Chicken Parmesan Meatball Subs |

Chicken Parmesan Meatball Subs

This post was originally published here on January 21, 2014. I’ve since adjusted the recipe instructions slightly. And I’ve updated the text and photographs to reflect those changes.

Get out the napkins! Because you’re probably going to need a few for these saucy and cheesy Chicken Parmesan Meatball Subs!

These Chicken Parmesan Meatball Subs are so satisfying and delicious. I’ve been making them for over 10 years and I have yet to find another meatball sub recipe that I love more. The meatballs are incredibly tender and flavorful. So don’t go assuming they are bland or dry just because they’re made with ground chicken. I promise you’ll find them equally tasty and juicy!

These Chicken Parmesan Meatball Subs also do all the things. They are equally well suited for a quick weeknight dinner, because they are ready in 30 minutes. I’ve also been known to serve them as part of a party/game day spread. Kids love them. Adults love them. The leftovers are awesome. I could go on! I have so many accolades for these subs!

Chicken Parmesan Meatball Subs |

Because I’ve been making these subs for so many years, I’ve really dialed in the final sub assembly process so that the bread doesn’t get instantly soggy and fall apart. I don’t want that to happen to you. We don’t have enough napkins for that! So I’ve broken-up with the more traditional sub rolls and I’ve opted-in for split top buns. Split top buns are sometimes referred to a New England-style buns. They stand upright on their own. And as the name implies, they are sliced from the top instead of from the side. This makes it so much easier to assemble multiple sandwiches at once. And the risk of the bread “hinge” breaking down/apart isn’t an issue.

My other “trick” is to line the inside bottom/sides of the subs with cheese, melt it under the broiler, then add the meatballs and a spoonful of sauce. The melted cheese creates a perfect barrier to the sauce, helping the subs stay intact. Most meatballs subs have the cheese on top of the meatballs, which I’ve never understood. This way just makes so much more sense to me.

If you try out my Chicken Parmesan Meatball Subs please let me know. I’d love to hear about it!



Chicken Parmesan Meatball Subs

Chicken Parmesan Meatball Subs

At a Glance:
Yield: Makes 6 subs
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes


For the Chicken Meatballs:

  • 1 lb ground chicken
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup seasoned bread crumbs
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 cup fresh parsley, roughly chopped
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp. fennel seeds
  • 1/2 tsp. dried oregano

For the Sauce:

  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled and minces
  • 1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes
  • 1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup chicken stock
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil, roughly chopped
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. black pepper

For the Subs:

  • 6 split top buns
  • 6 slices provolone cheese
  • Grated Parmesan cheese
  • Fresh basil


  1. Pre-heat your oven to 425 degrees. Spray a large rimmed baking sheet with non-stick spray and set aside.
  2. To make the meatballs, add all the ingredients to a large bowl and mix until everything is just combined. Do not overmix. Using your hands, gently roll and shape the meatball mixture into balls, using about 1 1/2 tablespoons of meatball mixture per ball. Keeping your hands moist with a little bit of water will prevent the meatball mixture from sticking to your hands. Place the meatballs on your prepared baking sheet. You should have 18-20 meatballs. Transfer to your pre-heated oven and bake for 15 minutes. 
  3. Meanwhile, make the sauce. In a large heavy bottom pot, warm the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the garlic and red pepper flakes and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the crushed tomatoes, chicken stock, basil, salt and pepper. Bring the sauce to a simmer and cook for 5 minutes.
  4. Once the meatballs have finished baking, transfer them to the simmering sauce and let them cook in the sauce for 3-5 minutes. Remove from the heat and set aside.
  5. To assemble the subs, pre-heat your broiler to high. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil. Place the buns on your prepared baking sheet and lay a slice of provolone cheese inside each bun, cutting the cheese to fit, if necessary. Slide the baking sheet under your broiler for 1-2 minutes, or just until the cheese is melted and the buns are lightly toasted. Watch them carefully!
  6. Remove the baking sheet from under your broiler. Add three meatballs to each sub, plus a spoonful of the sauce, and top with a little Parmesan cheese and fresh basil. Enjoy immediately.
  7. Leftover meatballs can be stored in an airtight container in your refrigerator for 2-3 days.


Recipe adapted from Rachel Ray.

2 comments on “Chicken Parmesan Meatball Subs”

  1. How am I just seeing this?! OMG! Pinning immediately. YUM!

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