From the toasted bun infused with garlic to the tender meatballs to just the right amount of cheese, this is the best recipe for Meatball Subs!
The Best Meatball Sub
In my opinion, there are decent Meatball Subs and there are knock-it-out-of-the-park Meatball Subs.
And I am sharing with you how to make the BEST Meatball Sub.
First, let's talk about the meatballs on this sub. Obviously, meatballs are the star of a meatball sub, so you want to use a really good meatball for the best flavor. While you can certainly use frozen meatballs, your meatball sub will be light-years better in terms of flavor if you begin this recipe with homemade Italian-flavored meatballs.
Regardless of the meatballs you use, what makes or breaks a meatball sub is the way is assembled. If not layered in the right way on a toasted bun, you may be left with a meatball sub that falls apart or worse yet, a soggy bun!
With my tips, you will have the PERFECT meatball sub. Just the right amount of meatballs and sauce are served on a toasted bun that has been infused with garlic and layered with sliced provolone cheese, creating a Meatball Sub that has incredible flavor and texture, with no soggy bun in sight! This Meatball Sub truly is perfection.
Notes on Ingredients
The difference between a good meatball sub and a great meatball sub is all in the details. With minimal ingredients needed to make a meatball sub sandwich, it is essential to choose your ingredients wisely.
- Homemade Meatballs: Yes, you can use any frozen or store-bought meatballs you like for meatball subs, but for the BEST meatball sub, I strongly suggest homemade meatballs, as the flavor is superior. I love my Baked Italian Meatballs for a meatball sub, but you can use Instant Pot Meatballs or Lentil Meatballs for a vegetarian option.
- Spaghetti Sauce: You want to be sure you use a really good quality store-bought or homemade spaghetti sauce that is well-flavored.
- Hoagie Buns: You want a thick bun that has room for 3-4 meatballs per sub. This is often referred to as sub rolls or a hoagie bun. Hot dog buns can be used in a pinch, but you may need to cut your meatballs for them to fit onto your bun.
- Provolone Cheese: Thinly sliced provolone is best so that the cheese melts sufficiently to fully cover the bun and meatballs.
- Seasoned Olive Oil: Instead of just brushing the buns with olive oil before toasting, add garlic and oregano to the oil for an added layer of flavor to these meatball sandwiches.
How to make Meatball Subs
- Mix together homemade or defrosted meatballs, of your choice, with just enough spaghetti sauce to coat them. You don't want an excessive amount of sauce, as that can make for a really messy meatball sub.
- Gently heat the meatballs and sauce over low heat in a saucepan to just fully warm through.
- While the meatballs are heating, use this time to toast the buns.
- Place the buns or rolls on a baking sheet, opening the buns up to reveal the inside of the bun.
- In a small bowl, combine the olive oil with garlic and oregano, and then brush this mixture evenly on the inside of the sub rolls.
- Toast the buns in the oven until just golden. This extra step really infuses the meatballs subs with incredible flavor.
- Once toasted, remove the buns from the oven, and place provolone cheese slices on the bun, overlapping to cover the surface of the bun. This layer of cheese will help the meatballs and sauce to not soak through the bun, preventing the meatball sub from becoming soggy.
- Place 3-4 meatballs on the bun. You want just enough meatballs for an even layer that stretches the length of your roll. How many meatballs you need will depend on how large your meatballs are and the size of your bun.
- Top the meatballs with additional slices of provolone cheese to cover.
- Return to oven to bake for 5 minutes or until cheese is melted.
Meatball Subs should be served immediately after preparing for the best results, as they can quickly become soggy, even after being toasted. I recommend only preparing one meatball sub per person and then if needed, toast additional buns for second servings.
To turn these subs into a dinner, serve with one of the following side dishes.
- Easy Baked Fries
- Italian Pasta Salad
- Air Fryer Potatoes
- Baked Sweet Potato Fries
- Copycat Panera Greek Salad
- Broccoli Salad
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If you enjoyed this recipe for meatballs subs, I would love for you to leave a comment and review below.
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
- Gently mix together the prepared meatballs with the spaghetti sauce in a small saucepan or microwave-safe dish. Heat the meatballs over low heat in a saucepan on the stove or in 1-minute intervals, covered, in a heat-safe dish in the microwave until just warmed through.
- Mix together the olive oil with garlic and oregano and brush on the opened sides of the buns.
- Place the buns onto a baking sheet and toast for 5 minutes, or until just browned.
- Remove the buns from the oven and place 2 slices of provolone cheese on each bun, slightly overlapping to cover the surface of the bun. Top with 3 large (or 4 smaller) meatballs and an additional slice of cheese to cover the meatballs.
- Return to the oven and bake for 5-7 minutes or until the cheese is melted.
- Close the sandwich and serve meatball subs immediately.