How To Make The Perfect Classic Meatball Sub

Craving a delicious, satisfying meal that will transport your taste buds to Italian streets? Look no further because in this article, you will discover the secrets to crafting the perfect classic meatball sub. From tender and juicy meatballs bursting with flavor, to the perfect combination of cheeses and sauce, this recipe will have you recreating a mouthwatering Italian favorite in the comfort of your own kitchen. Get ready to tantalize your senses as we guide you through the steps to create a meatball sandwich that will leave you wanting more.

How To Make The Perfect Classic Meatball Sub


Here are the ingredients you will need to make the perfect classic meatball sub:

Ground beef

The base of the meatballs is made with ground beef. Look for a lean ground beef, preferably 85% lean, to ensure a good balance of flavor and texture.

Bread crumbs

Bread crumbs help bind the meatball mixture together and add a nice texture. You can use store-bought bread crumbs or make your own by drying out bread and crushing it into small pieces.


The egg acts as a binder for the meatball mixture. It helps hold the ingredients together and adds moisture to the final product.


Adding a splash of milk to the meatball mixture helps keep the meatballs moist and tender. It also adds a subtle creaminess to the overall flavor.

Parmesan cheese

Parmesan cheese adds a rich and savory flavor to the meatballs. It also helps enhance the texture and gives a slight nuttiness to the final product.


Garlic is a key ingredient in creating the bold and aromatic flavors of the meatballs. Freshly minced garlic works best, but you can also use garlic powder if you’re in a pinch.


Finely diced onion adds sweetness and depth to the meatball mixture. It also helps keep the meatballs moist and tender.

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Salt is essential for enhancing the flavors of the meatball sub. It helps bring out the natural flavors of the ingredients and balances the taste.


Freshly ground black pepper adds a subtle hint of spiciness to the meatballs. It complements the other flavors and adds a nice kick.

Meatball Preparation

Making meatballs involves several steps, including mixing the ingredients, forming the meatballs, and cooking them to perfection.

Mixing the ingredients

To begin, combine the ground beef, bread crumbs, egg, milk, Parmesan cheese, minced garlic, diced onion, salt, and pepper in a large bowl. Mix everything together until well combined, using your hands or a spoon.

Forming the meatballs

Once the ingredients are mixed, it’s time to form the meatballs. Take small portions of the mixture and roll them into balls, approximately one inch in diameter. Place the meatballs on a baking sheet or plate.

Cooking the meatballs

There are various methods for cooking meatballs, but baking them in the oven will give you a perfectly golden and tender result. Preheat your oven to 375°F (190°C). Arrange the meatballs on a baking sheet and bake for about 20-25 minutes, or until they are cooked through and nicely browned.

How To Make The Perfect Classic Meatball Sub

Sub Assembly

Now that the meatballs are ready, it’s time to assemble your delicious meatball sub.

Choosing the bread

A crucial component of a classic meatball sub is the bread. Opt for a soft and slightly crusty sub roll. You can find these at your local bakery or grocery store. If you can’t find sub rolls, a baguette or hoagie roll will work as well.

Toasting the bread

Toasting the bread adds a wonderful crunch and helps prevent it from becoming soggy. Slice the sub rolls lengthwise and place them face up on a baking sheet. Toast them in the oven for a few minutes until they become lightly golden.

Spreading marinara sauce

Spread a generous amount of marinara sauce on one side of the toasted sub roll. Use your favorite marinara sauce or make your own homemade version. The sauce adds extra flavor and moisture to the sub.

Adding the meatballs

Next, place the cooked meatballs onto the sauced side of the sub roll. Depending on the size of the meatballs and the length of your sub roll, you may be able to fit two or three across. Adjust the quantity according to your preference.

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Topping with cheese

To give your meatball sub that irresistible cheesy goodness, add a layer of grated mozzarella or provolone cheese on top of the meatballs. The cheese will melt and become gooey in the oven, creating a mouthwatering combination with the meatballs and sauce.

Adding additional toppings

While a classic meatball sub is delicious on its own, you can customize it by adding additional toppings. Some popular options include sliced onions, bell peppers, mushrooms, or even some pepperoni for a twist. Get creative and add your favorite ingredients to make it truly yours.

Final Assembly

Almost there! It’s time to bring all the components of your meatball sub together.

Closing the sub

To complete your meatball sub, close the sandwich by placing the other half of the toasted sub roll on top. Press gently to seal it together.

Wrapping the sub

To ensure your meatball sub stays intact and easy to handle, wrap it tightly in aluminum foil or sandwich paper. This will keep all the ingredients in place and make it more convenient to eat, especially if you’re taking it on the go or serving it at a party.

How To Make The Perfect Classic Meatball Sub

Serving Suggestions

Now that your perfect classic meatball sub is ready, it’s time to think about accompaniments and beverage pairings.


A meatball sub can be a hearty meal on its own, but if you want to add some variety, consider serving it with a side of fries or a simple green salad. The crispy fries will complement the tender meatballs, while a refreshing salad can provide a light balance to the richness of the sub.

Beverage pairings

When it comes to beverages, a classic meatball sub pairs well with a cold and refreshing drink. A chilled soda, such as cola or root beer, is a popular choice. Alternatively, you can enjoy it with a glass of iced tea, lemonade, or even a cold beer if you’re of legal drinking age.


While a classic meatball sub is wonderful on its own, you can experiment with different variations to suit your preferences or dietary restrictions.

Different types of meat

Instead of using ground beef, you can try making your meatballs with ground turkey, chicken, or pork. Each type of meat will result in a slightly different flavor and texture, giving you a chance to explore new tastes.

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Alternative fillings

While the classic meatball sub is traditionally made with meatballs, you can also get creative with alternative fillings. Consider using Italian sausages, sliced roast beef, or even grilled vegetables as the main ingredient. The choice is yours, and you can tailor it to your taste or dietary needs.

Vegetarian option

If you prefer a meatless version, you can make vegetarian meatballs using ingredients such as lentils, mushrooms, or tofu. There are many recipes available online that can guide you in making delicious vegetarian meatballs that are both flavorful and satisfying.

How To Make The Perfect Classic Meatball Sub

Storage and Reheating

If you have any leftover meatballs or meatball subs, here’s how you can store and reheat them for future enjoyment.

Storing leftover meatballs

Allow the cooked meatballs to cool completely before transferring them to an airtight container or ziplock bag. They can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days. To freeze them, place the meatballs in a freezer-safe container or bag, and they will stay good for up to 3 months.

Reheating leftovers

To reheat meatballs, you can either use the microwave or oven. In the microwave, place the desired amount of meatballs on a microwave-safe plate and heat on high for 1-2 minutes, or until heated through. In the oven, preheat it to 350°F (180°C) and arrange the meatballs on a baking sheet. Bake for about 10 minutes, or until warm.

Tips and Tricks

Here are some helpful tips and tricks to elevate your meatball sub-making skills:

Adding herbs and spices

To enhance the flavor of your meatballs, consider adding fresh or dried herbs like basil, oregano, or parsley. You can also experiment with spices such as paprika, cayenne pepper, or red pepper flakes to give the meatballs a subtle kick.

Using fresh ingredients

Whenever possible, opt for fresh ingredients as they will add more flavor and enhance the overall taste of your meatball sub. Freshly grated Parmesan cheese, minced garlic, and chopped onions will make a noticeable difference in the final result.

Preheating the oven

Before baking the meatballs, make sure to preheat your oven. This ensures even cooking and helps the meatballs retain their shape and juiciness.

Substituting ingredients

Feel free to substitute ingredients based on your preferences or dietary restrictions. If you’re lactose intolerant, for example, you can use dairy-free alternatives for milk and cheese. Experiment with different ingredients and find what works best for you.

Now that you have all the knowledge and steps to make the perfect classic meatball sub, it’s time to gather your ingredients, put on a friendly apron, and enjoy the process of creating a mouthwatering sub that will satisfy your cravings and impress your taste buds.

How To Make The Perfect Classic Meatball Sub