IE 11 is not supported. For an optimal experience visit our site on another browser.

Cuban Medianoche Sandwiches

Nathan Congleton / TODAY


  • 4-6 medianoche bread rolls
  • 3 tablespoons yellow mustard
  • cups leftover roast pernil pork, shredded or sliced (recipe linked above; toss in leftover cooking liquid for maximum flavor)
  • 1 pound thinly sliced ham
  • 1/2 pound thinly sliced Swiss cheese
  • 1/2 pound sliced dill pickles
  • 6 tablespoons butter

Chef notes

Though classic Cubano sandwiches get most of the attention, my own personal favorite has always been the slightly sweeter medianoche. The name means "midnight" in Spanish and comes from the idea that it was the sandwich enjoyed as a late-night snack (or even an early breakfast!) after hours spent dancing salsa in Havana and Miami. The fillings of roast pork, ham, pickles, cheese and mustard are the same as a Cubano but it's the sweet, slightly eggy bread that makes it a star. Like classic Cuban sandwiches, medianoches are pressed on a griddle, cut on an angle and enjoyed hot.

Use my Pernil (Puerto Rican Slow-Roasted Pork Shoulder) in this recipe.

Technique tip: Toss the pork in leftover cooking liquid for maximum flavor.

Swap option: Called "pan suave" or "pan medianoche," you can usually find it alongside regular Cuban bread in Latin groceries and bakeries. Substitute challah or even Hawaiian rolls to get a similar effect.



Heat a panini press or cast-iron skillet over medium heat.


Split the rolls lengthwise and spread each one with mustard on both sides. Layer in the roast pork, ham, cheese and pickles. Close the sandwiches and spread the outside of the bread on both sides with butter.


Working in batches, place the sandwiches on the press or skillet. Close the press or use another heavy pan on top ass a weight. Cook until toasted on both sides and the cheese is melted on the inside (about 3 to 5 minutes total on a press; 3 to 5 minutes per side if using a skillet and weight).


Cut the sandwiches on a diagonal and serve immediately.