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Air Fryer Meatball Subs

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Air Fryer Meatball Subs packed with hearty meatballs, marinara, and cheese are an easy 15-minute meal that will become a weeknight favorite!
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 5 minutes
A finished meatball sub split in half on a serving plate.

Air Fryer Meatball Subs are a quick, easy, cheesy, and tasty 15-minute meal. Packed with hearty meatballs, plenty of marinara sauce, and freshly grated Italian cheeses, these subs are sure to become a weeknight favorite in no time!

Looking for an easy way to use up leftover or frozen meatballs? Try making these rich, toasty, and cheesy Air Fryer Meatball Subs! Assembled and baked in just 15 minutes, these ridiculously easy sandwiches are delicious and filling. All you need to get started are a few pantry and fridge staples and your trusty air fryer.

A finished meatball sub split in half on a serving plate.

One of the best things about these sandwiches is how easily they can be customized. Make them gluten free by swapping out the hoagie rolls for your favorite gluten free bread or make them a bit leaner by using turkey meatballs instead of beef or pork. However you decide to make these subs, they’re sure to be a big hit!


  • EASY – 15 minutes from start to finish!
  • VERSATILE Lots of ways to vary the recipe – see ideas near the end of the post
  • KID FRIENDLY – Who doesn’t love a cheesy, ooey-gooey sandwich!?

About the Ingredients

Photo of hoagie rolls, marinara sauce, cheese, and meatballs.
  • Precooked meatballs – You can purchase frozen meatballs or use your favorite homemade meatball recipe for this. Either will work well. Just be sure to warm them slightly before adding them to the subs.
  • Hoagie Rolls – Fresh baked rolls are always my favorite! Gluten-free or whole wheat rolls are both good “healthier” options.
  • Marinara Sauce – Jarred sauce is easiest, but homemade sauce is always better.
  • Mozzarella Cheese – Melts to add the perfect amount of gooey cheesiness.
  • Parmesan Cheese – Adds just a hint of saltiness and a nutty flavor.

You’ll find detailed measurements for all ingredients in the printable version of the recipe at the bottom of this post.

How to Make the Best Meatball Subs

Let’s Go Step-by-Step

I always like to show you the photos and step-by-step instructions for my recipes to help you picture how to make them in your own kitchen. If you just want to print out a copy, you can skip to the bottom of the post where you’ll find the recipe card.

Preheat

Preheat the air fryer to 350 degrees for 5 minutes. While it preheats, assemble the sandwiches.

Assemble the Subs

  1. If needed, slice open each roll. Place 4 warmed, precooked meatballs inside each. (Note: if you’re using frozen meatballs, cook them in the air fryer first for 9-11 minutes, shaking the basket halfway through the cooking time. If using leftover meatballs, warm them for 2-3 minutes.)
  2. Top the meatballs with 1/4 cup of marinara sauce and 1/4 cup of the mozzarella and parmesan mix.
  3. Place the assembled sub(s) into the air fryer basket in a single layer. Air fry for 3-5 minutes or until the cheese is melty and the bread begins to toast. Depending on the size of your fryer, you may be able to cook two subs at the same time. If you have a smaller air fryer, cook them in batches.
  4. Serve immediately and enjoy!
A whole finished meatball sub on a serving plate.

Recipe Tips

  • You can use pre-shredded cheese, or grate fresh cheese from a block.
  • Want to make a slightly healthier sub? Try using turkey meatballs, whole wheat bread, and no sugar added marinara sauce!
  • Love a good toasty sandwich? Try brushing a bit of olive oil or melted butter onto the outside of the rolls before cooking. This should allow them to crisp up nicely.
  • Include a little fresh parsley on top for a pop of color (remember, we eat with our eyes first!)
  • Serve a small bowl of extra marinara sauce on the side for dipping!

Recipe Variations

Put your own touch on this recipe by swapping out a few of the key ingredients for some fun substitutions. Below are a few of my favorite variations.

  • Loaded Veggie Variation – Pack the sandwiches full of sliced bell peppers, spinach, onion, olives, or mushrooms before air frying. If you want less of a raw veggie crunch, lightly sauté the veggies first in a little olive oil with a sprinkle of Italian seasoning.
  • Pesto Tomato Variation – Swap out the marinara sauce for pesto and add slices of fresh tomato for a salty, herby, and earthy sub.
  • Garlic and Herb Variation – Brush the inside and outside of the rolls with melted butter and sprinkle with garlic powder, oregano, and dried basil before adding the other ingredients.
  • Quadruple Cheese Variation – In addition to the mozzarella and Parmesan, try adding provolone and gorgonzola to create a super cheesy sandwich!

Storage

Leftovers will keep in the fridge for up to 4 days. I recommend wrapping each leftover sandwich in aluminum foil to prevent them from getting too soggy.

To reheat, pop them back in the air fryer for 2-5 minutes or until warmed through and once again crispy.

Freezer storage is not recommended.

FAQs

Should I use store bought or homemade meatballs?

It just depends on your personal preference and what you have on hand. When I’m in a pinch, I use frozen meatballs. However, I do find homemade meatballs to be a bit tastier.

What can I serve with meatball subs?

I love serving these subs with crispy french fries and extra marinara dipping sauce. For a lighter, healthier option, try a fresh garden salad, some roasted veggies, or a fresh fruit smoothie.

What kind of bread is best for meatball subs?

Any kind of long, skinny roll will work well. Hoagies, French or Italian bread, or even hot dog buns will work in a pinch!

How do I keep my subs from getting soggy?

If you find that your sandwiches come out a bit soggy, you can try pre-toasting the bread and using less marinara sauce. Or omit the sauce and serve it on the side for dipping when serving.

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Recipe

A finished meatball sub split in half on a serving plate.

Air Fryer Meatball Subs

Air Fryer Meatball Subs packed with hearty meatballs, marinara, and cheese are an easy 15-minute meal that will become a weeknight favorite!
5 from 1 vote
Print It Rate It Save
Course: Main Dishes
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Servings: 8 servings
Calories: 49kcal
Author: Lana Stuart

Ingredients

  • 4 hoagie or sub rolls
  • 16 cooked meatballs homemade or frozen
  • 1 cup marinara sauce homemade or purchased
  • 1 cup Parmesan and Mozzarella cheese mix

Instructions

  • Preheat the air fryer to 350 for five minutes while you assemble the subs.
  • Place 4 meatballs on each roll.
  • Cover with 1/4 cup of marinara sauce and 1/4 cup of shredded cheese.
  • Depending on the size of your air fryer, place one or two sandwiches in the air fryer basket.
  • Cook the sandwiches for 3-5 minutes, or until the cheese begins to crisp.
  • Serve immediately.

Notes

Ingredients:
  • Use either purchased, frozen meatballs or your favorite homemade meatball recipe for this.
  • Hoagie Rolls, sub rolls, French bread, baguette, even hot dog buns work.
  • Jarred marinara sauce is easiest, but homemade is even better.
  • Mozzarella and Parmesan – use either freshly grated or bagged shredded cheese.
Recipe Tips
  • If you’re using frozen meatballs, cook them in the air fryer first for 9-11 minutes, shaking the basket halfway through the cooking time. If using leftover meatballs, warm them for 2-3 minutes.
  • To make a slightly healthier sub, try using turkey meatballs, whole wheat bread, and no sugar added marinara sauce.
  • For a nicely toasted sandwich, brush a bit of olive oil or melted butter onto the outside of the rolls before cooking.
  • Serve a small bowl of extra marinara sauce on the side for dipping.
  • If you find that your sandwiches come out a bit soggy, you can try pre-toasting the bread and using less marinara sauce. Or omit the sauce and serve it on the side for dipping when serving.
Storage
Leftovers will keep in the fridge for up to 4 days. I recommend wrapping each leftover sandwich in aluminum foil to prevent them from getting too soggy. To reheat, pop them back in the air fryer for 2-5 minutes or until warmed through and once again crispy.
Serving Ideas
Serve with crispy French fries and extra marinara dipping sauce. For a lighter, healthier option, try a fresh garden salad, some roasted veggies, or a fresh fruit smoothie.
 
 

Nutrition Information

Serving: 1 | Calories: 49kcal | Carbohydrates: 2g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 3g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 11mg | Sodium: 248mg | Potassium: 112mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 227IU | Vitamin C: 2mg | Calcium: 75mg | Iron: 1mg

Nutrition information is calculated by software based on the ingredients in each recipe. It is an estimate only and is provided for informational purposes. You should consult your health care provider or a registered dietitian if precise nutrition calculations are needed for health reasons.

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