Slow Cooker Meatball Sub Sandwiches

Hope y’all aren’t tired of crock pot recipes yet, because I’ve got another slow cooker sensation to share with you today!

Slow Cooker Meatball Sub Sandwiches ~ meatballs cook up in the crock pot to top tasty and effortless subs | {Five Heart Home}This week is going to be a busy one around these parts. Our baby girl is turning one on Thursday, so on top of our usual hectic schedule, I’ll be in full party planning mode for the next few days.

ONE. I can hardly believe it. The past year has flown by. And to be perfectly honest, I’m already feeling like a big, sentimental sap at the thought of my baby no longer qualifying as a baby. Our family has been so blessed to have had this sweet little angel in our lives for almost a whole year now, and to say that we all adore her would be the understatement of the decade. Her big brothers absolutely dote on her, she has her daddy utterly and indescribably wrapped around her chubby little finger, and I think my sweet, ever-present companion is pretty much perfect. I just can’t believe that her baby days are already about to be behind us…slow down, time!

Slow Cooker Meatball Sub Sandwiches ~ meatballs cook up in the crock pot to top tasty and effortless subs | {Five Heart Home}However, instead of talking about what a sappy mushball I am, let’s focus on meatballs, shall we? With a big, pink birthday party to prepare for this week, I won’t have much time to devote to making dinners. But that doesn’t mean I want to fall back on take-out. Instead, my trusty crock pot will be earning its keep once again.

Slow Cooker Meatball Sub Sandwiches ~ meatballs cook up in the crock pot to top tasty and effortless subs | {Five Heart Home}This recipe is always a hit with every member of my family, from small to tall. After all, who doesn’t love a good meatball sub? And this version is truly effortless. Just mix a few ingredients into a pound of ground beef (or turkey, if you prefer), form your mixture into meatballs, toss them in the slow cooker with whatever pasta sauce you have handy (homemade or jarred sauce both work great), and forget about it for the rest of the day. When it’s time for dinner, you’ll have juicy meatballs and savory sauce to pile on rolls and top with gooey, melted cheese. A simple veggie and/or side salad round out this quick meal and dinner is served!

Slow Cooker Meatball Sub Sandwiches ~ meatballs cook up in the crock pot to top tasty and effortless subs | {Five Heart Home}It’s doesn’t get any easier — or tastier — than that, folks. I hope this recipe becomes a regular, popular part of your dinner rotation during those busy weeks that I know you have as well!

And one last thing…please send some positive vibes to me come Thursday, that I don’t find myself crying sentimental tears in a sweet little someone’s first ever cupcake. πŸ˜‰

Slow Cooker Meatball Sub Sandwiches

Yield: 4 servings

Slow Cooker Meatball Sub Sandwiches

Meatballs and pasta sauce cook up in the crock pot and are paired with gooey mozzarella cheese on toasty rolls in this recipe for effortless meatball subs.


  • 1 pound lean ground beef (OR ground turkey)
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup Italian bread crumbs
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 jar pasta sauce (OR about 24 ounces homemade pasta sauce)
  • 4 submarine/hoagie/Italian rolls (about 6 inches long each)
  • 1 cup (4 ounces) shredded mozzarella cheese
  • Grated Parmesan cheese, optional


  1. In a medium bowl, combine ground beef with egg, bread crumbs, garlic powder, salt, and pepper. Mix with hands or a large spoon until all ingredients are well incorporated.
  2. Form mixture into 12 meatballs, taking care not to make them too compact. Place meatballs in the bottom of slow cooker. Pour pasta sauce over meatballs, making sure that each one is completely covered.
  3. Cook on low for 8 hours (or on high for 4 hours) or until meatballs are done. (Check sooner if your slow cooker runs hot, as meatballs may cook faster and sauce may turn a bit dark around the edges.)
  4. To serve, halve each roll lengthwise and place 3 meatballs inside. Sprinkle with mozzarella cheese. The hot meatballs should cause the cheese to melt, but if not, you may place sandwiches under the oven broiler for a minute to melt cheese completely. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese, if desired, and serve hot.


To make my own Italian bread crumbs, I save the end slices from loaves of whole wheat bread, tear them into chunks, and blend them in the food processor with a generous amount of dried basil, oregano, parsley, and thyme until fine crumbs are formed.

You may toast your rolls before topping with meatballs and cheese, if desired.

Be sure to use lean ground meat in order to avoid excess fat in your sauce.

Recipe Management Powered by Zip Recipes Plugin

Adapted from Rival Crock Pot: 3 Books in 1.

More easy slow cooker dinners

Slow Cooker Chicken & Black Bean Tacos
Slow Cooker Chicken and Black Bean Tacos ~ let your crock pot do all of the work on your next taco night! | FiveHeartHome.com

Slow Cooker Balsamic & Herb Beef Stew with Cornbread Waffles
Slow Cooker Balsamic & Herb Beef Stew with Cornbread Waffles | FiveHeartHome.com

Slow Cooker Chicken & White Bean Chili
Slow Cooker / Crock Pot Chicken and White Bean Chili ~ garnish with cilantro, tortilla chips, cheese, avocado chunks, salsa, etc. | {Five Heart Home}

Slow Cooker French Dip Sandwich Au Jus
Slow Cooker French Dip Sandwich Au Jus | {Five Heart Home}

Slow Cooker Brown Sugar Ham
Slow Cooker Brown Sugar Ham ~ an effortless way to cook your Easter ham with a glaze of pineapple juice, brown sugar, balsamic vinegar, Dijon, and honey | FiveHeartHome.com

And see all of our recipes <<< HERE!

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I always love hearing from you! ~ samantha {at} five heart home {dot} com

This post may be linked up to House of Rose, 4 Little Fergusons, and these fabulous parties!



  1. This looks awesome! I love finding new dinner ideas and this looks easy and delicious. I’m visiting from Give Me The Goods Monday & pinning this now!
    Happy birthday to your little one! I know what you mean about your baby growing up. My son is turning 2 in December (which is great) but I don’t like the fact that he’s not a baby anymore! Looks like we’ll have to have a mommy pity party!

    • Samantha at Five Heart Home Samantha at Five Heart Home says:

      Thanks so much, Carrie, for the pin and the mama commiseration! I realize how blessed I am to have healthy kiddos, but the baby days are so sweet that it’s hard to watch them fly by so quickly. But I know that the next stage will be just as fun… πŸ™‚ I really appreciate you stopping by!

  2. Those look delicious! I never think to make meatball sandwiches, and I have no idea why? πŸ™‚ They look so simple, I need to give them a try!

    • Samantha at Five Heart Home Samantha at Five Heart Home says:

      Thank you, Lisa! They are so yummy and SO simple…I hope you enjoy them if you end up trying them! Have a great night… πŸ™‚

  3. Stopping by from Two Cup Tuesday and wanted to check out these fabulous looking Meatball Subs. Our family has football practice a few nights a week now, so Slow Cooker meals are essential. Thanks for the great meal idea!

    • Samantha at Five Heart Home Samantha at Five Heart Home says:

      You’re so welcome, Erin…I’m glad you stopped by! I think this would be a perfect meal for a football practice night. And I’m with you…I don’t know what I would do without my slow cooker this time of year!

  4. This looks really good! Happy birthday to your little girl!

    • Samantha at Five Heart Home Samantha at Five Heart Home says:

      Thank you, Melanie…I hope you enjoy the recipe and I really appreciate your birthday wishes! πŸ™‚

  5. This looks so delicious. I love cooking meatballs in the crockpot for subs when we have football parties!

    • Samantha at Five Heart Home Samantha at Five Heart Home says:

      Thanks, Shannah! Aren’t crock pots fantastic?! I’ve only ever made this as a meal for my family, but what a great idea to do a big batch of meatballs for party sandwiches! Thanks for the comment… πŸ™‚

  6. oh my goodness,my kids LOVE meatball subs, I had no idea you could do it in a slow cooker…LOVE this idea

    • Samantha at Five Heart Home Samantha at Five Heart Home says:

      Thanks, Heather! I’ve gotten spoiled making these in the slow cooker…it’s the way to go if you’re short on time!

  7. Aw! Happy Birthday, baby girl! They grow too fast, don’t they?! These meatball subs look scrumptious. Pinning so I can put my crock pot to work! Enjoy celebrating your little girl’s special day tomorrow!

    ~Abby =)

    • Samantha at Five Heart Home Samantha at Five Heart Home says:

      Thank you so much, Abby. I can’t believe she’s already 1…they really do grow way too fast! Hope you enjoy these subs. I appreciate your sweet comment and the pin!

      By the way, your new blog theme looks fantastic…I’ve seen it from my phone but I can’t wait to explore it soon on my laptop! Hope you’re having a great week… πŸ™‚

  8. These sound so tasty! And in the crockpot to boot! Love it! Thank you for sharing!

  9. They look delicious! My daughter makes these during football season and the men love them. Ironically I have never gotten her recipe so now I have one! stopping by from the Wednesday Extravaganza to follow. Love your blog.
    Terri Henkels

    • Samantha at Five Heart Home Samantha at Five Heart Home says:

      Thanks so much for the kind words, Terri! I’m sure your daughter’s recipe is delicious…I hope you enjoy this version, too! πŸ™‚ Hopping over to check out your site now. I appreciate you stopping by!

  10. Happy birthday little girl! She’ll be in the kitchen helping prepare food before you know……time goes so fast. My baby is getting married this week and is 31 yrs old……….Where did all the time go. Your dinner looks so tasty. Love easy and tasty meals like Meatball subs……………..Andi

    • Samantha at Five Heart Home Samantha at Five Heart Home says:

      Thank you, Andi! Hope you enjoy the recipe. And congratulations on your daughter’s wedding this week!!! Time really does fly…it makes me happy to watch my kids grow and change but sad at how quickly it all goes by!

  11. Those look good! I love my slow cooker, it feels like someone else did all the work:)

    • Samantha at Five Heart Home Samantha at Five Heart Home says:

      I love my slow cooker for the same reason, Tiffany! It’s so worth the few minutes it takes in the morning to have dinner ready to go by the evening!

  12. I had no idea you could do meatballs in the crockpot. What a great idea!

    Nicole @ HoldtheOffice.com

    • Samantha at Five Heart Home Samantha at Five Heart Home says:

      Thanks, Nicole! I was really excited, too, when I figured out that homemade meatballs work in the crock pot. πŸ™‚ Hope you’ve had a chance to enjoy this one (and I apologize for my delayed reply…just found your comment going through some old e-mails)! Have a great weekend… πŸ™‚

  13. These look so good and sound super easy to make! Definitely pinning for later! Thanks for sharing! πŸ™‚

    • Samantha at Five Heart Home Samantha at Five Heart Home says:

      They are definitely easy, Allison! I hope you enjoy them. Thanks so much for the comment and the pin!

  14. Suburbsmama says:

    WOW! That looks amazing! If You get a chance, please link up to the Suburbsmama Sunday Linky Party.

  15. That look delish! Blogs and pinterest will get me fat! YUM! haha

    • Samantha at Five Heart Home Samantha at Five Heart Home says:

      Ha, Mariel…that made me laugh! The good news is that the mere acts of blog reading and Pinterest pinning are still safe…I’d be in real trouble if calories were involved in those! πŸ˜‰ Thanks for stopping by and commenting…have a great Sunday!

  16. These look good. I’ve tried to do meatballs in the crock pot before…but they turn into Sloppy Joe’s! How do you keep them in meatball shape or has that not been a problem?

    • Samantha at Five Heart Home Samantha at Five Heart Home says:

      I’ve actually never had a problem with these falling apart. They are perfectly firm meatballs when they’re all done. I’m not sure what ingredients you’ve included in your meatballs before, but I think that egg and bread crumbs help bind everything together in these. I form the meat mixture into meatballs, packing them tight enough to hold together but not so tight that they become too dense. Then I lay them in the crock pot, pour the sauce on top, and don’t mess with them. If I decide to carefully stir them at some point, it’s towards the end of the cooking time when they’re already cooked and they hold together fine. I hope this helps and I hope that these work for you if you end up trying them! Thanks so much for your question… πŸ™‚

  17. These subs look so GOOD! This is want I get for pinning while hungry. Thanks so much for sharing your links at our “Best Of The Weekend party”! I have pinned this to our party board and to another big board too. We hope to see you again at the next party! Have a great week xoxo, Claire

    • Samantha at Five Heart Home Samantha at Five Heart Home says:

      I hear ya, Claire…pinning while hungry is a dangerous combo! πŸ˜‰ Thanks so much for the sweet comment, and of course, I always appreciate any Pinterest love. I’ll definitely be back on Friday for Best of the Weekend…hope you have a great week until then!

  18. If I made the meatballs from stracch do I need to freeze them add them into the crock pot after I’ve already cooked them in the oven? Or do I put them in the crock pot uncooked??Thanks!

    • Samantha at Five Heart Home Samantha at Five Heart Home says:

      Hi Maureen! This recipe calls for putting the meatballs into the crock pot raw, after which they cook in the spaghetti sauce over the course of the day. If your meatballs are already precooked, there’s no need to cook them in the crock pot again…you could just heat them with the sauce for an hour or so until hot. Hope that helps!

  19. Audrey Fraijo says:

    HI there-

    Just made these tonight. They came out great for the most part, but a bit of my sauce burned. I cooked them on low for 7 hours… Any thoughts on how to avoid burning? My husband ate them up, but would like to have had a little more sauce for the rolls.


    • Samantha at Five Heart Home Samantha at Five Heart Home says:

      Hi, Audrey! I’m glad y’all enjoyed these meatballs, but I’m sorry to hear that your sauce burned a bit around the edges. I think it’s probably a matter of how hot your crock pot runs. I have two crock pots, and one of them runs much hotter than the other when they’re both set at the same low setting. So if I make this recipe in one crock pot, it turns out fine…but in the other, the sauce does turn a bit dark around the edges like you’re describing. When this has happened, I just scooped the sauce out of the center of the pot to avoid the burned edges. And you can always add more sauce to begin with if you like a saucier sandwich (and to compensate for possibly losing a bit around the edges). I wonder if it could also be a factor of how much sugar your spaghetti sauce contains, since sugar is more prone to burning? If you happen to be home, you can also stir your meatballs a couple of times over the course of the day. Wait until it’s been cooking for a couple of hours, and you don’t want to take off the lid for longer than necessary, but occasional stirring should keep the sauce from sticking to the sides and burning.

      I hope this helps at least a little! I’ve never had a major problem with the sauce burning in this recipe, but I can see how it would be possible. I hope you’re able to avoid it or remedy it if you try these meatballs again!

      Thanks so much for the question…hope you have a great weekend!

  20. These look so yummy! Trying them out today.

  21. This turned out wonderful. so good.

    • Samantha at Five Heart Home Samantha at Five Heart Home says:

      I’m so happy to hear that you enjoyed it, KO! Thanks for taking the time to come back and let me know. Hope you have a wonderful weekend! πŸ™‚

  22. Whitney S. says:

    I’ve had this on the list to make for ages – and I finally did it! I made a few modifications based on what I had (a blogger’s worst nightmare, I know!) I used ground pork, added a shredded zucchini, an extra 1/4 cup bread crumbs (for that added moisture) and used some homemade sauce I had in the freezer. My husband RAVED about it! The 1 year old loved it too!!! It also made about 2 dozen balls for me – I was able to freeze the ones that didn’t fit in my crockpot. Win-win!

    • Samantha at Five Heart Home Samantha at Five Heart Home says:

      Ha ha, Whitney…you made me laugh with “a blogger’s worst nightmare.” πŸ˜‰ The only time a bunch of substitutions are a blogger’s worst nightmare is when the commenter then complains that the recipe turned out terrible — ha! Your adaptation sounds great, though, and I’m so glad that it was a hit. I might just have to try your modifications sometime… πŸ˜‰

  23. Stacey Ann says:

    I have a question! I am making these tomorrow but I am needing about 4x the recipe. My crock pot is big enough to hold this much, but I am scared that they will stick together. Should I do anything differently then just add quadruple the amount of ingredients?

    • Samantha at Five Heart Home Samantha at Five Heart Home says:

      Hi Stacey Ann! I apologize that I didn’t see your question sooner…I hope that multiplying this recipe worked out! I’ve never tried quadrupling it, but I have doubled it, and the meatballs turned out great and didn’t stick together. If attempting 4 times this recipe, I’d probably try to make sure that I poured some sauce in between the meatball layers, and I’d watch the cooking time to make sure all of the meatballs got cooked through. I might even stir it once or twice throughout the cooking time, if I was home to do so. That being said, I’m curious to hear how this turned out for you!

  24. Hi Samantha! Recipe looks great! What do you think about adding a bit of red wine to the recipe? Would that work at all? I have a lot to use up (not much of a drinker!) Cheers!

    • Samantha at Five Heart Home Samantha at Five Heart Home says:

      Hi Jody! I haven’t tried adding red wine myself, but adding a little bit to the sauce probably wouldn’t hurt anything (as long as you like the flavor of red wine). I just wouldn’t add too much or it may thin it out too much. Enjoy! πŸ™‚


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