Recipes » Copycat ~ Clone » Copycat Amato’s Italian Rolls

Copycat Amato’s Italian Rolls

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If you’ve ever tasted an Italian sub (sandwich) from New England, you know the amazing flavor of a REAL Maine Italian.

The light bread that is soft on the inside, but not chewy and has light layers along the sides. It’s an extraordinary sandwich that compliments any filling crammed within it, but… if you venture out of New England chances are slim that you’ll be able to enjoy the taste… until now.

Copycat Amato’s Italian Rolls

To be fair, let me explain that in Maine we don’t refer to them as subs, they’re simply “Italians”, but as you head south towards Boston, New York, and Jersey- they transform into “subs”.

Here’s a copycat recipe for New England Italian rolls, fresh from a native ‘Maine-ah’ who’s moved south!

You’ll Need:
2 cups water, lukewarm (about 110 degrees F)
4 tsp Bread Machine Yeast (fast-rising)
3 1/2 cups bread flour
2 1/4 cup Cake Flour
1 tablespoon dark brown sugar
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon salt

Place the warm water and yeast in the bowl of an electric or stand mixer and allow the yeast to bloom for about 5 minutes (optional for some types of yeast).

Using a dough hook attachment, add the flours and sugar to the water and mix on low speed until a dough starts to form.

Drizzle the oil and salt into the dough and beat on medium speed for 8 to 10 minutes (or knead the dough by hand), or until a smooth, firm, elastic dough is formed.


Transfer the dough to a lightly oiled bowl and spray the dough with a thin coating of cooking spray (cooking spray not necessary if you roll the dough around the oil-lined bowl).

Wrap the bowl with plastic wrap and set aside to proof in a warm, draft-free place for 1 to 1 1/2 hours or until doubled in size.

Remove the plastic wrap, punch down and flatten the rounded dough with the heel of your hand. Roll the dough up tightly, sealing the seam well after each roll. Place the rolls with the sides touching slightly on a greased cookie sheet to rise again.


Allow the dough to proof, loosely covered with a damp towel for 30 minutes, or until doubled in size.

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees

Lightly spritz the dough with water from a water bottle and then place the rolls in the oven. Immediately close the oven and bake for 3 minutes. Open the oven door and spray the dough again with the water bottle. Bake for about 30-35 minutes, Yield: Makes 6 Large rolls

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How to Make an Italian

Split the Italian roll (don’t completely cut through, all your fillings fall out and that’s not how we do it!) add sliced ham, sliced american cheese, diced onions, halved black olives, sliced dill pickles, sliced tomato, sliced green pepper, sprinkle with salt and pepper and drizzle lightly with olive oil.

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18 thoughts on “Copycat Amato’s Italian Rolls”

  1. i think i’m missing something here… after you punch it down with the heel of your hand, how many do i roll up? looks tasty!

    i’m going to make these. is there a point i could freeze the dough to then bake fresh? thanks

  2. a true italian should have more than just ham and never have american cheese. try these cold cuts instead:
    capicolla (the hot kind)
    genoa salami
    provolone cheese

    the condimnet list you have looks good, but also try what new enlanders call hots. it’s basically a medium hot pepper relish.

    hmmmm, my first comment appears not to have gone through.

    if you want to try an authentic new england itallian sub try these cold cuts:

    capicolla (the hot kind)
    genoa salami
    provolone cheese (not american)

    the condiment list above looks good, but instead of ust olive oil try boars head sub/sandwich dressing, it’s a blend of oil and spices. also, if you’re feeling in a spicy mood try what they call “hots”, it’s a medium hot pepper relish that adds a lot of flavor.

    i spent quite a few years working in a new england sub shop and i know there are many ways to make an itallian sub, but this seemed t be the most popular recipe.

    • Not be be picky, but an authentic Amato’s Italian is NOT a sub, I should know, I had many from the original Portland location. It is a main Italian sandwich and is not a New England sub. The sandwich ingredients as listed in the original article are correct.

      • i agree the listed ingredients are correct except the olives, which should be kalamato not black olives it makes a big difference

        Displaced Mainer

    • This is an “authentic,” “Real Italian” sandwich from Maine, specifically from the Portland area. In Portland they do not ever refer to these type of sandwiches as “subs” although in the “New England” area some do choose the vernacular. It is called an “Italian” because the individual who created it, in 1899, Giovanni Amato was Italian not because of the ingredients on the sandwich. The sandwich is what the sandwich is and that is that. It is not open for interpretation or suggestions when you are referring to the “Real Maine Italian” sandwich inspired or made by Amato’s.

      You can call your sandwich whatever you like and eat whatever you want to eat on it and with your own personal experience working in a “New England sub shop” I imagine you can and do make a mean sub, hoagie, grinder or whatever you want to call the sandwich. However, your experience does not make you an expert on everything sandwich related based upon your uninformed comment to the original post or at very least you took some of the terms used too literally.

      Although you are, I am assuming based upon my observations, most likely from “New England” but most definitely not from Portland or most probably not even from Maine. While I no longer live in the Portland area, as I did when I was a child, I have found memories of grabbing an “Italian” with my family. I have tried for years to recreate one with near but never complete success but I will never stop trying…lol.

      • It’s the lake water that they use in the bread. Born in Portland and raised in Scarborough, we had Italians every weekend. I live in Florida now and I have been trying for years to duplicate the bread it just can’t be done.

        • Do you remember Marks ark. On sebago lake?
          Italian Sandwich ark that went around the lake and docked in various spots all day?
          Went to Maine every year .
          My mom was born in Cape Elizabeth.

  3. We have a restaurant here in town and these rolls look just like there minus the sesame seeds, I am going to try and make these for home.

  4. A true Maine Italian Sandwich cannot be altered with other cheeses, breads or dressings other than straight up olive and vegetable oil mixed. If you change the recipe, the sandwich is no longer a true Maine Italian Sandwich. Why keep messing with perfection.

    Not be be picky, but an authentic Amato’s Italian is not a sub, i should know, i had many from the original portland location. it is a main italian sandwich and is not a new england sub. the sandwich ingredients as listed in the original article are correct.

    you are so absolutely right!

    • A true Maine Italian Sandwich cannot be altered with other cheeses, breads or dressings other than straight up olive and vegetable oil mixed. If you change the recipe, the sandwich is no longer a true Maine Italian Sandwich. Why keep messing with perfection.

      You are so absolutely right!

      Correct Darlene. The ingredients listed for “A Real Italian” are correct. Leave it to a Mass-hole to mess with it.

  5. I am looking forward to making these this weekend! I have made Maine Italian subs many times and they are delicious but just not the same without the right bread! How many does this recipe make?

  6. As a Mainer, I buy the rolls locally. I weighed a roll that I have on hand, and it weighs 5 ounces, is about 11 inches long. I understand that raw dough loses about 10-20% of weight in the baking process. Since this recipe does not give info on how many rolls it makes, knowing the weight of the baked roll might help if you weigh the raw dough ball to get the total weight and then divide it out.

  7. There is definitely a step or two missing.

    My attempt went ok, but I couldn’t ever get the dough to seal so I have what look like mutant rolls.


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