Italian Meatball Sandwich Recipe

You don't have to have Italian blood running through your veins to appreciate a good, old-fashioned Italian meatball sandwich. This recipe has it all — sub bread, juicy homemade meatballs, delicious red sauce, and a dusting of mozzarella cheese on top to complete the sandwich. If you're looking for a sandwich that isn't your typical cold cut, there's no doubt this one is the way to go.

Recipe developer Ting Dalton came up with this fantastic recipe that will satisfy the meatball lover in all of us. "These meatball subs have tender beef meatballs that are full of flavor with a sweet, aromatic sauce and lots of gooey melted mozzarella. It's a real treat, and everyone will love it. [It's a] really great comfort food which you can enjoy at home," Dalton raves. It also helps that she got the stamp of approval from her most important critics. "I have the thumbs up from my children, who are meatball connoisseurs! So I know these are good," she shares.

Keep reading to find out how to make these awesome sandwiches. 

Gather the ingredients for these Italian meatball sandwiches

The first order of business is to make a grocery list and head to the store. For this recipe, you will need lean ground beef, an egg, milk, breadcrumbs, grated Parmesan cheese, garlic powder, salt, ground pepper, Italian seasoning, olive oil, crushed tomatoes, dried oregano, minced garlic, granulated sugar, shredded mozzarella, and sub rolls. The recipe also calls for an optional ingredient — fresh parsley.

Once you have those ingredients, you can make this Italian meatball sub.

Preheat the oven and make the meatballs

To begin, preheat your oven to 350 F. Then, take out a large mixing bowl and start the Italian meatballs. Add the breadcrumbs and milk, waiting for the breadcrumbs to absorb all the milk before you continue to the next step. "Milk isn't normally added to meatballs, but the extra moisture alongside the egg really makes these meatballs lovely and tender," Dalton notes.

Then, add the cheese, egg, Italian seasoning, garlic powder, salt, and pepper. Using your hands, mix well to combine. Toss in the ground beef, and once again, use your hands to combine. "You can use frozen meatballs, but it's so worth making your own meatballs from scratch — they taste so lovely and moist," Dalton notes." Another option is to make meatballs in bulk for pasta and sandwiches — you can make them ahead of time and store them in the freezer.

Line a baking sheet and bake the meatballs

Grab a baking sheet and line it with parchment paper. The parchment paper will prevent the meatballs from sticking to the sheet and will also help keep them intact when you remove them from the oven. 

Wet your hands and form the meatballs into 1 ½=2-inch balls. The recipe yields about 20 meatballs. Place the meatballs on the baking tray and leave some space between them. Brush the tops with olive oil, and pop them into your preheated oven for 20 minutes. When finished, they should be brown and cooked through. "You can freeze the meatballs once baked in the oven for up to three months," Dalton shares

Make the tomato sauce

Place a large skillet on your stove and add the remaining olive oil. Turn the heat to medium and toss in the minced garlic. Cook for about 30-40 seconds before adding the canned tomatoes. Give the mixture a good stir, then you can season the sauce. Just add the oregano, salt, pepper, and sugar. Mix well once again, and turn the heat to low, allowing the sauce to simmer for about 20 minutes. While it simmers, the sauce will thicken.

If you want to make the sauce in advance, Dalton shares you can also keep it in the freezer for up to 3 months.

Assemble the Italian meatball sandwiches

Now, it's time to assemble your sandwiches. Grab the sub rolls and split them in half. Place them on a baking tray or in an oven-proof dish and fill each sub with meatballs, tomato sauce, and mozzarella. "Load each roll up with about four meatballs and be generous with the tomato sauce and mozzarella," Dalton shares.

Put the oven on broil and pop the sandwiches in for about 5 minutes. Once the cheese melts, you can remove them from the oven.

Serve and enjoy

The last thing you need to do to the sandwiches before serving them is add some fresh parsley. Sidenote — you can always leave it out if you don't love parsley since this is an optional ingredient.  

Be sure to enjoy the Italian meatball sandwiches right out of the oven, so they're nice and hot. These are filling on their own, but you can also add your favorite side for a bigger meal. 

Italian Meatball Sandwich Recipe
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Skip the basic turkey sandwich and whip up this authentic and delicious recipe for Italian meatball sandwiches. They're meaty, cheesy, and full of flavor.
Prep Time
Cook Time
Italian meatball sandwich on plate
Total time: 1 hour
  • 1 pound lean ground beef
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • ¼ cup milk
  • ¼ cup breadcrumbs
  • ¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 2 teaspoons salt, divided
  • 1 teaspoon ground pepper, divided
  • 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 2 14-ounce cans crushed tomatoes
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 2 cloves minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon granulated sugar
  • 2 cups shredded mozzarella
  • 6 sub rolls
Optional Ingredients
  • fresh parsley
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 F.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, add the breadcrumbs and milk, stirring until the breadcrumbs have soaked in the milk. Then, add the cheese, egg, Italian seasoning, garlic powder, salt, and pepper. Mix until well combined.
  3. Add the ground beef. Use your hands to mix well until all the ingredients are combined.
  4. Line a baking tray with parchment paper. Then with wet hands, form about 20 meatballs — they should each be about 1 ½-2 inches in diameter.
  5. Place the meatballs on the baking tray. Brush with oil and bake them for roughly 20 minutes, until brown and cooked through.
  6. In a large skillet, add the remaining oil and heat over medium heat. Add the minced garlic and cook for 30-40 seconds before adding the canned tomatoes.
  7. Give the tomatoes a good stir, then add the oregano, salt, pepper, and sugar. Mix well and turn down the heat, letting the sauce simmer for around 20 minutes, until the sauce thickens slightly.
  8. When your sandwiches are ready to be assembled, split the sub rolls in half and place them on a baking tray or in an oven-proof dish.
  9. Fill the rolls with meatballs, then spoon over the tomato sauce. Generously sprinkle the mozzarella over each sandwich.
  10. Put the rolls under a broiler for around 5 minutes, until the cheese has melted. Sprinkle with fresh parsley, if desired.
  11. Serve the sandwiches immediately.
Calories per Serving 623
Total Fat 33.8 g
Saturated Fat 13.2 g
Trans Fat 0.9 g
Cholesterol 119.4 mg
Total Carbohydrates 46.7 g
Dietary Fiber 4.5 g
Total Sugars 8.8 g
Sodium 975.5 mg
Protein 33.5 g
The information shown is Edamam’s estimate based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.
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