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+ servings
close up shot of meatball sub on oven tray garnished with fresh basil

Simply the BEST Meatball Subs

These meatball subs are made with soft & juicy Italian meatballs & wrapped in an easy marinara sauce. Meatball sandwiches don't come more delicious than this!
4.6 from 5 votes
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Course: Dinner
Cuisine: American, Italian
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 35 minutes
Total Time: 55 minutes
Servings (click & slide): 5 sandwiches
Calories per serving: 660kcal
Author: Chris
Cost per serving: £3 / $4


  • Large Pan & Wooden Spoon
  • Large Mixing Bowl
  • Large Baking Tray
  • Sharp Knife & Chopping Board
  • Box Grater
  • 1 tbsp Measuring Spoon



  • 9oz / 250g Ground Beef (15%+ fat)
  • 9oz / 250g Ground Pork (15%+ fat)
  • 2 thin slices of White Bread, diced into small cubes (around 1 cups worth)
  • 1/2 cup / 40g freshly grated Parmesan
  • 1/4 cup / 60ml Milk
  • 1/4 cup finely diced Fresh Parsley
  • 1 small/medium White Onion, peeled & grated on a box grater
  • 2 cloves of Garlic, peeled & grated/minced
  • 1 Egg
  • 1 tsp Worcestershire Sauce
  • 3/4 tsp Salt
  • 1/2 tsp Dried Oregano
  • 1/4 tsp Black Pepper
  • Oil Spray, as needed

Marinara Sauce

  • 3 cups / 750g Tomato Passata (pureed/strained tomatoes in US)
  • 1 medium White Onion, finely diced
  • 2 cloves of Garlic, finely diced
  • 2 tbsp finely diced Fresh Basil
  • 1 tsp Dried Oregano
  • 1/2 tsp Sugar, or to taste
  • 1/4 - 1/2 tsp Chilli Flakes, or to taste
  • 1/4 tsp Salt & Black Pepper, or to taste
  • Olive Oil, as needed


  • 5x 6" Baguettes/Sub Rolls sliced vertically down the centre
  • 2x 4.5oz/125g balls of Fresh Mozzarella, sliced into thin rounds
  • 1/2 cup / 40g freshly grated Parmesan, or as needed
  • small Fresh Basil Leaves, to serve (optional)


  • In a large mixing bowl combine cubed bread with grated onion/garlic, Worcestershire sauce & milk. Mash with a fork for a couple of minutes until the bread absorbs the moisture. Add in egg, parmesan, parsley, oregano, salt and pepper. Stir/mash again with a fork until evenly combined.
  • Add in pork and beef and use your hand to combine. Mix until the bread mix has evenly incorporated with the meat. Try not to overwork the meat or the meatballs will come out dry. Use a 1 tbsp measuring spoon to scoop out chunks of meat and spread out on a baking tray. Once you've scooped out all the meat, roll each chunks into balls.
  • Spray with oil then pop under the grill on high heat and broil until browned all over, shaking/turning a couple of times during.
  • Meanwhile, in a large pan over medium heat add a drizzle of oil along with your diced onion. Fry until the onion starts to turn golden, then add in garlic and fry for 1-2mins longer. Pour in tomato passata then add basil, oregano, chilli flakes, salt, sugar and pepper. Give it a good stir then turn down the heat to a simmer.
  • Add in the meatballs and some of the char/juices along with them (for extra flavour). Coat the meatballs then gently simmer for around 20mins until the sauce gets nice and thick. This is not only important to reduce the sauce but also to marry the flavours together.
  • Spread a couple of spoonfuls of the sauce down the centre of your subs, then add in 4 meatballs per sub. Top with mozzarella then sprinkle with parmesan. Pop on a baking tray and grill/broil on medium heat until the cheese goes gooey and golden.
  • Sprinkle over torn basil or some small basil leaves (optional) then serve up and enjoy!

Quick Demo


a) Can I use all beef for the meatballs? - I find half beef half pork makes the perfect meatball. The pork adds a nice richness to the flavour. You could use all beef though if that's what you have. In all cases though it's really important to use high fat meat so the meatballs come out extra juicy!
b) Can I fry or bake the meatballs? - I discuss this in the blog post in a bit more detail, but I find cooking the meatballs under the grill ensures brown properly whilst ensuring they keep shape. You can bake (they won't caramelize quite as well). Only fry if you've got a good non-stick pan and your meatballs are keeping shape fairly well before you fry them. In all cases just focus on the browning, they'll finish cooking in the sauce.
c) Can I make the meatballs ahead of time? - Yep! You can roll them and tightly cover in the fridge overnight (easiest in a casserole dish) or freeze for a month (easiest to freeze spaced out on a tray then transfer to ziplock bags). Thaw then cook as stated. You can fully make them and tightly store in fridge for 3-4days then pop straight in the sauce to reheat. Or freeze them, thaw in the fridge and cook straight in the sauce until piping hot through the centre. If you're cooking them I recommend cooking the meatballs right through, just so you're not storing meatballs that are half raw/half cooked. 
d) Can I make the sauce ahead of time? - Yep! Tightly cover in the fridge for 3-4days or freeze for a month. Thaw in fridge before cooking if freezing.
e) Calories - per sub assuming 15% fat pork and beef and 1/2 tbsp oil for frying:

Your Private Notes:


Nutrition Facts
Simply the BEST Meatball Subs
Amount Per Serving
Calories 660 Calories from Fat 335
% Daily Value*
Fat 37.18g57%
Saturated Fat 16.178g101%
Trans Fat 0.693g
Polyunsaturated Fat 3.153g
Monounsaturated Fat 13.285g
Cholesterol 160mg53%
Sodium 1525mg66%
Potassium 822mg23%
Carbohydrates 38.23g13%
Fiber 4.8g20%
Sugar 10.04g11%
Protein 43.33g87%
Vitamin A 1545IU31%
Vitamin C 27.2mg33%
Calcium 612mg61%
Iron 4.97mg28%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
*Nutrition is based on the absence of salt unless stated as a measurement in the ingredients. Cost is worked out based on ingredients bought from UK supermarkets, then divided by the number of servings. In both instances these values are just for guidance. Please check out my FAQ Page for more info.
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