These Easy Meatball Subs are a quick, kid-friendly weeknight dinner your family will devour. You save time by using frozen meatballs, and they’re ready in about 30 minutes!
Thanks to the National Frozen and Refrigerated Foods Association for sponsoring this post!
Much to the chagrin of most kids (and the sweet relief of many parents), the school year is about to start.
And it’s best to be prepared.
That means having a handful of “homemade-ish” dinners in your back pocket for weeknights.
What’s a “homemade-ish” dinner? That’s a term I made up for a meal that relies on a key convenience item—and that item means the difference between me putting a healthy, home-cooked meal on the table and me ordering pizza.
These Easy Meatball Subs with frozen meatballs preserve the home-cooked taste but save me serious time.
And my kids literally cheer when I make this for dinner.
Don’t get me wrong: I like making from-scratch meatballs. But that’s a project not fit for a standard Wednesday evening at 6:15 when my troops are hungry. And using frozen meatballs means I have time to make a (mostly) from-scratch meatball sub sauce.
I used Rosina Italian Style Meatballs, which are a mix of beef, pork, and chicken. They come in a half-ounce size that’s just right for meatball subs.
How to make easy meatball subs with frozen meatballs
In a medium skillet or saucepan, heat olive oil on medium heat for 15 seconds, then add garlic, oregano, and red pepper flakes and cook, stirring constantly, for 1 minute. Add crushed tomatoes and stir well; add salt and sugar and stir again until combined
Once the meatball sub sauce is mixed together, add the frozen meatballs, cover, and cook for 20-25 minutes.
Then pile the saucy meatballs into buns (I put four meatballs in each bun for adults, three for my kids). Top with lots of shredded mozzarella cheese, and pop under the broiler for a minute or two until browned and bubbly. Dinner is done!
FAQs about easy meatball subs
What size frozen meatballs work best?
I use the half-ounce size here. If you have larger meatballs, you can cut them in half–or with smaller meatballs, just pile more onto the bun.
Can I use jarred marinara instead for the meatball sub sauce?
Yes! To save even more time, you can pour a jar of your favorite store-bought pasta sauce into the skillet, add the frozen meatballs, and cook.
What kind of buns work best with these meatball subs?
Sub sandwich buns (called hoagie buns in some parts of the country!) work best with these sandwiches. You can also use slider buns and make meatball slides. In a pinch, use hotdog buns. No judgement here.
One reviewer said she buttered the buns and toasted them first, when made them crisper. I like that idea!
What can you serve with easy meatball subs?
What to do with leftovers
Leftover meatballs and meatball sub sauce can be packed away in an airtight container and kept in the refrigerator for about three days.
Can you freeze this?
Yes! Just put the meatballs and sauce mixture in a freezer bag (once it’s cooled), squeeze out the air, and lay it flat to freeze.
When you’re ready to reheat, just defrost and heat in a skillet, fill the buns, and broil.
Can I make this meatless?
Yes! Just buy meatless meatballs and follow the rest of the directions as usual.
Do you have more family-friendly dinners?
I’ve collected my best dinner recipes into a free e-cookbook, No-Fuss Family Dinners.Grab your free copy by clicking here.
Easy Meatball Subs Recipe Card
- 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon olive oil
- 2 medium garlic cloves, pressed
- 2 teaspoons dried oregano
- 1 pinch red pepper flakes, (big or small pinch, depending on how much heat your crowd likes)
- 1 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon sugar
- 1 package Rosina Italian Style Meatballs, (1/2 ounce size)
- 6 sub, brat, or hot dog buns
- 3/4 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
- To make the meatball sub sauce: In a medium skillet or saucepan, heat olive oil on medium heat for 15 seconds, then add garlic, oregano, and red pepper flakes and cook, stirring constantly, for 1 minute. Add crushed tomatoes and stir well; add salt and sugar and stir again until combined
- Add entire package of Rosina Italian Style Meatballs to sauce, stirring so meatballs are covered in sauce.
- Cover pan and cook for 20-25 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Move oven rack to top position, and heat the broiler to HIGH.
- Spoon saucy meatballs into buns, top with cheese, and place on a baking sheet under the broiler for 1-2 minutes, checking frequently to make sure they don’t burn.
Broiling or toating the buns for a minute or so before filling them will ensure that they stay crisp.
As an Amazon Associate and member of other affiliate programs, I earn from qualifying purchases.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 6 Serving Size: 1 sub
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 372Total Fat: 17gSaturated Fat: 5gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 4gCholesterol: 34mgSodium: 1122mgCarbohydrates: 36gFiber: 4gSugar: 10gProtein: 18g