Is Subway’s Ham Really Made of Turkey? Getting to the Meat of the Rumor

Subway is one of the most popular quick-service restaurant chains, with over 40,000 locations worldwide The sandwich shop is known for its extensive menu of subs and salads But there’s a long-standing myth that the ham served at Subway isn’t actually ham at all. Is Subway’s ham really made of turkey? Let’s explore this urban legend and find out what’s between the buns.

The Rumor Mill Churns

For years there have been claims that the ham used at Subway is “turkey-based” or completely substituted with sliced turkey. Some insist they’ve seen in-store signage declaring all meats are turkey. On internet forums and sites like Reddit debates rage about whether the ham is real or just turkey in disguise.

So where did this notion come from? There are a few potential sources of the turkey ham myth

  • The Cold Cut Combo – This sandwich contains turkey and ham, leading some to assume both are turkey-based meats.

  • Lack of Visible Fat – Subway ham slices are very lean. The absence of fat striations suggests to some patrons the meat must be turkey.

  • Similar Taste – Subway cures their ham to taste relatively mild. For palates unused to cured ham, it may seem more akin to turkey.

  • The Health Halo – Early Subway ads touted their subs as a healthy alternative. The idea they use lower-fat turkey instead of pork aligns with this image.

While these factors help explain how the myth arose, let’s look at the reality behind Subway’s ham.

Subway’s Ham is Ham After All

Although rumors have persisted for years, Subway has always served genuine cured pork ham. They do offer a turkey-based ham alternative, but traditional ham has remained the default on sandwiches.

Subway’s website lists two distinct ham ingredients:

  • Ham – Cured with water, salt, dextrose, and sodium nitrite. Contains 2% or less of modified food starch, sodium phosphates, sodium diacetate, sodium erythorbate, smoke flavoring.

  • Turkey Ham – Cured turkey thigh meat with water, salt, dextrose, contains 2% or less of vinegar, spice.

Their published nutrition data also confirms the standard ham contains no poultry:

Ingredient Serving Size Calories Fat Protein
Black Forest Ham 1 oz 40 1 g 6 g

This aligns with traditional cured pork ham’s nutritional profile. Meanwhile, the turkey ham substitute is called out separately on menus when used in sandwiches.

Clearly, the regular ham served at Subway is not turkey or turkey-based despite rumors to the contrary. It is cured and smoked pork leg, prepared lean and thinly sliced.

Why Do People Think It’s Turkey?

With definitive proof Subway does serve real pork ham, why does the misconception persist? There are some reasons people may wrongly believe the ham is turkey:

Lack of Visible Fat

Subway hams are very lean and thinly sliced. Without those fatty white striations, it can appear to be turkey breast from a visual perspective. But the processing methods used to cure pork ham lend it a very lean texture as well.

Mild Cured Flavor

Many are used to the stronger, smokier flavor of traditional dry-cured ham. Subway uses a wet-cure method that creates a much more delicate, mild taste. Those unfamiliar with wet-cured ham may assume the lighter flavor means it’s turkey.

Confusion With the Turkey Ham

Yes, there is a turkey-based ham product at Subway. But it is only used on a few select sandwiches, like the Cold Cut Combo. The regular ham offered is cured pork, not the turkey ham alternative.

Power of Suggestion

Once the “fact” that Subway uses turkey ham gets lodged in someone’s head, that becomes their reality. They are likely to see the lean, mild-flavored strips of cured meat as turkey even when told otherwise.

Clearing Up the Confusion

While it’s an understandable misconception, the idea that Subway’s ham is made from turkey is false. Their standard ham ingredient is cured and smoked pork leg, while a separate turkey ham alternative is available.

Some steps Subway could take to alleviate the confusion include:

  • Listing “Pork Ham” on menus to differentiate from the turkey version

  • Using ham with more visible marbling on some sandwiches

  • Providing nutritional and ingredient fact sheets in-store to highlight the differences

  • Ceasing use of any misconstrued signage implying meats are turkey-based

With better messaging, they can clear up the rumor and let patrons know the ham is indeed real pork. While misconceptions happen, Subway can take reasonable steps to avoid leaving customers questioning the content of their subs.

The Takeaway: It’s Flavored Pork, Not Poultry

Internet chatter and unsubstantiated claims have left many wondering “is Subway’s ham made of turkey?” After analyzing the facts, the answer is a resounding no. Subway has never used turkey or turkey-based products in place of genuine cured ham on their standard sandwiches. Consumers who prefer poultry can request the turkey ham substitute, but traditional sliced ham at Subway is pork.

Hopefully this breakdown has helped explain where the misconception came from, why people may wrongly believe the ham is turkey, and how Subway could address the confusion. So next time you enjoy a tasty Italian sub or slim BMT, you can bite in knowing there is no turkey between the buns disguising itself as ham. With the facts laid out, the case of the supposed turkey ham can finally be closed.

Subway POV Making A Ham & Turkey wrap


Does Subway have turkey-based meat?

Cold Cut Trio is a SUBWAY® tradition. Experience sliced turkey bologna, turkey ham and turkey salami with your choice of fresh vegetables and condiments served on freshly baked bread. Some items may not be available in all markets.

Is ham from Subway pork?

A selection of delectable subs made with freshly sliced meats includes: Black Forest Ham: A classic that never goes out of style. Made with Canadian pork, our deli-style Back Forest Ham has never been better. Load it up with all your favourite veggies on your choice of freshly baked bread.

What is turkey ham at Subway?

Description. A combination that never fails to deliver – layered slices of turkey breast* and delicious ham†. Surprisingly, it has less than 5 grams of fat too. *Reformed meat †Formed meat.

Does Subway turkey have pork?

Which Subway® menu items are pork-free? The following sandwiches and salads are pork free: Meatball marinara, Cold Cut Trio™ (US only), tuna, roast beef, SUBWAY Seafood & Crab ®, turkey breast, steak & cheese, roasted chicken and sweet onion chicken teriyaki.

Is all subway meat a Turkey?

Some truth behind the myth discussed that all Subway meat is turkey: the Cold Cut Combo/Trio sandwhich which has been a staple for years claims to be three meats, but in fact is all turkey. But why? This was my fave sub to make, it was so easy. Love all those ccc freaks.

Is a Subway footlong oven roasted turkey & ham healthy?

Voted a healthy and tasty option. A Subway Footlong Oven Roasted Turkey & Ham contains 540 calories, 8 grams of fat and 80 grams of carbohydrates. According to our website visitors, a Footlong Oven Roasted Turkey & Ham is a healthy and nutritious option from Subway, with 87% of voters finding it to be healthy.

What kind of meat does subway eat?

Another popular meat option at Subway is Turkey. Like chicken, it is a low-fat, low calorie option compared to many meat options at Subway which makes it great for those who are particularly concerned about their calorie and fat intake. Turkey too can be oven roasted or made the rotisserie style, and the part mostly used is the breast.

Does subway have turkey breast?

To be balanced, however, Subway did announce one month after the Canadian chicken findings that it would include turkey breasts as part of its premium ingredients. Nation’s Restaurant News explained that this would mean that the slices of turkey breast meat would be free of artificial flavoring, artificial colors, and preservatives.

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