablespoon measuring spoon to portion and a chopping board to rest the meatballs when they are rolled.
- Remove cooked meatballs from pan (Photo 5)
- Add sauce ingredients (Photo 6)
- Stir to combine (Photo 7)
- Add meatballs back to pan (Photo 8)
Once you have added the meatballs to the sauce, you want to gently stir them to cover them in the sauce then turn the heat down and let the simmer for 15 minutes.
- Simmer the meatball sauce for 15 mins (Photo 9)
- Let cool then spoon mixture into bread rolls (Photo 10)
- Add cheese on top (Photo 11)
- Oven bake until the cheese melts (Photo 12)
Once the sauce has finished simmering, you want to let it cool so that it doesn't make the buns soggy. Once cooled (you can pop in the refrigerator or make in advance to speed up this process) begin to fill the subs by spooning sauce in, followed by meatballs and then a little more sauce.
Sprinkle shredded mozzarella cheese over the top of each sub and then place the baking dish into the oven to allow the buns to toast. The filling will warm during this time and the cheese melt. It will take around 5 to 10 mins to be 'sub ready' 😁.
Once the cheese is melted, you can grab your oven mits, remove the baking dish from the oven, place it on a heatproof surface and get ready to portion and serve them! (The most exciting part, right 😉).
🍽 Serving Suggestions
Popping some basil on the subs is a great way to add a little colour and herby flavour.
If looking for a side salad the Cherry Tomato Caprese Salad or Panzanella Salad both work well and you can omit the bread from the panzanella salad if you like as there is also the bread from the subs themselves.
Realistically the subs are pretty filling, so if you want to make them a meal in one with no sides or other, that will work well too.
Hot, fresh and literally bursting with meatballs, you will need 2 hands to hold and hunker down on these babies 👍😉.
👍 How to Guide
How to Store
These meatball subs are best cooked and consumed straight away.
You can however, make the meatballs and sauce, allow to cool, portion and freeze for later use.
Thaw the frozen meatball sauce mixture and spoon into rolls, top with cheese and cook from there.
😉 Substitutions and Variations
Here are my sub ins and outs that you might be thinking about as you read the post and I will tell you if I think they will work or why they won't:
- You can use a different type of meatball for the recipe be it Italian meatballs, pork, chicken meatballs or lamb.
- You can use parmesan cheese in place of the mozzarella cheese if you want to create a meatball parmesan sub.
- If you want to you can use defrosted frozen meatballs.
- You can make the meatballs but then use store bought bolognese, pasta or marinara sauce.
- Garnish with finely chopped parsley (either curly or flat leaf) in place of the basil leaves.
💡 Tasty Tips
Here are my top tips and tricks that I want to share with you so that you master the recipe from the get go:
- Let the meatball sauce mixture cool before adding to the hot dog buns.
- Spoon sauce in 1st, followed by meatballs and then spoon more sauce on top.
- Use kitchen tongs to handle the subs once they are toasted, this will be much easier as the rolls will be hot and the tongs easy to handle.
🤓 Frequently Asked Questions
How do you keep meatball subs from getting soggy?
To prevent the meatball subs from getting soggy ensure that the sauce and meatball filling is cold when you add it to the buns. Avoid using too much sauce as well as simply cooking them until the bun is toasted and the cheese is melted.
What goes with meatball sandwich?
Here are 21 sides that pair well with a meatball sandwich
- Pesto pasta
- Caprese salad
- Sweet potato chips
- Onion rings
- Macaroni salad
- Potato salad
- Caesar salad
- Roast potatoes
- Mashed potatoes
- Gravy fries
- Chicken wings
- Pop corn chicken
- Corn cobs
- Curly fries
- Baked potatoes
- Potato skins
- Tater tots
- Scalloped potatoes
How long to heat up a meatball sub in the oven?
It will take 10 minutes to heat the meatball subs in the oven. during this time the filling heats, the rolls toast and the cheese melts. What temperature do you heat a sub in the oven?
What temperature do you heat a sub in the oven?
Preheat the oven to 180°C / 350-375°F / Gas Mark 4-5, then place the baking tray with subs onto the centre rack. Cook the subs for 10 to 15 mins to allow them to heat and the cheese to melt.
😍 More Easy Family Recipes
If you want the whole family to enjoy a meal together, you need plenty of options to kick everyone's box and not get stuck in a rut. Here are some ideas I think you will love:
- Easy Greek Ribs Recipe (Baked then Grilled)
- BBQ Lamb Ribs
- Slow Cooker Pulled Lamb
- Dutch Oven Pulled Pork
- Lamb Osso Bucco
- Crumbed Mushrooms
- Greek Lamb Shanks
- Sweet and Sour Ribs
- Beef Osso Bucco
- Spaghetti Alla Bolognese
Time to get our meatballs on my friend, hoagie style 😉🤣.
Baked Meatball Subs
- 1 Medium sized mixing bowl
- 1 Large baking dish
- 1 Wooden spoon
- 1 Kitchen Tongs
- 1 Large saute pan
- 1 Tablespoon measure
- 1 Chopping board
- 2 Oven Mits
- 500 grams/1 pound ground beef mince
- ⅓ cup panko breadcrumbs
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic
- 1 tablespoon dried onion
- 1 teaspoon dried parsley
- 1 teaspoon dried basil
- ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
- ¼ teaspoon cracked black pepper
- 1 egg
- 2 tablespoon olive oil
- 700 grams/24.8 oz tomato passata
- 800 grams/28 oz diced tomatoes
- 2 tbs Worcestershire sauce
- 2 tbs tomato paste
- 1 teaspoon dried Italian herbs
- tasty cheese grated
- basil leaves
- 4 hot dog rolls
- Meatballs: combine the ground beef mince, panko bread crumbs, garlic, dried onion, dried parsley, dried basil, salt, pepper and egg in a medium sized mixing bowl. Use a tablespoon and clean hands to portion, roll into balls and place on a clean chopping board.
- Cook meatballs: add olive oil to a large sauté pan and turn to hight heat. Use kitchen tongs to gently place the meatballs into the pan. Cook the meatballs, using a wooden spoon to rotate until all sides are browned and crispy (around 8 to 10 mins). Then use kitchen tongs to remove meatballs and place on a paper towel lined chopped board. If there is lots of excess oil in the pan, use paper towel to absorb this liquid before starting the sauce.
- Tomato sauce: without rinsing the pan, add the passata, diced tomatoes, tomato paste, Worcestershire sauce, dried onion and Italian herbs to the pan. Use a wooden spoon to stir and combine.
- Meatballs and sauce: use kitchen tongs to transfer the cooked meatballs back into the sauce. Use a wooden spoon to gently stir and cover the meatballs in the sauce. Turn the heat to low and allow the dish to simmer for 15 mins, stir occasionally during this time.
- Let cool: once done, turn the heat off and allow the meatballs and sauce to cool. Use this time to prepare the buns.
- Buns: use a knife to cut each bread roll open.
- Filling: use a spoon to spoon sauce into each bread roll, then scoop 3 to 4 meatballs in, followed by a couple more spoonful's of sauce on top. Then place open side up in a baking dish. Repeat for the other subs.
- Cheese: sprinkle grated cheese on top of each sub, then transfer the baking dish into the middle rack in the oven.
- Bake: cook the subs until the cheese melts, which will take between 5 to 10 mins.
- Serve: once cooked, use oven mits to remove the baking dish from the oven and place on a heatproof surface. Use kitchen tongs to transfer the subs to individual plates, then sprinkle basil leaves over the top.