"This recipe for an easy Cuban Sandwich is so simple to prepare using a soft hoagie roll. It can easily be made in advance and heated right before serving. Cuban sandwiches are perfect for a picnic, lunch, or tailgating party."
What is a Cubano Sandwich?
Very popular on many menus, a Cuban Sandwich, or Cubano, is really a just a pressed ham and cheese sandwich that includes pork roast, dill pickles, and a LOT of mustard. They are very easy to put together, portable, and a great use of leftover pork roast.
Where does a Cuban (Cubano) sandwich come from?
The Cuban sandwich was NOT invented in Cuba - however - it was invented by Cubans, most likely dock workers in Tampa and Miami where a large population of Cuban people labored.
After having made the sandwich myself, I can see how these would have been a popular lunch for them to take to the docks.
The sandwich is easily prepared in advance, does not require refrigeration in the short term as everything is cooked, and can easily be reheated in a number of ways to give you a gooey, cheesy, satisfying lunch.
Come lunchtime, a grill would be lit, and the workers would place their items for lunch on it to be heated and consumed.
Tortillas, with grilled meats, beans and rice, and Cubano sandwiches could easily be heated up.
The Cubano sandwich, being wrapped in foil, is natural to this type of cooking Just throw your wrapped sandwich on the grill, turn a few times, and voila, lunch is hot and ready to serve.
Ingredients for a Proper Cubano Sandwich
Here's what you need to make an Easy Cuban (Cubano) sandwich on a Soft Roll
- Boiled ham slices - not smoked, not Black Forest, not sugared. Just plain old boiled ham slices.
- Sliced lean pork roast - you can use pork tenderloin or a pork roast. Cut thinly.
- Swiss cheese
- Dill pickles - you can use a whole dill pickle and slice into slices or use dill chips. DO NOT use sweet pickles and be sure to pat the pickle dry.
- YELLOW mustard - nothing fancy, just good old yellow mustard.
- A soft roll - sliced in half.
- Softened butter - take the butter out early to soften, or use this hack and grate it with a cheese grater.
Ideally, you should use Cuban bread. And if you live in Tampa or Miami or another city with a large Cuban population, I'm sure you can find that.
I do not, so I decided to use a soft hoagie roll. As it was going to get toasted anyway, I figured it was the right size and shape.
I do not recommend getting sourdough rolls, just regular French rolls - split in half.
For the best Cuban sandwich experience, stick to boiled ham that has no brown sugar, maple, or smoke flavors.
NO. I have seen a few recipes that do so, but for a more authentic flavor, stick to yellow mustard.
You can use a regular skillet although it won't leave the beautiful grill marks. Once the sandwich is made and wrapped in foil, you can heat it up on a BBQ grill, skillet, or even bake in the oven at 350º F 176.7º C for 30 minutes or so until hot and melty.
Step by Step Instructions
Toasting the bread is one of the important first steps. You want the bread toasted so that it holds up to everything being placed on top of it without it falling apart. pan.
So butter it up and toast it on both sides using either your panini grill, if you have one, or second best, a heavy grill
Once the bread is nice and toasted spread a LOT of mustard on both sides.
How you layer the Cubano is important. For the easiest assembly, pre-stack the ingredients.
- Start with the boiled ham
- Place 2 slices of Swiss cheese on top of the ham
- Now add your layer of pork roast
- Make sure your pickles are patted dry, add them on top of the pork roast
- And finally, another layer of Swiss cheese which acts as a sort of glue to hold the sandwich together.
Place your stacked sandwich components on the bread.
Then close it up and wrap in the foil to form a packet.
You can make it to this point hours, or even days in advance. Keep it in the refrigerator if you make it days in advance. Please.
How to Finish a Cuban Sandwich (there's more than one way)
If you have made the Cuban sandwich in advance and refrigerated it bring it to room temperature prior to cooking it.
Heat your panini press or grill pan to high heat, then place the sandwich, in the foil package, onto the grids. Close the panini press or place your plate back over the top of the sandwich, and cook for about 4 - 5 minutes. If using a grill pan, turn halfway through the cooking time. Allow to rest for a minute or two, open, cut and there is your perfect Cubano Cuban sandwich.
If you are taking these to a picnic or tailgate party, throw the sandwich onto a hot grill, turning it occasionally until it's hot through and through.
And there you are! A perfect Cuban Sandwich.
No grill? You could also place it into a 350ºF oven for about 30 minutes to get everything hot and melty. You won't get the same crispness, but it will still be tasty.
Use left-over pork roast for these Easy Cuban Sandwiches such as my recipe for Roasted Pork Loin with Apples and Onions (sans the apples and onions).
More Easy Sandwiches
This post was originally published in 2018 and has been updated and republished 2022
Easy Cuban Sandwich on a Soft Hoagie Roll
- 4 soft hoagie rolls not sourdough
- 2 tablespoons softened butter - or as needed
- 8 tablespoons yellow mustard - or to taste
- 8 slices boiled ham found in the deli section about 4 ounces
- 8 ounces thinly sliced Swiss cheese
- 8 thin slices 4 ounces sliced cooked pork roast
- 2 - 3 whole dill pickles thinly sliced lengthwise and patted dry
- Prepare your panini press to the highest temperature with the grill side up. Or heat your grill pan on medium-high (cast iron works well here).
- Prepare your rolls by splitting in half and spreading butter on both the inside and outside of the bread. Pre-stack the filling in this order - 1 slice cheese cut in half, ham, pork slices, dill pickle slices, remaining slice cheese, cut in half.
- Place the rolls on the heated panini press, or grill pan. If using the press, close the lid and cook for 2 minutes or until grill marks show and the bread is toasted. If using the grill pan, place on the grill and weigh down with a plate that has a can or other weight on top to squash the bread, then turn and repeat so both sides are toasted. Remove to a cutting board.
- Tear 4 pieces of aluminum foil, large enough to enclose the roll. Generously spread mustard on the inside of both sides of the roll. Place your prepared fillings on the roll then close. Wrap in foil. Place the foil-wrapped sandwich into the panini press, close, and allow to cook for about 4 - 5 minutes. If using a grill pan, weigh down the sandwich with the plate and can, turn halfway through the cooking time. Remove the sandwich from the press, wait a minute or two, then remove the foil. Cut in half if desired. Eat while hot.