This easy recipe for Crock Pot Meatball Subs combines frozen Italian-style meatballs with a flavorful marinara sauce, garlic, parsley, and black pepper, slow-cooked to perfection. The meatballs absorb the rich sauce, creating a mouthwatering taste that pairs perfectly with melted provolone cheese inside toasted hoagie buns for a quick and hearty meal!
Meatball subs are a savory and satisfying sandwich that typically consists of meatballs, marinara sauce, and cheese, served inside a long, crusty roll. Originating from Italian-American cuisine, their popularity stems from the ingredients effortlessly creating a comforting and delicious handheld meal that you can find in almost any Italian restaurant or on a boardwalk in the northeast.
These hearty subs can also be made right at home from scratch in the slow cooker! This is one of the easiest hot sandwich recipes you’ll ever make. Start out by using frozen Italian seasoned meatballs. They get arranged in the crock pot along with a jar of your favorite marinara sauce and some spices. Let the meatballs thaw out while absorbing the flavor of the sauce in the slow cooker.
Place the sauce-covered meatballs on a toasted hoagie roll fit with melted provolone cheese and parmesan for a classic Italian meal. This recipe uses simple ingredients, has no complicated steps, and produces a sandwich that’s packed with Italian flavor with little effort that everyone can enjoy!
Why You’ll Love This Recipe
- Slow cooker meatball subs are perfect for busy days when you want a hearty and delicious meal without spending hours in the kitchen.
- The Italian-style meatballs simmered in the flavorful marinara sauce absorb all the rich, savory goodness, resulting in tender and succulent meat.
- Melted provolone cheese adds a delightful creaminess to the subs, complementing the flavors of the meatballs and sauce, while the toasted hoagie buns provide a satisfying crunch that enhances the overall texture.
- Whether you're hosting a game night, a family gathering, or just craving comfort food, these easy meatball subs are a guaranteed crowd-pleaser!
Ingredients You’ll Need
- Marinara Sauce - Forms the flavorful base of the dish, infusing the meatballs with its rich and tangy tomato goodness.
- Minced Garlic - Adds a burst of aromatic flavor to the sauce, complementing the meatballs and enhancing the overall savory profile of the dish.
- Spices - Dried parsley lends a subtle herbal note to the marinara sauce, while black pepper adds a hint of spiciness.
- Frozen Italian Style Meatballs - These frozen meatballs bring convenience without sacrificing taste. They provide a hearty and delicious protein element to the subs, soaking up the flavors of the sauce as they cook in the slow cooker.
- Sliced Provolone Cheese - Creamy and slightly tangy provolone cheese melts beautifully over the meatballs, adding a creamy texture and a cheesy layer to the subs.
- Hoagie Rolls - Serves as the perfect vessel to hold all the ingredients together, providing a satisfying and crusty base for assembling the subs.
- Grated Parmesan Cheese - Acts as the finishing touch, adding a nutty and salty flavor that enhances the overall taste of the subs.
How To Make Meatball Subs In The Crock Pot
Flavor the sauce: Add marinara sauce, garlic, parsley, and black pepper to a 6-quart slow cooker. Mix until well combined.
Cook the meatballs: Pour the meatballs into the sauce and stir until they are coated in the sauce. Cover and cook on HIGH for 3 hours or LOW for 5 hours. Stir occasionally.
Prepare the sandwich bread: Preheat your oven to 350℉. Open your hoagie rolls, put two pieces of cheese in them, and then place them on a baking sheet. Bake for about 5 minutes or until cheese is melted.
Assemble the meatball subs: Add 4-5 meatballs along with the sauce to each hoagie roll and garnish with grated parmesan cheese. Serve while hot, and enjoy!
- If desired, make your own marinara sauce using crushed tomatoes, onions, garlic, and your favorite Italian herbs.
- Roast the minced garlic in a bit of olive oil before adding it to the slow cooker. This will mellow out the sharpness and infuse the sauce with a rich, aromatic taste.
- Opt for high-quality frozen Italian-style meatballs with natural ingredients and no preservatives for the best taste and texture. Alternatively, you can make your own meatballs using a mix of ground beef, pork, breadcrumbs, eggs, and seasonings.
- Stir the meatballs occasionally during the cooking process to ensure even coating with the marinara sauce and to prevent sticking to the bottom of the slow cooker.
- Before assembling the subs, lightly toast the hoagie rolls in the oven to add a satisfying crunch to each bite and prevent them from becoming soggy.
- Don't forget the final touch of grated Parmesan cheese as a garnish. It's a small addition that makes a big difference, adding a burst of umami flavor and a lovely visual appeal to the finished meatball subs.
- For a zesty twist, swap the marinara sauce with a spicy arrabbiata sauce, adding crushed red pepper flakes for an extra kick that pairs perfectly with the meatballs.
- Experiment with different types of meatballs, such as turkey, chicken, or vegetarian options made with lentils or mushrooms, to cater to various dietary preferences.
- Elevate the cheese flavor by using a combination of provolone, mozzarella, and fontina cheeses, creating a Incorporate sautéed bell peppers and onions into the slow cooker for added flavor and a vibrant pop of color that complements the meatballs beautifully.
- Swap the hoagie rolls for a soft ciabatta bread or baguette to create a different texture and taste experience.
- For a touch of freshness and brightness, garnish the subs with fresh basil leaves or arugula, adding a pop of green and a herbal note that complements the richness of the meatballs and sauce.
Storing & Freezing
Storing: Allow the dish to cool completely and then transfer to an airtight container. Store the container in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days. To keep the subs fresh, it's best to store the meatballs and sauce separately from the hoagie rolls and cheese.
Freezing: Only the meatballs and sauce mixture is best for freezing. Allow it to cool before transferring to an airtight container or freezer-safe bag to freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the fridge before reheating in the crock pot, stovetop, or the microwave. Assemble sandwiches when the mixture is warmed through.
Meatballs can sometimes fall apart in the slow cooker if they are too lean or if they are not properly bound together. While you can use homemade meatballs, frozen meatballs stay together better.
While slow cooking is generally safe, it's best to avoid leaving meatballs in the crockpot for extended periods as they could break down too much and lose their shape.
At Subway, their meatball subs are typically served with a marinara sauce that has a tangy tomato base and is seasoned with Italian herbs, garlic, and spices along with sweetness. To achieve this at home, purchase a marinara sauce that has herbs and spices along with a higher sugar content.
More Crock Pot Meatball Recipes
- Crock Pot Salisbury Steak Meatballs
- Crock Pot Meatballs and Gravy
- Crock Pot Sweet and Sour Meatballs
- Crock Pot Spaghetti and Meatballs
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Crock Pot Meatball Subs
- 2 (24 oz) marinara sauce
- 3 tsp garlic (minced)
- 2 tsp dried parsley
- 1 tsp black pepper
- 1 (32 oz) package of frozen Italian-style meatballs
For The Subs
- 16 slices provolone cheese
- 8 sliced hoagie buns
- ¼ cup parmesan cheese (finely grated)
- Add marinara sauce, garlic, parsley, and black pepper to a 6-quart slow cooker. Mix until well combined.
- Pour the meatballs into the sauce and stir until they are all coated.
- Cover and cook on high or for 3 hours or low for 5 hours. Stir occasionally.
- Preheat your oven to 350℉. Open your hoagie rolls, put two pieces of cheese in them, and then place them on a baking sheet. Bake for about 5 minutes or until cheese is melted.
- Add 4-5 meatballs to each hoagie roll and garnish with grated cheese.
*All nutrition information provided is automatically calculated and is an estimate and will vary based on ingredients, brands, and changes in cooking methods listed in the recipe. If you need exact numbers on your ingredients, I would recommend calculating them with your prefered nutrition calculator.