Today I’m bringing you… meatballs. Stuffed in bread.

Jalapeño Cheddar Chicken Meatball Sandwiches I

Does this make sense? I’m still on the fence.

Growing up, both of my brothers were ob.sessed with meatball subs. Frankly, I thought they were kind of gross but I’m pretty sure that’s because of the whole I-don’t-like-tomato-sauce thing. And I don’t know, the idea of a round ball of meat stuffed inside bread just didn’t compute in my brain or something? Especially if the bun was totally sliced down the center, you know? How in the world are those meatballs supposed to STAY in the sandwich? Oh… the cheese. Figures. That’s the only part of the sandwiches I like anyway. Uh, actually? If I ever somehow ended up with one of those sandwiches in my possession, I often removed the meatballs and just ate the… bubbly cheese-coated bread. True story. For the majority of my life, I removed most meat from sandwiches. But I also used to put chipped ham, yellow mustard and cheddar cheese on a fat white bun at my grandparents’ house on Sunday afternoons and then STICK IT IN THE MICROWAVE.

Clearly I am not the authority on sandwiches.

Jalapeño Cheddar Chicken Meatball Sandwiches I

This photo makes me giggle.

Jalapeño Cheddar Chicken Meatball Sandwiches I

I have the mind of a 12-year old boy.

Also: teach me how to use my broiler.

Jalapeño Cheddar Chicken Meatball Sandwiches I

These hoagies or subs or sandwiches or whatever the heck you want to call them are quite delicious. A different twist on traditional meatballs, yes, but flavorful nonetheless. It’s like meatball subs and jalapeño poppers got together and… yep. You know I can’t keep things traditional. I guess they are sort of semi-healthy too, but who is concerned about that right now? Not me at the moment. Most definitely not my husband, who spent a good 20 minutes complaining (after he ate… three of these) over the weekend about how he is just eating soooo much and can’t keep on any weight. And we are talking over a cup of oatmeal for breakfast, made with milk, served with peanut butter, two bananas, an orange (like a big one) and eggs. All by 6am. And then his other seven or eight or ten meals over the course of the day. Oh yeah. Must be so rough living that way.

How terrible.

Anyhoo – you could totally use turkey in these here meatballs. At least, I think. I’m much more of a ground chicken fan but you can do it. Same with beef, though I just thought poultry fit the bill better. When I think beef, I think large amounts of mozzarella or blue cheese and bacon. Don’t you? Um. Yeah. I think today I will have to make bacon blue cheese meatballs. Thanks.

This is all your fault.

Jalapeño Cheddar Chicken Meatball Sandwiches I


Jalapeño Cheddar Chicken Meatball Sandwiches

Yield: makes 20 golf ball-sized meatballs, about 10 sandwiches

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour


1 pound ground chicken
1 pound lean ground chicken breast
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 large egg, slightly beaten
1/3 cup panko bread crumbs
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 jalapeño peppers, 1 finely diced and 1 thinly sliced
8 ounces sharp cheddar cheese, freshly grated
8-10 whole wheat sandwich buns


Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Spray a large baking dish or rimmed baking sheet with nonstick spray.

In a large bowl, combine all the ground chicken with the salt, pepper, egg, panko, garlic cloves, finely diced jalapeño pepper and half (4 ounces) of the grated cheddar. Mix thoroughly to combine, trying not to over mix. Rolls into golf ball-sized meatballs. Bake for 30-35 minutes (the meatballs will release a bit of liquid, as well as some of the cheese), or until meatballs are cooked through. Remove and let cool slightly.

Slice each bun lengthwise and stuff some of the remaining cheddar in the bottom of each. Place 2 (or 3, depending on the size of your rolls) meatballs in each bun, then cover with additional cheddar. Place bake in the oven for 6-8 minutes, then broil if desired to bubble and brown the cheese on top. Cover with thinly sliced jalapeños and serve.

Jalapeño Cheddar Chicken Meatball Sandwiches I

Oooh and if you want to do this for the whole Super Bowl thing… add in one of these 135 recipes for football season. Oh my.

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92 Responses to “Jalapeño Cheddar Chicken Meatball Sandwiches.”

  1. #
    nicole @ I am a Honey Bee — January 28, 2013 @ 8:04 am

    oooo these look so good. love jalapenos and cheddar so much so anything with them is a winner to me.

    as for your broiler, if it’s in your oven then put the rack down further. better to have it take a bit longer than burn. We have a Lo & Hi setting so that is helpful or I would burn EVERYTHING.


  2. #
    Angela @ Eat Spin Run Repeat — January 28, 2013 @ 8:40 am

    What is it about men complaining about not being able to keep weight on?! Extra cheese for Mr How Sweet! These sound delicious. I had to laugh about that gourmet ‘sandwich’ you used to make at your grandparents. You’re looking at the girl who used to like to slather up a white bun with butter and ketchup. Yes, I was a disgrace.


  3. #
    Jennifer @ Peanut Butter and Peppers — January 28, 2013 @ 8:42 am

    Wow! This is a nice surprise sandwich!! I love it! Nothing beats jalapeno and cheese together all covering up a juicy meatball. Dam, that sounds really good right now!!


  4. #
    Kim in MD — January 28, 2013 @ 8:46 am

    These are perfect for the Super Bowl! Or for dinner tonight- or both!


  5. #
    Brie @ Entrée the Giant — January 28, 2013 @ 8:59 am

    The pic of the meatballs all comfy cozy in the sub rolls is just about the cutest thing I’ve ever seen. Of course, I’d still destroy their royal cuteness in about two seconds, but that’s because I have good taste :)


  6. #
    Tabitha (From Single to Married) — January 28, 2013 @ 9:28 am

    What a clever idea – love these little sandwiches! Definitely going on my list to try!


  7. #
    Heather @ SugarDish(Me) — January 28, 2013 @ 9:29 am

    These are amazing. You are so smart! I think I write that in your comments like once a week but It. Is. True. So I’ve been counting calories like a maniac trying to knock off a few pounds and my guy decided to do it with me (except he has like nothing to lose). The calorie thing lets him have like 2,740 a day to LOSE weight and he gets on the scale after a week and is like “I’ve lost 12 pounds!!!” after he ate a triple whopper with cheese or something ridiculous and I spent the rest of the day wanting to clobber him. Not fair. Your re-cap of your husband’s breakfast just reminded me.


  8. #
    Liz @ Tip Top Shape — January 28, 2013 @ 9:44 am

    I don’t like meatball subs and these looks like heaven to me. Fantastic recipe!!


  9. #
    megan @ whatmegansmaking — January 28, 2013 @ 9:56 am

    yum!! Love this idea. And I grew up on meatball sandwiches. Also, I’m so glad you mentioned “chipped ham”. Always makes me think of Pittsburgh. And ham barbecue, but I don’t think to think about that.


  10. #
    Erin@LawStudentsWife — January 28, 2013 @ 9:58 am

    These meatballs look all tucked into their soft hoagie shells and ready for me to gobble them up! Love the idea of doing jalepeno with a meatball–another delicious, unexpected twist, aka why I love your blog.


  11. #
    Cassie | Bake Your Day — January 28, 2013 @ 9:59 am

    I have totally been on a meatball kick for a while now. These are right in line with my thinking.


  12. #
    kelley @mountainmamacooks — January 28, 2013 @ 10:20 am

    The rolls are like little sleeping bags for the meatballs. Oohh, the cheese- it’s all so yummy!


  13. #
    Ashley — January 28, 2013 @ 10:29 am

    Ooooh! I love how you carved out the bread and fit them inside. Fantastic idea so nothing falls out!


  14. #
    joelle (on a pink typewriter) — January 28, 2013 @ 10:52 am

    This looks amazing and kinda shouts Super Bowl. Yum!


  15. #
    Julia — January 28, 2013 @ 10:56 am

    What a delicious looking sandwich! The perfect comfort food–especially for the upcoming game! I love the jalapenos on top!


  16. #
    Christine @ Cooking with Cakes — January 28, 2013 @ 11:05 am

    Love this Jess!

    Personally I would go all-out and use a combo of lean ground beef & lean ground chicken, but that’s just the loud & proud carnivore in me. Also, maybe a iittle diced red pepper in the balls as well? Love that pop of color!

    great share :) xx


  17. #
    Amanda @ The Dormestic Goddess — January 28, 2013 @ 11:26 am

    Man these look tasty! I wonder if a taco-esque version of these would be good? Taco seasoning and onions in the meatballs, pico de gallo, and some queso fresco. Just more food to make for Sunday!


  18. #
    Bev @ Bev Cooks — January 28, 2013 @ 11:26 am

    My whole life has just now gone in a brand new direction.


  19. #
    christin — January 28, 2013 @ 11:35 am

    you just made my life.


  20. #
    LisaG — January 28, 2013 @ 11:35 am

    Yes meatball snuggies! Awesomeness.


  21. #
    Yammie @ Yammie's Noshery — January 28, 2013 @ 11:36 am

    As always… you are a genius.


  22. #
    Little Kitchie — January 28, 2013 @ 11:39 am

    I love, I love, I love.


  23. #
    Heather (Heather's Dish) — January 28, 2013 @ 11:43 am

    OMG I love that these are stuffed into the buns!

    Kinda like I’ll have to stuff my buns into jeans after eating all of the meatballs. Just sayin’ ;)


  24. #
    Amber (Sprinkled With Flour) — January 28, 2013 @ 11:59 am

    This is pure genius! And pure deliciousness, I’m sure. Another great recipe Jessica. :)


  25. #
    Kacy — January 28, 2013 @ 12:16 pm

    This makes PERFECT sense to me. Ugh, so good.


  26. #
    Sabatino @ — January 28, 2013 @ 12:21 pm

    I don’t have children, but if I did, I would gladly give up my first born for one of these. Wait! I have a cat! Please, take my cat and pass me a few these delicious meat vessels. I hate trying to keep the meatballs in a meatball sub when each bite proposes connecting meat and floor- but these meat-boats are a great solution!


  27. #
    Annie @ Annie's City Kitchen — January 28, 2013 @ 12:22 pm

    This could likely become my boyfriend’s favorite food. It basically has everything he loves. Just serve it with a side of refried beans and he’d be in heaven.

    Also, am I the only one who doesn’t know what chipped ham is?


  28. #
    Meagan @ A Zesty Bite — January 28, 2013 @ 1:05 pm

    I am definitely loving everything meatballs right now! These look so good!


  29. #
    Casey — January 28, 2013 @ 1:12 pm

    These look delicious! Just to clarify—is that 2 lbs of ground chicken? Or just one?


    • Jessica — January 28th, 2013 @ 4:05 pm

      yep – 2 pounds! i used 1 pound ground chicken and 1 pound ground chicken breast (leaner) – you can use whatever as long as it’s 2 pounds!


  30. #
    Kari@Loaves n Dishes — January 28, 2013 @ 1:29 pm

    I’m not short, but I always wish I were taller so that I could eat more; 5’10” or 6′ would be great!
    These are some great looking sandwiches, and I totally get why you were giggling!


  31. #
    Averie @ Averie Cooks — January 28, 2013 @ 1:33 pm

    Love the melted cheese on top and the broiler comment…ahhh, glad to know I’m not the only one who sometimes lets things go a few too many seconds. I swear 15 seconds can sometimes make the difference!


  32. #
    Erika @ The Hopeless Housewife — January 28, 2013 @ 1:39 pm

    You gotta love a spicy meatball!


  33. #
    Michelle — January 28, 2013 @ 1:43 pm

    You’re totally perpetuating a problem. A meatball problem. And I’m totally okay with it.


  34. #
    Diane — January 28, 2013 @ 2:47 pm

    First meatball recipe without a million veggies stuffed into it. im so happy! i hate like 99% of all veggies and for some reason theres always onions or shredded carrots or other junk in all meatball recipes. im gonna make these this week and of course im gonna leave out the Jalapenos! because im the picky kid that chooses meat and cheese only sandwhiches!!! But never meatball subs cus marinara is GROSS!


  35. #
    Sarah {Raving Fashionista} — January 28, 2013 @ 2:49 pm

    Whoa, yum!! This looks FABULOUS! Can’t wait to try them for myself!


  36. #
    Larry — January 28, 2013 @ 3:06 pm

    I’m sure it would be horrible to be your husband… I mean, all this food just around all the time… I’m sure I would be morbidly obese at this point in the marriage.
    Will you marry me? I love food AND share your opinions on shoes! There wouldn’t be any hanky-panky… but I would help you check out guys! ♥


    • Jessica — January 28th, 2013 @ 4:04 pm

      ummm your comments make my life.


      • Larry — January 29th, 2013 @ 1:52 pm

        UMMMMM I’m totally geeking out because YOU REPLIED TO MY COMMENT! omg
        Is that lame? You’re celeb-ish, right? I mean, you have a ton of followers on here and Instagram (including me)… *breathe*

  37. #
    Karly — January 28, 2013 @ 3:28 pm

    So, is that two pounds of ground chicken? One regular, one lean? Because I’m so totally making these for dinner tonight and I just wanna get it right.

    LOVE YOU AND YOUR CRAZY GOOD FOOD. Sorta hate Mr. How Sweet for his “woe is me, I can’t gain weight” comments. ;)


    • Jessica — January 28th, 2013 @ 4:04 pm

      correct, 2 pounds! you can use whatever kind (lean, not lean) you’d like as long as it’s 2 pounds. :)


  38. #
    Kara — January 28, 2013 @ 3:58 pm

    I am in AWE of the things you can do with food.


  39. #
    Dax — January 28, 2013 @ 4:32 pm

    Whoa those not only look awesome but they sound freakin’ amazing. Great job!


  40. #
    Erin — January 28, 2013 @ 4:44 pm

    Since I eat peanut butter & Fluffernutter on white bread for lunch nearly every day, I consider myself sort of a sandwich expert. And as such, I declare this bun of balls delicious!


  41. #
    Crystal — January 28, 2013 @ 4:53 pm

    Just stumbled across your blog from Peas and Thank You– amazing looking recipes! I am going to have to catch up on quite a few….

    By the way, I am working on starting a new recipe search engine with some cool tools for food bloggers. We have started a Kickstarter campaign that explains our project, I hope you’ll check us out :)


  42. #
    Adrienne — January 28, 2013 @ 5:56 pm

    Do you have a best friend? Do you wanna be my best friend? ;)

    I just posted a meatball recipe today that is totally similar! Loving it lady.


  43. #
    Heather of Kitchen Concoctions — January 28, 2013 @ 5:58 pm

    I love me a good meatball sub! The meatballs, some crusty bread, slathered in sauce and topped with bubbly melted cheese…. holy yum!


  44. #
    Michelle — January 28, 2013 @ 6:17 pm

    WOWZA. I LOVE meatball sandwiches but I’ve never thought to do it any other way than just meatballs, marinara, and mozz. I must try this!


  45. #
    Katie @ Blonde Ambition — January 28, 2013 @ 6:45 pm

    For some reason, I’ve been making meatballs super often lately and I have not yet thought to melt cheese all over them. So….now that idea’s never leaving my head. THANKS A LOT.

    (no but really, I love you and I love this!)


  46. #
    Shaina — January 28, 2013 @ 6:50 pm

    Football food perfection.


  47. #
    Sara N. — January 28, 2013 @ 7:52 pm

    My mouth is watering just looking at these little gems! Stuffing the bread is such a creative idea. Now it is an even easier hand held food.


  48. #
    Jill — January 28, 2013 @ 8:28 pm

    Yum! Jalapeños–great idea! I LOVE meatballs, Im a recovering vegetarian and now have seen the light.


  49. #
    Katie@Cozydelicious — January 28, 2013 @ 9:25 pm

    Oh man, these sandiches look awesome! So cheesey and full of flavor. Fantastic football food.


  50. #
    Holiday Baker Man — January 28, 2013 @ 10:20 pm

    Perfect for the game this weekend. No beer recipe? ;)



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