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Does Publix Take EBT? (Yes, Including Online Orders)

Although Publix has accepted EBT payments in stores for a while now, they could not process EBT payments for online orders until April 2021. This new expansion of the SNAP/EBT program has made grocery shopping through their chain more accessible to consumers of all income levels.

Publix takes EBT on eligible food items purchased in-store and online orders placed through Instacart for delivery or pickup. Most food items are covered with SNAP/EBT benefits. In addition, you can buy cold subs, sushi, and cakes using your EBT card at Publix.

If you have access to an EBT card and food stamps, it is important to know how to use your benefits to save on each grocery trip. In this article, we’ll expand on topics related to food assistance for those using their SNAP/EBT card at Publix.

Does Publix Accept EBT Online?

Publix accepts EBT payments for online grocery purchases through Instacart. This was launched as online payments with SNAP/EBT began to gain traction within the grocery industry due to the surging demand for grocery delivery and pickup.

When shopping with Publix online, consumers can now enter their EBT information through the payment system on Instacart.

Online EBT payments expand through Instacart with any retailer that wants to participate and get approved in the USDA’s Online Purchasing Pilot Program.

Publix has chosen to participate in all states they have retail locations, which are the following states:

  • Alabama
  • Florida
  • South Carolina
  • Georgia
  • Tennessee
  • Virginia
  • North Carolina

Therefore, any Publix shopper can benefit from using EBT payments online with just a few extra checkout steps on Instacart.

When getting to the final checkout process in your Publix Instacart order, you will find the option to enter your EBT card information.

To find the complete list of retailers that accept EBT payments online in each state, you can visit the USDA website.

How to Use EBT at Publix

If you want to use your EBT card for in-store purchases at Publix, you will follow a similar process to those using a debit card. However, you will need to identify which items are eligible for EBT payment first, as some items do not qualify for the SNAP/EBT program.

The items that cannot be purchased with a SNAP/EBT card include:

  • Alcoholic beverages
  • Tobacco products
  • Medicine and supplements
  • Live animals
  • Hot bar foods
  • Pet food
  • Cleaning products
  • Personal hygiene and cosmetic items

As long as you are shopping for items that do not fall into the above categories, you can cover the entirety of the purchase with your EBT card.

Once you’ve finished shopping, simply go to checkout as you usually would but let the cashier know that you are paying with EBT. This way, they can put in the correct information and collect your PIN to complete the purchase.

If you are shopping with Publix online and checking out via Instacart, you can still use your EBT card with a slightly different process as described below:

  1. If you haven’t yet, you will need to create an Instacart account to shop
  2. Once you are logged in, you can search for Publix and begin shopping their selection
  3. Once you are finished shopping, tap the cart symbol to checkout
  4. Select to pay with a credit or debit card
  5. Enter your card information and address into the field
  6. When prompted, add your EBT card information
  7. Click on the “edit” button to change the dollar amount that will be applied to your EBT card versus your credit or debit card
  8. You can then confirm the payment method and place your order
  9. After placing the order, be sure not to exit out of the screen just yet! You will be prompted to enter the PIN for your EBT card so that Instacart can verify the card information and send the order through.

Once you’ve verified the purchase with your PIN, the order is complete, and you can expect your items delivered straight to your door!

You can use your EBT card both for delivery and pickup orders at Publix through Instacart.

In addition, if you have a Publix loyalty card, you can link it to your Instacart account and continue to receive store benefits for purchases made online.

Can You Buy Publix Subs With EBT?

Unfortunately, you cannot use your SNAP/EBT card to pay for hot food at Publix. This includes the deli sandwiches and subs made by request. However, you can purchase the premade cold subs with EBT because they are not considered hot food bar items.

Therefore, while it is only refrigerated subs, there is a way to purchase ready-to-eat sandwiches when shopping with EBT at Publix.

Does Publix Take EBT for Cakes?

Publix accepts EBT for cakes. Most bakery items like bread, cookies, cakes, and cupcakes are eligible for EBT. Some Publix stores may also take EBT for custom cake orders.

The law states that EBT cannot be used to purchase ready-to-eat or hot foods prepared on-site. This would include items at the bakery and deli.

Cakes are premade refrigerated items, so paying with an EBT card would not be an issue. However, a custom cake sits in a fine line. If you are purchasing a custom cake for a celebration, this may not be covered with EBT since it is made to order.

Therefore, you should contact your Publix store directly and ask if they would accept EBT payment for custom cake orders.

This will be on a case-by-case basis, depending on how custom cakes are coded at stores. Therefore, some variations may occur with the rules.

Can You Buy Publix Sushi With Food Stamps?

Yes, you can buy sushi with food stamps at Publix. Since sushi is a premade refrigerated item, you can purchase it using your SNAP/EBT card.

As long as you’re not planning to eat your sushi inside the store, paying with EBT will not be an issue. Most cold food items that are not meant to be consumed where purchased are covered with SNAP/EBT benefits

Keep in mind that you can also buy fish and meat with food stamps and an EBT card.

However, some stores will be strict about only buying items that have not been further prepared beyond being packaged by employees in the seafood department.

What Can You Buy at Publix With an EBT Card?

When shopping with an EBT card at Publix, you can buy all fresh fruits and vegetables, meat, poultry, fish, dairy products, bread, cereals, snack foods, non-alcoholic beverages, and plants that produce food for the household to consume.

All these items cover the basic health needs of humans to ensure anyone using EBT can still eat a healthy and balanced diet.

However, as previously stated, none of the prepared foods can be purchased with food assistance even if they fall under the categories that are accepted by SNAP/EBT.

If you have a question on a specific item, you can visit the Ask USDA portal, where you can get additional information on whether it’s covered with SNAP benefits.


With the new online EBT program rolling out at Publix, a new level of convenience has been added to online grocery shopping. This is a big stride in making food delivery more accessible to all income levels and offers a way to get healthy groceries delivered straight to your door without sacrificing assistance.

If you’re interested in finding out more tips about shopping at Publix, check out the related articles below.

Related Articles:

Publix Hours, Weekly Ad, Best Time to Shop, and Payment Methods

Publix BOGO: What You Should Know About Publix BOGO Sales

Publix Delivery: How to Get Publix Grocery Delivery With Instacart

Publix Pickup: How to Order Groceries and Pick Up Curbside

Publix Cakes: Your Guide to Ordering Cakes From Publix Bakery

About the Author

Eril Eti is the founder of He has over a decade of experience in consumer goods and launched many products sold at retailers like Walmart, Costco, Amazon, Target, Kroger, Publix, and more.

Eril loves food, traveling, and trying out new restaurants. Outside of work, you can find him on a hiking trail in New England or playing soccer with his kids.

November 10, 2022