How Long Will a Subway Sandwich Last in the Fridge?

In this brief article, we will discuss how long a subway sandwich will last in the fridge, and also give you the basic knowledge of the risks of storing a sandwich for too long.

How Long Will a Subway Sandwich Last in the Fridge?

A Subway sandwich lasts about 3 to 5 days in the fridge, as any other food leftover. The US Department of Agriculture recommends the storage of meat leftovers for 3 to 5 days in the refrigerator or up to 2 months in the freezer, including luncheons (1).

However, how long you can store a subway sandwich depends mainly on its type (ingredients) and the storage conditions, among other factors to be discussed in the following sections of this article (6).

For example, a sandwich containing sausage or deli meat should be okay in the fridge for about three days. But one with sauces should preferably be consumed as soon as possible. 

Fast food items contain additives to enhance flavor, color, texture and shelf-life and may halt longer. On the other hand, handling can lead to microbiological contamination. (2).

Can you keep a subway sandwich at room temperature?

Yes, you can keep sandwiches at room temperature for at least two hours before refrigeration, or one hour if temperatures exceed 90°F. However, if the sandwich is kept longer out of the refrigerator, it is recommended to discard it.

The US Department of Agriculture recommends to keep every food out of danger, where microorganisms can multiply rapidly and they can release dangerous toxins. To keep food out of the Danger Zone, keep cold food cold, at or below 40 °F (4.4 °C), and hot food hot, at or above 140 °F (60 °C) (4).

However, if the sandwiches contain ingredients that are sensitive to heat changes (protein) or are watery and soggy (vegetables and sauces), the sandwich should be discarded if not stored properly. 

What are the risks of storing Subway Sandwiches for too long?

The risks of storing Subway sandwiches or any food leftover for too long is food spoilage. By refrigerating food, the temperature is reduced and also the rate in which the chemical and enzymatic reactions occur. This also affects the rate of microbial growth, which slows down (6).

As a consequence, the shelf life of food can be extended for a limited period. However, these reactions are not fully eliminated and by extended storage, these reactions result in the loss of the quality and safety of food. 

With prolonged storage, the microorganisms in your subway sandwich can grow to a dangerous level and pose a risk to your health. Fast food is not free from contaminants, and microorganisms were found for items containing chicken and egg (Salmonella) and salad (Aspergillus), according to scientific reports (3).

This is because they are often made using raw and/or fresh ingredients, and their preparation commonly involves manually handling almost everything that goes into the sandwich. Despite the higher sodium and additives in fast food in order to extend shelf life, inappropriate cooking and handling leads to microbial spoilage. 

Studies have found prevalence of bacteria in fast food, which include Campylobacter spp., Staphylococcus spp., Escherichia coli, Salmonella sppYersinia Spp. and Listeria on meat, sea foods, vegetable ingredients, beef burger sandwiches, and commercial mayonnaise (3).

What factors affect the shelf life of a Subway Sandwich in the Fridge?

The shelf life of Subway sandwich in the fridge depends on the following (5,6,7):

  • The properties of the ingredients: Meat, salad, mayonnaise and other ingredients have different physicochemical characteristics (pH, water activity), and are differently susceptible to spoil; 
  • The freshness of the ingredients: Preparing food with fresh ingredients is preferable. Using previously stored ingredients results in a shorter shelf life of the sandwich. 
  • The cooling rate: The temperature of the dish must be decreased to 4°C (40°F) within 2 hours to prevent microbial growth. The operation of the refrigerator should be monitored to ensure the internal temperature of 4°C.
  • The storage temperature: Frequent door opening of the refrigerator leads to temperature fluctuations which may decrease the shelf life of the food. 
  • Cooking/ hygiene practices of preparing the dish. According to studies, the domestic environment and personal practices, such as frequent and proper hand washing is important to reduce food-borne infections.

 Can You Freeze a Subway Sandwich?

You can also freeze a subway sandwich to extend its life for over two to three days (4). Although freezing cannot eliminate the microbial contamination, it reduces its growth, by reducing the free water available for its metabolism (5).

In addition, freezing can reduce the rate of lipid oxidation, protein degradation and discoloration, which lead to changes in the aroma, flavor and color of food, resulting in the loss of its quality and acceptance (8). 

To freeze Subway sandwiches, you can simply place the sandwich in an airtight plastic bag or container, label them, and freeze; they will last for as long as one to three months and retain their flavor and texture.

How Should You Store Sandwiches to Keep Fresh?

As highlighted in previous sections, the best way to store sandwiches is to:

  • keep them refrigerated
  • wrap them tightly in two layers of plastic wrap, cling film, or aluminum foil, or place them inside a sealed plastic bag or airtight container
  • completely coat the bread with a single layer of margarine or butter before adding the filling to prevent the bread from turning soggy (better tip for freezing)

Can You Reheat a Subway Sandwich?

Yes, you can reheat the Subway sandwich using the microwave, the oven and the stovetop (4). However, you should be aware of the internal temperature of the food, which should be 165°F, to ensure safety. 

To reheat the sandwich in the oven, use a low temperature heat of the oven and place the sandwich onto a sheet pan to give it a level surface in the oven. Check, using a food thermometer, after about 10 minutes, if the sandwich is warm enough (165°F). If not, give it some more time. 

How to Tell if Your Stored Subway Sandwich Has Gone Bad?

According to the US Department of Agriculture, signs of food spoilage may include an appearance different from the food in its fresh form, such as a change in color, a change in texture, an unpleasant odor, or an undesirable taste. Despite being stored properly, a subway sandwich might go bad even in the fridge, if:

  • it looks soggy and wrinkled or has some white or green spots on it (indicative of mold),
  • it smells off, emitting an unpleasant or pungent odor
  • the deli meat looks watery or slimy
  • the sauces/ mayo and the vegetables have changed color  


In this brief article, we answered the question of how long will a subway sandwich last in the fridge and discussed the factors that affect its shelf life. Different sandwiches have different storage times and conditions depending on their ingredients.  


  1. United States Department of Agriculture. Food Keeper data.
  2. K Garber, Andrea, and Robert H Lustig. Is fast food addictive?. Curr drug abuse rev, 2011, 4, 146-162.
  3. Easa, Saadia M. Hassanein. The microbial quality of fast food and traditional fast food. Nat. Sci, 2010, 8.
  4. Leftovers and Food Safety. United States Department of Agriculture. 
  5. Speck, M. L., and B. Ray. Effects of freezing and storage on microorganisms in frozen foods: a review. J food protect, 1977, 40, 333-336..
  6. Coorey, Ranil, et al. The impact of cooling rate on the safety of food products as affected by food containers. Compr. Rev. Food Sci 2018, 17, 827-840.
  7. Redmond, Elizabeth C., and Christopher J. Griffith. The importance of hygiene in the domestic kitchen: implications for preparation and storage of food and infant formula. Perspec Public Health, 2009, 129, 69-76.
  8. Freezing and Food Safety. United States Department of Agriculture.

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