Sliced Meatball Panini

Sliced Meatball Panini
Sliced Meatball Panini
This image courtesy of Mark T. Shapiro

Meatball subs are delicious, but they can be tricky to eat without making a mess. So I sliced the meatballs to create an even sandwich and make things easier. The mix of two perfect melting cheeses, mozzarella and provolone, adds wonderful flavor to this recipe.


Cooking MethodGrilling



Kid FriendlyYes

One Pot MealYes

OccasionGame Day

Recipe CourseMain Course, Snack

EquipmentPanini Press

MealDinner, Lunch, Snack

Taste and TextureCheesy, Crisp, Herby, Juicy, Meaty, Savory

Type of DishGrilled Sandwich


  • 2 tbsp (25 ml) olive oil, divided 
  • 8 cooked meatballs (about 1 inch/2.5 cm), cut into 3 or 4 slices 
  • 1 cup (250 ml) marinara sauce 
  • 2 hoagie buns, split
  • 2 oz (60 g) provolone cheese, thinly sliced 
  • ¼ cup (50 ml) thinly sliced fresh basil 
  • ¼ cup (50 ml) shredded mozzarella cheese 
  • 2 tbsp (25 ml) freshly grated Parmesan cheese 


  1. Preheat panini grill to high.

  2. In a skillet, heat 2 tsp (10 mL) of the oil over medium heat. Add sliced meatballs and cook, turning once, until browned on both sides, 4 to 5 minutes. Add marinara sauce, reduce heat to low and simmer until meatballs are heated through, 8 to 10 minutes. Remove from heat and keep warm.

  3. Place buns, cut side down, on a work surface and brush crusts with the remaining oil. Turn rolls over and, on bottom halves, evenly layer with provolone, meatballs and sauce. Sprinkle with basil, mozzarella and Parmesan. Cover with top halves and press gently to pack.

  4. Place sandwiches in grill, close the top plate so that it barely touches the sandwiches and cook until golden brown, 3 to 4 minutes. Serve immediately.


  1. Fully cooked meatballs can be found in the frozen food section of most supermarkets, or you can use your own recipe.

  2. I like to cut the basil into chiffonade: stack the basil leaves, then roll them up tightly. Thinly slice across the rolled leaves with a sharp knife to produce fine ribbons.


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I've always wondered why more meatball sub recipes don't suggest the meatballs be sliced before assembling the sandwich. It seems like such a logical idea given how a round meatball can easily pop out of the bun while eating. I write from experience. I like the idea of using a panini press. A sub shop where I went to college toasted their sub rolls, and it added a good flavor and crunch to them.

I think slicing the meatballs is the way to go, too! I'd think you would get the meatballs more evenly distributed throughout the sandwich, too.


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