Make these easy meatball subs at home in under 30 minutes! With juicy meatballs, savory sauce, and golden melted cheese, these subs are your new go-to comfort food!
Ever find yourself with a craving for something homemade but just don’t have the time to start from scratch? I hear you! That’s why I’m thrilled to share an easy dinner idea that’s about to become one of your favorite recipes: homemade meatball subs. These subs are not your run-of-the-mill sandwiches—they’re warm, they’re delicious, and they’re on the dinner table in under 30 minutes!
What’s the secret? Premade frozen meatballs. Don’t knock it until you’ve tried it. They take almost 45 minutes off the cooking time, and can be stored in your freezer to be pulled out when you need something for busy weeknights. They’re my favorite recipe for a busy day!
Why you want this recipe:
- quick ‘n easy
- tastes better than Subway
- uses basic pantry foods
- perfect comfort dinner!
Why frozen meatballs?
In a word, convenience.
To be more specific, they save time in multiple ways. These delicious little meatballs can sit in your freezer for months, waiting for their moment to shine. They won’t go bad, and they’ll be there when you need dinner.
They also take a very short time to cook. Typically, it takes me about 10 minutes to fully cook meatballs from frozen. My own homemade meatballs take me 45 minutes to an hour to mix, form, and bake. Using frozen meatballs is such a timesaver for me!
Another things I love is that the flavor and quality of the meatballs is consistent. I have one extremely picky child, and having foods that are safe and always the same is important here.
What do I need for meatball sub sandwiches?
Hoagie rolls are the shell that holds this together! You can also use hot dog buns for smaller sandwiches. Sandwich rolls and sub rolls also work, and are delicious!
If you’ve never made your own spaghetti sauce, you’re missing out. It takes me just 1 minute more than popping open a can of Ragu, and it tastes delicious!
That said, if you love your Ragu, or other store-bought marinara you can sub that in here. Just omit the seasonings, since your jar of spaghetti sauce will already have that in abundance!
Italian Seasoning, Garlic Powder, and Pepper
This adds flavor to your tomato sauce, making a fantastic homemade spaghetti sauce. I use shelf-stable herbs and spices in this recipe since I want it to be something I can throw together at a moment’s notice. I like that I can grab seasonings from my pantry to create my own delicious sauce!
Traditionally, shredded mozzarella is the cheese of choice for meatball subs. This recipe is versatile enough that you can get away with using different shredded cheese. You could even use slices of provolone cheese. My kids love a combination of cheddar and mozzarella cheese, which you can see in the pictures.
We’ve already talked about the convenience of using frozen meatballs. I prefer to use the Italian meatballs from Great Value. I love the additional Italian taste they lend to my meatball sandwiches.
You can, of course, sub them with your favorite meatball recipe if you have more time. I love these turkey meatballs from The Recipe Critic.
How do I make easy meatball subs?
Step 1 | Cook the meatballs
You’ll want a medium-sized saucepan for this. Into the saucepan go your meatballs, tomato sauce, and seasonings. Give them a good stir to mix everything together, then put the lid on. Heat the sauce and meatballs over a medium heat for 5-10 minutes, or until your meatballs have unfrozen.
Step 2 | Toast the bread
While your meatballs are simmering, lay your hoagie rolls cut side up on a baking sheet. Broil them for 3 minutes on high to toast them. This step is optional, but I highly recommend it since it keeps your subs from getting too soggy.
Step 3 | Assemble the subs
You can fit 4 subs in a 9×9 pan. Place the bread in the pan, then place the hot meatballs inside each of the hoagie buns. I can fit 5 in each sandwich with the brand of meatballs I use. Spoon extra sauce over the meatballs, then sprinkle the whole thing with cheese.
Step 4 | Bake
Bake your meatball subs at 400° for 8-10 minutes, or until the cheese melts and is golden and bubbly. Let your sandwiches cool for a a few minutes, then serve warm. You can top them with fresh basil if you’re feeling fancy!
What to serve with meatball subs
If you’re looking for some quick sides to make this a complete meal for busy nights , here’s a few ideas!
Your favorite salad recipe will work here, but if you’re short on time, you can grab a bag of salad and open it up for a quick and delicious side. The veggies in the salad are a nutritious addition to this comforting meal!
Steamed veggies are super simple, and go great with your subs. Broccoli or green beans would go particularly well!
Frozen french fries are easy to toss in the oven and have ready when your subs are. Choose from curly, crinkly, seasoned, or steak! If you want to make your own, this recipe is simple and delicious!
Boil some pasta and toss it with olive oil and red pepper flakes for a delicious side that leans into the “italianess” of this meal!
Storebought garlic bread bakes in just a few minutes. You can also make your own by toasting bread and spreading this simple garlic butter (make it with jarred minced garlic) on top!
How to store leftovers
Bold of you to assume there would even be leftovers! In case you’ve got more than you can enjoy, you can store your leftover sandwiches in an airtight container for up to 2 days. They will get soggier the longer they are in the fridge, so while they might be fine for leftovers tomorrow, this is a dish I recommend you eat as soon as possible.
Do NOT freeze the finished subs. They don’t hold up well to the thawing process.
“Sub” is short for “submarine.” This is based on the fact that sub sandwiches look like submarines. You can pull that one out at the next trivia night!
Veggies are a great way to go if you’d like to change up your subs. Bell peppers, red onion, and mushrooms all taste great. You can also try adding red pepper flakes to your sauce if you’d really like to kick the heat up a notch!
Provolone is actually the classic choice for a sub. Some folks don’t like the sharper flavor of provolone, and shredded mozzarella is a good choice for them!
Easy Baked Meatball Subs
- 14 oz bag of frozen meatballs
- 1 can pasta sauce or homemade sauce, recipe below
- 1 pkg deli or hoagie rolls
- 1 cup grated cheese
- 1 can tomato sauce
- 1 tsp garlic
- 1 tsp Italian seasoning
- salt and pepper to taste
- On the stove top, combine the meatballs, tomato sauce, garlic powder, pepper, and italian seasoning. Heat on medium heat until meatballs are soft.
- In a baking dish, place the rolls so that they touch each other.
- Fill the rolls with meatballs and sauce. Pour any remaining sauce over the rolls.
- Top with cheese and bake at 350° for 8-10 minutes or until cheese is melted and roll tops are slightly crispy.