What To Serve With Meatball Subs? [Sauces, Desserts,& More]

For those who enjoy warm, hearty sandwiches, meatball subs are the way to go!

Meatball subs are usually long Italian-style rolls with 3-4 juicy meatballs– or as many as they can hold– topped with sauce and cheese. 

While the traditional meatball sub has marinara sauce and mozzarella, you shouldn’t feel confined by convention.

So if you are wondering what to serve with your meatball sub, there are many options to enhance your sub and create a complete, flavorful meal!

The best cheeses for meatball subs are parmesan, mozzarella, and provolone because they are mild and melt well. Ideal sauces include marinara and Swedish meatball sauce to add flavor and keep the sub together. Baked beans go well with BBQ meatball subs and baked potatoes with chicken meatball subs.

To create a full dinner, good side dishes are mixed greens and tomato soup.

The ideal meatball sub party menu would include biscuit meatball sandwiches and salted potato chips.   

Meatball sandwiches seem straightforward, but there are many ways to spice up this delicious sandwich! Read on to find the tasty, irresistible options that appeal to you most.  

What Goes On A Meatball Sub

We already know these hearty subs come with long bread rolls and tasty meatballs, but you definitely need cheese and sauce to complete them!

You can get as creative as you’d like with the add-ons. However, these are some of my favorite options to bring the flavors and fillings alive.  

What Kind Of Cheese Goes On Meatball Subs


This hard, dense cheese goes excellently with Italian-style subs. The nutty, salty flavors complement traditional marinara sauce and beef meatball subs well. 

Despite its gritty texture, it actually melts well when heated– so you don’t have to worry about contents shifting as the sub flies into your mouth! 

Powdered parmesan cheeses, like the Kraft brand version, is not technically real parmesan.

However, it’s also delicious sprinkled atop your meatball sub! Whether real or the American Kraft variety, parmesan cheese is an excellent choice.  


Mozzarella is a pizza-topping for a reason. It melts beautifully with an elasticity that keeps everything beneath it in place. 

If you have extra toppings such as veggies or jalapenos, try melting the cheese at the very end. It’ll mold all the components tightly together for tasty, flavorful bites. 


This cheese has a slightly stronger flavor but doesn’t overpower the sub. If you want a sharper cheese to get those taste buds tingling, provolone is the choice for you. 

It adds a nice, nutty element to the softer flavors of bread. The cheese is more intense and taste when melted– and heating this sub seems like a given! 

What Kind Of Sauce Goes With Meatball Subs

Marinara Sauce

Keep it classic! 

Tomatoes, garlic, onions, and herbs combine to make this classic Italian sauce. Marinara sauce is the obvious choice for a meatball sub, but by no means boring!

Its flavor and thick texture go so well in the sub and bring out the flavor of the Italian seasonings in the meat.    

Bechamel Sauce

With a fancy name and taste, you’d expect Bechamel sauce to be complex. However, it’s made of everyday ingredients combined simply but intentionally. How French!

Bechamel sauce consists of milk and roux, a mixture of flour and fat heated together. The roux thickens the sauce and gives the sub an extra creamy texture.

It complements drier ingredients and gives the sub that wow factor– you’re not quite sure why it tastes so good but it does!   

Swedish Meatball Sauce

Swedes do sauce right! 

Swedish meatball sauce is creamy and salty– bordering on that umami quality you just can’t place.

Chicken broth and beef bouillon complement the meaty elements of the sub sandwich. 

If you want to enhance the heavier elements of the meatball sub sandwich, add some Swedish meatball sauce. You won’t regret it!   

What Is A Good Side Dish For Sub Sandwiches

Most people assume meatballs are made of ground beef– and they wouldn’t be wrong! But meatballs can come in many varieties that create different tastes and textures.

To find the best sides for each particular meat, check out these side dishes for bbq and chicken meatball subs. 

What To Serve With BBQ Meatball Subs

Baked Beans

Both baked beans and BBQ meatballs have barbecue sauce in the mix. It’s the perfect pairing to enhance that sweet and savory profile. 

Canned baked beans will do well in this dish. You can serve it as a side dish, but I’d be tempted to pour the beans straight into the sub itself! 

Roasted Butternut Squash

Another sweet and savory flavor bomb, butternut squash is an excellent accompaniment to BBQ meatball subs.

The texture is soft but dense and topped with melted butter and black pepper, it adds a deliciously peppery element next to the sandwich. 

Sometimes you just want a hearty and hot side to go with your meatball sub! It’s a good choice if you want something similar to fries, but on the healthier side. 

Fried Breaded Zucchini Strips

Zucchino meets french fries in this healthy but still indulgent side! 

A meatball sub supplies a good amount of starch, protein, and fat, but it’s lacking in veg.

That’s what makes fried, breaded zucchini sticks a complimentary and delicious choice.

The finger food quality complements the handheld convenience of a sandwich, and with the soft but crispy zucchini, you won’t be skimping on flavor. 

Ideal Dishes To Serve With Chicken Meatball Subs

Sauteed Spinach

The chicken meatballs are on the lighter side as far as these subs are concerned. If you’d like to keep your meal light and healthy, opt for sauteed spinach as a side dish.

Sauteed Spinach Plate

Combining sauteed spinach with a meatball sub complements the nutrition and flavors of each.

The sub’s cheesiness helps smooth out the bitter elements of spinach, while these tasty greens add rich minerals and vitamins you can get from nutrient-dense veggies.  

Brussel Sprouts & Bacon

Who doesn’t love bacon? Seriously, the rich, decadent meat adds so much flavor to anything it’s cooked with– in this case, brussel sprouts! 

While not everyone loves brussel sprouts, I’d recommend they give this combo a try. You might surprise yourself and get a healthy dose of veggies in the process.

Brussel sprouts and bacon help turn a meatball sub into a meal. The scrumptiously fatty bacon balances out the milder chicken.

Not to mention the crunchy texture of bacon and brussel sprouts adds a nice element to the softer sandwich.

Baked Potatoes

Keeping it simple is not a bad thing! Baked potatoes are a staple in many meals because they’re so versatile and can go with anything. 

Baked potatoes go well with chicken meatball subs. The simplicity of the potato won’t overpower the main attraction.

However, you can add salt, cheese, or even marinara sauce to enhance those meatball sub flavors further.

What Goes With Meatball Subs For Dinner

Sandwiches are a meal in themselves! They are an easy option for lunch breaks and busy days.

However, there’s no reason not to turn them into a sit-down dining experience. Combine one of these delicious sides to turn your simple sub into a complete and satisfying dinner. 

What Sides To Eat With Meatball Subs

Miso-Glazed Eggplant

It’s no wonder the word umami is Japanese when they have side dishes like this.

Miso-glazed eggplant has all the flavors in one– the sweetness of grilled veggies, the saltiness of miso, nuttiness of sesame seeds…I could go on. 

This side dish may lack cheese and meat which is where the meatball subs come in!

Combined, these dishes complement each other well. They give you all the flavors you’re looking for in two tasty recipes. 

Mixed Green Salad

If you’re looking for a lighter dinner option, mixed green salads make an excellent accompaniment to meatball subs.

Toss some romaine, arugula, and radicchio together with a light vinaigrette. The slight acidity of the salad helps break down the meat in the sub. 

The mixed greens also provide a refreshing crunch next to the heartier sandwich.

Break up the meal by taking bites of the salad throughout. Your digestion as well as your taste buds will thank you!

Pasta Salad

What goes better with an Italian sub than another Italian staple? 

We are used to seeing meatballs on pasta. The soft, chewy texture of the pasta complements the dense and flavorful meatballs.

While the pasta salad and sub are separate, the textures still pair nicely throughout a meal. 

Try a simple pasta salad with tomatoes, onions, feta, and olive oil and vinegar dressing.

Farfalle and fusilli are my favorite pasta options because they’re naturally bite-sized and easy to mix in with other ingredients. 

What Veggies To Serve With Meatball Subs


Adjapsandali is a sub-perb side dish in so many ways. This traditional Georgian dish is made with a number of different veggies including eggplant, tomatoes, onions, and zucchini to give you a variety of nutrients.

Although it can take some time to let the veggies stew slowly, the process isn’t overly complicated.

It gives you that acidic, herby flavor of stewed veggies with a soft, jammy texture— the perfect accompaniment to rich and meaty subs.  

Glazed Carrots

If you like your veggies slightly sweet, carrots are an excellent option! Glazing them enhances that caramelized quality even more. 

Roasted Parmesan Broccoli  

Parmesan cheese is a delicious addition to both meatballs and broccoli. This salty, nutty cheese ties the sub to the veggies perfectly.

Roasted Parmesan Broccoli  

They are simple to make as well. Toss the broccoli florets with olive oil and salt, lay on a baking tray, and generously sprinkle parmesan cheese.

Let them bake for about 20 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and the broccoli is golden brown on the edges. 

What Soup Goes With Meatball Subs

Tomato Soup

The tangy, acidic tomatoes cut through the meaty sandwich. It’s an excellent pairing that can be enjoyed in separate bites, or by dipping the meatball sub straight into the soup. 

I like my meatball subs extra saucy, while my family does not. This is the perfect compromise as you can each choose to use the soup as an extra condiment or eat them apart.  

Cream of Broccoli Soup

Cream of broccoli soup is salty, buttery, and full of flavor. The cream softens the flavors of broccoli so you get all the health benefits with a smoother texture and taste.

Meatball subs have a lot going on for a sandwich— in the best way possible. This cream of broccoli soup helps balance it out with soft, mild yet salty notes.

You can even use the sandwich as a dunker to mix the complementary flavors. 


This is an Italian soup and salad combo that go perfectly together! 

Minestrone is packed with veggies but still has a hearty, home-cooked vibe. The saltiness brings out the flavors in both the soup and the meat.

Both dishes tend to use Italian herbs, creating a complementary sensation of garlic, onion, and oregano on the tongue. 

What Dessert Goes With Meatball Subs


Cheesecake pairs well with meaty, savory subs. The creaminess of cheesecake is the perfect transition to dessert.

It brings out the cheese in the sub while giving your tastebuds the sweetness they crave at the end of a meal. 

Strawberry Shortcake

After a hearty, meatball sub sandwich, you sometimes want something light, fresh, and sweet.

Strawberry shortcake is an easy, tasty option! It won’t weigh you down but gives you a nice sweet boost.

Layer the cake with whipped cream and strawberries, and add some strawberry syrup on top for extra flavor!


After meatballs, try some ice-cream balls! It’s a fun way to transition from savory to sweet. They are an appealing combo because they both have rich, creamy flavors. 

Plus, ice cream is versatile. I like a classic chocolate and vanilla mixture, but feel free to go wild with the flavors.

Serve with chocolate sauce and toppings to let your guests get involved. It’s an all-time family favorite for dessert.

Meatball Sub Party Menu

It’s time to party! Meatball subs are a great choice for any party. However, it’s not always easy or appealing to eat a long sandwich while walking around and mingling.

Here, I’ve collected my favorite twists on the classic meatball sub, along with the best chips for your next party! 

Meatball Sandwiches For A Crowd

Meatball Biscuits

Biscuits are a great party snack! Buttery biscuits enhance the rich, savory flavors of the meatballs. They’re single-serving sized and pair well with saucy sandwich fillings.

After baking the biscuits, slice them open and fill it with 1-2 meatballs, sauce, and cheese. Your party-goers will be sure to thank you!

Open-Faced Meatball Subs

While I love subs, I prefer a higher meat-to-bread ratio. This is where open-faced sandwiches come in! 

It’ll be a bit easier for guests to bite. Less bread also brings out the meat and sauce flavors more.

Try slicing the meatballs in half so the flat portion sits nicely atop a piece of bread. Add sauce and cheese, and bake in the oven to let everything melt together perfectly. 

Meatball Sub Bagel-Bites

Bagel Bites are a cute way to present your meatball sandwiches. They are great for parties because they are bite-sized– okay, big bites, but still bites nonetheless!

Both kids and adults are drawn to the friendly presentation of these meatballs. 

Heta up some bagel bites, add a meatball and goodies to each and pop them back in the oven to warm it all up. 

What Chips Go With A Meatball Sub

Tortilla Chips

Tortilla chips are a party planner’s staple. The saltiness is satisfying and complements many other savory dishes like meatball subs!

They are also naturally gluten-free, so you won’t need to worry about guests’ dietary restrictions. 

Classic Salted Potato Chips

Salted potato chips and meatball subs are a natural duo. Salty and savory, these two classics pair perfectly together.

The crispy chips offset the soft texture of the bread and meatball sub. 

They are also easy to find just about anywhere! Grab a bag of your favorite brand, pour the chips into a serving bowl, and you’re good to go! 

Sour Cream and Onion Flavored Chips

This is one of my all-time favorite chip varieties. Sour cream and onion add a unique flavor to any meal.

They’ve got creamy and aromatic notes to blend with dips and sandwiches of all kinds. 

Guests are always happy to see a bowl of these at parties. Give them a pleasant surprise with a less-expected chip option. Their taste buds will thank you!

Final Thoughts

Just thinking about these meatball subs makes my mouth water! Italian Americans knew what they were doing when they created this combo.

The traditional sub never gets old, with beef meatballs, marinara sauce, and cheese coming together perfectly. 

However– there are so many directions a meatball sub can take! Let your tastebuds explore the various cheeses, sauces, and sides to choose from.

I’m sure you’ll find the right mixture of ingredients and sides to satisfy that appetite!   

Leave a Comment