Perfect Footlong Meatball Marinara Sub Recipe

Yes, indeed it is a footlong sandwich. Subway ain’t got nothing on this one! I will show you how to make the perfect bread, balls, and sauce all in one video.

To be fair I have never stepped foot in a Subway, but from what I have heard the bread is made of sugar and fake stuff and I bet the meatballs are no better.

So, we will do it properly with real ingredients, with a decently long fermentation and correct techniques for flavour development.

Yes, it may be convenient to pop in the shop and get something on the go, but when you spend some time and make it yourself it tastes far better. Plus, it is super simple too.

And if you are not into huge sandwiches, then take this recipe and turn the bread into little buns. Or use the meatballs with the sauce to top a bowl of spaghetti.

This recipe makes two huge sandwiches. They could feed 4 people. One of these beasts was almost too much for my greedy self.

Watch the video down below for detailed instructions.


For the dough

300g (10.6oz) all purpose (plain) flour

6g (0.2oz) salt

25g (0.9oz) soft butter

1 egg, around 50g (1.75oz)

25g (0.9oz) sugar

6g (0.2oz) instant dry yeast or 7.2g (0.25oz) active dry yeast or 18g (0.6oz) fresh yeast

130g (4.6oz) cold milk *

*To learn more about dough temperature control click here.


1 egg yolk mixed with 1 teaspoon of milk for glazing


For the sauce –

400g (14oz) tinned tomatoes

3g (0.1oz) salt

10g (0.35oz) garlic, chopped

50g (1.75oz) onion, chopped

1g (0.03oz) oregano

15g (0.5oz) olive oil

Pinch of chilli flakes (optional)


For the meatballs –

250g (8.8oz) minced pork

250g (8.8oz) minced beef

20g (0.7oz) garlic + 80g (2.8oz) onions, cooked until soft.

6g (0.2oz) salt

3g (0.1oz) black pepper

1g (0.03oz) oregano

2g (0.07oz) paprika (optional)

1 egg white which was left over after we took the yolk for glazing.

10g (0.35oz) chopped parsley


To assemble the sandwich –

Sliced cheese. I used Gouda.

Grated parmesan

Sliced peppers


Sliced red onion


  1. Make the sauce. In a small pan on high heat add the oil, onion, garlic, salt, oregano, and pinch of chili flakes. Cook for 5 minutes or until browned. Add the tinned tomatoes. Bring up to a simmer and cook for 30 minutes until reduced and thickened. You can leave the sauce chunky or blitz it up. I used whole tinned plum tomatoes, so I had to blend it a little to break them up. Leave the sauce on the side.
  2. Make the meatballs. Combine all ingredients except the meat in a large bowl. Mix well. Add the meat and mix everything together. Weigh the mix and divide it into 14 equal pieces and roll into balls.
  3. Cook the meatballs. In a pan on medium-high heat place in the meatballs and press them down. Leave to cook for 2 minutes. Do not touch them as they need to caramelize properly. Flip the meatballs and press them down again. Leave to cook for 1 minute and then swap them around if need be. My pan was a lot hotter in the middle, so to prevent the meatballs from burning I had to move them around. Leave to cook for another 2 minutes or until well browned.
  4. Pour over the sauce and cover with a lid as it will spit and splatter. After a minute remove the lid, baste the meatballs with the sauce, and leave them to cook on low heat for 10 minutes. Flip them over, baste once more and cook for another 10 minutes. The meatballs are ready.
  • To save time you can make the sauce and the meatballs whilst the dough is proofing. I made them a day ahead of time and that is why I started the recipe with those two elements.
  1. Make the dough. In a large bowl combine all the ingredients except the flour. Mix well to dissolve the salt, sugar, and to hydrate the yeast. Add the flour and mix to a dough.
  2. Tip the dough out on your table and knead for 6 minutes. It may be a bit sticky so use your scraper occasionally to scrape it together from the table and from your hands. *Desired dough temperature 25C – 26C (75F – 77F). If your dough is warmer, then it will ferment more rapidly. If it is cooler, then it will take longer. Adjust proofing time accordingly.
  3. Cover and ferment for 1.5 hours.
  4. Fold.
  5. Cover and ferment for 1.5 hours.
  6. Divide the dough into 2 equal pieces. Pre-shape.
  7. Rest for 20 minutes.
  8. Final shape.
  9. Cover and ferment for 1 – 1.5 hours. *During this time preheat your oven to 160C (320F) fan on.
  10. Brush the loaves with the egg yolk and milk glaze. Sprinkle with sesame seeds (optional).
  11. Bake for 20 minutes.
  12. Leave to cool
  13. Assemble the sandwich. Warm up the meatballs and sprinkle them generously with parmesan and add a piece of sliced cheese on top to melt. Cut the sub roll and spread with the spare tomato sauce. Add the spinach, peppers, meatballs, and top with sliced onions. Close that bad boy up and good luck finishing it. Make sure you have a comfortable place to lay down afterwards.


Happy Baking!


Keep in mind that the conditions in each kitchen are different, so fermentation times may vary for you. It is up to the baker to control the bread and react accordingly.

Your oven may be different too, so your baking time may vary.


Watch the video here

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