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Meatball Sub Sandwiches (slow cooker with frozen meatballs)

These 4-ingredient meatball sub sandwiches use frozen meatballs and a jar of marinara to make the easiest crockpot dump meal ever. 

Slow cooker meatball subs made with frozen meatballs.

These super easy slow cooker meatball subs will be your best friend on those busy days when you just can’t even.

Use premade ingredients and dump them in a crockpot for a hearty and delicious dinner that the whole family will love!

You can even make these with plant-based “meatballs” or turkey meatballs!


Frozen Italian style meatballs, sub sandwich rolls, thin sliced provolone cheese, and a jar of marinara sauce.
  • Frozen Italian-style meatballs are the base of this recipe. You don’t need to thaw them first.
  • A jar of marinara sauce. Your favorite brand will do. It gets cooked down and makes a robust sauce with the meatballs.
  • Sub rolls or hoagie rolls that are about 6 inches long. If they aren’t split, use a serrated bread knife to split them without cutting them through.
  • Thin sliced provolone cheese. A pack of pre-sliced provolone will do. We aren’t getting too fancy here.


  • Go meatless by using frozen plant-based meatballs. Gardein and Impossible brands are easy to find!
  • Use turkey meatballs if you don’t eat beef.
  • Switch up the cheese: Sliced or shredded mozzarella, fresh ricotta, or white American cheese are great options.
  • Make it spicy: Add 1 teaspoon or more crushed red pepper flakes to the crockpot with the marinara to make a spicy sauce.

Meatball Sandwich Topping Ideas

A meatball hoagie is delicious and satisfying on its own. But if you want a little something extra, go ahead and add your favorite toppings.

Think about the topping you like at your favorite sandwich spot. Go wild!

My favorite toppings are: 

  • Mild or spicy pickled peppers 
  • Black olives
  • Vinegar
  • Parmesan cheese
  • Shredded basil or parsley

Step by Step

Dump the bag of meatballs in your slow cooker. Then, dump in the jar of marinara.

Stir them together to coat the meatballs.

Turn that baby on and let ’em cook. They’ll need 3-4 hours on high or 6-8 hours on low. Cook times may vary based on your crockpots temperature.

Once the meatballs are heated, split your sub rolls. It’s easy to do with a serrated bread knife.

Each sub will hold about 8 of the little meatballs. I like to add 2 thin slices of provolone and toast them.

If you like them toasted, pop them in a 350℉ oven for about 5 minutes.

Storage and Reheating

Store leftover meatballs, bread, and cheese separately. Store the meatballs in the refrigerator in a covered container for several days.

Make Ahead Sandwiches

Wrap them in foil and refrigerate until ready to eat. Keep wrapped and reheat for 10-15 minutes @ 350℉. Then, open the foil and continue to heat until hot and toasty.

If you make them ahead, don’t add too much sauce. It can make them soggy. Also, use a sharpie to label the top side of the wrapped sandwich. You’ll want to keep it upright while reheating.

How to Feed a Crowd

Double this recipe in a 6-quart slow cooker and set up a meatball sub sandwich station. A double recipe will yield 16 subs. If you have more people to feed, use more than 1 crockpot.

Cook the meatballs as directed. Once heated, stir them and switch the slow cooker to the warm setting. 

Set up a serving station with split sub rolls, cheese, toppings, and plates. Include your favorite side dishes for meatball subs.

Don’t forget plenty of napkins! 

It’s easiest to skip the toasting step on a buffet line.

Toasted meatball subs on a pan.

Serving Tips

This is the perfect easy 4-ingredient slow cooker dump meal for busy days. Make it when your kid has baseball or softball, and you need an effortless and filling dinner. You can even use a travel crockpot and bring these to the game or tailgating. 

A hot dinner on busy nights. Use the keep warm feature on your slow cooker. Your family can serve themselves on busy evenings when everyone eats at different times.

Perfect for RV camping! I recommend skipping the cheese melting step. Plug in your slow cooker outside the camper and let these babies simmer while you have fun or relax. Serve them up without melting the cheese. Enjoy these meatball subs in the fresh air. No one will care about toasting! 

A take-along meal. Small gatherings, super bowl parties, potlucks, and outdoor events where you can keep the crockpot warm. Bring along sliced watermelon and a bag of chips!

Don’t heat the house. Plug the crockpot on the porch if you’re cooking these on a hot day. That way, you keep the heat outside. Another case for skipping the toasting step!

Remember the sides. Serve a meatball sub with your favorite deli-style salad. They’re delicious with summer veggie pasta salad or 5-minute coleslaw. Or, for a super easy dinner, serve it with potato chips.

A bite out of a homemade meatball sub.

More Sandwich Recipes

Do you love this easy 4-ingredient slow cooker meatball sub recipe? Consider leaving a review using the stars in the recipe card!

Full Recipe


Slow Cooker Meatball Sub Sandwiches (with frozen meatballs!)

Freshly toasted homemade meatball subs made from frozen meatballs.

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These slow-cooker meatball sub sandwiches only need 4 ingredients! Dump frozen meatballs in the crockpot for a delicious, easy, and hearty dinner.

  • Author: Mandi
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 4 hours
  • Total Time: 4 hours 10 minutes
  • Yield: 8 Meatball Subs 1x
  • Category: Sandwiches & Wraps
  • Method: Slow Cook
  • Cuisine: Italian


  • 24 ounce jar of marinara
  • 32-ounce bag of frozen Italian-style meatballs
  • 8 sub rolls
  • 16 slices of thin provolone cheese


  1. Dump the bag of frozen meatballs into the slow cooker. Do not thaw them first. Then, add the jar of marinara sauce and stir to coat
  2. Cook on high for 3-4 hours or low for 6-8 hours.
  3. Once they’ve finished cooking, stir the meatballs.
  4. Use a serrated bread knife to split the sub rolls if they aren’t precut.
  5. Add about 8 small meatballs to the sub, then top with 2 thin slices of marinara.

Optional toasting instructions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350℉.
  2. Place the prepared sub on a baking sheet and bake for about 5 minutes. Until the cheese is melted and the bread starts to turn golden.


  • You can half the recipe and use a 2-quart slow cooker
  • See the full post for more tips for serving and reheating.
  • Some slow cookers cook hotter than others. They may only need 3 hours on high.
  • Store leftover meatballs in the fridge. Or, follow the directions in the post for storing and reheating assembled sandwiches.


  • Serving Size: 1 meatball sub
  • Calories: 685
  • Sugar: 13 g
  • Sodium: 1755.3 mg
  • Fat: 34.5 g
  • Carbohydrates: 65.3 g
  • Fiber: 4.1 g
  • Protein: 30.5 g
  • Cholesterol: 86.4 mg

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Tag @mandiofthemountains on Instagram – I can’t wait to see what you’ve made!

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