What is the Difference Between Hoagie and Sub: Exploring the Origins and Variations

When it comes to ordering a sandwich, there are few things better than a delicious hoagie or sub. But have you ever wondered what the difference between the two is? Some might think they’re interchangeable, but there are actually a few key differences that set them apart.

First and foremost, the bread used for each sandwich is different. Hoagies are typically made with a soft, long roll that is often seeded on top. On the other hand, subs are made with a crusty baguette-style bread that is shorter in length. The type of bread used can greatly affect the overall texture and taste of the sandwich.

In addition to the bread, the ingredients used in each sandwich can also differ. While both hoagies and subs typically include a variety of meats, cheeses, and other toppings, the specific ingredients can vary greatly depending on the region or restaurant. For example, a classic Philly hoagie might include thinly sliced roast beef, provolone cheese, and sautéed onions, while a traditional Italian sub might feature salami, ham, and capicola. Ultimately, the difference between hoagies and subs comes down to these subtle nuances in bread and ingredients.

Origin of Hoagie and Sub Names

Two sandwiches that are often used interchangeably are hoagies and subs. These sandwiches may have similar ingredients, but they are not identical. The origin of these names is interesting, and it tells a lot about the cultural history of the regions where these sandwiches are popular.

Let’s begin with the hoagie. The origin of the hoagie sandwich can be traced back to the Italian immigrant community in Philadelphia during the late 19th century. The story goes that during the industrial boom, workers would order Italian sandwiches and food items wrapped in a distinctive type of bread. This bread was known as a “hokie” or “hoagie” in local slang. These sandwiches were called “hokie sandwiches” at first, but it gradually evolved into “hoagies.”

The name “Sub sandwich” originated from the word “submarine,” as this sandwich has an elongated bread shape that resembles a submarine. On the East Coast of the United States, subs are also popular and have been consumed since the early 1900s. The bread is stuffed with meats, cheeses, and vegetables and drizzled with oil and vinegar. The flavor profile of the subs varies, depending on the deli where it is made and preferences of consumers.

Bread Varieties Used in Hoagie and Sub Sandwiches

Hoagies and subs are both sandwiches that use long, crusty rolls as their base. However, the bread varieties used can make a big difference in the taste and texture of the sandwich. Here are some of the most popular bread varieties used in hoagies and subs:

  • Baguette: This French bread variety has a thin, crispy crust and a soft, chewy interior. It’s a great choice for hoagies and subs that require a light, airy bread.
  • Italian Roll: The Italian roll is a classic choice for hoagies and subs. It has a sturdy, chewy texture that can hold up well to heavy ingredients like meatballs or sausages.
  • Whole Wheat Roll: For those who prefer a healthier option, a whole wheat roll can be a great choice. It’s denser than other bread varieties, but still has a hearty flavor that pairs well with meat and cheese.

Some hoagie and sub shops may also offer specialty bread varieties, such as jalapeno-cheddar or sourdough rolls. These can add an extra dimension of flavor to your sandwich.

It’s important to note that the bread variety you choose can affect the overall taste and texture of your hoagie or sub. Some ingredients may pair better with certain bread varieties than others, so don’t be afraid to experiment to find your perfect sandwich combination.


The bread varieties used in hoagies and subs can make a big difference in the overall taste and texture of the sandwich. From light and airy baguettes to sturdy Italian rolls, there are many options to choose from. Don’t be afraid to try out different bread varieties to find the perfect fit for your favorite sandwich ingredients.

Bread Variety Texture Flavor
Baguette Thin, crispy crust; soft, chewy interior Light and airy
Italian Roll Sturdy, chewy texture Classic
Whole Wheat Roll Denser texture Hearty

Remember, the bread you choose can greatly affect the overall taste and experience of your hoagie or sub, so take your time and experiment to find the perfect combination of bread and ingredients.

Regional Differences in Hoagie and Sub Sandwiches

Across the United States, there are regional differences in the names and ingredients of hoagies and subs. Here are some notable variations:

  • Philadelphia: In the city where the hoagie originated, a hoagie typically consists of a long roll filled with meats, cheeses, veggies, and condiments. The roll is often seeded and slightly chewy.
  • New York City: New Yorkers tend to call their sandwiches subs, and the bread is usually a soft hero roll. The ingredients vary, but a classic submarine sandwich includes cold cuts, lettuce, tomatoes, onion, and oil and vinegar dressing.
  • New England: In this region, you’ll find grinders, which are typically made on a long, cylindrical roll with a slightly crusty exterior. The ingredients often include deli meats, cheese, lettuce, tomato, and mayo.

Depending on where you are in the country, hoagies and subs may also be referred to as heroes, torpedoes, wedges, or grinders.

Here is a comparison of some common ingredients:

Ingredient Hoagie (Philadelphia) Sub (New York)
Cheese Provolone Swiss or American
Meats Salami, capicola, ham, turkey, roast beef Salami, ham, turkey, roast beef
Vegetables Lettuce, tomato, onion, hot peppers Lettuce, tomato, onion, peppers, pickles
Sauce/dressing Olive oil, vinegar, mayo, spices Oil and vinegar, mayo, mustard, ketchup

Whatever you call it and however you make it, the hoagie/sub/grinder/hero/torpedo is a beloved American sandwich.

Common Ingredients Found in Hoagie and Sub Sandwiches

Hoagies and Sub Sandwiches may look the same, but the ingredients that are used to make them are often different. Here are some of the common ingredients that you will find in both delicacies:

  • Bread: Both hoagies and subs are made using bread. However, hoagies are usually made using Italian bread, while subs can be made with different types of bread like French bread, whole wheat, or focaccia.
  • Meat: Hoagies and subs are stacked with different meats. Common meats used in hoagies are salami, prosciutto, ham, and capicola, while subs are usually stacked with roast beef, turkey, ham, and chicken breast.
  • Cheese: Cheese is a common ingredient in both hoagies and subs. Provolone is a popular cheese used in hoagies, while subs are often layered with American or Swiss cheese.
  • Vegetables: Fresh vegetables like lettuce, tomatoes, onions, and peppers are popular in both hoagies and subs. However, these veggies are sliced differently for each sandwich. Hoagies usually have their veggies sliced lengthwise, while subs have their veggies sliced thin.

Different Meat, Different Flavor

Meat is one of the main ingredients in hoagies and subs, and the type of meat used in each sandwich can greatly affect the flavor. Hoagies are mainly made using Italian meats, which have bold and complex flavors. Subs, on the other hand, have more of a mild and savory flavor from roasted meats like turkey and beef.

Veggies: Crunchy and Colorful

Vegetables are an essential ingredient in both hoagies and subs. They add crunch, freshness, and color to these sandwiches. Veggies typically used in hoagies are sliced in long and thin strips, which add texture to the sandwich. Subs are made with veggies like lettuce, tomatoes, onions, and peppers, which are usually sliced thin and layered on top of the sandwich.

Provolone or Swiss?

Cheese is another essential ingredient in both hoagies and subs. Hoagies usually use provolone cheese due to its sharp and tangy flavor. Subs often rely on American and Swiss cheese, which have a softer and creamier flavor. Cheese can make or break a sandwich, so it’s important to choose the right kind based on the type of sandwich you’re making.

Ingredient Hoagie Sub
Bread Italian bread French bread, whole wheat, focaccia, etc.
Meat Salami, prosciutto, ham, capicola Roast beef, turkey, ham, chicken breast
Cheese Provolone American or Swiss
Vegetables Lettuce, tomatoes, onions, peppers (sliced long and thin) Lettuce, tomatoes, onions, peppers (sliced thin and layered)

Hoagies and subs are both delicious sandwiches that are made using a variety of ingredients. Understanding the differences between them can help you decide which sandwich to order or make at home. Whether you prefer a hoagie or a sub, make sure to enjoy every bite of it!

Famous Hoagie and Sub Sandwich Shops

When it comes to hoagies and subs, there are some famous shops that have made a name for themselves in the industry. Here are five of the most popular:

  • Wawa: With over 800 stores in the eastern United States, Wawa is a beloved institution for many fans of hoagies. Their bread is baked fresh in-store every day, and they offer a variety of hoagies and subs, including vegetarian and gluten-free options.
  • Jersey Mike’s: This chain started in Point Pleasant, New Jersey in 1956 and has since expanded to over 2,000 locations worldwide. Their subs are known for their fresh ingredients and the option to order them “Mike’s Way” with onions, lettuce, tomato, spices, vinegar, and oil.
  • Subway: Perhaps the most well-known sub shop in the world, Subway has over 44,000 locations in 100 countries. They offer a variety of subs and salads, including a line of “Fresh Fit” options that are lower in calories and fat.
  • Jimmy John’s: Known for their speedy delivery and “freaky fast” service, Jimmy John’s has over 2,800 locations across the United States. They specialize in subs made with fresh-baked bread, sliced deli meats, and crisp vegetables.
  • Firehouse Subs: Founded by two former firefighters, Firehouse Subs has over 1,000 locations in the United States and Canada. They offer a variety of hot and cold subs, as well as salads and sides. A portion of every purchase goes to the Firehouse Subs Public Safety Foundation, which provides funding for first responders and public safety organizations.

Local Favorites

While the chains listed above are popular across the country, there are also many local sandwich shops that have developed a loyal fanbase. These shops often offer unique variations on the hoagie or sub, such as regional ingredients or special sauces.

If you’re traveling to a new city, be sure to ask locals for recommendations on the best hoagies and subs in town. You might discover a new favorite sandwich shop that you wouldn’t have found otherwise!

Hoagie vs. Sub: A Regional Debate

While there are many different types of sandwiches across the United States, the hoagie and sub are two of the most popular. However, there is some disagreement about whether there is a real difference between the two.

In some parts of the country, “hoagie” is used to refer to a sandwich that is longer and thicker than a sub, often made on sturdy Italian or Portuguese bread. In other areas, “sub” is the preferred term for any type of sandwich made on a long roll.

Region Preferred Term
Philadelphia Hoagie
New York City Hero
New England Sub
Mid-Atlantic Sub
Midwest Sub
West Coast Sub

Of course, there are exceptions to any regional rule, and many of these terms are used interchangeably depending on the location. At the end of the day, the most important thing is that the sandwich is delicious!

Nutritional Value of Hoagie and Sub Sandwiches

When it comes to deciding whether to choose a hoagie or a sub sandwich, it’s important to consider the nutritional value of each option. Here’s a breakdown of the nutritional value of hoagies and subs:

  • Calories: Hoagies often have more calories than subs due to the size of the bread used. A typical hoagie roll can contain up to 300 calories, while subs are often made with smaller rolls that contain around 200 calories.
  • Fat: Both hoagies and subs can be high in fat depending on the type of meat, cheese, and dressing used. However, subs are often made with leaner meats like turkey or chicken, while hoagies may have more fatty options like salami or pepperoni.
  • Protein: Both hoagies and subs can be a good source of protein, with options like chicken, turkey, roast beef, and ham. However, hoagies may also have more processed meats like bologna or hot dogs.

It’s important to remember that the nutritional value of a hoagie or sub sandwich can also vary depending on the toppings and condiments used. For a healthier option, try choosing a sandwich with leaner meats, plenty of vegetables, and a whole wheat roll.

Here’s a comparison of the nutritional value of a 6-inch turkey sub and a turkey hoagie:

Turkey Sub Turkey Hoagie
Calories 280 440
Total Fat 4.5g 18g
Sodium 580mg 1120mg
Protein 18g 24g

As you can see, the hoagie contains more calories, fat, and sodium than the sub, while offering slightly more protein. This is just one example, but it illustrates the importance of paying attention to the nutritional value of your sandwich choice.

Popularity of Hoagie and Sub Sandwiches in Different Parts of the World

Hoagies and subs may be similar in many ways, but their popularity varies from region to region.

  • In the United States, sub sandwiches are a popular option for lunch or dinner, especially in the Northeastern states. Philly cheesesteak subs and Italian subs are some of the most popular choices.
  • Hoagies, on the other hand, are a more regional sandwich option, primarily found in Philadelphia and its surrounding areas. This sandwich is well-loved by locals and visitors alike and is typically made with Italian meats and cheeses.
  • In Europe, subs are also a popular sandwich option. However, they are often called “baguette sandwiches” and can be found in many different variations across the continent.
  • South American countries like Argentina and Uruguay have their version of the sub sandwich, known as the “choripan” or “bondiola.” These sandwiches are typically made with grilled meats, sauces, and various toppings.
  • Asian countries have also embraced the idea of the sub sandwich. In Japan, for example, “sandos” or Japanese-style sandwiches are often filled with ingredients like egg salad or tonkatsu (breaded pork cutlet).
  • Sub sandwiches are also a popular option in the Middle East. Lebanese-style subs, also known as “shawarma sandwiches,” are made with spit-roasted meat and a variety of vegetables and sauces.
  • Australia and New Zealand have their version of the sub sandwich known as “the roll” or “the bread roll.” These sandwiches often come with a variety of fillings, such as chicken, bacon, or fried eggs.

Overall, whether you prefer hoagies or subs, there is no denying that these sandwiches have become an international favorite.

What is the Difference Between Hoagie and Sub?

1. What is a hoagie?

A hoagie is a type of sandwich that typically consists of meat, cheese, lettuce, tomato, and onion, served on a long, cylindrical roll that is often referred to as a “hoagie roll.”

2. What is a sub?

A sub is a sandwich that is similar to a hoagie in that it typically consists of meat, cheese, lettuce, tomato, and onion, but is served on a longer and wider roll.

3. What is the difference in the rolls?

The main difference between a hoagie and a sub is the type of roll that is used. A hoagie roll is shorter and more cylindrical, while a sub roll is longer and wider.

4. Is there a difference in the ingredients?

The ingredients that are used in a hoagie and a sub are generally the same, although the specific type of bread and the way that the sandwich is assembled may vary.

5. Where do hoagies and subs originate?

Hoagies are believed to have originated in Philadelphia, where they were first created by Italian immigrants in the early 20th century. Subs, on the other hand, are thought to have originated in New York City.

Closing Thoughts

We hope this article helped you understand the difference between hoagies and subs. Remember, the main difference lies in the type of roll that is used, with hoagies being served on a shorter and more cylindrical roll, while subs are served on a longer and wider roll. Thanks for reading and be sure to check back for more informative articles in the future!