A classic homemade Cuban sandwich recipe (Cubano) with mojo-marinated pork, swiss, pickles, and lots of mustard. And also lots of butter, but let’s try to focus on the calorie-free mustard.
The other day I was discussing eye color with Charlotte’s friend Milo, who is four:
“What color are your mom’s eyes, Milo?” Green.
“What color are your dad’s eyes?” Yellow.
“Humans don’t have yellow eyes.”
“My dad’s not human.”
Aside from making the decision to start doing actual background checks on Charlotte’s friends, I’ve been making Cubanos. Lots, and lots, and lots of Cubanos.
How to make Cuban Sandwiches (Cubanos)
Last week I shared the recipe for this Cuban Mojo-Marinated Pork, which is a totally awesome stand alone recipe. It is some of the tenderest, juiciest, crustiest meat I’ve ever had. But slap it on some buttery bread and smother it with swiss cheese, pickles, and mustard? Now we’re talkin.
I found the boiled ham in the lunchmeat section at the store. The recipe called for boiled ham, and after thinking to myself, “what the heck is boiled ham,” I asked someone in the meat department before even bothering to check. She led me right to this perfect little 6-ounce package that clearly says “boiled ham.”
I must have had a really stupid look on my face, because she pointed at the other lunchmeat packages: “See, you’ve got your honey ham, your smoked ham, lots of different kinds of ham. This one’s just boiled.” I felt idiotic and relieved that I didn’t have to ask for more information on boiled ham. Apparently a two word description of EXACTLY WHAT IT IS isn’t enough for me.
Make yourself at least one Cubano soon, or 4 or 5 if you’re normal. If you get really ambitious, you could even buy a food truck and start selling Cuban Sandwiches across the nation. It worked in Chef!
Do you guys give up? Or are you thirsty for more?
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Cuban Sandwiches (Cubanos)
- 6 ounces thinly sliced boiled ham
- Softened butter, for brushing
- 6 six-inch soft baguettes or hero rolls, split lengthwise
- Yellow mustard, for brushing
- 3/4 pound thinly sliced Cuban Mojo-Marinated Pork, or store-bought roast pork
- 8 ounces thinly sliced Swiss cheese
- 3 half-sour dill pickles, thinly sliced (I used regular ol' dill chips)
- Heat a skillet over medium, and add the sliced boiled ham. Cook for about 1 minute on each side, or until brown spots start to appear. Remove to a plate.
- Brush or spread softened butter over the cut side of each roll. Add to the skillet and brown the cut side of the bread until it is golden and starting to toast.
- When the bread is toasted, spread with mustard. Use as much as you like.
- Layer the pork, browned ham, Swiss, and sliced pickles. Top with the bread. Brush the top and bottom of the sandwich with butter.
- Grill the sandwiches in the same skillet, using another heavy skillet to press down the sandwich. Add cans or something else heavy if it's not being pressed well. If you have a George Foreman or a panini press, use that. Cook for about 3 minutes, then flip the sandwich, squish it again, and cook for another 2-3 minutes or so. Keep an eye on it. You want to outside to be crisp and golden and the cheese melted.
- Slice in half and devour immediately!
Here is the Cuban Mojo-Marinated Pork I used in the Cubanos. Soooo good:
Reuben-Stuffed Crescent Rolls:
Curried Chicken Salad Sandwiches with Naan:
Steak Sandwiches from Cravings of a Lunatic
Monte Cristo from She Wears Many Hats
Bacon Brie Grilled Cheese Sandwiches from Simply Delicious
This post was originally published on April 16, 2015. Updated March 2018.
I love your stories and the detail of your recipes. I don’t prepare many of them as I only cook for one now. I just ran across this recipe. Kevin posted 12/15 about the Tampa Cuban sandwich. I decided to look it up and the sandwich has an interesting story. I ran across this from 2012:
https://www.columbiarestaurant.com/The-Columbia-Experience/Recipes/Cuban-Sandwich. I thought both were interesting reading. The second link states the recipe included is: “original 1915 recipe of our founder Casimiro Hernandez, Sr.”
Great links Sue, thanks for sharing! I’m excited to read more! Thank you so much for following along. :)
Cheese. Butter. Smother…I’m sorry, I didn’t pay too much attention to anything else – your recipes: DIIIIIIVIIIIIIIIIINE. You are my kind of girl!
I haven’t tried this yet (I’m planning to this weekend), but I was curious what you serve as a side with both the cubanos and the mojo pork? I mean delis sell the sandwiches with chips but I wanted to know how you did it. The recipes look great and I’m looking forward to trying it out this weekend! Thanks. :)
Hey Steph, great question! These are pretty carb heavy so I would go with a big green salad!
Wow, I’ve made these a couple times now and omg. Your recipe for the marinated pork is to die for! So much flavor! I love Cuban sandwiches so much and there is no better recipe than this one! Great recipe!
I am dying to make the pork and followed your link to the sandwiches. I figured I would make the pork for dinner and the sandwiches with the left overs. Can you recommend a side dish for the pork?
Hey Megan! I think this pork would go great with some rice and beans if you wanted to take it in a Latin direction! And a big green salad. Or if you wanted it more American you could do mashed potatoes or roasted potatoes and green veggies. Hard to go wrong!
Growing up in Tampa, I had no idea that “other people” didn’t didn’t eat Cuban sandwiches at least once a week. Though I’m not Cuban, the food permeates the food scene in Tampa. For a variation, search for “Tampa Cuban Sandwich.” You will find a very similar recipe but it also includes Genoa salami. Local shops will ask “Dressed? Pressed? Pork?” Basically Dressed is usually a combo of mayo and mustard. Pressed is a sandwich press, like a panini without the ridges; this makes it hot, but usually not hot all the way through. And, believe it or not, the “Pork” is optional, though not for me. I am going to try your pork recipe. I love the look of the crust.
That is awesome info Kevin! I seriously need to visit Tampa and try all these variations out. I hope you enjoy the recipe!
Also forgot to mention that the bread makes a huge difference. The La Segunda Bakery here in Tampa has been making Cuban bread for 100 years. The loaves are about 3 ft long and cooked with a piece of palmetto leaf that gives it a perfect crease on top. Once you have this bread, it is difficult to have any other. It is also great just with a little butter and toasted for breakfast. Search Google Images for “la segunda bakery cuban bread” for some pictures.
Okay, now I am dying to go to Tampa to try this bread! I just looked up a few recipes for traditional cuban bread, it looks like they are made with lard. I totally want to try it!!
Ummm, did anyone else think of Andy Garcia when you saw “Cubano”??? Well, I did! Whew, I’ll take Andy Garcia anyday! This pork looks divine!
Made the Cuban Mojo marinated pork to make this sandwich today. So good. Kids ate the pork but deconstructed the sandwiches, paired it with papas rellenas (too much goodness.) Love this so much.
Ooh I want to pair that pork with papa rellenas! Good idea Shani :) Thanks for your comment!
This reminds me of an old favorite. It has been years since I sunk my teeth into a Cubano. Now I want one!
Let me know if you try this one out!
Can you please make me a cubano? I had 4 recipe fails in the kitchen this weekend and all I’d like right now is a cubano (and maybe an extra side of that pork). Also – This isn’t the most embarrassing thing that could happen at a grocery store – you COULD have left a trail of sugar as you walked around the store…. just sayin’. ;)