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I have been making Italian meatballs in marinara for years. I lLOVE spaghetti and I LOVE a good meatball sub! I have worked on these meatballs and sauce for years. I’ve taken away and added and learned from others. Now I think they are the best they’ve ever been!

Serve them during the appetizer or antipasto course on a platter with toothpicks, or on pasta or in a sub sandwich. They are super easy to freeze, and they are awesome to have on hand ready to go!

Start with 2 pounds of ground lean beef. Sometimes I do 1 lb. beef and 1 lb. sausage.

Add in all the ingredients. If doing Gluten free then use gluten free bread crumbs.

I wear gloves and use my hands to combine all the ingredients.

Use a scoop, I use my 2-inch scoop, to form the meatballs.

Put on baking sheet on the second rack down under the broiler for 15 minutes.

While the meatballs are cooking, start the sauce.

In a heavy hot pot, drizzle some oil. Add in the minced onion and garlic.

Add in 3 large cans of crushed tomatoes.

Add in the rest of the sauce ingredients. Taste to know if it needs more of anything.

Simmer for about 20 minutes. Add in the cooked meatballs.

I LOVE to double this or just freeze whatever is left. Maybe eat spaghetti tonight. Freeze the rest to do meatball subs in 2 weeks.

Freeze flat in a gallon sized Ziploc bag. Thaw completely before heating or be very careful while stirring half thawed so the meatballs don’t crumble.
Spaghetti and Meatballs
Meatball Sub

Italian Meatballs

Versatile meatballs can be used on pasta, in a sub sandwich or in a dish with toothpicks as an appetizer. Always a good idea to double and freeze a bunch for later.
Prep Time 25 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Course dinner, Main Course
Cuisine American, Italian



  • 2 lbs ground meat, lean ground beef recommended Sometimes I mix in Italian sausage. Also, turkey can be used.
  • 1 cup Panko bread crumbs
  • 1-2 Tbsp garlic clove, minced
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 cup parmesan
  • ¼ cup dried onion
  • 2 Tbsp dried Italian seasoning
  • 2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 tsp ground black pepper

Marinara Sauce

  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 3 28 oz. cans of crushed tomatoes
  • 1 sweet onion, minced
  • 3-4 Tbsp garlic, minced
  • 3 Tbsp dried Italian seasoning sometimes I add basil when I'm in a basil mood.
  • 1 Tbsp sugar
  • 2 tsp Kosher salt
  • 1-2 shakes cayenne pepper

Options For Serving

  • 1 lb. pasta, cooked
  • Mini sub, or sandwich rolls
  • shredded mozzarella
  • fresh parmesan



  • In a large mixing bowl combine all the meatball ingredients. I wear gloves and use my hands to combine all ingredients well.
  • Prep a large baking sheet by spraying lightly with olive or canola oil.
  • Use a scoop, I use my 2-inch scoop, to shape into evenly sized meatballs onto the baking sheet.
  • Place the oven rack one down from the top. Place the sheet in the oven with the broiler on, and the oven door cracked open. Broil for 15 minutes.
  • When finished, scoop into the prepared marinara or cool on paper towels then freeze in a gallon sized freezer bag. We always eat some and freeze the rest.

Marinara Sauce

  • In a hot pot, drizzle in the oil. Add in the garlic and onion. Sauté for a few minutes.
  • Add in the canned crushed tomatoes and all the seasonings.
  • Stir occasionally while simmering for about 20 minutes. Taste before adding the meatballs to see if it needs more salt, or anything else.
  • Add in the cooked meatballs. You can freeze the meatballs on their own, or in the sauce.
  • Serve in a dish with toothpicks as an appetizer or antipasto course. Serve on Pasta with fresh parmesan. Or serve in a sub sandwich with mozzarella.
Keyword appetizer, burreta pasta, Marinara, meatballs, Sandwiches, spaghetti, Subs