A good Cuban sandwich is one of my favorite sandwiches. Typically layered with ham, roasted pork, cheese and good pickles, it hits all the flavors I look for in a great sandwich. While not exactly traditional, these Baked Cuban Sliders are heavily inspired by the original and bring some great flavors to the slider party.
If you are attending any sort of game day this fall, these sliders would be well-received on an appetizer table. Read on to see my tips and tricks for making them really good.
What goes in a classic Cuban sandwich?
These sliders are not a classic Cuban sandwich. Traditionally, Cuban sandwiches will have layers of ham, roasted pork shoulder (pernil), pickles, mustard, and cheese. Those ingredients are pressed between good bread and grilled.
The resulting sandwich is relatively thin, but has a crispy crusty bread exterior and meaty, cheesy filling. The pickles and mustard help balance out the richness of the meat and cheese.
It’s pretty much sandwich perfection!
Why I use ham for these Cuban Sliders
You absolutely could roast up a whole pork shoulder for these sliders and use it as a layer for the sandwiches. It would be very good. But, for sliders like this, I think an important step is ease and for most people the work to roast a pork shoulder isn’t worth the payoff for sliders.
- IF you do want to go all the way, I love the Pernil recipe from Chili Pepper Madness.
Using sliced deli ham gets you most of the way there and really works well in sliders. I opted to use two kinds of ham to kind of mirror the two kinds of pork in a traditional Cuban sandwich. I used honey-baked ham and black forest ham, but you can use whatever you can find at your deli.
What bread works best for sliders?
For these sliders, I find the Hawaiian rolls that are very popular for slider to be a bit small. Instead I opted for a slightly larger slider bun that you can get at most grocery stores (I think I got these at Sprouts Market).
Specifically, I used a brioche slider bun, but a standard slider bun will work just fine.
To press or not to press sliders
Generally, I wouldn’t press a slider sandwich, but a Cuban sandwich isn’t the same if it isn’t pressed and cooked until the bread is thin and crispy. It’s a hallmark of a good Cuban sandwich in my opinion.
So while I normally wouldn’t press sliders, for these Cuban Sliders, I always recommend pressing them.
It can be a bit cumbersome to press the sliders. What I normally do is once I have assembled my Cuban sliders, I spray the tops with a little nonstick spray and place a layer of foil over the top and the add a second dish on top.
Press down on that dish to start so the sliders compress and then bake the sliders with the dish on top of them for about 20 minutes. That will ensure they keep their pressed form and not pop back up. It’ll also give you that super-crispy exterior crust that I really love in a Cuban sandwich.
Tips on making these Cuban sliders perfect
Here are a few tips to keep in mind when making these Cuban sliders.
- Spray your baking dish with nonstick spray or rub it with some oil before placing in your slider buns. That will help prevent sticking.
- The slider layers are important. I like mustard on the bottom, followed by meat, cheese, pickles, and more mustard.
- Press the Cuban sliders as they bake at 400˚F so they get really compressed and crispy. Remove the foil and continue baking for an extra 10 minutes uncovered to fully melt the cheese and brown the bread.
- Use good dill pickles, sliced thinly longwise in the sliders.
- Serve these sliders while they are warm so the cheese is melted. Once they cool off, they lose some of their luster.
Leftovers and Reheating sliders
Honestly, if you make these for a party, I doubt you’ll have leftovers. They will go fast. But, if you make them for lunch or, honestly, just for yourself, then you will maybe have leftovers.
The best way to reheat these sliders is actually not in the oven which will make the bread too crispy by the time the sandwich is reheated.
Instead, what I like to do is actually microwave the sliders for about 45 seconds. This will rapidly heat up the center of the slider, melting the cheese. Then place the sliders in a skillet with a little butter or oil over medium heat to crisp up the bread on both sides.
Works like a charm!
Baked Cuban Sliders
- 12 slider buns
- 1 pound deli ham
- 8 slices Swiss cheese
- ¼ cup mustard, divided
- 3 medium pickles, sliced longwise
- Nonstick spray
- Preheat oven to 400˚F. Spray a large. baking dish with nonstick spray.
- Slice slider buns in half and lay the bottom half in the baking dish. Spread half the mustard (about 2 tablespoons) on the bottom half of the slider buns.
- Top with sliced ham. You can use multiple varieties or all the same.
- Top ham with sliced Swiss cheese.
- Add sliced pickles to the ham and drizzle with mustard. Place the top half of the slider buns on and spray the top of the buns with very lightly with nonstick spray.
- Place a piece of foil over the top of the sliders and use a second dish to press down on the sliders.
- Bake the sliders at 400˚F while they are being pressed for 20 minutes.
- Remove the press pan and the foil and return to the oven for an additional 5-10 minutes to crisp up the top of the sliders and melt the cheese.
- Serve sliders warm.