REAL Authentic Cuban Sandwich

Real Cuban Sandwich Cover

Soooo… it all started today when Tavis and I were talking about cutting out refined carbs for a week or two to reset our eating habits. We are not “no-carb” people but we find it useful to drop a few pounds if we spend a week or two getting all our carbs from fresh veggies (and a few from fresh fruit).

All we did was talk about it, I swear.

and the cravings began.





We never eat sandwiches, I don’t even keep bread in the house. But I was craving a delicious, carb filled, lots of cheese, filling, hot sandwich.

So I ran out the to the corner bakery and grabbed a fresh loaf of white bread. The perfect bread to make a Cuban sandwich. I would call it Cuban bread because it is very similar, but since we live in Puerto Rico I think that would be misplaced.

Tavis was anticipating the authentic cuban sandwiches and was waiting for me when I go home, hence this lovely candid shot of me walking up to the house with the hot out of the oven, forbidden white bread…

Real Cuban Sandwich bread

Note the sand and mud covered jeep in the background, we might have gone to the beach last night for a bonfire and grill out. Here in Puerto Rico that requites a 4×4 and forging through a almost 3 feet of water left by the recent rain… follow us on Instagram to keep up on that aspect of our craziness. 

So if you aren’t on any restrictive diets (mine doesn’t start until tomorrow, remember?) here is what you will need to make your own authentic REAL Cuban sandwich:

A loaf of cuban bread, or other crusty white bread similar to what is pictured.
Yellow mustard
Dill pickle slices
Cuban style pork roast
Sliced deli ham
Sliced swiss cheese

There is a lot of debate as to what really goes into the cuban sandwich recipe but, as a girl who grew up in South Florida, with the most vibrant cuban communities located in the States at my finger tips, I have had many   debates lectures conversations as to what is really in a Cuban sandwich. The consensus among my Cuban friends is that it has exactly the ingredients listed above.

No more, no less.

Pull out your panini press if you have one or get your skillet out and a nice big spatula because you need to pre heat them. At the corner sandwich shops back home in Florida, they all used a press that was flat and didn’t leave the grill marks but this girl is on a budget so I just use the panini press that I aquired when I married Tavis. I don’t think my Cuban friends would dock me too many points for grill lines as long as I got the ingredients right. 😉

Real Cuban Sandwich cutting bread

Slice open that warm, forbidden bread and savor the smell, knowing that you will eradicate it from the house tomorrow, lest you be temped…

Real Cuban Sandwich cut bread

Spread a good amount of yellow mustard onto the bread.

Real Cuban Sandwiches mustard

both sides if you really like mustard. I won’t judge.

Real Cuban Sandwich spread mustard

Put a generous amount of pickles on the mustard.

Real Cuban Sandwich pickels

Top with a huge thick slice of swiss cheese.

Real Cuban Sandwich swiss cheese

Now here comes the good stuff.

Real cuban Sandwiches pork roast

Heat up your left over Cuban Pork Roast. If you don’t have a good recipe, I will be sharing mine here in a few days (updated to include link to pork roast recipe). It can be sliced pork roast or pulled like mine. I stopped slicing mine a few years back because with my recipe the pork is SOOOO juicy and tender that it falls apart anyway. I stopped fighting and just embraced it.

Real Cuban Sandwich add pork roast

Put a generous amount of pork on top of the cheese.

Real Cuban Sandwich add pork 2

**NOTE** Onions are NOT part of the official Cuban pork sandwich recipe. My pork roast just happened to have onions cooked with it. I was not about to take the time to pick the onions out of the pork so they would not be in the picture. Don’t judge, just go with it… My Cuban friends might dock points for this move but I won’t tell them if you don’t. 

Top the pork roast with sliced ham.

Real Cuban Sandwich adding ham

Then top with another thick slice of swiss cheese.

Real Cuban Sandwich add more swiss

I have a philosophy in cooking, well I guess in life in general.

“Bacon and butter make everything better”

We could add beer to that list as well but it doesn’t have the same ring…

So here comes the butter, don’t think, just go with it.

You know you want to.

Cover your panini press or skillet with butter and have it warmed up to medium heat. My press just has an on/off setting so it takes the guess work out of the temperature.

Real Cuban Sandwich butter

I added butter to the top and bottom of the press but it dripped off the top so I just added it to the top of the sandwich itself.

Real Cuban sandwich more butter

Get it centered and then press it down, fairly hard for the first 45 seconds to a minute. If you are using a skillet, butter up your pan and press the sandwich down with a large spatula or the bottom side of a skillet or pot. Flip the sandwich after about 2-3 minutes and add more butter when you flip it over.

Real Cuban Sandwich press

Real Cuban Sandwich pressing sandwich

If you are using a press, add butter as needed… or if you are like me, “as wanted” just because I. love. butter. No need to flip it over on the press because both the top and bottom are heated.

Real Cuban Sandwich even more butter

Serve with a ice cold coke because it tastes delicious and on days that you are carb loading… why stop with just a sandwich 😉

Real Cuban Sandwich pin



  1. You just KILLED ME…I am from Puerto Rico…and as soon as I saw that loaf of bread I just wanted to cry. I love the softness of Puerto Rican bread, especially if its still warm from been baked. Where are you guys in PR? I am from Arecibo, well I was, I left the island in 1999 and now I live in Mississippi. Back in the 80’s and 90’s a Puerto Rican bakery was the place to stop to gran a cup of coffee and a piece of bread with butter. That was the perfect snack! I miss the island, sooo much. Thanks for sharing! I will follow you on Instagram.

    • Ashley says:

      Hey Latin Mama!! We currently live in Aguadilla and our corner bakery is a favorite spot! For lazy days when we need a breakfast sandwich or when we are looking for a box of Quesitos to impress our house guests from the states. Who can resist a QUESITO, am I right?!?! We have loved the almost 3 years that we have been here in PR but we dearly miss our family back in Florida and cannot wait to move back home to be with them. :) thanks for stopping by and for following on Instagram!! Ashley

      • Hahahah yes for the quesitos!!! I made them, not long ago, with puff pastry and cream cheese a LOTS of sugar. It was not as good as the ones from the island, but they were tasty :) I know how it is to miss home. Hopefully you will get to see your family in FL soon…in the mean time keep enjoying the island. I love Crash Boat, that is my favorite beach spot in the whole island. Have you been to Playa Sucia in Guanica? It’s a MUST see :)

  2. cpmt says:

    Hi, thank you so much. Tenia unas grandes ganas de comer un Cuban S. y ahora ya se hacerlo, ademas parece muy facil. Gracias un monton por la receta y las fotos. cp

  3. cpmt says:

    great recipe, me encanta la receta. Muchas gracias, las hare este fin de semana.

  4. Where can I get a concise printable recipe version of this?

  5. This was awesome!! I did add pepperchinis, SOOOOOO GOOOOD!!!

  6. I did add pepperchinis…SOOOOO GOOOOOD!!!!

  7. Mari Presedo says:

    You made my mouth water. No Cuban or Puerto Rican bread here but everyone keeps trying to call their sandwiches Cubans but they use pulled pork and add cilantro for dog’s sake! I wish restaurants would just not attempt it if they can’t do it the right way. If you must fudge, follow the precise instructions above and use King’s Hawaiian hogey rolls for a media noche.


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