Subway sandwiches and wraps

Ranking Subway Sandwiches from Worst to Best

Subway’s story of crafting footlong sub sandwiches made with fresh ingredients dates back to 1965. The establishment originally went by Pete’s Super Submarines. It was later shortened to Pete’s Subway to avoid customer confusion, and then just Subway — the moniker that has helped to make the franchise a global sensation.

Another key difference between the chain then and now is, obviously, price. In the 1960s, one of the chain’s 12-inch sandwiches would have set you back $0.69. Over the years, that rate graduated to $5 — the cost that became the company’s entire marketing strategy and personality for years. If you’re anything like me, then you likely still have the catchy, yet maddening, “five dollar, five dollar, five dollar footlooongs” jingle stuck in your head.

Now, thanks to inflation, prices have crept up even further. But, that hasn’t stopped people from flocking to the green and yellow storefronts for quick meals and the novelty of building their very own custom sammie. Of course, pre-built sandwiches have always been an option as well, and the chain’s menu is chock full of new and revamped menu choices under its successful Subway Series — as well as brand new wraps and the footlong collection of snacks and desserts. 

I recently ditched my go-to classic sub to give some of these new sandwiches and wraps a try. Each was judged based on freshness, balance, and creativity of flavor combinations in order to uncover what choices are best during this new era of Subway.

Some recommendations are based on first-hand impressions of promotional materials and products provided by the manufacturer/distributor/etc.

12. Homestyle Chicken Salad Wrap

Subway chicken salad wrap

Chicken salad is one of the most polarizing foods. People seem to either love it or hate it (like, really hate it). But, Subway took the gamble anyway and recently brought it back to its menu — this time in wrap form. Like all of the chain’s new wraps, it’s made with a “lavash-style flatbread,” inspired by Middle Eastern cuisine, instead of a conventional flour wrap.

I’ve always been an advocate of chicken salad. Subway’s rendition could use some work, though. While the rotisserie chicken is adequate, the blend as a whole seems to be made up of simply meat and mayonnaise. There aren’t any additional add-ins like sliced grapes, nuts, or seasonings to add any kind of relief in terms of flavor or texture. The fixings are additionally dull — albeit fresh. Onion, tomato, spinach, and lettuce all boil down to filler. I’m also unsure why two leafy greens were included, since one would suffice. 

The high point of this sandwich was the flatbread itself — which was as soft, yet sturdy. And surprisingly, the cucumber slices offered a refreshing and unique touch when paired with the chicken salad. Beyond these features, though, I’m sorry to say that this wrap did not live up to my expectations. One made at home with cranberries and pecans thrown in is much more likely to satisfy your cravings. 

11. Garlic Roast Beef

Subway roast beef footlong sandwich

The “Subway Series” is what people call the Major League Baseball (MLB) rivalry games between New York-based teams — namely the Yankees and the Mets. But, at the sandwich shop, the Subway Series title takes on a whole new meaning. This curated collection of baseball-inspired subs is always growing, and the Garlic Roast Beef sandwich finally made the roster in 2023.

There’s no denying that this sandwich is meaty; it’s packed on artisan Italian bread and is absolutely overflowing with thin slices of beef. It’s tender, but cold, and the sheer amount of meat causes it to become unappetizing rather quickly. Plus, the beef’s fatty and stringy texture makes eating it tough. Mentally, I kept comparing it to Arby’s slow-roasted roast beef — and couldn’t help but be disappointed by the sandwich overall. Meanwhile, the roasted garlic aioli is understated, though the name of the sandwich suggests that it plays a key role. Plus, the tomato slices, adjacent to the roast beef, feel out of place. 

The remaining ingredients, including provolone cheese, shredded lettuce, and red onion, didn’t turn me off, yet they didn’t do anything to elevate the creation either. For me, that was one, two, three strikes you’re out for the Garlic Roast Beef Sandwich.

10. The Beast

Subway The Beast sub sandwich

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Whoever named this sammie deserves a raise for accuracy. The Beast — which falls into the Subway Series category — is an absolute behemoth of a sandwich filled with a hulking half-pound of meat. This includes pepperoni, salami, turkey, ham, and roast beef — should I call that a pentafecta? Plus, don’t forget the provolone cheese, lettuce, tomatoes, onions, mayo, and MVP Vinaigrette.

I will admit, I approached this sub with low expectations. I figured it would contain too many conflicting flavors — because five proteins are exorbitant, no matter how you slice it. However, I wasn’t completely turned off by the sandwich’s bulk. Different flavors come alive with each bite as you piece through the sandwich. In some mouthfuls, the pepperoni takes center stage, while in others, the roast beef or ham is more prominent. It’s hard to know what you’re going to get. But, no one bite ever feels grossly overwhelming. That being said, the veggies do get a little lost. However, the combination of mayonnaise and the light, almost Italian-like vinaigrette was palatable.

If you are dying of hunger, this sandwich is definitely for you; it’s bound to be more stomachable than the garlic roast beef. Though, on normal days when you’re just looking for a quick on-the-go meal, there are other options that will give you nearly the same effect on a more manageable scale.

9. All-Pro Sweet Onion Teriyaki

Subway teriyaki chicken sub sandwich

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The All-Pro Sweet Onion Teriyaki sub is somewhat of a curveball on the Subway menu. It’s served hot and toasty, which is a nice change of pace compared to the slew of cold cuts, and it brings in a more distinctive, one-of-a-kind flavor thanks to the sweet teriyaki sauce. Plus, it’s the only one on my list stacked on hearty multigrain bread rather than an Italian bread or a flatbread.

That being said, this sandwich earns my respect for daring to be different. It’s also well-built with juicy grilled chicken and a sufficient amount of melted American cheese, lettuce, tomatoes, and onion. But, I just can’t seem to get on board with the sauce, which is arguably the most important part of the sandwich. It sports a gloopy, gelatinous texture and is closer to a sweet and sour sauce than a teriyaki. It has an obvious, mango-like, sugary kick and doesn’t gel appropriately with its surroundings.

If this sub was served up sans sauce, I think it would make for a solid choice. But, that kind of defeats the purpose — doesn’t it?

8. Titan Turkey

Subway Titan Turkey submarine sandwich

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Extra meat doesn’t always equate to a better sandwich; it’s a lesson I learned after tasting The Beast not too long ago. So, I was hesitant as I stared down the Titan Turkey sandwich topped with 33% more meat compared to the classic sandwich portion. As it turns out, it’s not a displeasing sandwich; it’s just more elementary than what I was looking for. 

The Titan Turkey boils down to a weighty version of a classic turkey sub. The poultry comes in thin slices and is a step (but an important step) up from the packaged deli meat you buy at the grocery store. Provolone was the correct cheese choice and the trusty trio of lettuce, tomatoes, and onions rounds out the eating experience. I also appreciate that the mayonnaise here is layered in between the meat and the other ingredients, rather than directly on the fresh bread. I’m not sure if this is a standard practice, but it’s a nice touch and allows the condiment to be better dispersed throughout the sandwich.

When it comes down to it, the Titan Turkey is basic, but properly tasty. I wouldn’t mind enjoying it for a casual summertime lunch outside.

7. Turkey Bacon Avocado Wrap

Subway turkey, bacon, and avocado wrap

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The next stop on the turkey train is the turkey bacon avocado wrap. The roll-up once again comes on a flatbread — which is reminiscent of Greek-style pita bread — and includes oven-roasted turkey, bacon, smashed avocado, lettuce, tomatoes, red onions, Monterey cheddar cheese, and peppercorn ranch sauce. It’s a wonder how all those ingredients fit into one wrap. But, once they’re all packed inside, it looks like a colorful rainbow of goodness.

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Though this wrap’s appearance is top notch, its taste falters slightly. The turkey isn’t all that flavorsome by itself. The shredded cheese is meh, and the avocado is almost completely lost in the shuffle. What keeps this wrap afloat is the bacon and creamy ranch. The bacon has a smoky taste that permeates through the entire wrap, while the sauce, which is similar to standard ranch but slightly tangy, gives everything a boost. It is certainly similar in composition to the Titan Turkey, but is noticeably smaller and encased like a burrito. But, with the bacon and ranch working in tandem, the wrap has the upper hand over my lower-ranked selections. 

6. The Philly

Subway Philly cheesesteak sandwich

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This East Coast-inspired sandwich is a popular one at sub shops. Subway’s own version of the classic cheesesteak comes with plenty of sliced steak, American cheese, green peppers, red onions, and mayo, all plastered on artisan Italian bread and toasted. The one I received appeared more deflated than other sandwich offerings. I even thought at first that it was just bread and meat, since the veggies were hidden underneath.

Luckily, all ingredients were, in fact, accounted for and worked well together. The meat has crumbly consistency but is tender, lightly seasoned, and there aren’t any bits that are overly chewy. It felt like bona fide cheesesteak-style steak served by a trusted street food vendor. Melty American cheese is always appreciated and the peppers and onions were crisp. Though, I actually would have preferred if the veggies were been cooked down a tad — like the fajitas you order at Chipotle. Aside from this trifling snafu, it’s a sandwich I think most Philadelphians could get behind.

5. Elite Chicken Bacon Ranch

Subway chicken, bacon, and ranch submarine sandwich

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Bacon and ranch together on a sandwich is something out of a Midwestern playbook — which I can confirm as a Midwesterner myself. Throw some chicken into the mix and all bets are off. Subway knew what it was doing when it fabricated this sub — and the brand executed it remarkably well.

The poultry is plump and looks like it could have been taken straight off the bones of a rotisserie chicken. The bacon is also respectable for a fast food joint. It’s not remarkably crispy or sizzling fresh, but it has decent flavor and a small snap to it. Melted Monterey cheddar shredded cheese, lettuce, tomatoes, and onions also do more than just contribute color; they round out the entire sandwich. The onions are especially potent and help add umami and tang.

The peppercorn ranch sauce — which still tastes like any other normal ranch — makes everything a little messier. However, it’s well worth it, and the soft Italian bread does a great job of encasing all of the ingredients.

4. Honey Mustard Chicken Wrap

Subway honey mustard chicken wrap

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The final wrap on this list is the honey mustard chicken. It was added to the menu in 2024, although the chain’s honey mustard sauce has been around for much longer. The wrap is exactly what it sounds like; it’s made with rotisserie chicken, just like the Elite Chicken Bacon Ranch Sandwich. The chain’s go-to toppings are thrown in, including lettuce, tomatoes, red onions, and shredded Monterey cheddar cheese. The pièce de résistance is, of course, Subway’s signature honey mustard.

It’s important to note that the honey mustard recipe is not the same as in the past. It’s a modification that has been met with backlash; one eater even created a petition calling for the old sauce’s return. However, I personally think the current version is pure liquid gold and a substance that would elevate even the most basic of sandwiches or wraps. It coats the juicy rotisserie chicken chunks with its creamy, sweet, and zesty presence and is well-portioned so it doesn’t drown the wrap. 

The honey mustard chicken wrap receives two thumbs up from me. There are just a couple more Subway menu items that are a smidge better and rely on more than one ingredient to do the bulk of the heavy lifting.

3. Hotshot Italiano

Subway Hotshot Italiano subway sandwich

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The Hotshot Italiano adds a bit of spice to Subway’s roster. On the surface, it looks like your average everyday Italian sub, piled high with Genoa salami, pepperoni, provolone cheese, lettuce, tomatoes, red onions, and the chain’s MVP Parmesan Vinaigrette. Then, it sneakily cranks things up a notch with the addition of jalapeño peppers. And, let me tell you, they don’t take it easy on you in the heat department. Nearly every square inch of the sandwich is covered with the pepper slices and the seeds are left in for the ultimate red-hot experience.

The rest fits the bill for a standard Italian sandwich, although there is no ham to give it an extra dose of meat and vigor. One small critique I have is that I would have liked to see even more of the Parmesan vinaigrette throughout the sammie. This might just be a personal preference, but I like my Italian subs to be nearly inundated with dressing and crisp flavor.

All in all, if you’re not adverse to heat, this may just be your new favorite sub. But, but proceed with caution, and ask for an extra spurt of vinaigrette.

2. The Ultimate B.M.T.

Subway Ultimate B.M.T. sandwich

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The Ultimate B.M.T. — not to be confused with a BLT — is a Subway-exclusive sandwich. It’s been said that the acronym stands for “Biggest, Meatiest, Tastiest,” however, there have also been rumors that the potential inspiration for the name stemmed from the Brooklyn-Manhattan Transit System (BMT). Either way, it’s been a legendary sandwich since 1975 and remains steadfast on the menu, only now it’s operating under the new alias: The Ultimate B.M.T.

Don’t worry; all the major components of the original B.M.T. are still there. The triple threat of Genoa salami, spicy pepperoni, and Black Forest ham are all accounted for, and lettuce, onions, and tomatoes take their places under the meat. The only differences are that this latest version ditches the cucumbers, adds provolone cheese, and applies a generous amount of the MVP Parmesan Vinaigrette — which are all upgrades, as far as I’m concerned. It’s as well-balanced as ever with a subtle hint of heat from the pepperoni, heartiness from the remaining meat and the cheese, and plenty of flavor coming from the oil and vinegar-based dressing. It’s a classic for a reason. And, without fiery jalapeños thrown into the mix, it’s a more approachable choice than the Italiano.

1. All-American Club

Subway All-American Club sandwich

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I’m not quite sure how to explain it, but this sandwich does, as a matter of fact, taste authentically American — despite being served on an Italian bread loaf. It’s dressed with oven-roasted turkey, Black Forest ham, and bacon, so there’s a nice diversity of meat flavors that complement each other rather than trample over the next. You get a tender fattiness from the bacon and substantialness from the plentiful slices of ham and turkey.

A fresh combination of lettuce, tomatoes, and red onion is a given. But creamy American cheese and a liberal schmear of mayonnaise make the sandwich reminiscent of something you’d enjoy on a Fourth of July afternoon at the lake. It doesn’t claim to be fancy or especially unique; rather, it just gets the job done as a classic cold-cut creation. The All-American Club is the epitome of a good, old-fashioned sub sandwich and I, for one, appreciate its resplendent simplicity.

Methodology

Tray of Subway footlong sandwiches

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Subway has gone through many changes recently — from converting most of its time-honored subs into its Subway Series to introducing wraps on softer, fluffier flatbreads. From personal experience, I know a trip to the chain nowadays can be quite intimidating in the face of all this newness. So, to avoid any buyer’s remorse and a ruined lunch, I tried some of its subs and wraps so you don’t have to. 

I judged and ranked each offering after tasting it. I looked first for overall appearance and uniqueness. I gave a few a higher ranking if they provided a distinct new combination of ingredients that was unlike anything other sub shops offer. A balanced taste was another important feature, as well as something full of fresh and diverse flavors. From there, I was able to determine which sandwich could satisfy my craving for something filling, wholesome, and tasty. 

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