These meatball sub bites are a fun twist on the classic sub sandwich. They’re not nearly as messy, but every bit as good! They’re also great for game day, holidays, and potlucks, too!

These Meatball Sub Bites cost about $7.15 to make and serve 24 people. That’s just $0.30 per serving. 

Finished meatball bites on a plate with marinara sauce.

 Meatball Sub Bites

I LOVE meatball sub sandwiches, but what I don’t love is the mess that’s inevitable with them. It seems like there isn’t a way to get through eating them without the bun getting soggy at some point. Consequently, the meatballs and sauce fall out the bottom, and then you have a big sad mess. Still delicious but a mess.

These meatball sub bites are inspired by meatball subs but without the mess. They’re the perfect portable little bite and great for holidays or game days. They’re easy to make and only require a few simple everyday ingredients. Plus, they are irresistibly delicious!

During get-togethers, I like to serve meatball bites with other delicious appetizers like taco salad cups, sausage cream cheese balls, and chips with a delicious homemade onion dip. With easy recipes like these, it’s not difficult at all to make a grand feast right before a meal!

Up close of someone dipping the meatball bite into sauce.

Meatball Sub Bites Ingredients & Estimated Cost

Per Serving Cost: $0.30

Recipe Cost: $7.15

  •     12 frozen bread dough dinner rolls (about 1 ½ ounces each): $1.61
  •     12 ounces fully cooked meatballs, thawed: $4.00
  •     2 Tablespoons olive oil: $0.22
  •     2 Tablespoons grated parmesan cheese: $0.26
  •     1 Tablespoon minced fresh basil: $0.42
  •     1 cup marinara sauce, warmed: $0.64

NOTE: The recipe prices are calculated by using grocery store websites. The recipe cost is calculated by the amounts needed for the recipe. The actual cost of the recipe will vary depending on what ingredients you already have. I updated the pricing for this recipe in June 2023.

A picture of the ingredients needed to make this recipe.

How To Make Meatball Sub Bites

This recipe is simple. In fact, you don’t have to make the dough from scratch (unless, of course, you want to), and you use fully cooked meatballs.

  1. Keep the dough in the package. Let it sit at room temperature for 30 minutes, so it thaws and softens.
  2. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat. Set it aside.
  3. Cut each roll in half. Wrap each piece of dough completely around a meatball. (Make sure no part of the meatball is showing!) Pinch the dough firmly on the seams to seal it. 
  4. Place it on the prepared baking sheet seam side down. Repeat this with the remaining dough and meatballs.
  5. Cover the baking sheet with a kitchen towel, and let the dough rise until it’s almost doubled in size. This should take about 1 ½ – 2 hours.
  6. When the dough is almost doubled, move an oven rack to the middle position and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Bake the bites for 15-16 minutes or until they’re golden brown.
  7. Brush the tops of the bites with olive oil. Sprinkle them with cheese and basil. 
  8. Serve the bites with warmed marinara sauce.

A picture collage showing how to make this recipe.

Recipe Variations and Substitutions

  • Use turkey or chicken meatballs instead of beef. 
  • You can also use plan-based meatballs as well. Flavor Variations:
  • Use Alfredo sauce or pizza sauce instead of marinara.

Storage & Serving Tips

SERVE: You’ll want to serve these immediately! No need to wait.

STORE: Stored in an airtight container, these will stay fresh for about three days.

FREEZE: These freeze wonderfully for about a month. Again, use an airtight container or freezer-safe bag.

REHEAT: Use the oven or microwave to reheat these. Remember to let them thaw in the fridge first if they were frozen.

Recipe FAQs

How long does it take to make meatball sub bites?

It takes about 2 hours and 15 minutes. However, most of that time is hands-off since you’re waiting for the bread dough to rise.

How many servings does this recipe make?

This recipe should make enough for 24 servings.

Can I use frozen bread dough rather than frozen dinner roll dough?

Yes, you can. If you go this route, however, you will need to defrost the dough for longer (probably more like an hour). You’ll also have to cut the dough into 24 3/4 ounce portions.

What additional ingredients can I use in this recipe to switch it up?

One of my favorite things to do is add Italian seasoning rather than just basil or to use pre-seasoned meatballs. You can also switch up the cheese to your personal favorite. Sharper cheeses tend to taste the best, in my opinion.

Is there a specific kind of marinara sauce that works best in this recipe?

I find that using smooth sauces turns out better, rather than the chunky kind. You can even use pizza sauce.

Up close view the meatballs on a plate.

More Appetizers

●      Coconut Shrimp

●      Hot Dog Burnt Ends

●      Ham & Cheese Sliders 

●      Air Fryer Pasta Chips

●      Crockpot Buffalo Chicken Dip 

Up close view of the meatball bite with fresh basil sprinkled on top.
4.50 from 12 votes

Meatball Sub Bites

Author Jillian – a Food, Folks and Fun original!
Recipe Cost $ $7.15
Serving Cost $ $0.30
Prep Time 2 hours
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 2 hours 15 minutes
24 people
These meatball sub bites are a fun twist on the classic sub sandwich. They’re not nearly as messy, but every bite as good! They're also great for game day, holidays, and potlucks, too!


  • 9×13 baking sheet
  • parchment paper or silicone mat
  • knife
  • kitchen towel
  • pastry brush
  • small bowl


  • 12 frozen bread dough dinner rolls about 1 ½ ounces each
  • 12 ounces fully cooked meatballs thawed
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 Tablespoons grated parmesan cheese
  • 1 Tablespoon minced fresh basil
  • 1 cup marinara sauce warmed


  • Keep dough in package and let sit at room temperature for 30 minutes to thaw and soften.
  • Line baking sheet with parchment paper or silicone baking mat, and set aside.
  • Cut each roll in half. Wrap each piece of dough completely around a meatball (make sure no part of meatball is showing), and pinch dough firmly on seams to seal. Place on prepared baking sheet, seam side down. Repeat with remaining dough and meatballs.
  • Cover baking sheet with kitchen towel, and rise until almost doubled in size, about 1 ½ – 2 hours.
  • When dough is almost doubled, move oven rack to middle position and preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Bake 15-16 minutes, or until golden brown.
  • Brush tops with olive oil, sprinkle with cheese and basil. Serve with warmed marinara sauce.


Serving: 1meatball bite | Calories: 111kcal | Carbohydrates: 10g | Protein: 5g | Fat: 6g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Cholesterol: 11mg | Sodium: 180mg | Potassium: 99mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 50IU | Vitamin C: 0.8mg | Calcium: 46mg | Iron: 1mg

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Recipe Rating


  1. Janet Taylor says:

    Your food looks wonderful! I have pinned several. Thank you so much and have a great day!

    1. Janet, you are seriously the sweetest. Your kind words totally made my day! Thanks for pinning, it helps bloggers more than you know! 🙂

  2. Matt @ Plating Pixels says:

    Oh my goodness what a fun idea! Pinning this and so gonna make for a party.

  3. Kim @ Three Olives Branch says:

    How fun! Great idea for game day!

  4. Platter Talk says:

    Haha, what a wonderful idea! Great for when your in the mood for a meatball sub but want to eat in nibbles. LOVE!!!

  5. Julie | Bunsen Burner Bakery says:

    I love meatball subs, and anything tiny is always even better than the big size, so count me in!

    1. I so agree, tiny is where it’s at!

  6. Dahn @savor the Best says:

    How fun. I love this for a game day snack. You certainly can’t go wrong with this.

    1. They’re always a crowd favorite!