Made with tender, mojo roasted pork, ham, cheese and pickles, this authentic Cuban Sandwich will have your mouth watering before it’s even assembled.

Also known as a Cubano, Cuban mixto, or Cuban pressed sandwich, this savory indulgence is best served with black beans, potato chips, French fries, Sweet Potato Fries, or Citrus Fruit Salad.

Two halves of a Cuban Sandwich stacked on a plate with chips on the side.

Whenever we go out to lunch, my husband gravitates toward the Cuban Sandwich on the menu and typically chooses that as his go-to meal. It’s such a unique, flavorsome sandwich blending mixed meats and seasonings with a delicious citrus-based mojo marinade — and is even packed with a few pickles! A typical Cuban Sandwich is made with Cuban bread but you can use any crusty, white bread like Italian, French, or even ciabatta. Also, traditional Cubanos use pork shoulder but I prefer tenderloin because it’s much quicker. What I love about this recipe is that each time I make it, it’s a treat for the entire family and as with all sandwiches, it can always be modified to your liking!

HOW TO MAKE A CUBAN SANDWICH:

  • Season pork with salt and pepper on all sides.
  • Marinate: Add marinade ingredients to a ziplock bag or a bowl. Add pork and massage meat in marinade to coat. Marinate for at least 1 hour or up to one day.
  • Grill: Using a grill, grill pan, or a skillet over medium-high heat, cook pork loin for 7-10 minutes on each side, rotating slowly, until internal temperature reaches 145 degrees F.
  • Slice: Remove to a plate, cover, and allow to rest for 10 minutes before slicing thinly for sandwiches.
Pork tenderloin in a bag with marinade, then grilling in a skillet.

Assemble Sandwiches:

  • Slice Cuban bread roll or artisan baguette in half horizontally. Lightly butter the outsides of the bread. Spread mustard on each inside slice of bread.
  • Layer a slice of cheese, pickles, ham, salt and pepper, pork, then cheese again. Sandwich with the top piece of bread.
  • Cook sandwich in a hot panini press or in a hot skillet, pressing them down with a cast iron or heavy pan on top to toast them into a panini-style sandwich. 
Four process photos for layering cuban sandwich bread with cheese, pickles, ham and pork.

RECIPE NOTES:

  • Cuban sandwiches are often made with braised pork shoulder. I prefer to use tenderloin because it cooks much quicker.
  • You can use pickles sliced lengthwise or pickle chips, whichever you have on-hand. You can also substitute bread and butter pickles instead of dill pickles if you prefer.
  • There are a couple of different methods for cooking this sandwich. You can use a panini press, indoor grill pan, or skillet. Just be sure to have a heavy pan on-hand to press your sandwich flat. I use a cast-iron pan.

WHAT KIND OF BREAD DO YOU USE FOR A CUBAN SANDWICH?

A traditional Cuban sandwich is made with a long, crusty loaf of Cuban bread (almost looks like the foot long bread from Subway, but with a crustier exterior). It can be difficult to find Cuban bread in some areas, so a loaf of French Bread, an artisan bread or Ciabatta would work, or try making Cuban Bread from scratch. La Brella brand sells a thin ciabatta loaf that’s similar to a Cuban roll and can be found in the bakery section of the grocery store.

WHAT IF BREAD GOES STALE?

Avoid storing the bread in the refrigerator as it will become stale quicker than storing it at room temperature. If your bread does stale before making the sandwiches, you can refresh it in the oven or microwave. Heat the oven to 200°F or a warm setting. Wrap the bread in a damp towel, place on a baking sheet, and place it in the oven for 5-10 minutes. Or, in the microwave, put the bread (also wrapped in a damp towel) on a microwave-safe dish and microwave on high for 10 seconds.

A full Cuban Sandwich, toasted and resting on a baking sheet, ready to eat.
Make Ahead and Freezing Instructions:

To Make Ahead: All of the ingredients are fully cooked before you start assembling the sandwich, so all you really have to do is make sure the pork has marinated at least a day in advance before cooking. Refrigerate any leftovers and reheat without any additional pressing. They’re good cold, too!

To Freeze: Let the sandwiches cool, wrap in parchment paper, then foil, and freeze. For extra protection, wrap in plastic over the foil. Rewarm in the oven (remove plastic wrap first) for a few minutes before enjoying.

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Recipe

Two halves of a Cuban Sandwich stacked on a plate with chips on the side.
Prep 10 mins
Cook 30 mins
Marinate/Refrigeration 1 hr
Total 1 hr 40 mins
Add to Meal Plan

Ingredients
  

For the Pork:

  • 1 (1lb) pork tenderloin
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Juice and zest from ½ an orange
  • Juice from 1 lime
  • 3 cloves garlic , minced
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • ½ teaspoon smoked paprika , or regular
  • ¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

For the Sandwich:

  • 1 long Cuban bread loaf*
  • 3 Tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 8 slices Swiss cheese
  • 1 cup dill or bread and butter pickle slices
  • 8 slices deli smoked or honey mustard ham

Instructions
 

Marinate and Cook Pork:

  • Season pork with salt and pepper on all sides. Add marinade ingredients to a ziplock bag or a bowl. Add pork and massage meat in marinade to coat. Marinate for at least 1 hour, or up to one day. Remove from fridge 30 minutes before cooking to allow to come to room temperature.
  • On a grill, in a grill pan or in a skillet over medium high heat, cook pork loin for 7-10 minutes on each side, rotating slowly, until internal temperature reaches 145 degrees F. Remove to a plate, cover and allow to rest for 10 minutes before slicing thinly for sandwiches.
    Pork tenderloin searing in a skillet.

Assemble Sandwiches:

  • Slice Cuban bread roll or artisan baguette in half horizontally. Lightly butter the ousides of the bread. Spread mustard on each inside slice of bread. Layer a slice of cheese, pickles, ham, salt and pepper, pork, then cheese again. Sandwich with top piece of bread.
    Four process photos for layering cuban sandwich bread with cheese, pickles, ham and pork.
  • Cook sandwich in a hot panini press or in a hot skillet, pressing them down with a cast iron or heavy pan on top to toast them into a panini-style sandwich.
    A full Cuban Sandwich, toasted and resting on a baking sheet, ready to eat.

Video

Notes

*Makes one giant sandwich that we cut into 8 portions/sandwiches.
Bread: A traditional Cuban sandwich is made with a long, crusty loaf of Cuban bread (almost looks like the foot long bread from Subway, but with a crustier exterior). It can be difficult to find Cuban bread in some areas, so a loaf of French Bread, an artisan bread or Ciabatta would work, or try making Cuban Bread from scratch. La Brella brand sells a thin ciabatta loaf that’s similar to a Cuban roll and can be found in the bakery section of the grocery store.
Make Ahead Instructions: All of the ingredients are fully cooked before you start assembling the sandwich, so all you really have to do is make sure the pork has marinated at least a day in advance before cooking. Refrigerate any leftovers and reheat without any additional pressing. They’re good cold, too!
Freezing Instructions: Let the sandwiches cool, wrap in parchment paper, then foil, and freeze. For extra protection, wrap in plastic over the foil. Rewarm in the oven (remove plastic warp) for a few minutes before enjoying.

Nutrition

Calories: 356kcalCarbohydrates: 31gProtein: 30gFat: 12gSaturated Fat: 5gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 74mgSodium: 877mgPotassium: 449mgFiber: 2gSugar: 2gVitamin A: 265IUVitamin C: 1mgCalcium: 181mgIron: 3mg

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About The Author

Lauren Allen

Welcome! I’m Lauren, a mom of four and lover of good food. Here you’ll find easy recipes and weeknight meal ideas made with real ingredients, with step-by-step photos and videos.

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  1. 5 stars
    Yes! Yes! Yes! So much goodness in one sandwich. This was SO good! Better than any Cuban I’ve had at any restaurant.