What Vinegar Does Subway Use in Their Sandwiches?

Marria Beklavac By Marria Beklavac

Ever wonder what gives Subway sandwiches that tangy, slightly sweet taste? The key ingredient is…red wine vinegar!

And the best part? Subway uses a simple, everyday variety with 5% acidity. Want to recreate that flavor at home, and learn which oils they blend it with? Let’s get to it!

What Type of Vinegar Does Subway Use?

There has been a lot of debate over what type of vinegar Subway uses to make salads and sandwiches. 

If you search this query online, a lot of discussions will come up on Reddit and Quora. 

And it’s easy to get confused. But don’t worry because we have the inside scoop for you.

Subway says that they use inexpensive red wine vinegar to prepare the dressing. It is a 5% acidity red wine vinegar.

But there’s something else they mix with the vinegar.

What is it?

A blend on canola oil and olive oil.

When you mix all these three ingredients together, you will get the perfect Subway style tangy flavor.

Here is the secret formula,

Subway dressing = red wine vinegar + canola and olive oil blend


Simply knowing the type of vinegar Subway uses is not enough. They add some other ingredients as well in their secret sandwich and salad dressing recipe. 

Why Red Wine Vinegar?

Now you may wonder why Subway specifically used red wine vinegar. 

To understand this, you must first learn how it is different from the standard vinegar.

About Red Wine Vinegar

It is a type of vinegar made from red wine that has been fermented. Because of this reason, the vinegar has a distinct fruity flavor and deeper color. Also, the fermentation process gives it a bold and tangy taste. 

Red wine vinegar is commonly used in cooking and salad dressings. Unlike the standard vinegar, it has a more complex flavor. 

Why Red Wine Vinegar?

Here are some reasons why Subway uses red wine vinegar,

  • Fermented

The red wine vinegar undergoes fermentation process. This gives it a tangy and rich taste which is different from other vinegars. 

  • Fruity twist

As the vinegar is made from red wine, it also adds a fruity taste to the tangy flavor. The combination works perfectly for sandwich dressing. 

  • Distinct flavor profile

As we have discussed before, vinegar made from red wine has a more complex flavor profile. It combines different flavors to create a unique blend that you won’t find it any other type of vinegar. 


If you want to make a dressing like Subway’s at home, try adding salt, roasted garlic, black pepper, and basil for extra flavor. 

How To Replicate Subway’s Vinegar At Home – Recipe

Don’t be intimidated by the word “acidity” – it simply refers to the vinegar’s strength. Subway uses a standard red wine vinegar with 5% acidity, which delivers a pleasant tang without being overpowering.

Check the label on your red wine vinegar at home. Anything between 4%-6% acidity will get you very close to that Subway flavor profile.

Step-by-Step Instructions

While a splash of straight vinegar works in a pinch, Subway’s signature flavor comes from its oil-based dressing. Here’s a basic recipe to get you started:

  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar (ideally 5% acidity)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • Pinch of salt
  • Pinch of black pepper
  1. Combine all ingredients in a small jar with a tight-fitting lid.
  2. Shake vigorously until the mixture combines and slightly thickens.
  3. Taste and adjust! Prefer it sharper? Add a touch more vinegar. Want a milder dressing? Add a bit more oil.

Pro Tip: This versatile vinaigrette is delicious on salads, drizzled over grilled veggies, or even used as a marinade for chicken. Get creative and make it your own!

Red Wine Vinegar vs. Other Vinegars in Sandwiches

When it comes to making dressing for sandwiches, you can choose from different types of vinegars. Here are some common popular options.

1. White wine vinegar

It is quite similar to red wine vinegar as both the products are made from wine. But you’ll notice that the one made from white wine has mild tanginess with a lighter flavor profile. 

On the other hand, red wine vinegar offers a deeper taste. So, if you want to make a sandwich where you want a hint of acidity without overpowering the other flavors, white wine vinegar is a good choice. 

2. Rice wine vinegar

This type of vinegar is very different from the one Subway uses. It has a gentler sweetness and acidity because it is made from fermenting rice. 

While both vinegars can improve the taste of sandwiches, rice wine vinegar is more subtle. It is mostly suitable for Asian-inspired sandwiches where you want a neutral taste. 

3. Balsamic vinegar

Balsamic vinegar has a sweeter and richer flavor with less acidity. Why? Because it is made from fermenting grapes. This makes it quite opposite of red wine vinegar which is known for its tanginess. 

If you want a mellow sweetness in your sandwich, choose balsamic vinegar. But makes sure to cut down the ratio in half to avoid overwhelmingly sweet taste. 

4. Sherry vinegar

Sherry vinegar will give your sandwich a nuttier taste with less acidity. It is made by fermenting wine but is not as strong as red wine vinegar. 

However, if you are going for a sandwich that contains a lot of cheese and cured meat, sherry vinegar is a good choice. Remember that you need to add a bit more of it to the dressing as it is less acidic. 


There are many other types of vinegars you can use for salad dressing but these are some of the most popular ones used fast food chains. 

Health Benefits of Red Wine Vinegar

Did you know that red wine vinegar is healthy?

Well, it really is!

Here are the five ways red wine vinegar can benefit your health and nutrition.

1. Blood sugar control

If you have diabetes or any other blood sugar regulation problem, red wine vinegar can help. It contains acetic acid may help lower blood sugar levels. How? 

  • By slowing carb digestion
  • And increasing glucose absorption

This can reduce glucose in your blood. Research suggests it can lower fasting blood sugar levels and decrease the glycemic index of certain foods.

2. Weight management

Acetic acid in red wine vinegar can help you with weight loss in three way,

  • By reducing fat storage
  • Increasing fat burning
  • curbing appetite

It can also delay the release of hunger hormones, making you feel fuller for longer.

3. Heart health

Red wine vinegar may improve heart health by,

  • Lowering blood pressure
  • Cholesterol
  • Inflammation

Its acetic acid and polyphenols relax blood vessels, lower triglycerides, and improve circulation. 

4. Skin protection

Red wine vinegar is also good for your skin. It contains antioxidants like,

  • Anthocyanins
  • Resveratrol

They can help you combat bacterial infections and skin damage. These antioxidants may even help prevent skin cancer and fight skin infections.

5. Antioxidant boost

Red wine vinegar contains polyphenol antioxidants, including resveratrol, which help prevent cellular damage.

Though fermentation reduces some antioxidants, it still offers health benefits.

So, the next time you enjoy a Subway sandwich, remember that the red wine vinegar inside its dressing is not just improving the flavor but also your health. 

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By Marria Beklavac Owner
Hey there! I'm Marria Beklavac, a barista by trade and a cook by heart. My culinary journey started at 12, inspired by my grandpa, who first introduced me to the wonders of cooking. His passion sparked mine, leading me to a life where each meal is an adventure. In Terra's Kitchen, I blend my love for coffee with my zeal for cooking to share my culinary exploits with you. This blog is my space to share the joys, discoveries, and lessons from my kitchen to yours. Welcome aboard – let's cook up some magic together!