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How to Make an Authentic Cuban Sandwich

July 9, 2012 Le Cordon Bleu Miami 0 Comments

How to Make an Authentic Cuban Sandwich

Sure, it’s a ham and cheese sandwich. But is it just another ham and cheese sandwich? No, no absolutamente! The Cuban sandwich, or Cubano, is a deceptively simple and complexly flavored treat. With only four ingredients – ham, roasted pork, Swiss cheese, and dill pickles – it is both easy and inexpensive to make, but the flavor payoff is well beyond its simplicity.

This Miami culinary tradition came to the U.S. with immigrants from Cuba. Today you can find them on practically every restaurant throughout southern Florida.

It’s All in the Pork
There may only be four ingredients, but it’s important that you get them right, especially the pork. Not just any pork will do. You must use slow-roasted lechónasado or Cuban pork, which begins with a 3-4 hour soaking in mojo marinade. This orange juice- and garlic-based marinade adds flavor and tenderizes the pork shoulderbefore a low and slow sit in the oven. Other pork roasts can be used, but authenticity requires lechónasado.

Don’t worry if you’ve never made lechónasado. It doesn’t take any special culinary training. Just search for lechónasadorecipes on the Internet to learn how to make this authentic roasted Cuban pork.

Hold the Mustard, Please
If you’re already familiar with the Cubano, then you’ve probably been served one with yellow or Dijon mustard. This, however, is not the authentic way to serve it. Mustard should be reserved for a similar Cuban sandwich called the medianoche. If you can’t resist the mustard, however, traditionalists won’t complain if you serve it on the side.

Recipe for an Authentic Cuban Sandwich
The Cuban sandwich couldn’t be easier to make or tastier to eat.


  • 3 slices of ham
  • 3 slices lechónasado, hot or cold
  • 3 slices of Swiss cheese
  • 3 or 4 slices of dill pickles or dill pickle chips
  • 1/3 cut Cuban bread hard crust (or about six to eight inches of French bread)
  • 2 tablespoons of butter
  • ¼ cup Djon mustard, yellow mustard, or mayonnaise served on the side


  • Heat a panini or planchagriddle. You can also use two heated, heavy skillets. Heat the skillets over medium heat for at least two minutes before cooking
  • Split bread in half and butter the top of each with one tablespoon of butter. For lower calorie versions, you can spray the griddle with light cooking oil
  • Place ingredients on the bottom half of the bread in this order: pickles, roasted pork, ham, and cheese
  • Grill the sandwich for 3-4 minutes in the griddle. If using two skillets, place the sandwich in the skillet and place the second skillet on top of it. Grill for 2-3 minutes and flip the sandwich, grilling for another 2-3 minutes or until golden brown
  • Plate the sandwich, cut diagonally, and serve with your choice of condiments

Now this delicious Miami culinary tradition can be a part of your personal cookbook.

This article is presented by Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts in Miami. Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts in Miami offers culinary arts and pâtisserie and baking training programs in the Miami, Florida area. To learn more about the class offerings, please visit Chefs.edu/Miami for more information. 

Find disclosures on graduation rates, student financial obligations and more at www.chefs.edu/disclosures.  
Le Cordon Bleu® and the Le Cordon Bleu logo are registered trademarks of Career Education Corporation. Le Cordon Bleu cannot guarantee employment or salary. Credits earned are unlikely to transfer.


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