Cuban Sandwich Recipe (Cubano Sandwich)
This Cuban sandwich recipe is the ultimate pork sandwich made with marinated roast pork, sliced ham, Swiss cheese, yellow mustard and pickles. One of my favorites! Here is my homemade version.
We’re cooking up homemade Cuban Sandwiches in the Chili Pepper Madness kitchen tonight, my friends. Would you care for one? If you’ve never tried a Cuban sandwich, you are about to jump for joy.
This is one of our favorite recipes, for both me and Patty. We fell in love with them during our stays in Florida. It’s really hard to beat a sandwich that’s layered up with thick slices of ham, loads of slow roasted pork (yes, two types of pork!), held together with melty Swiss cheese and slathered in butter, yellow mustard and topped with crunchy dill pickles.
It’s a classic sandwich, really, incredibly popular in Florida but also all over the United States. This one needs to go into your recipe box, my friends. It’s perfect for leftover pork shoulder or pulled pork.
It certainly isn’t your plain old ham and cheese sandwich! Let’s discuss!
What is a Cuban Sandwich?
The Cuban sandwich is popular American sandwich made with two types of pork (ham and roast pork), Swiss cheese, yellow mustard, sliced pickles and sometimes salami, depending on your location. It is a pressed sandwich served up on Cuban bread.
It’s origins trace back to Florida where it was enjoyed by Cuban workers in Tampa and Key West. It eventually spread in popularity, no doubt due to its wonderful flavor, spawning a friendly rivalry between Tampa and Miami, with Tampa including salami and Miami omitting it.
Let’s talk about how to make a Cuban Sandwich (aka Cubano), shall we?
Cuban Sandwich Ingredients
- Cuban Bread. Use 1 loaf Cuban bread. Use French bread or Italian bread as a substitute.
- Butter. I use 4 tablespoons butter, though you can use more. This is fairly butter sandwich. You can also use olive oil instead.
- Yellow Mustard. Use 2 tablespoons yellow mustard, though you can easily include more.
- Roast Pork. Use 1 pound roast pork. Use your favorite recipe, or use this Pernil Recipe (Puerto Rican Roast Pork). You can also use Pulled Pork or sliced and cooked pork tenderloin.
- Sliced Ham. Use 1 pound sliced ham. Glazed ham is great, or you can use your favorite thinly sliced deli ham.
- Swiss Cheese. Use 4 ounces Swiss cheese, or more if you want more melty cheese flavor.
- Sliced Dill Pickles. Use 4 ounces sliced dill pickles, or as many as you can fit on top of the sandwich. You can add as many as you’d like.
How to Make a Cuban Sandwich – the Recipe Method
The Bread. Slice the loaf of bread in half lengthwise. Butter the top and bottom half with 2 tablespoon softened butter. Spread the mustard on the top piece of bread.
Layer It Up! Layer the sandwich with roast pork, sliced ham, Swiss cheese and pickles. Top the Cubano with the top bread slice.
Butter, Grill and Press. Slather the remaining butter over both sides of the sandwich. Heat a grill, grill pan or heavy skillet to medium heat. Grill the Cuban sandwich for 5-6 minutes per side, pressing it down very firmly with a cast iron skillet on top or spatula to “press” it tightly, until golden brown and bread is nice and crispy.
You can also use a sandwich or panini press for this.
NOTE: Aluminum Foil Option. Some people like to wrap their Cuban sandwiches in aluminum foil first before grilling and pressing, which can help with cleanup. I’ve done this several times and it works great, though it can get a bit messy if cheese and other ingredients leak out.
Serve and Enjoy! Remove, slice and serve.
Boom! Done! Your Cuban Sandwiches are ready to enjoy! What do you think? Pretty amazing, aren’t they? A seemingly simple recipe with simple ingredients that is HUGE on flavor. That’s perfect in my book.
I love this recipe.
Recipe Tips & Notes
- The Bread. Cuban bread is tradition for Cuban sandwiches. It’s very much like French bread or Italian bread, though differs in the use of lard or shortening, and in how they are baked.
- The Roast Pork. Slow roasted pork is most commonly used, particularly Pernil, which is a roast pork recipe popular in Latin American cuisine. You can also use leftover pulled pork or sliced pork tenderloin or pork shoulder that’s been seasoned and grilled.
- The Ham. Use your favorite ham. Glazed ham is popular, though smoked ham is great. I usually get something from the deli and have them slice it thick for me.
- The Mustard. Yellow mustard is traditional. You can use other mustards, but a truly authentic Cuban sandwich uses yellow mustard only. Try it with my homemade yellow mustard recipe.
- The Pickles. My favorite are bread and butter pickles. They have a nice sweetness and a touch of spice. It’s also great with hot pickles, for my spicy food lovers.
- Recipe Variations. Salami is often included in the Tampa version of the sandwich, though not in Miami. The choice is yours. Which do you prefer? Salami or no?
That’s it, my friends. I hope you enjoy this homemade Cuban Sandwich recipe. Let me know if you make it. I’d love to hear how it turned out for you. I think you’ll love this one. So good!
Try Some of My Other Popular Recipes
- Muffaletta Sandwich
- Shrimp Po Boy
- Juicy Lucy Cheeseburger
- Chicago Style Hot Dog
- Choripan Argentina
- See all of my Sandwich Recipes
- Ropa Vieja – Cuban Shredded Beef
- Cuban Black Beans (Frijoles Negros)
- Pollo Guisado (Chicken Stew)
Got any questions? Ask away! I’m happy to help. If you enjoy this recipe, I hope you’ll leave a comment with some STARS. Also, please share it on social media. Don’t forget to tag us at #ChiliPepperMadness. I’ll be sure to share! Thanks! — Mike H.
Cuban Sandwich Recipe
- 1 loaf Cuban bread
- 4 tablespoons butter
- 2 tablespoons yellow mustard or to taste
- 1 pound roast pork Use my Pernil Recipe for this, or use Pulled Pork or pork tenderloin
- 1 pound sliced ham glazed ham is great, or your favorite deli ham
- 4 ounces Swiss cheese or more to your preference
- 4 ounces sliced dill pickles or to taste
- Slice the bread in half lengthwise. Butter the bottom half with 2 tablespoon softened butter. Spread the mustard on the top half.
- Layer the sandwich with roast pork, sliced ham, Swiss cheese and dill pickles. Top the Cubano with the top bread slice.
- Slather the remaining butter over both sides of the sandwich.
- Heat a grill or grill pan to medium-high heat. Grill the Cuban sandwich for 5-6 minutes per side, pressing it down very firmly with another pan or spatula to "press" it tightly, until warmed through and bread is nice and crispy.
- Remove, slice and serve.
NOTE: This recipe was updated on 10/15/21 to include new information and video. It was originally published on 10/28/20.