The BEST Italian Sub Rolls {Extra Soft}

Pillowy inside with the slightest bit of chew to the crust, these Italian sub rolls are good enough to eat on their own. Not only do they taste great, but they’re also easy to make with just a few simple ingredients.

Best of all, you can freeze them, so you always have fresh rolls on hand.

four rolls on cooling rack

Soft Italian Sub Rolls

The bread makes the sandwich, and these super soft rolls make any homemade sub all the more delicious.
Serving Size 8 rolls

Ingredients 

  • 3 ½ cups bread flour
  • 1 ¼ cups water
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 ½ teaspoons instant yeast
  • teaspoon salt
  • ¼ cup vegetable oil

Instructions 

  • Knead. Add all ingredients to a stand mixer, bread machine, or mixing bowl (if you are kneading by hand.). Knead until smooth and stretchy, and “windows” appear in the dough. The dough should be smooth and slightly sticky to the touch but should clear the sides and bottom of the bowl. Allow the cycle to finish.
    stretched out dough with translucent windows.
  • First Rise. Place in a warm place to rise for 1 hour, covered, until very puffy.
    dough in bowl before and after rising.
  • Rest. Divide the dough into 8 pieces and loosely shape into logs. (It is easiest to divide into half, then quarters, etc.). Cover with plastic wrap and let rest at room temperature for about 10 minutes. This will make them easier to shape.
    divided dough on cutting board
  • Shape. Prepare a baking sheet with parchment paper and dust cornmeal on top. Gently shape into oval rolls by pulling down the bottoms of the dough to smooth out the tops. Pinch the ends so they are smooth, and no seams are visible from the tops.
  • Second rise. Brush with melted butter. Place the rolls on the baking sheet and cover with heavily greased plastic wrap. Place the baking sheet in a warm place for the rolls to rise, until they are very puffy, about 45 minutes. Towards the end of the rising time, preheat your oven to 425° with a rimmed metal baking sheet on a lower rack.
    shaped rolls on baking sheet.
  • Bake with steam. When the oven is hot, pour 1 cup of water on the baking sheet to create steam. Immediately place the rolls inside. Bake for 15-19 minutes until golden brown. Remove and cool on a wire rack. Let cool completely before slicing for sandwiches. Eat within 2 days or freeze.
    finished sub rolls on cooling rack.

Video

Notes

Rolls freeze VERY well! Simply let them cool and place in a freezer bag. They will stay fresh a few months and can be defrosted one at a time.
Make sure you use a metal baking sheet for the steam; glass will shatter.
I recommend SAF instant yeast for bread machine baking, and this basic bread machine, perfect for kneading.
ingredients on counter.

Here’s what you’ll need to make these delicious hoagie rolls.

  • bread flour (yes, it makes a difference!)
  • water
  • sugar
  • instant yeast
  • salt
  • vegetable oil
  • a stand mixer is helpful but not necessary
  • large bowl for rising
  • plastic wrap
  • rimmed metal baking sheet
italian hoagie rolls on rack.

🥫 Storage instructions

To freeze: Let the rolls cool completely and place them in a freezer bag. They will stay fresh up to three months, and you can defrost one at a time as needed.

For immediate use: Store in an airtight container, such as a zip-top bag, and eat within two days.

🔍 FAQs

What type of flour should I use?

Bread flour! It’s the secret to getting that perfect blend of soft and chewy. That being said, using all-purpose flour is not he end of the world. Reduce the water by about 20% to start, because it will absorb less moisture.

How do you shape the dough into an oval roll?

Don’t overthink this. Just shape it into an oval with seams at the bottom. After you do it yourself a few times, you’ll see there’s no real wrong way to do it.

Is it necessary to create steam in the oven when baking the rolls?

If the process feels weird to you, you can skip it. But I personally love how it makes them super fluffy and rise high.

👩🏻‍🍳 Expert tips

  • Use bread flour for the best results.
  • Knead until the dough is smooth and stretchy and you can see “windows” in it. This may take longer than you think.
  • Don’t forget to brush the rolls with melted butter before baking. It’s a must for that golden-brown crust.
  • Use parchment paper and cornmeal on your baking sheet so the rolls don’t stick.
  • Let the finished rolls cool completely on a wire rack before slicing them open. They will finish baking as they cool.

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The BEST Italian Sub Rolls {Extra Soft}The BEST Italian Sub Rolls {Extra Soft}

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Recipe Rating




34 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    The softest rolls I have ever made! So simple to make as well.. the longest thing is the ride time but it’s well worth it!!

  2. I’m wanting to make these but a bit confused. I add everything altogether at once? No need to put instant yeast in water first? Your recipe doesn’t say that the water needs to be warm and I’m wondering does it? All the other recipes states, warm water. I want to make these today. Hopefully you can get back with me. And I will be using my hands to need it. Thank you.

  3. 5 stars
    This dough is so good. I use it for hamburger buns as well. My family loves it. They don’t want store bought anymore. Thank you for sharing!

  4. 5 stars
    Thank you so much for the recipe! They turned out so good. I’ll be making them again soon and many more times!!

  5. Can’t wait to try this recipe.

    If you don’t like to use plastic wrap, the old-fashioned way of a damp tea towel over the top will work.

  6. 5 stars
    These are the best sub rolls I made so far. I will keep this recipe. I just have to get better at shaping and the same size. My husband loves homemade bread. He said this was a keeper. Thank you

    1. hi alice! so glad you liked them 🙂 if you want all your rolls the same size, weigh the dough, divide by 8 or 10, and portion out each piece of dough to be that size.

  7. Your recipe states to “Add all ingredients” to start. Typically, yeast is activated by dissolving in liquid and sugar.. Do we not have to do this for this recipe? It’s not very clear. Thanks!

    1. I NEVER proof my yeast. I typically use instant yeast (and specify it in my recipes) which does not require any activation, but even with regular active dry you don’t have to. If you would prefer to, you certainly can. Some people like to activate it because it makes sure the yeast is still good. But honestly it’s not needed.

  8. 5 stars
    This recipe is so versatile, we’ve made the regular rolls with it, and I’ve done them as pretzel bites too. I’m trying it with cheese added in the dough, we’ll see how they turn out.

  9. 5 stars
    I tried a different recipe with a ton of great reviews and after it failed twice I found your recipe and it turned out great and it was so easy! Thank you!!!!

  10. 5 stars
    WOW! I never leave comments on recipes, but this one blew me away. I tried a different sub roll recipe yesterday that came out not so great, and decided to give yours a try. These came out amazing – literally better than Subway.

    I followed the recipe exactly until the baking portion, where I used a pizza peel to transfer the dough to a pizza steel which had been heating up for about 45 minutes in my oven at 425 (still used a cup of water for steam). I took the rolls out at around 10 minutes to brush with a little more butter and back in for 3-5 minutes.

    Excited to make some Italian subs on this bread this week!

  11. 5 stars
    Awesome. Thank you so much for the sub recipe! Will use often! Just perfect. Bread flour is a must in my opinion. I used KAF.