These super quick and easy tasty classic Meatball Subs are going to knock your family’s socks off! Made with perfectly air fried juicy meatballs topped with marinara sauce and lots of melted cheese sandwiched between crusty hoagie rolls, these handheld masterpieces are perfect for any meal, party, or game day gathering!
Best Meatball Subs Recipe
If you haven’t already noticed, I’m a big fan of meatballs! In my house, we love them all from a big plate of classic Spaghetti and Meatballs to Buffalo Chicken Meatballs. There is no meatball dish that my family won’t happily gobble up and meatball subs are one of our favorites!
This iconic Italian American sandwich made with juicy ground beef meatballs, lots of melted cheese, and simple marinara sauce all plopped into a crusty hoagie roll is finger-licking good! But don’t let the idea of making homemade meatballs make you think that this sub takes a lot of time and effort. As I’ve said before, meatballs are one of the easiest and most delicious things to throw together.
You can serve these subs for lunch, dinner, or at your next party! It’s a recipe that the whole family will love including the kids. Meatball subs pair amazingly well with a side of my Crispy Fried Zucchini or Toasted Ravioli.
Why You’ll Love These Meatball Subs
- Easy To Make! Made with air fried homemade meatballs, these easy subs come together in less than 30 minutes and are made with simple everyday ingredients.
- Cheesy Meatball Subs! Composed of juicy meatballs covered in marinara sauce and then topped with melted mozzarella cheese, these subs are a delicious Italian American classic.
- Crowd Pleaser! Perfect for any occasion, whether you serve these yummy subs for lunch, dinner, or at your next game day gathering your guests will love each bite.
Ingredients You’ll Need
- Ground Beef – I typically use lean ground beef but any type of ground meat will work including ground turkey. You can even mix in a bit of ground pork or Italian sausage.
- Breadcrumbs – You can use regular or panko breadcrumbs. The most important thing is to use the right amount of breadcrumbs.
- Parmesan Cheese – Makes the meatballs a bit cheesy! Use freshly grated cheese for the best flavor and texture. Romano cheese works too!
- Parsley – Definitely use chopped fresh parsley to add a layer of fresh herby flavor.
- Egg – Needed to bind the meatballs together along with the breadcrumbs.
- Garlic Powder – Blended into the ground meat to add yummy garlic flavor. You could also use fresh garlic, but in this case, garlic powder works better.
- Seasonings – Salt and black pepper are used to season the meatballs.
- Marinara Sauce – Any type of store-bought or homemade marinara sauce will do the trick.
- Hoagie Rolls – Meatball subs are traditionally made with hoagie rolls but any type of crusty bread, roll, or bun will work perfectly.
- Mozzarella Cheese – Melts perfectly to add the cheesy layer! Another good choice is provolone cheese.
How To Make Meatball Subs
This is a really easy air fryer meatball recipe that comes together quickly and doesn’t require any fancy ingredients. You can even use store-bought marinara sauce if you like.
Preheat The Air Fryer If Needed
Before you even start making meatballs you need to preheat your air fryer to 380°F (193°C). However, this step really depends on your particular air fryer. Some models require preheating and others don’t. So you will need to check your manufacturer’s guide.
Make The Meatball Mixture
Now onto meatball making! First, add the ground beef, breadcrumbs, parmesan cheese, chopped parsley, egg, garlic powder, salt, and black pepper to a large bowl. Next, mix everything together with a wooden spoon or your hands until it’s incorporated really well. Then form the mixture into 12 to 16 meatballs that are all about the same size.
Air Fry The Meatballs
After the meatballs are formed, put them in a single layer in the air fryer basket making sure that they are not touching. Then put the basket into the air fryer and cook the meatballs for 8 to 10 minutes, shaking the basket halfway through the cooking time. When the meatballs are done they should be cooked through and browned on all sides.
Prep The Sauce And Rolls
While the meatballs are air frying, heat the marinara sauce in a medium saucepan over medium heat just until it begins to simmer. Then cut all the hoagie rolls lengthwise in half and put them on a baking sheet. Only cut the number of rolls you plan to serve right now.
Assemble The Sandwiches
Let’s make some subs! Once the meatballs are ready, place 3 to 4 of them into each hoagie roll. Next, spoon some of the warm marinara sauce over the meatballs and then top them with lots of shredded mozzarella cheese.
Melt The Cheese And Serve
To finish the subs, put the baking sheet into the oven and broil the sandwiches for 1 to 2 minutes or until the cheese is completely melted and bubbly. Then remove the meatball subs from the oven and let them cool for a bit before serving.
Can I Fry Or Bake The Meatballs?
Yes! To fry the meatballs, just heat some olive oil over medium heat in a large skillet and then fry them until they are well browned on all sides and fully cooked. But if you want to bake your meatballs, put them on a sheet pan lined with parchment paper and bake them at 400°F (204°C) for about 25 to 30 minutes.
Why Are My Homemade Meatballs Hard?
The key to tender meatballs has to do with the ratio of ingredients as well as not packing the meat too tightly together when forming them. If you add too many breadcrumbs the meatballs will turn out dry. Adding too much egg can cause them to be chewy or rubbery. And if you overwork the meat when forming them it can make the meatballs hard.
- Taste the meat mixture for seasoning. Cook about a teaspoon of the meat mixture and taste it before forming it into meatballs. Then add more salt if needed.
- Use a cookie scoop. The meatballs should all be about the same size and using a cookie scoop or small ice cream scoop is an easy way to portion out the meat mixture.
- Assemble and then eat right away. The subs are best when eaten immediately. So you should only assemble and broil the number of subs that you plan to serve at that time.
Already made meatball subs will keep in the refrigerator for about 2 to 3 days. You can just reheat them in the microwave for a few minutes on medium power or in the oven at 350°F (177°C). However, the leftover meatballs themselves will keep in the fridge for up to 4 days or in the freezer for up to 3 months in an airtight container or sealed freezer bag.
Other Recipes You Might Enjoy
- Cucumber Sandwich Bites
- Hawaiian Ham and Cheese Stromboli
- Tuna Melt
- Sloppy Joes
- Easy Panzanella Salad
- Caprese Pasta Salad
Craving More? Follow Along:
- 1 pound ground beef
- ½ cup breadcrumbs
- ¼ cup Parmesan cheese grated
- ¼ cup fresh parsley chopped
- 1 large egg
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- salt and pepper to tastge
- 24 ounces marinara sauce
- 4 hoagie rolls
- 2 cups mozzarella cheese shredded
- Preheat your air fryer to 380°F (193°C).
- In a large bowl, mix together the ground beef, bread crumbs, Parmesan cheese, chopped parsley, egg, garlic powder, salt, and pepper until fully combined.
- Form the mixture into 12-16 meatballs.
- Place the meatballs in the air fryer basket in a single layer, making sure they are not touching.
- Air fry the meatballs for 8-10 minutes or until they are browned on all sides and fully cooked through, shaking the basket halfway through.
- Pour the marinara sauce into a medium-sized saucepan and heat it over medium heat until simmering.
- Cut the hoagie rolls in half lengthwise and place them on a baking sheet.
- Add 4 meatballs (or 3 if you only made 12) into each roll.
- Spoon some of the marinara sauce over the meatballs, then sprinkle shredded mozzarella cheese over the top.
- Place the baking sheet in the oven under the broiler for 1-2 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and bubbly.
- Remove from the oven and let cool for a few minutes before serving.
Tips & Notes:
- Bread Selection: This recipe uses hoagie rolls, but any type of sub roll or even a crusty baguette can be used.
- Cheese Options: While mozzarella is the classic choice for this recipe, feel free to experiment with other cheeses like provolone or Monterey Jack.
- Meat Variations: You can replace half of the ground beef with ground pork or veal for a different flavor profile.
- Sauce Choices: Feel free to substitute the marinara with your favorite pasta sauce if desired.
- Storing and Reheating: Leftovers can be stored in the fridge for up to 3 days. Reheat in the oven or microwave until warmed through.