Air Fryer Copycat Subway Meatball Sub — Who doesn’t love a good meatball sub? It’s a classic comfort food perfect for any occasion, whether for lunch, dinner, or even a snack.

Air Fryer Copycat Meatball Sub

The thought of biting into juicy meatballs smothered in tangy marinara sauce, all nestled in a warm, toasty sub roll, is enough to make anyone’s mouth water. But what if I told you that you can enjoy a copycat version of this classic sandwich in a much healthier way?

Yes, you read that right!

Thanks to the versatile air fryer, you can prepare a mouthwatering meatball sub using a fraction of the oil and still get that crispy texture we all love. So, without further ado, let’s get cooking!

Can You Make a Meatball Sub In Air Fryer?

Meatball Sub is a delicious treat that has been around for decades. It’s a classic sandwich loved by many all over the world. Its juicy meatballs doused in tangy marinara sauce, topped with mozzarella cheese, all sandwiched in a crispy sub roll, are to die for. But have you ever tried making a meatball sub in an air fryer? If not, then let me tell you, cooked to perfection, an air fryer meatball sub can give you a restaurant-quality taste in the comfort of your home. Below, we will show you how to make a perfect meatball sub in an air fryer and everything you need to know before trying it out.

If you love a great Air Fryer Sandwich, try my recipe for Air Fryer Meatball Subs, Air Fryer Sausage Hoagie Sandwich, and Air Fryer Copycat Hardees Hot Ham and Cheese! These all make for an amazing and easy recipe for your next meal or a special game day treat! 

Air Fryer Copycat Meatball Sub (1)

​What So Special About Subway Meatball Subs

Subway has become a go-to fast food restaurant for people worldwide. With a variety of sandwiches, salads, and soups, Subway has something for everyone.

However, the Meatball Sub is one sandwich that sets itself apart. It’s a classic sandwich that always satisfies you and leaves you wanting more. But what makes Subway Meatball Subs so special? Below, we’ll closely examine what makes this sandwich stand out.

Ingredients Needed For Air Fryer Subway Copycat Meatball Sub

Craving the comfort of a meatball sub but don’t want to head out to your favorite sandwich shop? Look no further! With the convenience of an air fryer, you can create a copycat meatball sub that rivals the original, all from the comfort of your kitchen. The air fryer ensures that each meatball is cooked to juicy perfection, offering a quick and less oily alternative to traditional frying methods. Whether you’re a busy parent needing a quick dinner solution or someone who loves the innovation of air fryer cooking, this recipe is tailor-made.

Before we delve into the step-by-step guide to bringing this culinary delight to life, let’s look at the simple ingredients you’ll need. From the succulent meatballs to the rich marinara sauce and gooey, melted cheese, each component plays an essential role in crafting the ultimate meatball sub.

Ingredients Needed For Air Fryer Copycat Meatball Sub

Remember the step-by-step directions and detailed ingredient list are below in the printable full recipe card at the bottom of the post, as well as the nutritional information. ​

Meatballs:

  • Ground Beef – The main protein component, adding richness and flavor. You can also use a mix of lean ground beef and ground pork for added juiciness. For a healthier option, use ground chicken or ground turkey.
  • Breadcrumbs– Provides structure and helps bind the meatballs.
  • Grated Parmesan Cheese  – Adds a salty, umami flavor to the meatballs.
  • Large Eggs  – Acts as a binder for the meatball mixture.
  • Garlic – Adds aromatic flavor; you can use minced garlic or garlic powder.
  • Onion  – Adds sweetness and texture; you can use diced onions or onion powder.
  • Parsley – Gives a fresh, herby flavor.
  • Kosher Salt – Enhances the flavor of the meatballs.
  • Black Pepper – Adds a bit of spice.
  • Red Pepper Flakes – For those who like a little heat in their meatballs.
  • Milk – Moistens the breadcrumb mixture for tender meatballs.
  • Olive Oil  – For greasing the air fryer basket to prevent sticking.

Marinara Sauce:

  • Canned Crushed Tomatoes – The base of the sauce provides acidity and depth.
  • Tomato Paste  – Thickens the sauce and intensifies tomato flavor.
  • Garlic  – Adds another layer of aromatic depth.
  • Oregano – A classic Italian herb that complements the tomato base.
  • Basil  – Adds sweetness and a fresh aroma.
  • Salt – Enhances the flavors in the sauce.
  • Black Pepper  – Adds a touch of spiciness.
  • Sugar  – Balances the acidity of the tomatoes.
  • Olive Oil – For sautéing the garlic and melding flavors.

Assembly:

  • Sub Rolls  – The vessel that holds everything together. Choose a sturdy roll that can handle the sauce and fillings. Other options are a hoagie roll or sub buns.
  • Shredded Mozzarella Cheese – Adds creamy, gooey goodness or grated mozzarella. 
  • Parmesan Cheese – An optional garnish that adds a final layer of umami and saltiness.
  • Fresh Basil or Parsley  – Gives a pop of color and freshness.
  • Butter  – For toasting the sub rolls to a golden-brown finish, adding flavor and crunch.

​How To Make Air Fryer Copycat Subway Meatball Sub

Subway sandwiches are some of the most delicious and convenient meals to grab on the go. But what if you could enjoy that same delicious sandwich made from the comfort of your own home? If you’re a fan of Subway sandwiches but would prefer to prepare yourself, we have some great news: you can make a copycat Subway sandwich in your air fryer! 

Below, we will show you how to make a delicious copycat Subway sandwich in your air fryer. We will provide step-by-step instructions on preparing your ingredients, assembling your sandwich, and cooking it to crispy perfection. So let’s get started!

How To Make Copycat Subway Meatball Sandwich In Air Fryer

Prepare The Meatballs

  1. Preheat Air Fryer: Preheat your air fryer to 375°F (190°C). Grease the basket with olive oil or spray with cooking spray.
  2. Mix Ingredients: In a bowl, combine the ground beef, bread crumbs, grated Parmesan, beaten egg, minced garlic, chopped onion, salt, and black pepper. Mix until well combined.
  3. Form Meatballs: Shape the mixture into 1.5-inch meatballs. You should get around 12-16 meatballs.
  4. Air Fry: Place the meatballs in the air fryer basket, ensuring they are not touching. Set cooking time at 375 degrees F for 10-12 minutes, flipping halfway through. They should be cooked with an internal temperature of 165°F (74°C).
How To Make Copycat Subway Meatball Sandwich In Air Fryer

Prepare the Marinara Sauce:

  1. Heat Oil: Heat the olive oil over medium heat in a saucepan. Add the minced garlic and sauté until fragrant.
  2. Add Tomatoes and Seasonings: Add crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, dried oregano, dried basil, salt, and black pepper.
  3. Simmer: Reduce heat and let the sauce simmer for about 20 minutes to blend the flavors.
How To Make Copycat Subway Meatball Sandwich In Air Fryer

Assemble the Sandwich:

  1. Cut and Toast the Roll: Cut the subroll lengthwise but not all the way through. Optionally, brush the inside with melted butter or olive oil and toast in the air fryer at 350°F for 2-3 minutes.
  2. Place Meatballs and Sauce: Open the toasted roll and place the cooked meatballs inside—spoon marinara sauce over the meatballs.
  3. Add Cheese: Sprinkle the shredded mozzarella and grated Parmesan over the meatballs.
  4. Final Toast: Place the assembled sandwich back into the air fryer at 350°F for another 2-3 minutes or until the cheese is melted and bubbly.
  5. Serve: Your Subway copycat meatball sandwich is ready! Carefully remove it from the air fryer, slice it into portions, and enjoy.
How To Make Copycat Subway Meatball Sandwich In Air Fryer

Pro Tips For Air Fryer Copycat Meatball Sub

Making an air fryer copycat meatball sub can be a fun and satisfying cooking experience, but knowing a few pro tips can help elevate your dish to the next level. Here are some advanced tips to consider:

  • Seasoning: Don’t skimp on the seasonings. Fresh herbs like basil, Italian seasoning, or parsley can add flavor to your meatballs.
  • Uniform Size: Use a cookie scoop or an ice cream scoop to ensure that all meatballs are of uniform size. This will help them to cook evenly.
  • Test Meatball: Before cooking all the meatballs, you might want to cook one first to check for seasoning. You can then adjust the seasoning of the raw mixture as needed.
  • Don’t Overcrowd: Ensure the meatballs are not touching when placed in the air fryer; arrange them in a single layer in the air fryer basket. Overcrowding can cause them to cook unevenly.
  • Cheese Layer: Consider adding a layer of cheese below and above the meatballs to ensure a gooey, cheesy bite every time.
  • Bread Choice: Choose a quality sub roll with a nice crust and soft interior. A poor-quality roll can detract from the overall experience.
  • Toasting: A slight brush of garlic-infused olive oil before toasting can give you that extra flavor and crunch.
  • Monitor Closely: Air fryers can cook differently, so keep an eye on your sandwich, especially during the final toasting phase, to ensure it doesn’t burn.
  • Temperature Check: Use a meat thermometer to ensure your meatballs have reached an internal temperature of 165°F (74°C).
  • Final Garnish: A fresh basil or parsley sprinkle and a final drizzle of good-quality olive oil before serving can add fresh flavor and presentation points.
  • Pre-warm the Air Fryer: Always preheat the air fryer for best results. Cold air fryers can cause food to stick and not cook evenly.

By keeping these pro tips in mind, you’ll recreate a Subway meatball sub and elevate it, making a dish worthy of any sandwich aficionado’s attention.

Air Fryer Copycat Meatball Sub

FAQ’s About Making Copycat Subway Meatball Subs In Air Fryer

Can I use store-bought meatballs and marinara sauce?

Absolutely! If you’re short on time, store-bought meatballs and marinara sauce can be a quick alternative. Just make sure to check the cooking time and temperatures for pre-made meatballs. You can also make this recipe with frozen meatballs– it is a great way to have a good meatball sandwich in minutes! 

Can I make this with ground turkey or chicken instead of beef?

Yes, you can substitute ground turkey or chicken for beef. Remember that poultry should reach an internal temperature of 165°F (74°C) when fully cooked.

How can I store leftover meatballs and marinara sauce?

Store any leftover meatballs and marinara sauce in separate airtight containers in the refrigerator for 3-4 days. They can also be frozen for up to 3 months.

Can I reheat the meatball sub in the air fryer?

Yes, you can reheat the meatball sub in the air fryer at 350°F (175°C) for about 2-3 minutes or until the cheese is melted and the meatballs are heated.

My air fryer is small; can I still make this recipe?

Absolutely! You may have to cook the meatballs in batches, and the sandwich might need to be cut into smaller portions to fit, but the recipe will still work.

Can I add other veggies or toppings to the sub?

 Of course! Customize your sub with additional toppings like olives, pickles, or banana peppers for extra flavor.

Do I have to use a footlong roll?

No, you can use two 6-inch rolls or even smaller buns. Just adjust the quantity of meatballs, sauce, and cheese accordingly.

Can I make the meatballs or sauce ahead of time?

Yes, the meatballs and sauce can be made beforehand. Store them in the fridge for 3-4 days in an airtight container, or freeze them for longer storage.

The bottom of my sub got soggy; what can I do to prevent this?

To prevent a soggy bottom, toast the roll first. You can also place a layer of cheese below the meatballs to act as a barrier against the sauce.

How do I know when the meatballs are fully cooked?

The meatballs are done when the internal temperature of the meatballs is 165°F (74°C). Investing in a meat thermometer for precise cooking is a good idea.

How To Make Copycat Subway Meatball Sandwich In Air Fryer

More Air Fryer Recipes

Air Fryer Copycat Meatball Sub

Air Fryer Copycat Subway Meatball Sub

5 from 2 votes
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
0 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 6 Servings

Description

Air Fryer Copycat Subway Meatball Sub — Who doesn't love a good meatball sub? It's a classic comfort food perfect for any occasion, whether for lunch, dinner, or even a snack.

Ingredients 

For the Meatballs:

  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1/2 cup breadcrumbs
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 beaten egg
  • 2 cloves garlic, beaten
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes, optional

For the Marinara Sauce:

  • 14 ounces crushed tomatoes,
  • 1 tbsp tomato paste
  • 2 cloves minced garlic
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/2 tsp dried basil
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/8 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tbsp olive oil

For Assembly:

  • 1 footlong sub roll or 2 six-inch sub rolls
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese, for garnish
  • 2 tbsp melted butter or olive oil, optional, for toasting

Instructions

Prepare the Meatballs:

  • Preheat Air Fryer: Preheat your air fryer to 375°F (190°C). Grease the basket with olive oil.
  • Mix Ingredients: In a bowl, combine the ground beef, breadcrumbs, grated Parmesan, beaten egg, minced garlic, chopped onion, salt, and black pepper. Mix until well combined.
  • Form Meatballs: Shape the mixture into 1.5-inch meatballs. You should get around 12-16 meatballs.
  • Air Fry: Place the meatballs in the air fryer basket, ensuring they are not touching. Cook at 375°F for 10-12 minutes, flipping halfway through. They should be cooked through with an internal temperature of 165°F (74°C).

Prepare the Marinara Sauce:

  • Heat Oil: In a saucepan, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the minced garlic and sauté until fragrant.
  • Add Tomatoes and Seasonings: Stir in the crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, dried oregano, dried basil, salt, and black pepper.
  • Simmer: Reduce heat and let the sauce simmer for about 20 minutes to blend the flavors.

Assemble the Sandwich:

  • Cut and Toast the Roll: Cut the sub roll lengthwise but not all the way through. Optionally, brush the inside with melted butter or olive oil and toast in the air fryer at 350°F for 2-3 minutes.
  • Place Meatballs and Sauce: Open the toasted roll and place the cooked meatballs inside. Spoon marinara sauce over the meatballs.
  • Add Cheese: Sprinkle the shredded mozzarella and grated Parmesan over the meatballs.
  • Final Toast: Place the assembled sandwich back into the air fryer at 350°F for another 2-3 minutes or until the cheese is melted and bubbly.
  • Serve: Your Subway copycat meatball sandwich is ready! Carefully remove it from the air fryer, slice into portions, and enjoy.

Equipment

  • Air Fryer
  • Cooking Spray
  • Parchment Paper, optional

Nutrition

Serving: 1ServingCalories: 353kcalCarbohydrates: 21gProtein: 26gFat: 18gSaturated Fat: 7gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 9gTrans Fat: 0.3gCholesterol: 69mgSodium: 829mgPotassium: 563mgFiber: 2gSugar: 5gVitamin A: 411IUVitamin C: 8mgCalcium: 228mgIron: 5mg

Share this recipe

We can’t wait to see what you’ve made! Mention @forktospoon or tag #forktospoon!