The ultimate Cuban sandwich recipe piled high with ham, cheese, roasted pork and pickles. These sandwiches are perfect for a hearty meal, and they happen to be super easy to make!

I love to recreate my favorite restaurant style sandwich recipes, including the Monte Cristo, bahn mi, and these crispy and cheesy Cuban sandwiches.

Cuban Sandwich Recipe #sandwich #pork #ham #cheese #pickles #lunch #dinner #dinneratthezoo Cuban Sandwich Recipe #sandwich #pork #ham #cheese #pickles #lunch #dinner #dinneratthezoo

A pressed Cuban sandwich with layers of ham, cheese and pickles.

I love Cuban sandwiches, when I see them on the menu at a restaurant I can never resist ordering one. That combination of meats and cheese just can’t be beat! I decided it was time to learn how to make these amazing sandwiches at home, and I’ve been so pleased with the end result!

How to make a Cuban sandwich

This recipe starts with a pork tenderloin, which is marinated in a blend of olive oil, citrus juices, herbs and spices. The pork is grilled to perfection, then thinly sliced. To build your sandwich, you’ll want to put layers of Swiss cheese, ham, pork tenderloin, pickles and mustard on a split loaf of Cuban bread. These sandwiches are grilled and pressed, which gives them a super crispy exterior and gooey melted interior.

Pork tenderloin in a bowl of marinade

Tips for the best Cuban sandwich

  • Cook your pork to 145 degreees F so that it stays tender and juicy. You can use a meat thermometer to keep an eye on the temperature of the meat as it cooks.
  • Cuban sandwiches are often made with braised pork shoulder. I prefer to use tenderloin because it cooks much quicker.
  • Choose a high quality deli sliced ham for the best results. I use an applewood smoked ham from my grocery store’s deli counter.
  • 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.

Pork tenderloin cooked on a grill pan.

What kind of bread do you use for a Cuban sandwich?

A traditional Cuban sandwich is made with Cuban bread, which is a long, crusty white bread that often contains a small amount of fat such as lard. It can be difficult to find Cuban bread in some areas, so I’ve found that a long French of Italian loaf of bread from the supermarket bakery makes a great substitute.

Pork, ham, cheese and pickles on a roll.

What goes with a Cuban sandwich?

There are so many different side dishes to pair with a Cuban sandwich! Some of my favorites include potato chips, french fries or a light salad such as a cucumber or tomato salad.

A hand holding up half of a Cuban sandwich.

There’s a reason this sandwich is so popular – it’s totally delicious! In fact, this may be my favorite sandwich of all time.

More recipes you’ll love

5 from 11 votes

Cuban Sandwich

AuthorSara Welch
A pressed Cuban sandwich with layers of ham, cheese and pickles.
The ultimate Cuban sandwich recipe piled high with ham, cheese, roasted pork and pickles. These sandwiches are perfect for a hearty meal, and they happen to be super easy to make!
Prep Time20 minutes
Cook Time30 minutes
Marinating Time1 hour
Total Time1 hour 50 minutes
Course Main Course
Cuisine Cuban
Serves 4 servings


  • 1 pound pork tenderloin
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup orange juice
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
  • salt and pepper to taste thinly sliced lengthwise
  • 16 ounces Cuban bread loaf can also use French or Italian Bread
  • 1 pound Swiss cheese sliced
  • 1 pound smoked ham thinly sliced
  • 1 cup pickle chips
  • 1/4 cup mustard
  • 1 tablespoon butter


  • Place the olive oil, orange juice, lime juice, garlic, oregano, cumin, salt and pepper in a bowl. Whisk to combine.
  • Place the pork in the bowl and spoon the marinade over the top. Cover the bowl and refrigerate for at least 1 hour or up to 6 hours.
  • Preheat a grill or skillet to medium high heat. Add the pork and cook for 7-9 minutes per side or until a meat thermometer registers 145 degrees F.
  • Let the pork rest for 5 minutes, then thinly slice the meat.
  • Cut the loaf of bread in half lengthwise. Cut the bread crosswise into 4 equal sized pieces.
  • Place half of the cheese slices on the bottom pieces of bread. Top with layers of ham, pork and pickles.
  • Add the rest of the cheese on top of the pickles. Spread the mustard over the top pieces of bread, then place the tops on each sandwich.
  • Melt the butter in a pan. Place one sandwich in the pan. Use a heavier pan, such as a cast iron skillet to press down on the sandwich. Cook for 3-4 minutes per side or until bread is golden brown and cheese is melted. Repeat the process with the remaining sandwiches.
  • You can also cook your sandwiches in a panini press according to manufacturer instructions.
  • Cut the sandwiches in half, then serve.


Calories: 649kcal | Carbohydrates: 11g | Protein: 74g | Fat: 27g | Saturated Fat: 27g | Cholesterol: 240mg | Sodium: 769mg | Potassium: 922mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 1125IU | Vitamin C: 10.7mg | Calcium: 939mg | Iron: 3.3mg

This post was originally published on September 22, 2015 and was updated on July 25, 2019 with new content.

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  1. Don’t forget the Genoa salami. Cuban sandwiches come from when Cubans who moved to Tampa from Miami to roll cigars. There, they mixed with Italians and the classic “Cubano” that we know today emerged.

    Cubans in Miami made a similar kind sandwich prior to that, but it didn’t become the popular sandwich we know today until Tampa and the salami. And it makes sense when you consider that the mixing of cultures would also lead people to identify where foods come from. Just like an Italian sub didn’t actually come from Italy, but the mixing of cultures in New York.

    That’s also why you might hear about “Tampa Cubans” and “Miami Cubans,” which don’t come with salami (or mustard, I think).

    Scachatta is also a type of pizza that comes from Tampa and a similar mixing of cultures.

    Sorry to be a know it all. It’s just that Tampa is my hometown, and we need more stories about Florida other than Florida Man. Especially stories about all the amazing food we have down there.

    1. Thanks for the input. My Dad’s family came from Genoa. At least that is what was said. We had Genoa salami in our house like it was a food group. It is very interesting to hear about different areas of the country.

    2. 5 stars
      Elle thanks for the shout out to Florida. Born in Bradenton in 62 lived there 56 yrs. I get so mad having to defend Florida and the “Florida man” We don’t have enough stories about the food in Florida. How bout the “Seabreeze Crab cakes”, smoked mullet and The Key lime pie. The Cuban also comes from key west but theirs has lettuce, tomato and mayo on it. Miami doesn’t have salami but a Tampa Cuban would be my favorite. Unfortunately I’m in Indiana right now, so I’ll be making my own. This recipe has me missing home.

  2. 5 stars
    I love sandwiches and this one is calling my name! Love the combination of ingredients. Drooling…

  3. 5 stars
    I also love a good cuban sandwich. This cuban quesadilla looks like the perfect balance of delicious meats and gooey cheese.

  4. 5 stars
    Thanks for the substitution suggestion on the bread….though I also like the quesadilla idea. YUM. The pickles in here really make it. YUM.

  5. 5 stars
    Cuban sandwiches are a favorite of mine. I made these Cuban quesadillas. They have the same flavors but are even more fun. I’m going to make these all the time.

  6. Oh man. I have a slight (read that as major) obsession with Cubans! Just had one yesterday for lunch and I love this quick and healthier version!

  7. Can you believe the first time I had a Cuban was at a grocery store….as a sample? I instantly fell in love (obviously) and can totally see how a Cuban quesadilla would be even better! Great idea!

    1. 5 stars
      elle… Genoa Salami has no business on a Cuban Sandwich.. nothing authentic about that AT ALL .. Genoa Salami would offset and ruin the genuine flavor of a true Cuban sandwich.. cool story though…. sheesh!