takeaways
eating out

Is Subway gluten free? 🥪

What's gluten free at Subway and is it safe for coeliacs?

This blog was last updated in March 2024 🥪

Table of Contents

❗Before we start, it’s crucial to highlight…

Subway restaurants handle a substantial amount of gluten, considering the fact that 90% of their menu is sandwiches, the restaurants are a hot spot for gluten particles. Subway’s allergy statement is “All food is freshly prepared in our kitchens and whilst we have controls in place to minimise cross-contamination, Subway handle many allergens and cannot guarantee that our food will be allergen free and therefore suitable for those with allergies”.

Subway Allergen Matrix

Subway’s allergen matrix clearly displayed at the counter

This is a pretty standard allergen statement to make and it’s obvious what they mean; there’s bread everywhere, the same ovens are used for gluten and gluten free and the shared prep area poses a considerable risk of cross-contamination, especially the deli counter area.

Then again, you could say that this is similar to most restaurants that offer gluten free options. Yes, some restaurants do have separate prep areas and ovens but unless they are a dedicated gluten free restaurant, there is still the risk of cross-contamination and human error; even those which are Coeliac UK approved. So as always, you’re the only person that can decide whether you’re happy and comfortable eating a Subway knowing these risks.

What we’ve written below gives you a breakdown of everything that is, or can be made, gluten free at Subway so that you can make an informed decision.

My Personal Experience

It seemed only fair that in order for me to write an honest and factually accurate blog on gluten free at Subway, I should pay a visit myself.

I have had a few Subway’s since being diagnosed coeliac because they are a handy on-the-go meal, especially because you’ll usually find them at train stations or service stations. However, it’s one of those; the more you read about people’s horror stories and the cross-contamination risks, the less you would want to put yourself in that situation.

Walking into Subway, I made the decision that: if they couldn’t answer my gluten free questions or weren’t willing to put some extra control measures in place for my order, then I wouldn’t take the risk. The good news is, 10 minutes later, I walked out of Subway with my gluten free sub feeling super impressed!

That’s one happy lady with her gluten free Sub!

That’s one happy lady with her gluten free Sub!

I began by asking the member of staff behind the counter if they had gluten free bread in stock and he confirmed they did - step 1 complete.

I then explained that I have coeliac disease, that I had read the Subway allergen statement and would it be possible to use fresh ingredients from the back rather than fillings on display, which might have been cross-contaminated by previous orders. Much to my delight, he was more than happy to do this for me - a big thumbs up for Subway.

Before unwrapping my gluten free bread from its packaging, my server changed his gloves and ensured a new sheet of paper was placed down on the counter and the oven tray.

It’s important to remember that once the gluten free bread is unwrapped, there’s a risk of cross-contamination which is why you need to make staff aware of your dietary requirements before this moment, so they can put extra steps in place. Never assume ordering a sub with gluten free bread automatically addresses cross-contamination risks; asking questions and making staff aware of your needs is the best practice.

Fresh chicken and cheese from the back

Fresh chicken and cheese from the back

New oven paper used each time

New oven paper used each time

I ordered the roast chicken sub with cheese, and like I had asked for, all of the ingredients, including the salad, came fresh from the fridge in the back and some were even taken from unopened packaging.

Reasons why fresh ingredients from the back are safer than those displayed:

😯 Proximity to bread crumbs: Ingredients in the deli counter are positioned right next to the sandwich prep area with a risk of bread crumbs spilling onto fillings and salad
🫤 Overcrowded tubs: Ingredients are displayed very close to one another and if the tubs are full, gluten ingredients may easily overflow and come into contact with gluten free options
😖 Glove Hygiene: Fillings and salads are replenished throughout the day by staff not changing gloves between each top up. The same goes for when staff are making sandwiches, the same pair of gloves may be used for various fillings
😬 Cross-Container Contamination: Ingredients may drop into other containers when staff reach for items furthest away
😵‍💫 Reused Fillings: If there’s too much filling taken for a sandwich then it might be put back into the tub for the next order
🫣 The worst - I’ve seen a customer change their mind after selecting toppings resulting in the everything being returned to it’s container after already touching the bread and other filling

Anyway, back to my sandwich. I made sure to pick a sauce that was gluten free (I’ve been glutened before by presuming that the sweet chilli sauce would be gluten free when it’s not) and then my sub was wrapped ready for me to take home. I would have upgraded to make it a meal deal but unfortunately all of the crisps on offer either contained gluten or had a may contain warning so none were suitable. It’s also no surprise that none of the cookies or muffins were gluten free.

Fresh salad from the back fridge

Fresh salad from the back fridge

No safe gluten free crisps for me

No safe gluten free crisps for me

Things that made me feel confident eating at Subway:

  • The staff member who served me was more than happy to agree to use fresh ingredients from the back

  • He changed his gloves before and mid way through preparing my sandwich

  • He changed the paper underneath my sandwich every time it was moved whilst it was being prepped

  • He prepared only my sandwich during my order and only served the person behind me once mine was wrapped (usually whilst one sandwich is in the oven they’ll start on the next one)

  • He was friendly and understanding and didn’t make me feel embarrassed to ask about extra care being taken

    My gluten free roast chicken sub!

    My gluten free roast chicken sub!

In conclusion, I thoroughly enjoyed my gluten free subway and I felt comfortable eating it after considering the cross-contamination risks. In all honesty, I wouldn’t have felt quite so comfortable if I had to have the fillings from the deli counter so if you visit and they are happy to get fresh ingredients from the back then it’s much safer. The best part of it was the convenience of grabbing something on the go! It’s something all of us coeliacs and gluten free struggle with so it’s great to know this is a potential option.

The moral of the story, don’t be afraid to ask! I was always so wary about eating at Subway and don’t get me wrong, it’s still a risk and you might not always get a server as accommodating as I did, but by asking questions and seeing if they can go the extra mile, you might just get yourself a delicious gluten free meal.

Remember, you’re not being an inconvenience, you’re just a gluten free person, standing in front of a popular sandwich chain, asking them to put a little extra care into prepping your sub…

Julia Roberts Love GIF by PeacockTV

Below, I’ve broken down the current Subway menu into sections to outline what is gluten free and what is not gluten free. Please remember, that any sandwiches that have been ticked for gluten free, will only be gluten free when using the gluten free bread.

To clarify, this is for UK & Ireland Subway only and this should be used as a guide and not an official allergen matrix because menus and ingredients change all the time.

🥪 Signature Series

Subway Signature Series

The following Signature Series sandwiches are gluten free when ordered with gluten free bread:

✅ Notorious B.M.T
✅ Pesto Paradiso
✅ Club Master

The following Signature Series sandwiches are not gluten free (even when ordered with GF bread) because the fillings contain gluten:

❌ The Baller - meatballs and crispy onions are not GF
❌ Tex Mexan - Doritos are not GF
❌ Big Bombay - chicken tikka is not GF
❌ Great Caesar - crispy onions are not GF
❌ Meatless Philly - plant-based steak and teriyaki sauce are not GF
❌ Big Breakwich - sausage patty is not GF
❌ Tuna Tato - crispy onions are not GF
❌ Plant Picante - spiced plant patty and crispy onions are not GF
❌ Garlic Cheese Steak - philly steak is not GF
❌ Legendary Teriyaki - crispy onions and teriyaki sauce are not GF

🧀 SubMelts

Subway Tuna SubMelt

The following SubMelts are gluten free when ordered with gluten free bread:

✅ Stacked Bacon & Cheese SubMelt
✅ Cheesy B.M.T SubMelt
✅ Tuna SubMelt
✅ Mozzarella Pesto SubMelt

The following SubMelts are not gluten free (even when ordered with GF bread) because the fillings contain gluten:

❌ Big Cheese Steak SubMelt - philly steak is not GF

🥖🥗 Create your own Sub/Salad

Subway Create your own Sub or Salad

The following classic subs and salad fillings are gluten free when ordered with gluten free bread/in a salad box:

✅ Classic B.M.T
✅ Tuna
✅ Ham
✅ Roast Chicken Breast
✅ Turkey Breast
✅ Veggie Delite

The following classic subs and salad fillings are not gluten free (even when ordered with GF bread) because the fillings contain gluten:

❌ Meatball Marinara
❌ Philly Steak
❌ Chicken Tikka
❌ Plant Patty
❌ Plant-based Steak

Cheese/Veg/Sauces

Emoji of cheese, tomato and a jar

The following cheese is gluten free:

✅ American Sliced Cheese
✅ Sliced Brie Cheese
✅ Shredded Mozzarella & Cheddar Cheese
✅ Mozzarella
✅ Monterey Jack Cheddar Slices
✅ Peppered Cheese
✅ Vegan CheeZe
✅ Blue Cheese

The following vegetables are gluten free:

✅ Jalapeños
✅ Lettuce
✅ Cucumber
✅ Mixed Peppers
✅ Tomato
✅ Onion
✅ Pickles
✅ Sweetcorn
✅ Olives
✅ Poached Egg

The following vegetables are not gluten free:

❌ Crispy Onions

The following sauces are gluten free:

✅ Chipotle Southwest Sauce
✅ Extra Spicy Chipotle
✅ Lite Mayonnaise
✅ Honey & Wholegrain Mustard Sauce
✅ Garlic & Herb Sauce
✅ Sweet Onion Sauce
✅ Tomato Ketchup
✅ Caesar Sauce
✅ Marinara Sauce
✅ Sriracha Sauce
✅ Salsa
✅ Garlic Infused Oil
✅ Caramelised Red Onion In Balsamic Vinegar
✅ Mango Habanero Sauce
✅ Pesto
✅ Sea Salt / Mixed Peppercorns / Chilli Flakes
✅ Southwest Seasoning / Multi-Seed Mix

The following sauces are not gluten free:

❌ Hickory Smoked BBQ Sauce
❌ HP Brown Sauce
❌ Teriyaki Sauce
❌ Sticky Sweet Chilli Sauce
❌ Crispy Onions

Sides & Soups

Subway Hash Browns

The following sides and soups are gluten free:

✅ Hash Browns
✅ Crinkle Wedges
✅ Side Salad
✅ Carrot and Coriander Soup
✅ Cream of Mushroom Soup

The following sides and soups are not gluten free:

❌ Doritos Lightly Salted Nachos
❌ Doritos Chilli Heatwave Nachos
❌ Doritos Tangy Cheese Nachos
❌ Cheesy Garlic Slice
❌ Margherita Slice
❌ Pepperoni Slice
❌ Nacho Chicken Bites
❌ Cheesy Bites
❌ Meatballs
❌ Pigs in Blankets
❌ Cream of Chicken Soup
❌ Red Pepper and Tomato Soup
❌ Tomato Soup
❌ Wild Mushroom Soup

Snacks, Drinks & Extras

Subway Cookies

The following snacks and drinks are gluten free:

✅ Hot Drinks
✅ Cold Drinks

The following snacks and drinks are not gluten free:

❌ Muffins & Donuts - all contain gluten
❌ Cookies - all contain gluten

Breakfast

Subway Breakfast Sub

The following Breakfast sandwiches are gluten free when ordered with gluten free bread:

✅ Veggie Breakwich
✅ Stacked Bacon & Cheese SubMelt
✅ Bacon Sub
✅ Egg & Cheese Sub

The following Breakfast sandwiches are not gluten free (even when ordered with GF bread) because the fillings contain gluten:

❌ Bacon & Sausage - sausage patty is not GF
❌ Big Breakwich - sausage patty is not GF
❌ Sausage Sub - sausage patty is not GF

Kids Packs

Subway Kids Pack

The following Kids Packs are gluten free when ordered with gluten free bread:

✅ Roast Chicken Breast
✅ Ham
✅ Turkey Breast
✅ Veggie Delite

🥪🥗🥖

This was updated in March 2024 - please note that the Subway menu and allergen information can change at any time so use this as a guide but always double check the official UK Subway allergen guide.