Best Subway Subs In 2023: Top 5 Menu Items Most Recommended By Experts

One thing is true of Americans, we love a good sandwich. Perhaps the most popular sandwich shop in America is none other than Subway. Did you know there are approximately 38 million possible sandwich combinations to choose from at Subway? That certainly begs the question, what are the best Subway subs to get your hands on?    

However, if you’re looking for something healthy, then you might want to reconsider greasy fast-food sandwiches. According to researchers at Boston University, fast-food menu items’ total calories have significantly increased over the last 30 years. These menu items include entrees, sides, and desserts. Researchers credit most of this increase in calories to growing portion sizes and menu concepts such as “super-sized” value meals. Although many of the “super-size” menu items have been phased out at fast food establishments around the country, many of the portion sizes are still not healthy. 

Cold sub sandwiches, on the other hand, are viewed as a healthier or lighter option – mostly because we can pack them with veggies. A recent survey of 2,000 “serious” sandwich-loving Americans found that 38 percent of respondents believe that their sandwich is somewhere between a healthy meal and a guilty indulgence. Of these same respondents, a whopping 60 percent claim to be loyal to one restaurant or deli because of the quality of sandwiches. That’s one way to eliminate the “where are we eating” lunch debate around the office. 

Still, not many co-workers will argue that a hot or cold sub sandwich makes for an excellent lunch during a long day. That is if you get to take a lunch break while you’re working. According to a recent survey of 2,000 working Americans, lunch breaks are becoming a rarity in daily working life. More than half of respondents say that taking a full lunch break is extremely rare. Meanwhile, 30 percent of respondents claim they just end up eating at their desks most days. That’s a depressing stat that also speaks to our efficient and productive nature as Americans, to say the least.

If your among those you indulge in something tasty for your lunch hour, Subway is a great place to go. StudyFinds did the research, consulting 10 foodie and restaurant review websites to find the best subway subs. As always, please feel free to share your recommendations for your favorites at Subway in the comments section below! 

The List: Best Subway Subs As Recommended By Foodies

1. Spicy Italian

The top spot on the list of best Subway subs goes to the Spicy Italian. This peppery pick is one of Subway’s original sandwiches, and the experts agree, the classic sandwich does not disappoint. As you know, there’s no shortage of toppings to choose from at Subway, and each sandwich is personalized to your liking. 

“If you like a sandwich that packs a punch, then the Spicy Italian is the only order for you,” writes Restaurant Clicks

“This sub is packed with a variety of different meats (including pepperoni and salami) and a boat load of cheese to ensure that it is full of flavor. You might expect this sub to only taste good in its basic form, but it actually tastes even better when you add your choices of vegetables and sauces to the mix. So it is definitely one to try if you are a fan of spice,” adds Restaurant Clicks

The Spicy Italian at Subway is one of the best Subway subs for many reasons, but mostly because it just provides you with a great base for creating a custom sub sandwich. “While it’s certainly a close call, the Spicy Italian sandwich deserves to be named as the best sandwich sold at Subway. First of all and most importantly, it’s totally delicious. The other reason why it deserves the title is that it’s incredibly versatile. Pick any bread, any sauce, any cheese, or any other topping Subway has to offer and it will go perfectly with the Spicy Italian sandwich,” explains Mashed

And don’t let the word “spicy” in the name scare you off, either. “One thing this taste test has made abundantly clear is that if a Subway sandwich doesn’t have pepperoni and salami, we don’t want to know. All other subs must bow before the glory of this king of sammies, free of the distractions of lesser meats. Is it actually spicy? Not even a little bit. Did we care? Absolutely not,” TimeOut raves. 

2. Meatball Marinara

We all know and love the next entry on the list of best Subway subs – the Meatball Marinara. This delightfully messy option is Subway’s most basic and perhaps most iconic sandwich. You really only have to decide on two things when ordering a meatball sub – the bread and the cheese. 

“The Meatball Marinara sandwich from Subway sounds like it’d be a gimmick. What would a fast food restaurant know about meatballs or marinara, anyway? You’d think that only an authentic Italian restaurant would be capable of mastering this sandwich. Surprisingly, though, that’s not the case. This Subway sandwich is actually one of the very best things on their entire menu,” writes Mashed

The questions posed by Mashed are all valid. However, Subway’s Meatball Marinara has truly stood the test of time. And to be honest, this Subway favorite littered the top of the expert lists, falling just short of the top spot. 

“This is the Subway sandwich I first fell in love with. I ate it every day one summer when I was a kid. Sure, it doesn’t always look fabulous when you pull it out of the bag, but it’s my favorite,” explains Insider

Perhaps a little biased, but the critics all seem to agree that the Meatball Marinara deserves its rightful spot as one of the best Subway subs. “Since it first entered the Subway menu, the Meatball Marinara has been the company’s showstopper,” adds Restaurant Clicks.  

3. Turkey Breast

Next up on the list is plain old-fashioned Turkey Breast. Similar to the Spicy Italian, Subway’s Turkey Breast sub offers a great base to stack with your favorite sandwich toppings. This classic is touted for its delicious deli turkey breast meat and the way it offers a healthy alternative to traditional favorites such as meatballs. 

“While this sandwich is only average when compared to other fast food sandwiches out there in the wide world, the Turkey Breast sandwich at Subway is still better than you might have been expecting. Typically, sliced turkey in a sandwich has a neutral taste at best and is only eaten when you’re trying to follow a healthy diet. But, surprisingly, Subway’s sliced turkey is actually pretty good and flavorful,” writes Mashed

For most who love this sub, it’s all about keeping it simple and healthy. “The no-frill, little black dress of subs. It’s good for anytime, day or night and can be dressed up or down with any veggies, cheese or sauce you feel like that day,” adds TimeOut

“Subway’s turkey breast is its best sandwich that goes all in on one specific cold cut. The turkey breast is salty but doesn’t overpower everything else on the sandwich, and like the chain’s other cold-cut options it welcomes any sort of ingredient you want to throw on it — from mayo, lettuce, and cheese to avocado and jalapeño peppers. Subway has always gotten this lunchbox staple right,” raves Thrillist

4. Chicken Bacon Ranch

The next item on the list of best Subway subs is a more modern combination of ingredients – the Chicken Bacon Ranch. This loaded sub routinely appeared in the top five to 10 across the foodie review sites we visited, and for good reason, too. The Chicken Bacon Ranch is a messy and filling sandwich that simply screams American comfort food. Just read how this sandwich is made and you’ll know immediately why it’s considered one of the best Subway subs on the menu. 

“The Chicken & Bacon Ranch sandwich begins with all-white strips of chicken that have been marinated and seasoned to perfection. If you like tender chicken, you’ll be in love. Next up, strips of bacon are added to the sandwich. Then, Monterey cheddar cheese is melted over the top of the chicken and the bacon. To finish, the Chicken & Bacon Ranch is blessed with a generous serving of ranch along with lettuce, spinach, red onions, green peppers, tomatoes, and cucumbers,” describes Mashed

One foodie had to be sold on this impressive sandwich. “I was wrong, this was a delicious sandwich. I forgot the golden rule: It’s impossible to go wrong with turkey, bacon, and ranch,” writes Insider

It might be impossible to go wrong in terms of flavor, but it’s fair warning that this is not the healthiest option on Subway’s menu. 

“Let’s get it out of the way: This is the unhealthiest sandwich you could order from Subway, bar none. However, there are few times when combining poultry, pork, and ranch haven’t resulted in something delicious. The saltiness of the bacon, the creaminess of the ranch, and heartiness of the chicken work well together, and it never gets too messy or hard to handle. It’s a solid outside the cold-cut box option from Subway,” adds Thrillist

5. Sweet Onion Chicken Teriyaki

This savory and sweet choice has been on Subway’s menu for a little more than a decade, which is long enough to be considered one of the best. The Sweet Onion Chicken Teriyaki sub is loaded with flavors and makes for a delicious dinner sandwich. 

“A sweet surprise, the Sweet Onion Chicken Teriyaki sub is drizzled with Subway’s sweet onion teriyaki sauce over grilled chicken combined with lettuce, spinach, tomatoes, cucumbers, green peppers, and red onions. When wanting a savory sandwich, the chicken teriyaki is for you!,” exclaims Shop Food

One surprising feature of this Subway favorite is it’s a fairly healthy option for being such a hearty sandwich. According to Asian Recipe, “What’s more surprising is that it only contains less than 6g of fat. Once you have a bit, you will taste its sticky and sweet chicken, which you can combine with your choice of vegetables. Just be careful as you enjoy eating this sandwich, you might run into a mess with its sweet onion teriyaki sauce.”

“Of the hot chicken sandwiches at Subway, the Sweet Onion Teriyaki tops the other three, but they all hit the same. The Barbecue Chicken and Buffalo Chicken are the same basic formula with different sauces, and yeah, they’re fine. But that Sweet Onion Teriyaki! It’s sweet, it’s tangy, and it’s reasonably healthy,” adds Urban Matter


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Note: This article was not paid for nor sponsored. StudyFinds is not connected to nor partnered with any of the brands mentioned and receives no compensation for its recommendations. This post may contain affiliate links.


  1. I have never had a sandwich at subway that looks anything like what is shown in your pictures. Tomatoes are sliced so thin you could take a reasonable picture through them and no more than 4 slices. Cheese is slightly more than paper thin. The meat is the same. Then spread the meat and cheese so they barely touch using as little of each as possible to cover the bread. Totally a disappointing experience

  2. Thank you. I worked for Subway years ago. What you mentioned here was just a popular then as now. They are all very good.

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