Mini Italian Meatball Subs — Damn Delicious

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Mini Italian Meatball Subs

Tender, melt-in-your-mouth (make-ahead!) meatballs stuffed into mini subs. Makes for easy serving, sharing and portion control!

Greetings from Manhattan!

See, I wasn’t lying when I said my next recipe would be in NYC!

I return home this week though.

And then I’m never leaving Butters ever again.

Until Cape Town. In January. For another week.

But that’s another story for later.

Let’s just stick to these mini meatball subs for the time being.

Because they’re itty-bitty and so cute.

All you need are some dinner rolls. Homemade meatballs, which can be made ahead of time. Marinara sauce. And cheese. Obvi.

So why use anything else?

But anyway. I digress.

It’s great for kids’ parties.

Game Day. Tailgating madness. Those busy weeknights since you can prepare the meatballs ahead of time.

You can also use store-bought frozen meatballs for an even quicker meal.

But don’t be fooled by the cuteness of these subs.

They’ll disappear quick!

Mini Italian Meatball Subs

Yield: 6 servings

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 15 minutes

Total Time: 30 minutes

Tender, melt-in-your-mouth (make-ahead!) meatballs stuffed into mini subs. Makes for easy serving, sharing and portion control!


  • 6 (3-inch) dinner rolls, split
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan

For the meatballs

  • 8 ounces ground beef
  • 8 ounces ground pork
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • 1/4 cup Panko
  • 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
  • Pinch of nutmeg
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 cups marinara sauce


  1. In a large bowl, combine beef, pork, egg, Panko, Parmesan, garlic powder, onion powder, allspice and nutmeg; season with salt and pepper, to taste. Using a wooden spoon or clean hands, stir until well combined. Roll the mixture into 1 1/4-to-1 1/2-inch meatballs, forming about 18-20 meatballs.
  2. Heat olive oil in a large stockpot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add meatballs, in batches, and cook until all sides are browned, about 3-4 minutes. Stir in marinara sauce until warmed, about 3-4 minutes.
  3. Preheat oven to broil. Line a baking sheet with foil.
  4. Place dinner rolls in a single layer onto the prepared baking sheet. Place meatballs into rolls, about 3 per roll; top with cheeses.
  5. Place into oven and bake until the cheeses have melted, about 3-4 minutes.
  6. Serve immediately.

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Can’t wait to try this!

So would you recommend a harder crust dinner roll? I am guessing soft rolls won’t hold up as well?

Excited to try this!

I am wondering about how to place the meatball into the dinner roll? Do you cut a slit into it ? Thank you

These look so yummy and easy! I’ll have to put them on the menu for this week!

Recommendations for pre-made bottled marinara sauce for this? Thanks

You can use any brand of your choice! 🙂

Looks delicious! Perfect finger food for football games!

I am so in love with these mini subs! What a great idea this is! 🙂

I’m going to try these with ground turkey next week, thank you!

great idea for smaller serving and love the sausage recipe with parm., this looks wonderful, thank you for sharing this!

Week 1 of my new attempt at helping my tween toward independence – she must select a recipe she’d like to eat, “shop” the pantry, make a list of needed items, shop at the grocery, then help prepare it. I found your site a couple months ago during a Google search to find a recipe for the CSA produce I had no idea how to use. Daughter likes saying the name. When I say Darn Delicious she corrects me. Anyway, guess what she did for finding a recipe? Pulled this site right up and found this recipe! Following her lead on Sunday as recipe reader and head of the kitchen, not double checking anything, only salt and pepper went into the meat. I liked my sub regardless though I’m a seasoning and flavor junkie! Her? She had seconds. And thirds.

I think it’s safe to say she’ll be back!

Could I freeze the meatballs for later? If so, how do you suggest I do it?

You can cook the meatballs as directed, let cool completely, and freeze on a sheet pan, uncovered, for 2-3 hours. From there, you can transfer to a freezer Ziploc bag for up to 2 months. Hope that helps!

Come join me in my culinary adventures where we’ll be using simple, fresh ingredients and transforming them into sophisticated and elegant meals for the everyday home cook.

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