Sliders are the appetizer versions of some of our favorite sandwiches and these are a chip off the ‘ol block. Whether it’s a tailgate, a pot-luck, or a fun weekday meal for your family… this recipe is comfort food at it’s best. Easy, portable, and it even makes great leftovers if you have any.
I want to preface this recipe with one thing. You do not need to make the slider rolls from scratch or the pork for that matter. Don’t let it stop you from enjoying a good Cuban slider. Keep reading… I will give you choices. Trust me and get ready to make some yummy food.
What is a Cuban Sandwich?
In my research, there seem to be some standards and a few differences of opinions when answering this question. From what I gather there are two very important ingredients. First, Cuban bread made from lard. Second, the roast pork. Last, really isn’t so much of an ingredient as it is a process that lends to the flavor and that is pressing like a panini.
Originating from Cuban immigrants in Florida, this is a hot item in the food culture down there and for a good reason I am sure. Though I have never tried a true “Cubano”, I hope to some day. So while I wait for that day to come, these sliders will do just fine.
I’ll share with you how I make mine the easy way and how to make them a little bit extra if you want something over the top good. Whether you use mostly store-bought ingredients or my scratch-made methods, this is a good recipe to print off and keep handy for fun occasions.
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Ingredients & Variations
Bread- Most people making these sliders go for the classic grocery store staple… Hawaiian rolls. They are sweet and very soft. You can also use potato rolls if you prefer something more “neutral”.
Now I have to tell you that sometimes I need easy and sometimes I need to make something next level delicious, so I use my Master Butter Dough to make slider buns. It’s not as hard as it seems and it’s worth it. The main reason? Crunch. You get the crunch without a press when using the homemade buns. IT’S WORTH IT.
One, the dough is made in a bread machine and they are best made in advance. Two, they aren’t as soft & sweet as Hawaiian rolls. The heartier crust just works for these Cubano-style sliders. The flavor doesn’t compete with the other ingredients. Definitely well worth the effort a day or two in advance. You can even make them FAR ahead and freeze. Just defrost, slice, and boom you’re done.
Mayo & Mustard- I know it’s not authentic, but I like using both and home cooked food is about making what you like right? If you want a more traditional flavor then skip the mayo and just use mustard.
Cheese- You’ll need about 12 slices of Swiss cheese. If Swiss isn’t your jam, go for Havarti.
Ham- Sliced deli ham is the way to go. Honey, smoked, uncured… any of them taste great. I have even used leftover spiral ham in a pinch.
Pickles- Sliced dill pickles are my favorite but “bread & butter” also tastes great.
Shredded Pork- Here’s where we talk about the good stuff… you can use any shredded pork you like, you can even find it in the deli section of the grocery store. But if you are looking for a scratch-made experience I highly recommend making Instant Pot Cuban-Style Pork.
Again, take these steps a few days in advance and pop it in the fridge. You can also make it in a crockpot. It makes the most delicious shredded pork, it’s so good sometimes I make it the day before for tacos and reserve 12 ounces for sliders the next night.
Butter- Use salted. Not a lot, about a 1/4 cup to grease the baking pan and “glaze” the top of the rolls before baking.
Pastry Brush- for glazing the bread with the melted butter.
9 x 13″ Baking Dish- Use a baking dish and not a sheet pan. Things can get a bit messy because there is quite a bit of butter and cheese.
Scratch Made Cuban Sandwich Sliders
- 1 9 x 13" Baking Pan
- 1 Pastry Brush
- 12 pack slider rolls, see notes
- 1/4 cup mayonnaise, to taste
- 1/4 cup mustard, to taste
- 12 slices Swiss cheese, (8 ounces)
- 12 ounces deli ham, thinly sliced
- 20-24 pickle slices, dill or bread & butter
- 12 ounces shredded pork, homemade or store-bought
- 1/4 cup butter, melted
- 1 tablespoon parsley, chopped
- Keeping your rolls intact, slice through the middle separating only the top and bottom halves. Set aside, pre-heat the oven to 350F and grease the baking pan with a little bit of the melted butter.
- Lay both pieces of bread with the middle (cut side) up facing you. Spread on the mayo, then mustard. Place the bottom half in the prepared dish.
- On the bottom piece, start layering. Place 6 pieces of sliced cheese, then the sliced ham, pickles, shredded pork and the final 6 pieces of cheese. Place the top piece of bread over the "fillings".
- Pour the remaining melted butter over the top of the sliders, spreading with a pastry brush.
- Cover with foil and bake on the middle rack for 20 minutes. Remove the foil and bake for an additional 5-10 minutes.
- Cut the sliders into individual sandwiches and serve on a platter.
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