These homemade Meatball Subs are topped with a simple Italian marinara sauce on a toasted bun with melted cheese. This warm comfort meal is perfect for feeding a crowd or as a freezer meal!

Looking for more sandwiches? Try my Meatloaf Sandwich, Cuban Sandwich, or French Dip!

Meatball sub on a toasted hoagie with three meatballs and sauce, on a white plate.

Why I love this meal:

  • Feeds a Crowd – Easy to double and keep in the crock pot to allow people to serve themselves when feeding a large group!
  • Pantry Ingredients – This recipe uses real ingredients that are probably hiding in your pantry or fridge!
  • Freezer Friendly – The meatballs can be frozen raw or cooked. Make a double batch and freeze half for an even easier meal in the future.

How to make Meatball Subs:

Combine saltine crackers, beef broth, egg, and spices (everything EXCEPT for the meat and flour). Stir and rest for 10 minutes so the crackers can soak up the liquid.

Add ground meat and mix just until combined.

Form 15 meatballs, dredge them lightly in flour and place them on a greased baking sheet. Bake meatballs for 20 -25 minutes, or until cooked through.

Make Sauce: Add crushed tomatoes, oregano, basil, sugar, and garlic salt to a saucepan and stir to combine. Simmer for 10-15 minutes.

Four process photos for making meatballs and sauce for meatball subs.

Slice hoagie rolls in half and top with provolone cheese. Broil on high for 2-3 minutes or until rolls are toasted and cheese is melted. Remove from oven

Assemble. Place 3 meatballs on each sub, followed by a large spoonful of sauce. Serve immediately.

A meatball sub on a white plate with a hand holding the back of it.

Make Ahead and Freezing Instructions:

To Make Ahead: The homemade meatballs and the sauce can both be made in advance and kept in the fridge for 2 days.

To Freeze: The sauce can be frozen for up to 3 months. The meatballs can be frozen raw or cooked.

  • Cooked Meatballs: Allow them to cool completely after baking, then store in a freezer safe bag for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator and rewarm meatballs in sauce on the stove.
  • Raw Meatballs: After making the meatballs and assembling them into small balls, store them in a freezer container bag. Freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw in the refrigerator overnight before baking as instructed.

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Recipe

Meatball sub on a toasted hoagie with three meatballs and sauce, on a white plate.
Prep 35 mins
Cook 35 mins
Total 1 hr 10 mins
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Video

Ingredients
 
 

For the meatballs

  • 1/2 cup saltine crackers , crushed
  • 1/4 cup low-sodium beef broth
  • 2 Tablespoons dried parsley flakes
  • 1 large egg , lightly beaten
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano leaves
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 pound lean ground beef or ground turkey
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour , for dredging

For the sandwiches:

  • 5 hoagies or sub rolls
  • 10 slices Provolone cheeses , or mozzarella

For the sauce:

  • 28 ounce can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons dried basil
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano leaves
  • 1 teaspoon granulated sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic salt

Instructions
 

Meatballs:

  • In a large bowl combine all of the meatball ingredients together EXCEPT for the meat. Stir and rest for 10 minutes so the crackers can soak up the liquid. Add the meat and mix just until combined (don’t over mix).
  • Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Grease a baking sheet, or line with aluminum foil. Form 15 meatballs, about the size of golf balls, and gently sprinkle them all around with flour.
  • Place the meatballs one inch apart on the baking sheet and bake for 20 -25 minutes or until cooked through.
  • While the meatballs cook, make the sauce.

Sauce:

  • Add all of the sauce ingredients to a saucepan and stir to combine. Simmer for 10-15 minutes.
  • When the meatballs are finished baking, transfer them to the sauce.
  • Slice the hoagie rolls in half and layer with cheese. Broil on high for 2-3 minutes or until rolls are toasted and cheese is melted. Remove from oven. 
  • Place 3 meatballs on each sub, followed by a large spoonful of sauce. Serve immediately.

Notes

Make Ahead Instructions: The homemade meatballs and the sauce can both be made in advance and kept in the fridge for 2 days, or as a freezer meal!
Freezing Instructions: These meatballs can be frozen raw or cooked.
  • Cooked Meatballs: Allow them to cool completely after baking, then store in a freezer safe bag for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator or warm meatballs in sauce on the stove.
  • Raw Meatballs: After making the meatballs and assembling them into small balls, store them in a freezer container bag. Freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw in the refrigerator overnight before cooking as instructed.

Nutrition

Calories: 469kcalCarbohydrates: 64gProtein: 32gFat: 9gSaturated Fat: 3gCholesterol: 98mgSodium: 928mgPotassium: 958mgFiber: 6gSugar: 9gVitamin A: 470IUVitamin C: 15.6mgCalcium: 168mgIron: 8.7mg

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*I originally shared this recipe in June 2014. Updated April 2019 and October 2021.

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About The Author

Lauren Allen

Welcome! I’m Lauren, a mom of four and lover of good food. Here you’ll find easy recipes and weeknight meal ideas made with real ingredients, with step-by-step photos and videos.

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Comments

  1. 5 stars
    The whole family loved this meatball sub recipe! Easy to make and great for leftovers. My teenager responded … “Can you please make this when my friends come over”!

  2. 5 stars
    These were amazing followed the recipe exactly but I did add a little more garlic but other than that everything stayed the same was a big hit for dinner tonight thanks for the recipe it’s a keeper!

  3. 5 stars
    I’ve made and eaten a lot of meatballs in my life and these are some of the best and easiest to make. My whole family loved the subs, even my persnickety children. So glad I found this recipe!

  4. I made the meatballs tonight! I cheated & didn’t do the sauce. I used Rao’s marinara sauce that I spiced up with Italian seasoning & garlic. My boys said it was the best meatball subs they’ve ever had! Thanks for the recipe!! Definitely a keeper!

  5. 3 stars
    I was able to make 21 1 inch meatballs with this recipe. It was great for a dinner and some leftovers for my gf and I, one tip in my opinion too many red pepper flakes, the amount suggested made the flavor overpowering. We both like spicy foods but all we could taste with every bite was red pepper, if someone wanted to make this i suggest cutting the measurement in half to make it perfect. Also when preparing this yourselves do much smaller amounts of flour at a time and refill if needed,, i had to throw away nearly 1/2 a cup of flour. Will try again with these suggestions myself in the future.

  6. 5 stars
    These were an ABSOLUTE hit today on Mother’s Day for my wife! We are originally from Ct where subs are on every corner, but here in Az it’s all tacos! I made them exactly to the recipe, only difference is I didn’t flour them and I added meatballs into the sauce when out of the oven.

  7. 5 stars
    I don’t normally leave reviews on recipes I try out but I Love this recipe! I just did a few things different but Thank you for this recipe!!! I skipped baking the meatballs in the oven and fried them in a little bit of olive oil in a large pan so I could just skip the extra dishes lol Most of them held up but some did crumble since I was a bit rough with them! After they were browned I added the sauce stuff! but Instead of 28 oz of crushed tomatoes I used 1 can diced and 1 can sauce! I added a little bit more garlic to it than what was called for, and ended up making subs out of a white bread recipe! Turned out delicious!!!! Definitely a recipe worth writing down!!!!

  8. 4 stars
    This is a great recipe! I made it for my family with just a few modifications. I used ground chorizo in place of beef to make spicy pork meatballs (I don’t eat beef), I substituted breadcrumbs for crushed saltines, and I served the meatballs with homemade, straight out of the oven, sourdough. Highly recommend this recipe for a delicious dinner anytime of the year, and it is also very flexible.

  9. 5 stars
    This was beyond amazing. I am dreaming of the next time i can make it. Wow- its amazing! Joey would be head over heels for this meatball sub!

  10. 5 stars
    These are sooo good and so easy to make! I topped mine with mozzarella and parmesan cheese at the very end (we love cheese) and they were perfect!

  11. 5 stars
    Thank you so much for this recipe! It has become a staple at my house. I always wind up doubling the recipe for the meatballs and typically use half beef with half spicy sausage. If you like a little spice they are amazing that way.

  12. Just reading this recipe has me drooling on my tablet. Looks soooooo delish that I must make it. Writing out a grocery list and will be omw to the store to buy the ingredients. Plan on making these subs this week. TFS

  13. 5 stars
    Made this for my family last night. It was amazing & not a drop left on any plate. I have already shared with friends. Wonderful!!!!!!

  14. Last night my husband made fabulous fries in the deep fryer. We usually make oven chip roasties but we’ve had so much snow and so many storms that last night we needed ‘cabin fever’ comfort food so out came the deep fryer. Before we put the oil away, he said he was going to try homemade onion rings tonight. That got me thinking.
    He made amazing meatballs the other day with vegetarian ground round and I was thinking about how we could have them with the sure-to-be amazing onion rings. I’m going to get out the bread maker and whip up some buns and use a jar of marinara sauce that I canned using our wonderful garden tomatoes. I can’t wait for supper tonight. With the homemade marinara sauce (with memories of our summer garden and heat) and the snow blowing around outside right now, it will be like summer meets winter. Thanks for the great recipe idea. P.S. We both cook but my husband is fabulous in the kitchen.

    1. It’s cooking now. They smell amazing. The only thing I added was tiny diced green pepper and sweet onion to the meatballs. Hoping the family approves. This is based on the recipe and fragrance so far.

  15. 5 stars
    This is one of my families very favorite recipe! I have made them many many times! Just wanted to hop on and say THANK YOU!

  16. These meatballs are wonderful. I’ve already made it twice and have frozen them so I have meatballs anytime I want. They smell fantastic

  17. Just made this. I used 1/4 cup of flour instead of 3/4, otherwise, I followed recipe exact. Excellent.

  18. Made these tonight for a great drizzly fall evening dinner….we’re fantastic (I did use beef consummate instead of broth as that’s what I had on hand)Found you on Pinterest I’m so glad I did thank you for an excellent dinner

  19. I have made these for dinner. The kitchen smells marvelous. Since we are low carbing, I am serving these with the cheese topping and the sauce only.
    I am going to serve them with a veggie on the side and a salad. I can hardly wait.

    1. Yumm! I think they will taste great even without the bun! The meatballs and sauce are soo yummy! I hope you like it!

  20. Yum! My hubs would love me forever if I made this! It’s going on my next week menu! Thanks lady! P.S. Love the new headshot!

  21. Those look wicked good!!! My hubby would love it if I made these! Thanks for the yummy dinner idea! xoxo
    ~Laura

  22. Well, it’s not even 8am and I want a meatball sub. haha I can’t wait to make this!!!

  23. These look seriously mouthwatering! That cheesy bun…I want to take a big bite!