This DIY Meatball Sub Bar deliciously serves a crowd with minimal effort! It’s the perfect easy meal for serving friends and family at a casual party or get-togethers. It’s also an easy meal for busy weeknights.
Summertime is the season of graduation parties, birthday parties, and never ending BBQs. However, there comes a time when you need to change up what you make. This Meatball Sub Bar is perfect for feeding many people on various occasions.
Meatballs are a party favorite because they’re so easy to eat. You just pop one in your mouth and you instantly get to taste the deliciousness of it. When you add meatballs to a sub, they’re even better! This has seriously become one of my favorite sandwiches ever.
One of our favorite, go-to easy dinner ideas is our Oven Baked Meatball Sandwiches. They are so simple to make and absolutely delicious. While those meatball sandwiches are fully created for your guest (you fill a hoagie roll with meatballs, sauce, cheese and you bake), this DIY Meatball Sub Bar puts the creation of the sub into the hands of your guests.
Are you wondering where these delicious balls of meat even come from? ITALY! However, we have Americanized them and they’re not the same type of meatballs you’d find in Italy. In Italy, meatballs are better known as polpettes and they are not usually eaten with spaghetti.
Whatever you call them, I’m glad they were invented and that I can have a Meatball Sub Bar for dinner. I’m dreaming about what I will put on my first meatball sub right now.
Tricks to Using Frozen Meatballs
I am all for creating simple dishes. We spend enough time cooking and cleaning, why create an even bigger job for ourselves? I feel like this Meatball Sub Bar is perfect because you get to use frozen meatballs
I wanted to share some tips for using frozen meatballs. Frozen meatballs are actually quite delicious and a great asset to any recipe that calls for meatballs. You can actually cook frozen meatballs several ways.
This recipe calls for a crockpot, but if you don’t have one, you could also bake meatballs, cook them on the stovetop, or even use the microwave.
I prefer a slow cooker because then they are cooked slower and are more tender. You can unthaw meatballs in the fridge overnight before you put them in the crockpot. However, you can also place the meatballs straight into the crockpot for them to cook. You can heat them without the sauce (like our photos show) or pour the sauce over them and heat them with the sauce.
It will take around 4-6 hours for meatballs to fully cook in a crockpot. Meatballs will also be okay simmering on low in the crockpot. They don’t burn easily and won’t overcook if placed on the lowest setting (although, your experience may vary depending on your slow cooker).
Toppings for Your Meatball Subs
You can make the toppings as simple or as complicated as you would like for your Meatball Sub Bar. Here are some ideas:
- Sliced Provolone Cheese
- Shredded Mozzarella
- Grated Parmesan
- Marinara Sauce (or your favorite pasta sauce)
- Alfredo Sauce
- Sliced Bell Peppers
- Sliced Onions
- Fresh Basil
With all of your toppings set out, each person can make their own meatball sub with their favorite toppings. If someone doesn’t like bell peppers and onions, they don’t have to use them. If someone likes extra cheese, they can go for it. The possibilities are endless!
Different Dietary Needs
A DIY Meatball Sub Bar is also great for serving people with different dietary needs or preferences. If some of your guests eat low carb or follow a keto way of eating, they can enjoy the meatballs and cheese on their plate without the sub roll. If you’ll be serving vegetarians, you can offer meatless meatballs.
A word of caution though: if you do have guests with different dietary needs, you’ll also want to be mindful of the ingredients in the items in your sub bar. For example, pay attention to the carb count of the meatballs and the alfredo sauce (or make these items homemade).
Sauces for Your Meatball Sub Bar
This recipe calls for using jars of red and white sauce, which I think is perfection. When it’s hot outside or even cold outside, do you want to spend time indoors making sauces from scratch? I know I don’t!
I can easily go to the store and pick up a jar of white sauce or a jar of red sauce (or both) and create amazing sauces for meatballs. Add a little seasoning and your guests will enjoy the sauces, just as you will.
Choosing a Meatball Sub Roll
I do have to stress the importance of getting really soft yet strong sub bread for these sandwiches. You want bread that can hold the meatballs and sauces. If you have a favorite sub bread this is the time to buy it.
We recommend hoagie style buns as these are the best in our opinion. You want rolls that aren’t cut all the way through, they should be connected one side of the roll so that they will cradle the ingredients. I usually buy rolls that are already cut like this, or rolls that aren’t cut and I cut them myself.
My favorite rolls for Meatball Subs are Francisco Sandwich Rolls — either their French, Sourdough, or Outdoor Sandwich Rolls. I’ve also used lots of other brands too. If you can find “outdoor sandwich rolls” or “stadium sandwich rolls”, those work great!
What To Serve with a Meatball Sub?
Meatball Subs are great served with many of the same items that you might serve with other hot sandwiches, such as hamburgers or hot dogs.
Our favorite easy side is potato chips and a sour cream chip dip. Salads like a Bacon-Cheddar Potato Salad are a great option, as are fruit salads like our Summer Fruit Salad. You could also go super simple and serve them with a fruit or veggie tray.
The simplicity of this meal is just wonderful. You don’t have to stress about being in the kitchen for hours, leaving you time to enjoy your friends and family. You can simply throw the ingredients together and be on your way.
You’ll find this idea if perfect for lunches and dinners. It’s great for small get-togethers and large gatherings. Graduation parties, weddings, celebrations, or birthday parties, this can be your go-to meal!Print
Meatball Sub Bar
- Category: Sandwiches
Hoagie Rolls (only cut on one side)
Sliced Bell Peppers
Shredded Mozzarella Cheese
Sliced Provolone Cheese
Grated Parmesan Cheese
Place meatballs in a slow cooker and heat on low for 4-6 hours.
In a large skillet over medium-high heat, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil and saute bell peppers and onion slices until tender-crisp. Place on a plate or in a bowl with a fork or small tongs for serving.
Heat sauces according to package labeling until they are hot. Place in serving bowls with spoons or small ladles.
Place shredded and sliced cheeses each in their own bowl or plate.
Place hoagie rolls in a basket, large bowl, or stacked on a large plate or platter.
For convenience in assembling a meatball sub, place ingredients and toppings on a buffet table or countertop in the expected order they will be used.
Serve with potato chips and dip, veggie tray, or a salad.