cuban sandwich

Cuban Sandwich

cuban sandwich

Cuban Sandwich

A Cuban sandwich (Spanish: Sándwich cubano) is a variation of a ham and cheese sandwich that likely originated in cafes catering to Cuban workers in Tampa or Key West, two early Cuban immigrant communities in Florida centered on the cigar industry. Later on, Cuban exiles and expatriates brought it to Miami, where it is also very popular. The sandwich is made with ham, roasted pork, Swiss cheese, pickles, mustard, and sometimes salami on Cuban bread. Salami is included in Tampa, where there is a large Italian population, but is not usually included in South Florida. The Cuban sandwich is at the center of a long-running friendly rivalry between Miami and Tampa. As part of that rivalry, the "Historic Tampa Cuban Sandwich" was designated the "signature sandwich of the city of Tampa" by the Tampa City Council in 2012.
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Prep Time 20 minutes
Total Time 5 minutes
Course Main Course
Cuisine Cuban, Pork, Sandwich
Servings 4 Sandwiches



  • 4 Cuban Bread or Italian Bread
  • 3 tbsp butter
  • 1 lb Cuban Roast Pork
  • 8 slices sliced ham (sweet cured or smoked Serrano, or bolo ham – I used honey ham
  • 8 slices Swiss Cheese
  • 1 head garlic Optional
  • 1 sweet onion Optional
  • Dill pickle slices
  • Dijon Mustard
  • *Sriracha Optional

Cuban Roast Pork:

  • 4 pound Pork shoulder roast also known as a pork butt
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp black peppercorns
  • 1 cup sour orange juice I used 2/3 cup 100% orange juice not from concentrate, 1 lime juiced and 1 lemon juiced
  • 1 cup minced onion
  • 2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/2 cup olive oil


Cuban Roast Pork:

  • Mash the garlic, salt and peppercorns into a paste, using a mortar and pestle or a food processor. Stir in sour orange juice, onion and oregano. Let mixture sit for 30 minutes.
  • Heat olive oil in a 2 quart saucepan until hot but not frying hot. You'll see some movement in the oil. Remove the oil from the heat and quickly AND CAREFULLY whisk the garlic-orange juice mixture until well blended. Let cool before using as a marinade.
  • Pierce the pork roast several times all over with a fork or sharp knife. Place it in a roasting pan and pour garlic mixture (save a little for basting while roasting) over pork. Cover and let sit in the refrigerator for two or three hours.
  • Preheat the oven to 375°F.
  • Remove lid from the pork and roast for 20 minutes. Reduce temperature to 225°F and roast until the meat is soft and you can pull it apart easily with a fork, about 2 hours and 20 minutes. Baste occasionally while roasting. I roasted mine to an internal temperature of 175°F. Remove from the oven and let rest 10 minutes before slicing.

Optional Roasted Garlic and Carmelized Onions:

  • To roast garlic, cut off top 1/3 of garlic head and place in pan. Drizzle with roughly 2 tablespoons of olive oil, cover with foil and roast in oven for 30-45 minutes or until soft. Squeeze roasted garlic into bowl and mix with Dijon mustard and dry white wine. Add salt/pepper to taste.
  • To caramelize onions, heat remaining olive oil in frying pan and cook chopped onions on low heat, usually at least 30 minutes. Don’t stir too often. Once caramelized, remove and set aside.

Sandwich Assembly:

  • Butter a hot griddle or pan. Place the sandwich on the pan and using a heavy skillet, bacon press or foil wrapped brick, or panini press, flatten the sandwich for approximately 3 minutes and then flip to the other side.
  • Cut Cuban bread lengthwise and slather one side with the garlic-infused mustard. Layer thinly sliced ham, roasted pork, caramelized onions, Swiss cheese and pickle slices.
  • Spread butter on the outside of the Cuban bread before topping on assembled sandwich and cooking in a Panini press. Once outside is crisp, turn over and cook on the other side.
  • You don't want you pan so hot that your bread burns but it needs to be hot enough to melt your cheese. Cook until the bread is golden brown.
  • Slice the sandwich diagonally and serve immediately.


We like to get these from The Mexican Bakery in San Jose, California when we are there. Otherwise we might vary the style and ingredients like adding roasted garlic and sauteed onions.
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

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