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Open-Faced Meatball Sub for a Crowd

  • Author: Molly
  • Total Time: 1 hour
  • Yield: 8-10 servings 1x


These Open-Faced Meatball Subs for a Crowd are the perfect thing to make for parties or tailgates! Huge meatball subs, served open face and family style, are so hearty and delicious! They are much easier than making individual sandwiches as well.


  • ½ batch classic meatballs
  • 1 large loaf of crusty bread (French, Italian, ciabatta, etc).
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon garlic salt
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon dried Italian herbs
  • 1½ cups marinara sauce
  • 2 cups grated mozzarella cheese
  • ½ cup grated pecorino or parmesan cheese
  • Fresh herbs, such as basil or parsley, for serving


  1. First, prep your meatballs according to this recipe. We only need half the batch of meatballs for this recipe (you can halve the recipe or make the full recipe and save half for another use).
  2. Once the meatballs are ready, increase the oven temperature to 425°F and line a large baking sheet with parchment or foil.
  3. Halve your bread lengthwise, and using your hands, gently pull out some of the middle of the bread, ensuring that you don’t go too close to the edge. We want to create a hollow area in the center of the bread so the meatballs have a place to sit. Place the bread halves, cut side up, on the baking sheet.
  4. In a small bowl, melt the butter in the microwave. Stir in the olive oil. Brush the mixture all over the two bread halves and sprinkle evenly with the garlic salt, garlic powder, and dried herbs.
  5. Bake for 10 minutes or until the bread is crisp and golden.
  6. Spread a couple tablespoons of marinara on the bread halves. Top each half with the meatballs, followed by the remaining sauce, the mozzarella, and the pecorino/parmesan.
  7. Return the bread to the oven and bake for another 10-15 minutes or until the cheese is melted, gooey, and lightly browned in spots.
  8. Allow to cool for a few minutes before slicing into big wedges. Garnish with additional pecorino/parmesan and fresh herbs and serve while warm. I love to serve this family style on a large cutting board or platter with a side of marinara for optional dipping.


  • Feel free to use store-bought meatballs for this recipe, if you prefer. You can also switch up the cheeses. Shredded provolone would be amazing here!
  • These can be made ahead and kept in the fridge (or freezer). I recommend making the meatballs and garlic bread, assembling the subs completely, and then wrapping well in plastic wrap and foil. If baking from fridge, add 5 minutes to baking time. If baking from freezer, add 15 minutes to baking time.
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 45 minutes (includes making the meatballs)
  • Category: sandwiches

Keywords: tailgate recipes, meatball subs for a crowd, open-faced meatball sub sandwich, meatball sub sandwich