Making 3 Open Face Subs For $2.50 in 2024



A friend was recently complaining on Facebook about how basic fast food sandwiches are no longer $1. I certainly share in the annoyance of fast food inflation, but this made me realize that folks may not be familiar with the scope of their available options. Wal-Mart uses (or perhaps misuses) a lot of vertical integration to have certain things for phenomenally cheap prices, such as their fresh baked Italian loaves. If we compare the yield of what I made for lunch today against the fast food sandwiches being discussed, I would estimate this is roughly equivalent to 6 fast food sandwiches’ worth of food (I’d say cutting each of the three slices in half leaves roughly what you get from the fast food item) for $2.50, or roughly 42c/sandwich, in 2024.


  • Wal-Mart Italian Loaf, $1 as of 5/18/24
  • Mozzerella cheese, bag
  • Mexican blend cheese, bag
  • Pepperoni slices
  • Turkey slices
  • Butter
  • Parmesan cheese
  • Chopped garlic

Apologies for not including prices on the items other than the Italian loaf, but based on the amount I used, I think my estimate of $1.50 for the rest of this is accurate, if not possibly a little on the high side.

First, preheat the oven to 350 because it’s not going to take long to prepare this.

Take a bread knife and cut LENGTHWISE down the bun (like a hot dog bun). And make your cut relatively shallow because you’re going to cut it into THREE pieces, not two. Remember how minimizing your bread intake is a good thing for your metabolism? Slicing this into three pieces instead of two reduces the amount of bread ingested, spreads the loaf farther, and gives more of the tasty stuff and less of the filler. Lay the bread slices down on a baking pan. If you get a huge air void in the center piece, you can slice it down the center and tuck it up against the other pieces. Your main goal here is to have a big, wide bread platform to lay cheese and meat onto. One other trick is to use slices of meat as a ‘bridge’ to cover up the hole rather than letting the cheese fall through and burn on the bottom of the pan.

Once you have the bread slices, melt some butter (a quarter stick is certainly enough), add some garlic (I used about a half table spoon), microwave it to melt the butter, and then stir it up together and drizzle it on the bread. Use a silicone brush to spread it out on the bread.

Next, sprinkle some parmesan cheese for a bit of crunchy texture and now move on to the coverage.

Now the part the kids love: the toppings. I first laid down a layer of mozzerella, then pepperoni, then Mexican cheese, and then a layer of turkey on top.

Stick it in the oven for 10min or so (you might want to go a little longer if you want it crispier), then take it out.

I then use the bread knife and make a long cut along each of the bread pieces so there’s a total of 12 pieces output from one Italian loaf.

You can make it more like a sub if you have kids who aren’t against condiments (mine generally are). You can add some mayo, onions, etc – steal ideas from the menu at Subway if you want.

Either way, this is a cheap lunch for three kids and one adult. You can also scale it up a bit and make it a dinner too. In that case I’d consider two loaves, some ground beef, Provolone cheese, and a substantial side such as pao de queijo. Yes, I’m going to do a bit on making pao de queijo; it’s another inexpensive, excellent international food that I think everyone should get familiar with.


2 responses to “Making 3 Open Face Subs For $2.50 in 2024”

  1. Stephanie Benefield Avatar
    Stephanie Benefield

    You might also find that meatball sandwiches when made from scratch at home, are very economical as well.

    1. They are indeed! I haven’t done that in a while though, as my daughter doesn’t like bread (exception made for toasted cheesy bread, for some reason)

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