Photograph by Jared Sych.

Cuban sandwiches are believed to have originated with the earliest Cuban communities in Florida, but their lineage is hazy—both Miami and Tampa claim them as their own. Either way, this gooey sandwich has achieved international fame. Fillings vary by region, but the most recognizable version has layers of ham, roasted pork, Swiss cheese and thinly sliced dill pickles, loaded onto Cuban-style loaves spread with mustard and grilled panini-style (in Tampa, the sandwiches also come with a layer of salami). The bread itself is key; soft Italian bread or rolls are acceptable substitutes for pale, fine-crumbed Cuban bread.

Recipe: Cuban Sandwiches

Serves four


  • 4 soft Cuban-style, Italian or brioche rolls
  • 2-4 Tbsp yellow mustard
  • 250 g thinly sliced deli ham
  • 250 g sliced roasted pork loin or shoulder
  • 200 g sliced Swiss cheese
  • Sliced dill pickles
  • Soft butter or margarine


1. Split the bread or rolls and spread with mustard. Layer with ham, roasted pork, Swiss cheese and dill pickles. Add slices of cheese to both the bottom and top if you’d like it to adhere to both sides of the bun as it melts.

2. Preheat a panini grill or set a heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Spread the outside of the sandwiches with soft butter and grill, weighing them down with another heavy skillet if you’re cooking them on the stovetop, turning if necessary until the cheese melts and the outside of the sandwiches are toasted and golden. Serves four.

Tip: For a spicy kick, swap pickled hot peppers for the sliced dill pickles, or use both.

This article appears in the March 2020 issue of WestJet Magazine.