Made with simple ingredients and ready in under an hour, these meatball marinara subs feature juicy beef meatballs in toasted sub buns with lots of marinara and rich mozzarella cheese.
Simplifying weeknight dinners is what we’re alllll about over here and I think we can all agree that meatball subs automatically make any day better.
This glorious pan of Italian goodness in particular is dressed to the nines in saucy marinara meatballs, crispy sub buns, and loooots of mozzarella + Parm on top. It’s a thing of pure dinner beauty.
It probably comes as no surprise that these subs are now a permanent fixture on our weeknight dinner menu. They are just so easy and way too dang good.
The best part is that we’re pulling this killer dinner off in under an hour AND I’m betting you have all the ingredients on hand as we speak!
And under the assumption that you do, I highly recommend running to the kitchen yesterday to make these.
These Meatball Marinara Subs feature…
- Juicy, tender beef meatballs.
- Flavorful marinara sauce.
- Toasted sub buns brushed in garlic butter.
- Gooey mozzarella + Parmesan cheese and plenty of fresh basil.
Making the Meatball Marinara Subs
(scroll down to the bottom of the post for the full recipe)
Ingredients You Will Need
- Ground beef
- Panko breadcrumbs
- Fresh garlic
- Marinara sauce
- Mozzarella cheese
- Parmesan cheese
- Unsalted butter
- Garlic powder
- Sub buns
Don’t have ground beef on hand? These meatballs can easily be made with ground pork, chicken, or turkey in place of the beef.
Be aware, you may have to adjust cook time slightly if you choose to use another meat. Always use a kitchen thermometer to test the internal temperature of the meatballs.
Tips for Perfect Meatball Subs
- Shape meatballs in uniform balls – ideally, you want all the meatballs the same size so they cook at the same rate.
- Bake meatballs in marinara sauce – this eliminates having to heat the sauce separately AND helps the meatballs cook up perfectly juicy.
- Toast sub buns – brush the buns with garlic butter and stick them under the broiler for a few minutes until the inside is just lightly toasted. This will prevent the buns from getting soggy once the meatballs and sauce are added.
- Broil cheese on top – fill the subs with meatballs, top with cheeses, and stick under the broiler for a few minutes to melt and just lightly brown the cheese.
- Top subs with fresh basil – this is an absolute must! The little herby pop the basil gives these subs is the perfect finishing touch.
Try these time-saver options for preparing these subs ahead of time!
- Form meatballs and store – the meatballs may be shaped and stored in refrigerator up to 4 days or in the freezer up to 2 months. Thaw completely in refrigerator before proceeding with recipe.
- Bake meatballs and store – the meatballs may be baked ahead of time and stored in the fridge up to 4 days. Reheat meatballs in the oven or in microwave once you are ready to assemble meatball subs.
Wanting to change up this recipe? Try these ideas!
- Make homemade marinara – these subs are absolutely fantastic with your favorite homemade marinara recipe!
- Try a different meat – see notes above in the post for using a meat other than beef.
- Swap out cheeses – try shredded cheddar, asiago, or provolone.
- Add more fresh herbs – fresh oregano or parsley would be great herby additions.
With how easy these subs are to pull off, it’s literally insane how much flavor we pack into them! The meatballs are sooo perfectly tender and flavorful smothered in the saucy marinara and all that cheesy goodness.
Serve these meatball subs alongside a simple green salad and you’ve got all kinds of weeknight magic happening!
Save this recipe using the ‘save to recipe box’ button below. If you make it, please let us know! Leave a comment + star rating below, or take a photo and tag it on Instagram with #wholeandheavenlyoven.
Watch these meatballs made step-by-step on Google web stories.
More quick weeknight recipes that use ground beef!
- Bacon Cheddar Jalapeno Popper Burgers
- Beef and Broccoli Meatballs
- Instant Pot Beer French Onion Soup Meatballs
Baked Meatball Marinara Subs
- 1 lb ground beef
- 1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs
- 1 large egg, lightly beaten
- 2 medium cloves garlic, minced
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 2 cups marinara sauce
- 5 sub buns
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 cup low-moisture shredded mozzarella cheese
- 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- 2 tablespoons minced fresh basil
- Preheat oven to 400F and lightly grease a medium sheet pan.
- In a large bowl, combine ground beef, breadcrumbs, egg, garlic, salt, and pepper. Scoop mixture into 1-in meatballs and place on prepared sheet pan.
- Evenly pour marinara sauce over meatballs and bake at 400F 25-30 minutes until meatballs register 165F.
- Cut sub buns about 3/4th of the way, fanning open and arrange in a 9×13 baking dish. Brush inside of buns with melted butter and sprinkle with garlic powder. Broil buns under high 1-2 minutes until lightly toasted.
- Spoon about 3 meatballs and some marinara sauce into each toasted bun. Top meatballs with mozzarella and Parmesan.
- Broil meatball subs under high 2-3 minutes until cheese is melted and lightly browned. Top meatball subs with basil and serve immediately while warm. Enjoy!