Our 10 Best Cuban Recipes

From Havana to Miami and back: Here’s how to make the most popular Cuban foods.

While the Cubano sandwich has long been popular stateside, it’s far from the only Cuban food that deserves your attention. Heck, it’s not even the only Cuban sandwich that deserves your attention. Consider the eggy, sugar-dusted medianoche (a sort-of Cubano-Monte Cristo hybrid) or the sweet, jammy Elena Ruz. What Miamians call a Cuban burger involves a spicy beef-and-chorizo patty, topped with—wait for it—a mound of crunchy shoestring fries.

We’ve also rounded up recipes for traditional Cuban entrées that highlight beef (ropa vieja), pork (pernil asado con mojo), chicken (fricassé de pollo), and fish (pescao en escabeche)—as well as such classic sides as frijoles negros and yucca with garlic sauce. Of course, a meal of Cuban dishes is never complete without coffee and dessert, whether ice cream, pastelitos, marinated papaya, or yucca buñuelos. In the central city of Morón, dinner might end with the buttery shortbread cookies locals call torticas.

And no, silly, we didn’t forget the cocktails Cuba is famous for. Mojitos? Check. A sassy pineapple mojito variation? Double-check. The rum-laden daiquiri Hemmingway once ordered at Havana’s El Floridita? Check, check, and check. Cheers!

Medianoche

Medianoche
With roast pork, ham, Swiss cheese, and pickles, this is almost identical to a Cuban sandwich, save for the bread, a sweet egg load that's similar to challah. Get the recipe for Medianoche »Farideh Sadeghin

Ropa Vieja (Cuban-Style Shredded Beef)

Ropa Vieja (Cuban-Style Shredded Beef)
This version of ropa vieja is made with beef and accented with olives and capers. Get the recipe for Ropa Vieja (Cuban-Style Shredded Beef) »Todd Coleman

Mojo-Marinated Pork Shoulder Roast (Pernil Asado Con Mojo)

Mojo-Marinated Pork Shoulder Roast (Pernil Asado Con Mojo)
Pork shoulder is soaked overnight in a citrusy mojo marinade in this Cuban recipe. Get the recipe for Mojo-Marinated Pork Shoulder Roast (Pernil Asado Con Mojo) »Todd Coleman

Cuban-Style Chicken Stew (Fricasé de Pollo)

Cuban-Style Chicken Stew (Fricasé de Pollo)
Nitza Villapol, the legendary Cuban cook and author, taught generations of islanders and exiles to make this hearty chicken stew. It draws flavor from alcaparrado, a mix of pimento-stuffed olives and capers, and sweetness from raisins. Get the recipe for Cuban-Style Chicken Stew (Fricasé de Pollo) »Andre Baranowski

Get seasonal recipes, methods and techniques sent right to your inbox—sign up here to receive Saveur newsletters. And don’t forget to follow us on Instagram at @SaveurMag.

Cubano (Cuban Ham and Cheese Sandwich)

Cubano (Cuban Ham and Cheese Sandwich)
A Cubano is a griddled white roll with Swiss cheese, boiled ham, dill pickle slices, and roasted pork. Get the recipe for Cubano (Cuban Ham and Cheese Sandwich) »Todd Coleman

Fish with Escabeche Sauce (Pescao en Escabeche)

Maricel E. Presilla's Fish with Escabeche Sauce (Pescao en Escabeche)
This Cuban escabeche is simply seasoned with garlic, sliced yellow onion and bell pepper, and some bay leaf. Get the recipe for Fish with Escabeche Sauce (Pescao en Escabeche) »Penny De los Santos

Cuban Sugar Cookies with Guava (Torticas de Morón)

Torticas de Morón
Torticas de Moron are a traditional shortbread cookie from the city of Moron in central Cuba. This version calls for cream cheese and guava and a little sprinkle of sea salt on top. Get the recipe for Cuban Sugar Cookies with Guava (Torticas de Morón) »Noah Fecks

Hemingway Daiquiri Recipe

Hemingway Special
At Havana, Cuba's El Floridita bar, this daiquiri was a usual order of author Ernest Hemingway. Get the recipe for Hemingway Daiquiri Recipe »Michael Kraus

Cuban-Style Daiquiri

Daiquiri
A riff on the classic daiquiri with a touch of cherry liqueur for extra complexity and a bittersweet finish. Get the recipe for Cuban-Style Daiquiri »Matt Taylor-Gross

Adobo Chicken Under a Brick

Adobo Chicken Under a Brick
A zesty Cuban-inspired marinade infuses the chicken with flavor, and grilling it flat on a plancha results in delicious crispy skin. Get the recipe for Adobo Chicken Under a Brick »Todd Coleman
ADVERTISEMENT