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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!Pin this recipe for later!
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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!
Layer the Swiss cheese on both halves of bread – this creates your “glue” for the meats and pickles.
Place layers of ham and pork on the buttered half, then carefully top with pickles and the top half of bread.
Smear more butter all over the outside of the sandwich, then wrap it in aluminum foil, press it, and grill it up!
You can cook it on an outdoor or indoor grill, panini press, “plancha” griddle, or between two cast iron skillets.
More Sandwich Recipes
- Shredded Chicken Parmesan Sandwich
- Baked French Dip Sandwiches
- Reuben Slider Sandwiches
- Asiago Roast Beef Sliders
- Monte Cristo Sliders
- Crispy Chicken Sandwich
- 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
- 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.