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A traditional Cuban sandwich recipe (aka El Cubano) is a delicious pressed sandwich made with sliced ham, roasted pork, Swiss cheese, dill pickles, lots of butter, and mustard all on crispy bread – it’s great to serve all year round and for any outdoor activity!

For more delicious sandwiches, try these Ham Sliders and Monte Cristo Sliders.

Stacked halves of cuban sandwich.
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Traditional Cuban Sandwich Recipe

Talk about your grown up grilled ham & cheese!

Cuban Sandwiches are one of my husband’s absolute favorites. Any time he brings home a pork shoulder or butt, I know the aroma of mojo and grilled bread will soon be in the air. I can’t help but get a little excited. Cubanos are so delicious!

How Did The Cuban Sandwich Get Its Name?

Cuban Sandwiches supposedly originated in Cuba in the 1800s, but the credit is shared with Miami, Florida where the people of Cuba often and easily traveled to. This sandwich is believed to have been a common lunch for cigar factory and sugar mill workers in Cuba and Key West. It moved North with the cigar business to Tampa, Florida in the mid-1880s.

By the 1960s, they were all over Miami when the city saw an influx of Cuban immigration due to Fidel Castro’s rise to power. Nowadays, there are variations of the Cubano Sandwich all over the country, but the basics remain the same.

What Is In A Cuban Sandwich?

  • Cuban Bread – It all starts with the bread. Look for a long, soft loaf of white bread. They can be found in any Hispanic bakery, but in a pinch opt for a loaf of long French or Italian bread.
  • Roasted Pork – Using homemade roasted (mojo!) pork in the sandwiches is preferred, but most delis sell a sliced version that will also do if your cravings get the best of you!
  • Sliced Deli Ham – Feel free to use your favorite kind of ham.
  • Cheese – Swiss is tradition, but Provolone and Gruyere are other suitable options if you prefer them.
  • Dill Pickles – Gotta be dill!
  • Mustard – Classic yellow. None of that brown or Grey stuff.
  • Butter – The more, the better. You’re gonna need napkins for this sammie!

How To Make Cuban Sandwiches

See recipe card below for ingredient quantities and full instructions.

Cut a loaf of Cuban bread in half lengthwise, and flip both halves so the cut side faces up.

Spread mustard on both halves of bread, then smear one half with some butter. How much is completely up to you… but if you don’t need napkins when you eat it, you didn’t use enough!

Whole bread loaf halves with slices of cheese.

Layer the Swiss cheese on both halves of bread – this creates your “glue” for the meats and pickles.

Slices of cheese and slices of ham on bread.
Sliced cheese, pork and pickles on a loaf of bread.

Place layers of ham and pork on the buttered half, then carefully top with pickles and the top half of bread.

Loaf of bread with butter on a cutting board.

Smear more butter all over the outside of the sandwich, then wrap it in aluminum foil, press it, and grill it up!

two skillets on top of each other.
Foil wrapped sandwich in a skillet.

You can cook it on an outdoor or indoor grill, panini press, “plancha” griddle, or between two cast iron skillets.

Cuban sandwiches stacked on a wood board.

More Sandwich Recipes

Recipe

Cuban Sandwich

5 from 13 votes
Cuban sandwich recipe (aka El Cubano) has sliced ham, roasted pork, Swiss cheese, dill pickles, butter and mustard all on crispy bread.
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
Servings 4 sandwiches

Ingredients
  

  • 1 loaf Cuban bread (8”-12”) sliced lengthwise
  • ¼ cup unsalted butter softened
  • ¼ cup yellow mustard or to taste
  • 1 pound ham sliced
  • 1 pound roasted pork sliced
  • 8 ounces Swiss cheese sliced
  • 2 dill pickles sliced lengthwise
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Instructions
 

  • Spread the mustard on the inside of both halves of bread. Spread 2 tablespoons of butter on the inside of the bottom half of the bread.
  • Layer the Swiss cheese on both halves of bread. Place a layer of ham and then pork on the buttered half, then carefully top with pickles and the top half of bread.
  • Spread the remaining butter all over the outside of the sandwich, then wrap it in aluminum foil and press down gently. (Cut the sandwich in half and wrap separately if cooking on the stovetop. Leave sandwich unwrapped if using panini press.)

On the Grill:

  • Heat your grill to high and close the lid. After 15 minutes, lower the heat to medium-high.
  • Place the wrapped sandwich on the grill, then set a heavy, heat-resistant object like a grill press or cast iron pan on top. Close the lid and grill for about 5 minutes, then flip and repeat.
  • Remove the sandwich from the grill and unwrap it. Return it to the grill and grill for 2-3 minutes per side, or until crispy and golden brown.

In a Panini Press:

  • Butter both sides of the panini press and press sandwiches with medium pressure until crisp on both sides, 8-10 minutes.

On the Stovetop/Griddle:

  • Preheat a large cast iron skillet, or griddle over medium heat.
  • Place the wrapped sandwich on the skillet/griddle, and use another skillet or heavy object to press it down with as it cooks. Flip and repeat until sandwich is crispy and hot.
  • Cut the sandwich at an angle into smaller portions and serve while warm.

Notes

If you can’t find Cuban bread, a french loaf would be an appropriate substitute.
Keyword cuban sandwich

Nutrition

Calories: 901kcalCarbohydrates: 33gProtein: 72gFat: 52gSaturated Fat: 26gCholesterol: 224mgSodium: 2230mgPotassium: 907mgFiber: 2gSugar: 3gVitamin A: 885IUVitamin C: 1mgCalcium: 510mgIron: 4mg

Nutritional Disclaimer Kristin Maxwell of “Yellow Bliss Road” is not a dietician or nutritionist, and any nutritional information shared is an estimate. For accurate calorie counts and other nutritional values, we recommend running the ingredients through your preferred online nutritional calculator. Calories and other nutritional values can vary depending on which brands were used.

Kristin Maxwell

Kristin Maxwell is the creator and main recipe developer, writer, and photographer of Yellow Bliss Road. A self-taught cook and self-appointed foodie, she specializes in easy, flavorful and approachable recipes for any home cook.

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Comments

  1. Gail Coleman says:

    I have made these several times . They are delicious. I use thin pickle slices and lots of butter! Can’t go wrong with this!

    1. Kristin says:

      Awesome feedback Gail! Thanks for stopping by.

  2. Ryan says:

    “Authentic” Cuban sandwich? You might want to do some research, as the “mixto” does not come from Cuba, and there is almost no connection to Key West at all. If you said Miami, I could understand the mistake but there is no historical connection to Key West. And the mixto was being made in Ybor City when Miami was still swampland. They use tomatoes, and lettuce on their “Cuban sandwiches” in Key West. So if you were making an authentic Key West Cuban it would have those ingredients. The version you are making is the Miami version. But a true authentic mixto has salami on it..hence the name mixto. It was only ever called a Cuban by Saxons who saw Cubans making and eating them. This is also true for what we know as Cuban bread. Also invented in Ybor City, and the only true Cuban bread comes from the LaSegunda bakery in Ybor City, who ships their bread to Miami and Key West for the sandwich makers there. All that being said, they ate all delicious, even if not all are truly “Authentic”!