Subway Sandwiches, Ranked
When you’re hungry for something quick and simple, yet healthier than a McDonald’s cheeseburger, where do you usually go? If you’re like millions of Americans, Subway is probably the answer.
The chain’s subs, served on six-inch or foot-long rolls, are reliably satisfying. But not all are created equal. While some sandwiches sing with a perfect balance of ingredients, others are, shall we say, lackluster at best.
We all have our opinions, and we’re sharing ours by ranking all of Subway’s signature subs based on ingredients, messiness, nutrition and overall taste. Let’s get right into it, shall we?
16. Oven Roasted Chicken
Ingredients: Savory chicken, choice of veggies
We're just going to say it: The Oven-Roasted Chicken sub is weak. The meat is dry and flat, and doesn’t look or taste in any way roasted. Worse yet, it’s not even fully chicken.
According to reporting by the Canadian Broadcasting Company, only 53.6 percent of this so-called chicken is made up of actual chicken DNA; the rest is mostly soy. (Subway, not surprisingly, has refuted these findings.)
On the plus side? This sub isn’t messy and you can make it as healthy as you want, as it’s a “Fresh Fit” sub.
Still, call us crazy, but we want our oven-roasted chicken to taste oven-roasted. And to include, you know, chicken.
15. Classic Tuna
Ingredients: Flaked tuna blended with mayo, choice of veggies
The Classic Tuna is smelly, soggy and messy. And if you think that’s ok because it’s at least one of the healthier options on the menu (it’s fish, after all), think again. It has 100 calories more than the far superior steak-and-cheese sub.
Why? Because it’s swimming in mayo. As one anonymous Subway employee told “So Yummy” in a rather chilling expose:
“Your Subway tuna sandwich is 90% mayonnaise. How did we prepare the tuna? Take one can of tuna the size of your fist and empty it into a vat. Take a big 2ltr bag of mayonnaise and splosh it in the vat. Mix it haphazardly for 2 minutes until it’s a semi-consistent mush. Cringe when customers ask for ‘just a little bit’ of light mayo on their tuna sandwich because they’re on a diet.”
Unless you live by the mantra that there’s no such thing as too much mayo (and hey — you do you), it’s better to make your tuna sandwiches at home.
14. Veggie Delite
Ingredients: Choice of veggies
Okay, the health-star rating on this one is pretty high, but everything else is low. You’re really just paying to put a salad in between bread. TBH, what’s the point?
Even if you’re vegetarian, this sandwich doesn’t deliver. As writer Adam Rathbarth put it in “Vice,” “As a vegetarian sandwich, the Veggie Delite absolutely fails. It comprises only raw vegetables, nothing cooked, and there isn’t even a recommended sauce or topping to tie the flavors and textures together.” (Then again, this was in a story defending the sandwich as the writer’s guilty-pleasure favorite.)
Unfortunately, Subway is infamously bad at catering to vegetarians in general. A few stores are starting to sell Meatball Marinaras with plant-based fake meat, which is a surprisingly tasty choice. If you can’t find that at your local store, the best you can do is to order the Veggie Delite with lots of avocado, to make it at least vaguely interesting.
13. Chicken and Bacon Ranch Melt
Ingredients: All-white, seasoned chicken; savory bacon; Monterey cheddar cheese; choice of veggies
Oh yes, we did put this sandwich low on our list. It’s messy. It’s unhealthy. It’s flavorless. And, most blasphemous of all, it’s often lacking enough ranch dressing, which is kind of the whole point of ordering the thing.
Readers: This sub is simply not worth your valuable time.
12. Rotisserie-style Chicken
Ingredients: Tender, hand-pulled chicken; choice of veggies
This chicken sub has more oomf than its lame, “oven-roasted” “chicken” cousin. The hand-pulled meat actually holds the rotisserie flavor and seasoning. If you choose the right veggies, it’s all quite tasty and healthy. And best yet, it’s proudly antibiotic-free, meaning no artificial colors, flavors or preservatives.
So why isn’t it higher on the list? Because it’s still the Average Joe of subs, with nothing particularly special or unique about it. And your local deli almost certainly makes a much better version.
11. Black Forest Ham
Ingredients: Black Forest ham, choice of veggies
Bonus points for the fancy name. Negative points for blatant false advertising.
Per European law, only licensed butchers working in the Black Forest region of Germany can manufacture Black Forest ham. (Kind of like Champagne only technically being Champagne when it’s from that region of France.)
But as “Modern Farmer” points out, here in the U.S., “Black Forest ham can still be found in everything from Subway sandwiches to Tyson packages...with nary a thought to a German forest.”
In other words: This sandwich is full of lies.
10. Cold Cut Combo
Ingredients: Ham, salami, bologna, choice of veggies
This is the standard sub you can order a million times and know that it will always turn out the same. The bologna will always be the overpowering taste. The veggies will always make you feel better about it. Mom will always be able to make a far superior version.
What makes this sandwich a top-10 contender is its appearance in the classic comedy “Happy Gilmore,” which ensures you can quote the film every time you order it: “Cold-cut combo from Subway! I eat three every day to keep me strong.”
That has to be worth something.
9. Sweet Onion Chicken Teriyaki
Ingredients: Teriyaki-glazed chicken strips, sweet onion sauce, choice of veggies
Ok, let’s start with the bad news: This sandwich has only 42.8 percent real chicken DNA — even less than the much-maligned Oven-Roasted Chicken sub.
The good news? This one at least tastes good. The marinated chicken chunks are satisfyingly hefty, the sweet onion sauce (which is fat-free, by the way) adds a nice bit of flavor, and the whole thing pairs well with your choice of veggies. Who needs real chicken anyways?
8. Steak and Cheese
Ingredients: Steak, cheese, choice of veggies
Not quite a Philly cheesesteak, but kudos for the effort.
Health and nutrition take a back seat with this sandwich, but the flavor is all there. Even better is the Chipotle Southwest Steak & Cheese, which adds a fiery sauce to the mix. It was introduced last year and has been earning raves.
(Oh, and take it from us: This sub is a savior when it comes to curing a hangover.)
7. Roast Beef
Ingredients: Lean, sliced roast beef; choice of veggies
Some people love roast beef sandwiches, whole others consider them thoroughly mediocre. We generally agree with the latter camp, but have to admit Subway’s version is pretty legit. The roast beef is beefy (for lack of a better word) and pairs well with a slice of cheese, a few crunchy veggies and, if you're feeling bold, sweet onion sauce.
When toasted, this is a darn good sandwich. It’s just not the best.
6. Subway Club
Ingredients: Premium sliced turkey breast, lean roast beef, Black Forest ham, choice of veggies
The Subway club is simple yet hearty. The turkey, beef and ham complement each other nicely. When topped with fresh veggies and a simple sauce, it’s perfectly satisfying.
But while we appreciate the attempt at doing things differently, it is incredibly weird to not put bacon on a basic club sandwich. Isn’t bacon kind of the whole point of a club sandwich?
Earlier this year, perhaps due to vigorous complaints about this egregious omission, Subway introduced a “Club Collection” of three special club sandwiches, all of which feature bacon. Our pick of the trio? The Southwest Chipotle Chicken Club, which also includes toppings like guacamole, Pepper Jack cheese and chipotle Southwest sauce, and comes served on jalapeno cheddar bread.
Now we’re talking.
5. Pit Smoked Brisket
Ingredients: Brisket that's been slow-smoked for at least 13 hours, smoked cheddar cheese, barbecue sauce, signature Italian bread
It’s about time we got some brisket on Subway’s menu! It is, after all, the king of meat.
Subway does its best to make this barbecue classic the real deal and — give it props — it mostly succeeds, thanks to its use of tender slow-cooked meat, melted cheese and a sauce with kick.
The Pit Smoked Brisket rolled out in September 2019 and is reportedly limited-time only (how limited-time, they won’t say), so if it’s available at your local Subway, move this one to the top of your list.
4. Turkey Breast
Ingredients: Premium sliced turkey breast, choice of veggies
Don’t let the simplicity of this sandwich fool you. The single cold-cut factor lets you get creative with the customization. Feeling fancy? Dress it up with avocado and cheese. More of a sass monster? Jalapeños and tomatoes add a kick.
Want to get weird with yourself and throw mayo, ranch, banana peppers, American cheese and red peppers in there? Ok, we might judge you a little, because that sounds disgusting. But hey, it's a free country.
3. Italian B.M.T.
Ingredients: Pepperoni, Genoa salami, Black Forest ham, cheese, choice of veggies
The saltiness of the cold cuts makes this Subway sandwich an all-timer. If you really want to kick this sub into high gear, add lettuce, tomato, pepper, onion, banana peppers and olives. Then sprinkle olive oil, vinegar, oregano, salt and pepper on top. Have it for lunch. Have it for breakfast. Have it for dinner. Have it for all three. You won’t be disappointed.
The one drawback? The sandwich’s super-confusing name, which sounds like it stands for individual ingredients, a la a BLT, but is actually an acronym for “Bigger, Meatier, Tastier.” Say what?
2. Meatball Marinara
Ingredients: Meatballs, marinara sauce, Parmesan cheese
You’ve got one very important question to answer concerning the Meatball Marinara: toasted or not toasted? (Hint: Toasted is the only correct answer.)
While the Meatball Marinara made with actual meat is close to perfection, as noted before, the plant-based Beyond Meat Meatball Marinara introduced at select stores in September 2019 is actually pretty satisfying too. Subway is clearly trying to capitalize on something with the new sandwich; when Burger King introduced an Impossible Whopper made with faux-meat, foot traffic to its stores selling the burger increased by 18.5 percent.
Whichever version of this sandwich you choose, a warning: Don’t wear white while consuming this product.
1. Spicy Italian
Ingredients: Pepperoni, Genoa salami, cheese, choice of veggies
Da, da, da, daaaa! We have a winner!
The Spicy Italian is an upgrade to the Italian B.M.T., because let’s be real, they’re almost identical except that this one forgoes the ham. Without that unnecessary meat, you can focus on customizing this baby to your heart’s desire, letting the spicy salami and pepperoni work their magic.
It may not be the healthiest option, but the only real issue with this sammy is the potential to inhale it too fast. We’ll make this a 12-inch sub because we never want it to end.
Spicy Italian Tweet