Are Subway Sandwiches gluten-free?

Quick Answer

Most Subway sandwiches are not gluten-free. Subway does offer some gluten-free bread and wrap options, but the vast majority of their sandwiches contain gluten from wheat-based breads. Individuals with celiac disease or gluten sensitivity should avoid non-gluten-free Subway sandwiches.

Ingredients in Subway Sandwiches

A standard Subway sandwich contains the following gluten-containing ingredients:

  • Bread – Subway’s Italian bread, wheat bread, honey oat bread, and hearty Italian bread all contain wheat and are not gluten-free.
  • Meats – Some meats at Subway contain gluten as a filler or stabilizing agent. These include roast beef, rotisserie chicken, and ham.
  • Cheese – Some cheeses contain anti-caking agents that have traces of gluten. Provolone and cheddar cheese are safe, but American cheese has gluten.
  • Sauces – Certain sauces like ranch, honey mustard, and chipotle southwest sauce contain gluten.
  • Toppings – Croutons and tortilla strips offered as toppings contain gluten.

So in summary, the combination of bread, meat, sauces, and toppings makes most Subway sandwiches unsuitable for those with celiac disease or a gluten allergy. Exceptions do exist, which will be covered below.

Gluten-Free Options at Subway

While the majority of Subway’s offerings contain gluten, there are some gluten-free options available:

Gluten-Free Bread

Subway offers gluten-free bread and wraps in select locations. The current gluten-free bread options include:

  • Gluten-Free Wrap
  • Gluten-Free 9-Grain Wheat Bread
  • Gluten-Free Italian Bread

The availability of these gluten-free bread varieties can differ between locations. You’ll want to check with your local Subway restaurant on which options they currently offer.

Customizing Orders

Even if gluten-free bread isn’t available, you can customize a gluten-free sandwich by:

  • Ordering a salad instead of a sandwich
  • Using lettuce wraps instead of bread
  • Selecting gluten-free ingredients for toppings and sauces

For example, a salad with rotisserie chicken, peppers, cucumbers, and gluten-free vinegar as the dressing is a gluten-free option.

Gluten-Free Sides

Subway offers gluten-free sides that make good complements to a customized gluten-free sandwich. These include:

  • Fruit salad
  • Green leaf lettuce salad
  • Apple slices
  • Lay’s Classic Potato Chips

Cross-Contamination at Subway

Even when ordering gluten-free items, there is still the risk of cross-contamination at Subway. Here are some of the factors that raise the risk:

  • Bread and sandwiches prepared on shared surfaces and in close proximity.
  • Employees not changing gloves between gluten and gluten-free preparations.
  • Using the same knives, tongs, etc. to prepare both gluten and gluten-free sandwiches.
  • Toasters not being properly cleaned of gluten-containing crumbs between uses.

Those highly sensitive should use extra caution when ordering. Ways to reduce the risk include:

  • Avoiding Subway during busy rush times, where extensive cross-contamination is more likely.
  • Asking employees to change gloves, use separate utensils, and wipe down surfaces.
  • Requesting gluten-free items be prepared first before other sandwiches.

However, even with precautions, the risk of traces of gluten may be unavoidable.

Gluten-Free Compared to Wheat Subway Bread

Subway’s gluten-free bread options differ from the traditional wheat-based bread in the following ways:


The gluten-free bread is less dense and chewy compared to Subway’s 9-grain wheat and Italian breads. The flavor is milder as well. Some find the gluten-free bread gritty or dry.


Subway’s gluten-free bread is softer and more airy in texture relative to the firmer and chewier wheat breads. It also tends to crumble more easily.


Compared to 9-grain wheat, the gluten-free Italian bread has fewer calories (140 vs 210 per 6” sub) and carbs (24g vs 38g), but less fiber (2g vs 4g) and protein (4g vs 8g).


Getting gluten-free bread costs an additional $1-2 per sub depending on location. So gluten-free subs end up costing more than wheat-based ones.


Subway’s gluten-free bread range is only carried at select locations at this time. The wheat bread options are ubiquitous.

So those needing to avoid gluten have fewer location and taste options compared to those who can eat regular wheat bread.

Subway Gluten-Free Credentials

Subway has received certification from GFCO, an independent gluten-free certification program, for its procedures in preparing gluten-free sandwiches.

This means GFCO has independently assessed and verified that Subway follows proper protocols in terms of:

  • Segregating gluten-free ingredients
  • Preventing cross-contamination
  • Employee training on gluten-free prep procedures
  • Providing dedicated gluten-free preparation areas

GFCO field inspectors also conduct periodic on-site inspections of Subway restaurants to confirm compliance.

This level of verification gives those needing to avoid gluten some extra assurance around the safety of Subway’s gluten-free offerings. However, it does not eliminate the risk entirely.

Is Subway Entirely Gluten-Free?

No, Subway as a whole is not an entirely gluten-free restaurant. While they offer some gluten-free breads and salad options, the vast majority of ingredients and menu items contain gluten. Even the gluten-free offerings pose some risk of cross-contamination.

Those with celiac disease should use caution when choosing gluten-free menu items due to shared kitchen equipment. Subway can accommodate gluten restrictions, but there are safer choices for strictly gluten-free dining.

Safer Gluten-Free Options than Subway

Individuals following a gluten-free diet will have safer choices for dining out than Subway. Some recommendations include:

Dedicated Gluten-Free Restaurants

Restaurants that exclusively offer gluten-free menus and preparation areas are the best option. There is no risk of cross-contamination. Examples include Against the Grain Gourmet, Wilder’s Gluten-Free Cafe, and Nourish Kitchen + Table.

Steak and Salmon

Most steakhouse or salmon-centered restaurants offer grilled proteins that are naturally gluten-free, along with vegetable sides. Just confirm no gluten-containing sauces are used.


Corn tortillas are gluten-free, and corn chips are safe as well. You can build gluten-free tacos, fajitas, burritos, and other Mexican dishes. Ask about wheat-free ingredients.


Dishes centered around rice noodles, lean protein, veggies, and gluten-free sauces offer low-gluten options. Thai, Vietnamese, sushi, and poke bowls are good choices.


Pizza chains like Blaze Pizza, MOD Pizza, and PizzaRev offer gluten-free pizza crusts and prevent cross-contamination. Just get non-breaded toppings.

Subway Gluten-Free sandwiches: What to Order

If opting to eat at Subway despite the risks, here are some of the best gluten-free sandwich options:

Vegetarian Options

  • Veggie Delite on gluten-free bread with no sauce
  • Lettuce wrap with veggies, oil & vinegar
  • Salad with no croutons or glue-containing ingredients

Protein Options

  • Rotisserie chicken breast with lettuce, tomatoes, onion, spinach
  • Roasted turkey breast with veggies and mustard
  • Ham with cheese, lettuce, onion, pickles (specify gluten-free cheese)

Stick to gluten-free sauces like mustard, oil, or vinegar. And as noted earlier, always confirm with staff on the current gluten-free bread options and preparation procedures at that location.

Is Subway Sandwich Bread Vegan?

No, Subway’s standard sandwich breads are not vegan, as they contain milk and eggs:

  • 9-Grain Wheat: Contains malted barley, eggs, and milk.
  • Italian: Contains milk and eggs.
  • Flatbread: Contains milk and eggs.

Subway does offer vegan sandwich wraps, however. These include the Roasted Garlic wrap, Tomato Basil wrap, and Spinach wrap, which are egg-free and dairy-free.

The 9-Grain Wheat and Italian Herb breads also have vegan alternatives available by request at some locations. These are prepared without milk or eggs.

So while the standard bread is not vegan, those following a vegan diet can customize a sandwich at Subway to make it plant-based. But confirm the vegan bread options with your specific location first.

Subway Sandwich Calories Compared

Subway sandwiches range widely in calories depending on size, bread type, meats, cheese, and sauces. Here is a comparison of calories for some popular 6” subs:

Lowest Calorie

  • Veggie Delite: 210 calories
  • Turkey Breast: 320 calories
  • Ham: 330 calories

Medium Calorie

  • Black Forest Ham: 370 calories
  • Oven Roasted Chicken: 390 calories
  • Turkey Italiano Melt: 400 calories

Highest Calorie

  • Meatball Marinara: 480 calories
  • Chicken Bacon Ranch Melt: 510 calories
  • Steak, Egg, and Cheese: 550 calories

As shown, calories range from 210 for a veggie sub up to 550 for steak and egg. Choosing 6” over 12”, gluten-free bread, lean meats, and easy on sauces and condiments will lower the calorie count.

Lowest Carb Subway Sandwiches

For those monitoring carbohydrates, here are some of the lowest carb sandwiches at Subway:

6-Inch Low Carb Sandwiches

  • Egg and Cheese: 33g carb
  • Bacon Egg and Cheese: 36g carb
  • Ham: 39g carb

12-Inch Low Carb Sandwiches

  • Steak and Cheese: 60g carb
  • Chicken and Bacon Ranch: 63g carb
  • Rotisserie Chicken: 65g carb

Tips for further reducing carbs:

  • Opt for a salad instead of sandwich
  • Limit cheese, sauce, and veggie toppings
  • Select gluten-free bread subtracts ~15g carbs
  • Skip subs with meatballs, which have added carbs

Following these guidelines provides lower carb options for subs under 30g to 70g of net carbs.

Ranking Healthiest to Unhealthiest Subway Sandwiches

Based on calories, sodium, saturated fat, and nutritional benefit, here is a ranking of Subway sandwiches from healthiest to unhealthiest:


  1. Veggie Delite
  2. Turkey Breast
  3. Black Forest Ham
  4. Chicken Breast
  5. Tuna


  1. Pastrami
  2. Chicken Bacon Ranch Melt
  3. Meatball Marinara
  4. Steak, Egg, and Cheese
  5. Chicken and Bacon Ranch

Key reasons:

  • Veggie and turkey have fewer calories and sodium.
  • Cheese, creamy sauces, and breaded toppings make some less healthy.
  • Pastrami and bacon are high sodium meats.

Customizing your sandwich with light toppings and minimal sauces makes it healthier regardless of bread and meat choice.


Subway offers bread, wraps, salads, and sandwich toppings that make it possible to eat there gluten-free and vegan. However, the vast majority of their menu contains gluten and animal products. Dedicated gluten-free establishments are a safer choice for celiacs. Within Subway’s menu, opting for customized veggie sandwiches, salads, and gluten-free bread when available are your best options when needing to eat gluten or meat-free. Be sure to confirm ingredients and prep procedures at your specific location.

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