The Cubano: A Traditional Cuban Sandwich

Traditional Cuban Panini
The Spruce
  • Total: 30 mins
  • Prep: 15 mins
  • Cook: 15 mins
  • Yield: 4 sandwiches (4 servings)
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
785 Calories
48g Fat
16g Carbs
68g Protein
See Full Nutritional Guidelines Hide Full Nutritional Guidelines
×
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4 sandwiches (4 servings)
Amount per serving
Calories 785
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 48g 62%
Saturated Fat 22g 111%
Cholesterol 240mg 80%
Sodium 2989mg 130%
Total Carbohydrate 16g 6%
Dietary Fiber 3g 10%
Protein 68g
Calcium 604mg 46%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

A Cuban sandwich, known as a Cubano, is a variation on a grilled ham-and-cheese sandwich that was born in Florida.

This undeniably delicious sandwich is grilled and made with ham, pork, Swiss cheese, pickles, mustard, Cuban bread, and sometimes salami. The essential ingredient is the roasted pork, traditionally marinated in a mojo sauce redolent with orange juice, lime juice, garlic, oregano, and cumin before roasting. 

1:00

Click Play to See This Recipe Come Together

Ingredients

  • 1 loaf Cuban bread (French or Italian bread can be substituted)
  • 1 pound ham (cooked, sliced)
  • 1 pound pork (roasted, sliced)
  • 1/2 pound Swiss cheese (sliced)
  • 6 dill pickles (sliced)
  • 2 tablespoons butter (or cooking spray)
  • Garnish: yellow mustard
  • Garnish: mayonnaise

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Cubano: A Traditional Cuban Sandwich recipe ingredients
    The Spruce
  2. Heat a griddle or frying pan over medium heat.

  3. Cut the loaf of bread into quarters and slice each quarter in half horizontally for the sandwiches.

    Cubano: A Traditional Cuban Sandwich recipe
    The Spruce
  4. Spread the mustard or mayonnaise on the bread.

    Cubano: A Traditional Cuban Sandwich recipe
    The Spruce
  5. Then make each sandwich by layering the roasted ham, pork, cheese, and dill pickles.

    Cubano: A Traditional Cuban Sandwich recipe
    The Spruce
  6. Lightly coat the cooking surface of the griddle or frying pan with cooking spray or butter. Place one sandwich on the hot surface.

    Cubano: A Traditional Cuban Sandwich recipe
    The Spruce
  7. Put a clean, heavy skillet on top of the sandwich to flatten it. Press the bread down to about 1/3 of its original size. Leave the skillet on top of the sandwich and grill for 1 or 2 minutes.

    Cubano: A Traditional Cuban Sandwich recipe
    The Spruce
  8. Lift the heavy skillet, turn the sandwich over and repeat this step for the other side of the sandwich. The cheese should be melted and the bread golden brown.

    Cubano: A Traditional Cuban Sandwich recipe
    The Spruce
  9. Slice each sandwich in half diagonally, serve, and enjoy!

Recipe Variations

  • Instead of mayonnaise or mustard, some purists use butter, while others add lettuce and tomatoes after the sandwich has been grilled.
  • If you can't find Cuban bread, a long loaf of French or Italian bread will do. Some people make do with Italian bread for panini, which is another grilled sandwich similar to a Cubano.

History of the Cubano

A Cubano is street food par excellence that had its start as a sandwich popular with the working classes. This hearty hot meat-and-cheese meal was purchased by Cuban workers in the late 1800s early 1900s from vendors stationed inside and outside their places of work.

When these workers emigrated to the United States, in particular, Florida which has a large enclave of Cubans, they brought this delicious sandwich tradition with them.