Spicy Turkey Meatball Parm Subs- What really matters here is what’s on the inside: spicy turkey meatballs smothered in tomato-basil marinara sauce and melted mozzarella cheese baked in sub, grinder, hero, hoagie, or sandwich rolls.

spicy turkey meatball parm subs

OK, so I confused myself when typing out the title of this post. Here in CT, we call these types of sandwiches grinders. But how many of you have actually heard this term before if you didn’t up or live in New England? 

I know some of you guys call them hoagies too and there are probably a few other names that I’ve never before as well. I grew up on Long Island, NY calling them subs or heroes and the “grinder” completely baffled me when I started college in New Haven so many years ago.

spicy turkey meatball parm subs

But the name is neither here nor there! 

What really matters here is what’s on the inside: spicy turkey meatballs smothered in tomato-basil marinara sauce and melted mozzarella cheese.  OMG these meatballs are our faaaavorite meatballs!

After a 5 hour drive back from northern Vermont today to see my BFF since middle school and her sweet family, this was the best dinner I could have asked for. When Kyle reminded me what we were having for dinner early on in my trip, it was almost all I could think about the rest of the way!

The Best Kind of Cheese for Turkey Meatball Parm Subs

OK, so let’s talk about cheese for these subs. You want cheese that melts deliciously into the meatballs when you bake the subs in the oven. Because melty cheese is ALWAYS the best kind of cheese!

For this recipe I used part-skim mozzarella cheese. I cut thin slices from the block of cheese. This was a time-saving idea (shredding cheese is not always quick) and the slices made for neater sandwich prep.

I simply laid the cheese slices atop the meatballs and sauce before I baked the subs. There was no mess from the shredded cheese being accidentally sprinkled all over the baking sheet. You know what I mean?

If you want to use shredded mozzarella, I won’t shame you for it – that’s perfectly fine too! Even pre-shredded mozzarella cheese sold in a bag would work well here since it melts nicely.

Whole-milk mozzarella is, of course, a delicious variety of cheese to use too. Because it’s a full-fat, whole milk cheese, it tends to melt with a little extra grease. So be aware if you’re going to use this for subs.

Another kind of cheese you could use for these subs is provolone. Oh my good lord! Provolone is SUCH a great cheese for melting and its sharp flavor tastes great with meatballs! We often make these subs with a blend of half provolone and half mozzarella slices and they always turn out so so delicious!

What kind of meatballs to use for meatball subs?

Obviously, we made these subs with spicy turkey meatballs. And coming from the Italian girl I am, you just cannot beat the taste of homemade meatballs.

However, if turkey meatballs aren’t your thing, here are a few substitution suggestions to use for meatball parm subs:

  • Meatball parm subs with chicken parm meatballs. And to take those chicken meatballs to another level, let me point you to these garlic bread meatball parm subs
  • Meatball parm subs with vegan meatballs. Just swap out the regular mozzarella cheese for vegan mozzarella!
  • Meatball parm subs with Italian meatballs. So much classic Italian food going on here!

We always keep a bag of homemade meatballs in the freezer for quick dinners like this one and within 20 minutes of emptying the car of my bags and goodies, this outstanding dinner was on the coffee table with a movie on and my feet up. 

What an awesome way to end a great weekend!

Spicy Turkey Meatball Parm Subs

Spicy Turkey Meatball Parm Subs

Yield: 4 sandwiches
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 12 minutes
Total Time: 27 minutes

Spicy turkey meatball parm subs are completely adaptable to your favorite meatball flavor. You can tone down the spiciness or use another meatball recipe altogether! Vegetarian or vegan meatballs with vegan mozzarella would be great as would my chicken parm meatballs! These subs make a delicious, quick, and filling weeknight meal especially when paired with a salad on the side.


  • 8 spicy turkey meatballs (about 1 ½-inches in diameter)
  • 1 cup marinara sauce
  • 4 6-inch sub, grinder, hero, or hoagie rolls
  • 2 tbsp Parmesan cheese
  • 8 oz part-skim mozzarella cheese, sliced ¼ -inch thick


  1. Preheat the oven to 400° F. In a medium sauce pan, heat the meatballs and sauce over medium-low heat until the meatballs are heated through, about 10 minutes. Remove the meatballs from the sauce and slice each in half.
  2. Slice rolls horizontally almost all the way through the roll, taking care not the split the back edge. Divide the sliced meatballs between all of the rolls. Top with sauce, Parmesan, and mozzarella cheese. Place the subs, with the cheese facing up, on a baking sheet - you can line it with parchment or aluminum foil for easy clean-up if you'd like.
  3. Bake for 10-12 minutes until the cheese is completely melted and starting to lightly brown on the tops and edges. Allow the subs to cool for a few minutes before serving - they will be hot!

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Leave a Comment

  • June 25, 2012 at 5:18 AM

    That looks delicious. I love meatballs. I have been making turkey ones lately to change it up and lighten it. I see your recipe is from Ina Garten. I have that book, and I will definitely give it a try. I love that book! I freeze meatballs all the time and also sauce. Love the idea of the other meats in with the turkey. I read somewhere that the reason the shredded cheese don’t melt well is that they coat it with something. Glad to see you found that to be true also.

  • Krissy@DaintyChef
    June 25, 2012 at 8:26 AM

    I love turkey meatballs and I know my husband would love your spicy version. A meatball sub is always so satisfying no matter what day of the week it is, I wish I remembered to make them more often.

  • June 25, 2012 at 3:59 PM

    I don’t even like meatballs, but this recipe & pictures have my mouth watering!! Looks delicious!

  • June 25, 2012 at 5:53 PM

    Mmmm, this looks SO good! I love meatball subs, and a great idea to make it healthier with turkey meatballs.