Does Subway bread have dairy in it?

Subway is one of the most popular fast food chains, known for its wide variety of submarine sandwiches. With over 40,000 locations worldwide, Subway offers customers the ability to customize their sandwiches with a selection of breads, meats, cheeses, vegetables, and sauces.

One common question Subway customers have is whether the bread contains dairy ingredients. For people with dairy allergies or who follow a vegan diet, knowing the ingredients is important.

In this article, we’ll take an in-depth look at the ingredients in Subway’s bread to determine if there is any dairy used. We’ll examine the standard white and wheat breads, as well as gluten-free, flatbread, and wrap options.

The Main Ingredients in Subway Bread

Subway’s bread is made fresh in-store daily from basic ingredients. The main ingredients in their standard bread recipes are:

– Enriched flour (wheat flour, malted barley flour)
– Water
– Yeast
– Soybean oil
– Contains 2% or less of: salt, sugar, wheat gluten, yeast nutrients (calcium sulfate, calcium carbonate), dough conditioners (datem, ascorbic acid, azodicarbonamide, enzymes), vinegar, preservatives (propionic acid, phosphoric acid).

As you can see, the primary components are flour, water, yeast, and vegetable oil. Dairy ingredients like milk, butter, or cheese are noticeably absent.

Enriched Flour

The enriched flour contains wheat and malted barley. Malted barley is made by sprouting barley grains to activate enzymes that convert starches into sugars. This helps feed the yeast and aids the rising/fermentation process.

While malted barley contains traces of dairy due to the sprouting process, all milk proteins are removed in processing. So enriched flour does not contain dairy.

Water and Vegetable Oil

Obviously water and soybean oil (which Subway uses for its bread) do not contain any dairy derivatives.


Yeast is a single-celled microorganism that converts sugars into carbon dioxide and ethanol. The carbon dioxide gas causes bread dough to rise.

There are no dairy products in yeast. Subway uses commercial yeast in its bread.


Table salt is sodium chloride, which does not contain milk ingredients. A typical ingredient in bread recipes, salt is dairy-free.


Regular white sugar has no dairy. The small amount of sugar helps feed the yeast.

Wheat Gluten

Wheat gluten is the main protein component of wheat. It gives structure and chewiness to the bread dough. Pure wheat gluten does not contain dairy.

Dough Conditioners

Subway’s bread contains dough conditioners such as DATEM, calcium sulfate, enzymes, and vinegar. These ingredients improve the texture, rising, and shelf life of the bread dough. None of the dough conditioners used by Subway have dairy derivatives.


Propionic acid and phosphoric acid function as preservatives to prevent mold and bacterial growth. Like the other bread ingredients, these preservatives do not contain milk products.

Potential Cross-Contamination

While Subway’s standard bread recipes do not directly contain dairy ingredients, there is the potential for cross-contamination with milk allergens in factories or bakeries. Trace amounts of dairy could make their way into the bread dough or flour.

Subway stores also sell many sandwiches with cheese and dairy-based sauces. There could be cross-contact between dairy ingredients and bread during food preparation and service.

So people with severe dairy allergies need to be aware of potential cross-reactivity. But the bread itself does not list dairy as an ingredient.

Specialty Breads and Gluten-Free Options

In addition to the standard white and wheat breads, Subway offers specialty sandwich options like Flatbread, Wraps, and gluten-free bread. Do these non-standard breads contain milk products?

Flatbread Ingredients

The ingredients in Subway’s Flatbread are very similar to the standard bread:

– Enriched flour (wheat flour, malted barley flour, niacin, iron, thiamine mononitrate, riboflavin, folic acid)
– Water
– Yeast
– Soybean oil
– Contains 2% or less of: sugar, salt, dough conditioners (datem, sodium stearoyl lactylate, ascorbic acid, azodicarbonamide, mono- and diglycerides, enzymes), calcium propionate and potassium sorbate as preservatives, wheat starch, calcium sulfate, vinegar.

It does not contain any dairy ingredients. The same is true for Subway’s Wrap bread.

Gluten-Free Bread Ingredients

Those avoiding gluten for health reasons can opt for Subway’s gluten-free bread. The ingredients are:

– Water
– Rice Flour
– Tapioca Starch
– Soy Flour
– Egg Whites
– Sugar Cane Fiber
– Modified Cellulose
– Contains 2% or less of: Rice Bran, Glycerine, Vinegar, Guar Gum, Xanthan Gum, Konjac Gum, Soy Lecithin, Salt, Yeast

The only potential dairy addition here is soy lecithin. Lecithin acts as an emulsifier to keep ingredients bound together. While soy lecithin typically comes from soybeans, it can also be derived from egg yolks.

However, Subway’s website confirms its gluten-free bread is vegan, so the soy lecithin must be plant-based. Therefore, the gluten-free bread does not contain milk ingredients either.

Ingredients Can Vary Internationally

It’s important to note that bread recipes can vary somewhat internationally based on regional supplier availability and food regulations.

For example, Subway bread in the United States contains azodicarbonamide (ADA) as a dough conditioner, while ADA is banned in bread products in Europe and Australia.

So if you are consuming Subway outside of the USA, you’ll want to check the bread ingredients carefully for any potential dairy additions specific to that country.

Subway’s Allergen Information

On its website, Subway provides allergen information guides for its ingredients and products.

In the Allergens & Ingredients Guide, dairy is not listed as an allergen for the following breads:

  • 9-Grain Wheat Bread
  • 9-Grain Honey Oat Bread
  • Italian Bread
  • Italian Herbs & Cheese Bread
  • Flatbread
  • Wraps
  • Gluten-Free Bread

This confirms that plain Subway bread products do not contain milk-based ingredients according to their recipes and ingredient suppliers.

Subway also provides a Sandwich Allergens PDF that lists the allergens contained in each sandwich offering. While sandwiches featuring meatballs, chicken strips, rotisserie chicken, steak, tuna, roast beef, and cold cut combo contain milk allergens, the plain sandwiches without these dairy-containing ingredients are marked as milk-free.

So while many Subway sandwiches contain cheese and dairy-based sauces, their bread options are made without lactose ingredients unless otherwise added.

Contacting Subway About Dairy in Bread

To double check the most up-to-date information, I recommend contacting Subway directly if you have concerns about dairy in their bread ingredients.

You can call their Customer Care team at 1-800-888-4848 or submit the question online through their Contact Us page.

Subway’s Customer Care department can provide details about milk in any bread products at specific restaurant locations. They have access to the latest ingredient information from their bakeries and suppliers.

Checking Labels in Store

For extra assurance, you can also check the bread packaging labels when purchasing Subway sandwiches in-store.

The ingredient labels should reflect the common allergens for that specific batch of bread. Look for mentions of milk, butter, cheese, whey, casein, or other dairy derivatives.

Notify the staff of any dairy allergies so they take extra precautions in food prep areas. And request to see the label for the bread used in your order.

Key Takeaways

In summary:

  • Subway’s standard white, wheat, flatbread, wrap, and gluten-free bread do not contain dairy ingredients according to recipes.
  • Enriched flour, water, yeast, soybean oil are the main ingredients.
  • There is potential for cross-contamination with dairy in processing facilities or restaurants.
  • Ingredients may vary slightly in breads made internationally.
  • Many Subway sandwiches contain cheese and dairy-based sauces.
  • Check Subway’s website for the latest allergen info on bread offerings.
  • Contact Subway Customer Care for up-to-date details on dairy in breads.
  • Examine in-store labels for allergen warnings specific to that batch.

So in summary, Subway’s standard bread loaves are made without milk ingredients, but dairy is present in many sandwich fillings. Check labels and ask questions to ensure minimal dairy exposure depending on your sensitivity.

The Bottom Line

Based on publicly available ingredients lists, Subway’s bread does not contain dairy derivatives during the manufacturing process. However, slight variations or tracing amounts are possible due to production methods.

Those with severe dairy allergies or vegans should take precautions and verify ingredients when purchasing Subway sandwiches. For most people avoiding dairy, Subway’s standard bread products are safe to consume in moderation as part of a balanced diet.


Subway Ingredient Information

Other Sources Referenced

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