Best Ways To Cook Classic Meatball Subs With Provolone Cheese

If you’re craving a mouthwatering meal that combines the satisfying flavors of tender meatballs, zesty marinara sauce, and melty provolone cheese, look no further than classic meatball subs. In this article, you’ll discover the best methods to cook these delectable sandwiches, ensuring that each bite is bursting with flavor and a hint of nostalgia. Whether you choose to make your meatballs from scratch or opt for store-bought convenience, get ready to indulge in a culinary delight that will leave you craving more.

Best Ways To Cook Classic Meatball Subs With Provolone Cheese

Prepare the Meatballs

Gather the ingredients

To start making delicious meatball subs, gather all the necessary ingredients. You will need ground meat, such as beef, pork, or a combination of both, breadcrumbs, an egg, Parmesan cheese, milk, onion, garlic, tomato sauce, Italian seasoning, salt, and pepper. Having all the ingredients ready before you begin will make the cooking process much smoother.

Mix the ingredients

In a mixing bowl, combine the ground meat, breadcrumbs, egg, Parmesan cheese, milk, finely chopped onion, minced garlic, Italian seasoning, salt, and pepper. Use your hands to mix the ingredients thoroughly, ensuring that everything is evenly incorporated. The mixture should be well-combined but not overly compacted.

Shape the meatballs

Once the ingredients are mixed, it’s time to shape the meatballs. Take a handful of the meat mixture and roll it between your palms to form a round ball. The size of the meatballs can vary depending on your preference, but aim for them to be roughly golf ball-sized. Repeat this process until all of the mixture is used and you have a batch of uniform meatballs.

Cook the meatballs

To cook the meatballs, preheat your oven to 375°F (190°C) and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Place the shaped meatballs on the prepared baking sheet, leaving some space between them. Bake the meatballs in the preheated oven for about 15 minutes or until they are cooked through and nicely browned. Remove them from the oven and set aside while you prepare the sauce.

Prepare the Sauce

Gather the sauce ingredients

To make a flavorful sauce for your meatball subs, gather the necessary ingredients. You will need tomato sauce, diced onion and garlic, and a variety of seasonings such as Italian seasoning, salt, and pepper. Having all the ingredients ready beforehand will save you time and ensure a smooth cooking process.

Saute the onions and garlic

In a sauté pan, heat some olive oil over medium heat. Add the diced onion and minced garlic and sauté them until they become soft and translucent. This process helps to develop their flavors further and adds a delicious aroma to the sauce. Stir the onions and garlic frequently to prevent them from burning.

Add the tomato sauce and seasonings

Once the onions and garlic are sautéed, add the tomato sauce to the sauté pan. Stir in the Italian seasoning, salt, and pepper, adjusting the seasonings to your taste preferences. Simmer the sauce over low heat for about 10 minutes, allowing the flavors to meld together and the sauce to thicken slightly.

Simmer the sauce

After adding the seasonings, let the sauce simmer on low heat for a few minutes. This will allow the flavors to meld together and create a rich and flavorful sauce. Stir the sauce occasionally to prevent it from sticking to the bottom of the pan. The simmering process will give the sauce a thicker consistency, which is perfect for pouring over your meatball subs later.

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Assemble the Subs

Choose the bread

When it comes to choosing the bread for your meatball subs, you have a few options. Traditional Italian bread or sub rolls work wonderfully for this classic sandwich. Look for a bread that is sturdy enough to hold the meatballs and sauce but still soft and chewy on the inside.

Slice the bread

Once you have chosen the bread, slice it horizontally to create a top and bottom half. Ensure that the slices are thick enough to hold the meatballs and sauce without becoming soggy. If you prefer a more compact sandwich, you can also scoop out some of the bread from the center to make room for the filling.

Toast the bread

Toasting the bread adds a nice crunch to your meatball subs and prevents them from getting too soggy. Place the sliced bread or rolls on a baking sheet, cut side up, and toast them under the broiler for a few minutes until they are golden brown. Keep a close eye on the bread to prevent it from burning, as broilers can heat up quickly.

Add the cooked meatballs

Once the bread is toasted, it’s time to add the star of the show – the cooked meatballs. Take the meatballs that you prepared earlier and place them on the bottom half of the toasted bread. Arrange them evenly, leaving enough space between each meatball to ensure that every bite is full of flavor.

Pour the sauce over the meatballs

After adding the meatballs, pour the prepared sauce generously over the top. The warm sauce will infuse the meatballs with even more flavor, creating a mouthwatering combination. Make sure to cover each meatball with sauce to enhance the overall taste of the sandwich.

Add slices of provolone cheese

To take your meatball subs to the next level, add slices of provolone cheese on top of the sauce. Provolone cheese has a mild and creamy flavor that pairs perfectly with the rich meatballs and tangy tomato sauce. Place the cheese slices evenly over the sauce, ensuring that they cover the meatballs for a gooey and cheesy finish.

Broil the subs

To melt the cheese and bring all the flavors together, broil the assembled subs for a few minutes until the cheese is melted and bubbly. Keep a close eye on the subs as they broil, as the cheese can quickly go from melted to burnt. Once the cheese is perfectly melted, remove the subs from the oven and get ready to serve and enjoy!

Serve and Enjoy

Slice the subs

Once the meatball subs are out of the oven, allow them to cool slightly before slicing them into individual servings. Use a sharp knife to cut the subs into halves or thirds, depending on your preference. Slicing the subs makes them easier to handle and enjoy, ensuring that each bite is full of delicious flavors.

Serve with additional sauce on the side

To enhance the sauciness of the meatball subs, serve them with additional sauce on the side. You can transfer some of the remaining sauce to a small bowl or ramekin and place it alongside the sliced subs. This allows everyone to customize their subs with an extra drizzle of sauce according to their liking.

Garnish with fresh herbs

To add a pop of freshness and color to your meatball subs, garnish them with fresh herbs. Whether it’s a sprinkle of chopped parsley, basil, or oregano, these vibrant herbs will elevate the overall presentation and flavor of the sandwich. Simply scatter the herbs over the top of the subs before serving for a delightful finishing touch.

Enjoy your delicious meatball subs!

Now that everything is ready, it’s time to dig in and enjoy your homemade meatball subs with provolone cheese. Take a bite and savor the combination of juicy meatballs, flavorful sauce, gooey cheese, and warm bread. The different textures and flavors will create a satisfying and comforting meal that is sure to please everyone at the table. Serve with a side of salad or chips for a complete and delicious meal.

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Best Ways To Cook Classic Meatball Subs With Provolone Cheese

Variations and Tips

Add vegetables

For a healthier twist, consider adding some vegetables to your meatball subs. Sautéed bell peppers, sliced mushrooms, or even spinach can be delicious additions that add extra flavor and texture to the sandwich. Simply cook the vegetables separately and layer them on top of the meatballs before pouring the sauce and adding the cheese.

Try different cheeses

While provolone cheese is a classic choice for meatball subs, you can experiment with different types of cheese to create unique flavor profiles. Mozzarella, cheddar, or even pepper jack can all be great alternatives that bring their own distinct tastes to the sandwich. Feel free to mix and match cheeses to discover your favorite combination.

Use different types of meat

While traditional meatball subs often use a combination of beef and pork, you have the freedom to use different types of meat. Ground turkey, chicken, or even a plant-based ground meat substitute can be excellent alternatives for those who prefer or require different dietary options. Adjust the seasonings accordingly to complement the chosen meat.

Make mini meatball sliders

If you’re planning a party or gathering, consider making mini meatball sliders instead of full-sized subs. Simply shape the meat mixture into smaller-sized meatballs and follow the same cooking process. Serve the mini meatballs on slider buns or rolls, allowing your guests to enjoy bite-sized portions of the classic meatball sub goodness.

Serve with a side of marinara

In addition to having extra sauce on the side, you can also serve your meatball subs with a side of marinara. This provides an additional dipping option for those who want to add an extra punch of tomato flavor to their subs. Warm the marinara sauce before serving it alongside the subs for a delightful accompaniment.

Substitute the bread with a different type

If you want to switch up the presentation or taste of your meatball subs, consider substituting the bread with a different type. For a lighter option, you can use lettuce wraps or large leaves of romaine instead of bread. Alternatively, you can use soft tortillas or pita bread to create a different texture and flavor profile for your subs.

Tools and Equipment

To make the cooking process smoother, make sure you have the following tools and equipment on hand:

Mixing bowl

A mixing bowl is essential for combining all the meatball ingredients thoroughly. Opt for a medium to large-sized bowl that can comfortably hold the mixture without overflowing.

Baking sheet

A baking sheet is necessary for cooking the meatballs in the oven. Choose a baking sheet with raised edges to catch any juices that may release during cooking. Line the baking sheet with parchment paper for easy cleanup.

Saute pan

A sauté pan is needed to cook the onions and garlic for the sauce. Ensure that the pan is large enough to accommodate the ingredients without overcrowding to ensure even cooking.


A spatula is useful for flipping the meatballs and transferring them to the baking sheet or serving platter. Look for a heat-resistant spatula that is sturdy enough to handle the weight of the meatballs.


A sharp knife is essential for slicing the bread and any additional vegetables or herbs. Choose a knife with a comfortable grip and a sharp blade to ensure smooth and precise cuts.

Cutting board

A cutting board provides a stable surface for chopping and slicing ingredients. Opt for a cutting board that is easy to clean and large enough to accommodate all the necessary ingredients.


An oven is required for baking the meatballs and toasting the bread. Ensure that your oven is preheated to the correct temperature before cooking to guarantee even cooking and browning.


A broiler is used to melt the cheese on the meatball subs and achieve a slightly crispy exterior. Make sure to keep a close eye on the subs as they broil to prevent them from burning.

Best Ways To Cook Classic Meatball Subs With Provolone Cheese


Ground meat (beef, pork, or a combination)

The choice of ground meat is fundamental in creating delicious meatballs. Beef, pork, or a combination of both can be used to achieve a nice balance of flavors. Choose lean ground meat for a healthier option or opt for a fattier ground meat for a richer and juicier texture.


Breadcrumbs act as a binder and help hold the meatball mixture together. Use plain breadcrumbs or seasoned breadcrumbs, depending on your preference. You can also use finely crushed crackers as a substitute for breadcrumbs in a pinch.

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An egg is an essential ingredient that helps bind the meatball mixture together. It adds moisture and contributes to the overall texture of the meatballs. Make sure to beat the egg before adding it to the mixture for easier incorporation.

Parmesan cheese

Parmesan cheese adds a savory and nutty flavor to the meatballs. Use grated or shredded Parmesan cheese for easy mixing and even distribution of flavor throughout the mixture. Freshly grated Parmesan cheese typically provides the best flavor.


Milk is added to the meatball mixture to keep the meatballs moist and tender. It helps to prevent the meatballs from becoming too dry during the baking process. Any type of milk, such as whole milk or even alternative milk options, can be used.


Onion adds flavor and moisture to the meatball mixture. Finely chop the onion to ensure even distribution throughout the meatballs. You can use yellow, white, or red onions depending on your preference or what you have on hand.


Garlic is a key ingredient that infuses the meatballs with a rich and aromatic flavor. Mince the garlic finely to ensure it is evenly distributed throughout the mixture. Adjust the amount of garlic to your taste preference, adding more if you love the robust flavor it provides.

Tomato sauce

Tomato sauce forms the base of the sauce that covers the meatballs in the subs. You can use store-bought tomato sauce or make your own from scratch. Look for tomato sauce that is smooth and well-seasoned to ensure a delicious result.

Italian seasoning

Italian seasoning adds a blend of dried herbs and spices to the sauce, enhancing the overall flavor profile. You can find pre-made Italian seasoning blends at the grocery store or make your own by combining dried herbs such as oregano, basil, thyme, and rosemary.


Salt is an important seasoning that brings out the flavors of the meatballs and sauce. Season the meatball mixture and sauce with salt to taste, adjusting it as necessary. Remember to taste-test as you go to ensure the perfect level of seasoning.


Pepper adds a subtle heat and depth of flavor to the meatball mixture and sauce. Use freshly ground black pepper for the best flavor and adjust the amount to your taste preferences.

Italian bread or sub rolls

The choice of bread is crucial in creating the perfect meatball subs. Traditional Italian bread or sub rolls work best, offering a sturdy base to hold all the ingredients without becoming soggy. Look for bread that is soft and chewy on the inside, with a slightly crusty exterior.

Provolone cheese

Provolone cheese is the classic choice for meatball subs. It has a mild and slightly tangy taste that pairs well with the juicy meatballs and tangy tomato sauce. Use sliced provolone cheese and ensure that it covers each meatball for a cheesy and melty sub.

Cooking Time

Meatball preparation: 15 minutes

Preparing the meatballs involves mixing the ingredients, shaping them, and baking them in the oven. The process takes approximately 15 minutes from start to finish, ensuring that the meatballs are cooked through and nicely browned.

Sauce preparation: 10 minutes

The sauce preparation involves sautéing the onions and garlic, adding the tomato sauce and seasonings, and allowing it to simmer. This process takes around 10 minutes to develop the flavors and create a rich and flavorful sauce.

Assembling and baking: 15 minutes

Assembling the subs involves choosing the bread, slicing and toasting it, adding the cooked meatballs, pouring the sauce, and adding the cheese. Once assembled, the subs are broiled for a few minutes to melt the cheese and create a slightly crispy exterior. This process takes around 15 minutes from start to finish.

Total cooking time: 40 minutes

The total cooking time to make classic meatball subs with provolone cheese is approximately 40 minutes, including meatball preparation, sauce preparation, and assembling and baking the subs. This timeframe allows you to create a satisfying and delicious meal in a reasonable amount of time.

Best Ways To Cook Classic Meatball Subs With Provolone Cheese

Serving Size

4-6 meatball subs

The recipe provided yields approximately 4-6 meatball subs, depending on the size of the bread and the number of meatballs used in each sub. Adjust the quantities accordingly if you need to serve more or fewer people. You can also scale the recipe up or down to suit your needs.

Storage and Reheating

Refrigerate leftover meatballs and sauce separately

If you have any leftover meatballs and sauce, store them separately in airtight containers in the refrigerator. This ensures that the meatballs do not become soggy from the sauce and allows for easier reheating. Properly stored, the meatballs and sauce can be refrigerated for up to 3-4 days.

Reheat meatballs in the microwave or oven

To reheat the meatballs, place them in a microwave-safe dish and heat them in the microwave for 1-2 minutes, or until heated through. Alternatively, you can reheat them in the oven. Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C), place the meatballs on a baking sheet, and heat them for about 10 minutes or until warmed to your liking.

Reheat subs in the oven or toaster oven

To reheat the assembled subs, preheat your oven or toaster oven to 350°F (175°C). Place the subs on a baking sheet or toaster oven tray and heat them for about 10 minutes or until the cheese is melted and the bread is warmed through. Be sure to keep a close eye on the subs to prevent them from over-browning or becoming too crispy.

Follow these storage and reheating guidelines to enjoy any leftover meatball subs without compromising their taste and texture.

Best Ways To Cook Classic Meatball Subs With Provolone Cheese