You’re going to love this easy Italian meatball sub Subway copycat recipe with flavorful meatballs, marinara sauce and melted cheeses in a comforting and extremely satisfying sandwich.
With a seemingly endless amount of options at Subway, I can’t count the number of times I’ve ordered an Italian meatball marinara sub.
It’s got to be one of the most comforting, satisfying subs. And it’s tough to pass up.
Plus, since they are really easy to make, it’s a great recipe to have in your regular rotation. Everyone loves them!
You can enjoy these with Italian meatballs from our easy Instant Pot Italian meatballs and sauce Subway copycat recipe.
We’ve taken a basic Subway recipe but also incorporated some meatball tips passed down from Nonna (hello Parmesan cheese!).
The result is a super tasty and homemade Subway style Italian meatball marinara sub that is sure to please.
In addition, Italian meatball subs are an ideal way to enjoy those leftover Italian meatballs when you have them.
Content in this Post
- Ingredients in Italian Meatball Sub Subway Copycat Recipe
- How To Make Italian Meatball Sub Subway Copycat Recipe
- MAKE THE ITALIAN MEATBALLS WITH MARINARA
- STEP 1: Combine the Italian Meatball Ingredients
- STEP 2: Form Italian Meatball Mix into Balls
- STEP 3: Brown Italian Meatballs in Batches
- STEP 4: Add Water and Deglaze the Pot
- Crockpot or Slow Cooker Method
- ASSEMBLE THE ITALIAN MEATBALL MARINARA SUBS
- STEP 1: Place Meatballs and Marinara on Sub
- STEP 2: Add Cheeses
- STEP 3: Bake
- What To Serve With Italian Meatball Sub Subway Copycat Recipe
- Storage Tips for Italian Meatball Sub Subway Copycat Recipe
- You’ll Also Love
Ingredients in Italian Meatball Sub Subway Copycat Recipe
- Submarine Style Bread — your choice of a footlong or six inch Subway style bread that you can find in the bakery section of most grocery stores. Alternatively, you can roll up the ingredients into a pita bread for a meatball pita. Or even enjoy it on flatbread as a Subway meatball pita pizza that has less carbs but all of the flavor!
- Meatballs — from Instant Pot Italian meatballs and sauce recipe. You can use meatballs from any recipe as well as store bought meatballs for convenience. This is a perfect recipe for leftover meatballs!
- Marinara Sauce — also from Instant Pot Italian meatballs and marinara recipe. Alternatively, use a good quality marinara sauce or pizza sauce.
- Sliced Cheese — sliced cheese triangles, a variety of types can be used. Gouda, mozzarella, cheddar, Havarti, Swiss, and similar cheeses. Choose your favorite!
- Parmesan Cheese — shredded parmesan cheese ideally from a block of aged parmigiana Reggiano.
Optional Ingredient Variations — You can add any fresh vegetable toppings as you would at Subway. Shredded lettuce, sliced tomatoes, sliced onions, sliced olives, hot peppers and sliced green peppers can be added if you like them. Mayo or Southwest sauce can give it an extra kick!
How To Make Italian Meatball Sub Subway Copycat Recipe
MAKE THE ITALIAN MEATBALLS WITH MARINARA
If you have leftover meatballs you can skip the process of making meatballs, otherwise here it is!
STEP 1: Combine the Italian Meatball Ingredients
Place all of the meatball ingredients in a large sized mixing bowl, or in a stand mixer bowl if using.
Use the paddle to combine the ingredients thoroughly into a uniform mix. Once complete, safely unlock and lift the mixer head and remove the mixer bowl.
If you don’t have a stand mixer, you can combine all ingredients in a bowl with a spatula or large spoon.
STEP 2: Form Italian Meatball Mix into Balls
Use an eighth cup measuring cup to scoop up the mix for each ball. Roll each by hand. TIP: Wet hands with a little water to avoid stickiness when rolling.
STEP 3: Brown Italian Meatballs in Batches
In SAUTE mode, melt butter and carefully place half of the meatballs in the Instant Pot. Brown the Italian meatballs for a minute or two on each side.
Remove to a plate taking care to not break them and repeat the browning process with the remaining half. Remove second batch of browned meatballs from the Instant Pot.
STEP 4: Add Water and Deglaze the Pot
Add a half cup of water to the Instant Pot and use a spatula to scrape the bottom of the pot to ensure there are no stuck bits on the bottom. This is to ensure that there won’t be a burn notice during the cook cycle.
Position an Instant Pot trivet (metal or silicon) into the pot, over top of the water.
Add browned meatballs on top of the trivet.
Next, pour marinara sauce over top of the Italian meatballs while trying to keep as much of it on top of the meatballs as possible. It’s ok if some sauce goes to the bottom, but we try to keep it to a minimum to avoid a possible burn notification.
Secure the lid on the Instant Pot and move the pressure valve to SEALING. Pressure cook on HIGH at Normal temperature for seven minutes. Quick release the pressure when completed, by moving the pressure valve to VENTING.
When the pressure has been released and it is safe to do so, carefully remove the lid off of the Instant Pot.
Remove the trivet while gently angling it to one side so that the meatballs fall into the marinara sauce (take care to avoid any splashes – it’s hot!). Mix the meatballs and marinara sauce and allow to cool a bit.
Crockpot or Slow Cooker Method
If you have the time and you’d like to make these Italian meatballs in a slow cooker you can follow the recipe up to the point of forming the meatballs.
Once you have your meatballs shaped, instead of an Instant Pot, you’ll brown them in a large skillet on the stovetop. You’ll still need to brown the meatballs in two batches and remove them to a plate as you go. Omit the water in the recipe as that is for bringing the Instant Pot to pressure and you won’t need it for your slow cooker.
From there, add marinara sauce to the crockpot and then nestle the meatballs into the sauce. Set the slow cooker for 4 hours on HIGH or 8 hours on low.
ASSEMBLE THE ITALIAN MEATBALL MARINARA SUBS
STEP 1: Place Meatballs and Marinara on Sub
Preheat oven to 400℉. Cut an opening lengthwise along the sub without cutting all the way through the back.
Arrange meatballs along the open sub bread. Depending on the size of meatballs and length of bread, you may need more or fewer meatballs. Spoon some marinara sauce over top of the meatballs.
STEP 2: Add Cheeses
Sprinkle with shredded parmesan cheese (Parmigiano Reggiano).
Place cheese slices in a single layer over top of the meatballs, sauce and parmesan cheese, as shown below.
STEP 3: Bake
Cut or fold parchment paper to fit an oven safe baking sheet. Put meatball sub(s) onto the parchment lined sheet.
Place in preheated oven and bake until the cheese is melted and bubbling.
What To Serve With Italian Meatball Sub Subway Copycat Recipe
Italian meatball subs are fabulous with salad or soup. An Italian style house salad is perfect, as is a simple asparagus cucumber tomato salad.
You can add Italian style appetizers like spinach artichoke dip or a bowl of marinated olives.
If you’d like to reduce the carbs, you can make the Subway style meatballs into a meatball pita pizza. You still get all of the flavor!
Storage Tips for Italian Meatball Sub Subway Copycat Recipe
Although you can store the meatball sub leftovers in the fridge for up to three days, they are best enjoyed fresh. To ensure the bread doesn’t change too much in texture, try to consume them within a day or two.
You can reheat them in the oven in a similar manner. Just place the meatball subs on a parchment lined baking sheet and into the preheated oven until the cheese melts.
You’ll Also Love
At our house we rotate between Instant Pot Italian meatballs and Instant Pot Swedish meatballs. If we didn’t, we probably wouldn’t get along very well, given our heritages (Just kidding). Although, lucky for us, the recipes are both top notch!
It’s a perfect sandwich for Swedish meatball leftovers on Swedish style rye bread. The pickled beet salad is super easy to make, with a can or jar of pickled beets, just dice them and add some quick ingredients!
Italian Meatball Sub Subway Copycat Recipe
For the Italian Meatball Marinara Sub Assembly
- 1 Submarine Bread
- 6 Italian Meatballs, or more, depending on bread size. You can use leftover meatballs or make a batch (see below)
- ½ Cup Marinara Sauce, we use our homemade marinara recipe or Costco Victoria White Linen marinara sauce
- ⅛ Cup Parmesan Cheese, grated Parmigiano Reggiano
- 2 Slices Cheese, cut in half on diagonal to make triangles
For the Instant Pot Italian Meatballs
- 1 pound Beef, minced
- 1 pound Pork, minced
- 2 Eggs
- 1 cup Parmesan Cheese, grated or shredded Parmigiano Reggiano
- 1 cup Panko
- 2 Tablespoons Italian Seasoning, dried
- 2 teaspoons Salt, we like Himalayan pink salt
- ½ teaspoon Hot Sauce, Frank's Red Hot, optional
- ½ teaspoon Garlic, fresh, minced
- ¼ Cup Onions, diced finely
- 1 Tablespoon Butter, or avocado oil, for browning the meatballs
- ½ Cup Water, for the Instant Pot
- 4 Cups Marinara Sauce, we love our homemade or Costco's Victoria White Linen Marinara sauce
For the Instant Pot Italian Meatballs Marinara
- Crack the eggs into a regular mixing bowl or stand mixer bowl, depending on what you'd prefer to use. Whisk or beat eggs and then add remaining meatball ingredients.
- If using a stand mixer, attach the paddle, lower the mixer head and secure it in place.
- Blend the ingredients until they become a uniform mix. Unlock and lift the mixer head, remove the mixer bowl. If you don't have a stand mixer you can mix with a large spoon or a spatula.
- Scoop up ⅛ cup of meat mix and form into a ball using your hands. Repeat for each meatball. Tip: wet your hands to make the meat mix less sticky. This recipe makes about 30 meatballs.
- Press Saute on the Instant Pot. When the display reads HOT, place half of the meatballs in the inner pot. Brown the meatballs for a few minutes before carefully flipping them over with a spatula. Take care to not break them. When the meatballs are browned all over, transfer to a plate or bowl and repeat the process to brown the rest of the meatballs.
- Pour in ½ cup of water and deglaze the pot, if necessary. Use the water and the spatula to ensure there are no stuck bits on the bottom of the pot. Otherwise, it could cause a burn notice during the pressure cycle. The water is needed to bring the Instant Pot to pressure.
- Add a silicon or metal trivet to the Instant Pot.
- Place all of the meatballs on the trivet in the Instant Pot.
- Pour the prepared marinara sauce on top of the meatballs. Try to make sure that most of the sauce stays on top of the meatballs and doesn't run down to the bottom of the pot as it could potentially cause a burn notice during the pressure cycle. Secure the lid on the Instant Pot and move the pressure valve to SEALING. Pressure cook on HIGH at Normal temperature for seven minutes. Quick release the pressure when completed, by moving the pressure valve to VENTING.
- When the pressure has been released and it is safe to do so, carefully remove the lid off of the Instant Pot. Remove the trivet while gently angling it so that the meatballs fall into the marinara sauce (take care to avoid any splashes – it's hot!). Mix the meatballs and marinara sauce and allow to cool a bit.
Assemble the Meatball Marinara Subs
- Preheat oven to 400℉. Line an oven safe baking sheet with parchment paper. You can set the sheet aside until subs are ready to go in, or you can assemble the subs on top of it from the start. Cut the sub lengthwise without cutting through to the back.
- Place the meatballs in a single layer across the bottom of a sub style bread. Spoon some marinara sauce over the meatballs.
- Sprinkle a generous amount of grated parmesan cheese.
- Top with cheese slices.
- Place subs onto the parchment lined baking sheet. Place in preheated oven and bake, about 6 minutes or until the cheese is melted and bubbling. Stay close by to ensure the subs don't burn.
The above nutritional values are estimates and should only be used as a guide. If you are following a specific diet or have dietary restrictions, please use your preferred nutritional calculator. If you have a food allergy please ensure that none of the listed ingredients are part of your restrictions. As well, always use a food thermometer to ensure safe cooking temperature of the food items.