Cuban Sandwich Empanadas (Air Fryer Option Included!)

How do you make a Cuban sandwich even more delicious than it already is? Put it in an empanada shell! These Cuban sandwich empanadas are epic!

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This cuban sandwich empanadas taste just like a traditional Cuban sandwich, but are so much more fun to eat! This recipe features crispy empanadas filled with roast pork, ham, Swiss cheese, and a pickle, served with a mayo & mustard dipping sauce.

Cuban Sandwich Empanadas | Delish D'Lites

Wow, these Cuban sandwich empanadas are truly delish.  Like, insanely delish.  If you love Cuban sandwiches like I do, you’re probably thinking “how can you possibly make a Cuban sandwich even more delicious than it already is?”  Well, you can stick all the delicious ingredients of a Cuban sandwich into an empanada shell! The results? EPIC. These funky Cuban sandwich empanadas feature all the trimmings associated with Cuban sandwiches.  They’re filled with Swiss cheese, sweet ham, roasted pork, pickles, and a mustard & mayo dipping sauce for good measure.  You’ve got it all.  Crunchy, sweet, salty, garlicky, cheesy…I don’t know about you, but I can’t ask for much more in a single food.  Make extra.  Trust me.

To make a bunch of these, I use an Empanada Fork that takes the thumb cramps out of empanada making.  The Empanada Fork is a godsend to empanada lovers everywhere, and is the creation of fellow New Jersey native, Hipatia Lopez!

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She, like many of us with families who love all things Latin, spent countless days and nights making empanadas for her family.  She figured, there must be a better way to close these things up! And BAM! The empanada fork was born.  Get yours today at the Empanada Fork website, it not only serves as an empanada sealer, but it’s a great food masher too!

What Is A Cuban Sandwich Made Of?

The Cuban sandwich (sandwich Cubano) is commonly associated with Miami, but it actually is rumored to have originated in Tampa, Florida. It is a variation of a ham and cheese sandwich that likely originated in cafes catering to Cuban workers in Tampa or Key West, two early Cuban immigrant communities in Florida centered around the cigar industry. The sandwich is made with ham, roasted pork, Swiss cheese, pickles, mustard, and sometimes salami on Cuban bread. Salami is common in Tampa-style Cuban sandwiches.

Cubanadas (Cuban Sandwich Empanadas) | Delish D'Lites

Can I Bake Empanadas Instead Of Frying?

Yes, BUT you need to use dough that’s specifically made for baking. Goya makes a version that I love, but if you can’t find that, you can use store-bought or homemade pie dough or puff pastry dough as a substitute and cut them into circles using a cookie cutter. Once you filling and seal the empanadas, they only take about 10 minutes to air fry or bake! I usually bake my empanadas around 375 degrees F.

Cubanadas (Cuban Sandwich Empanadas) | Delish D'Lites

How Do I Make Roast Pork Shoulder?

My slow cooker pernil recipe is a great way to make the roast pork for these Cuban sandwich empanadas. If you don’t want to make the pork from scratch, you can usually find cooked pernil or lechon at your local Puerto Rican, Dominican or Cuban restaurant, if you’re lucky enough to have one in your neighborhood. I’ve even seen ready-made roast pork being sold at Publix here in Florida. In a pinch, you can use a deli-style roast pork, like this one that’s made by Boar’s Head.

Cubanadas (Cuban Sandwich Empanadas) | Delish D'Lites

How Do I Make The Filling For Traditional Cuban Empanadas?

Ah, you’re referring to picadillo! Picadillo is an essential recipe for a Latin kitchen.  You can think of it as a Latin style chili with no beans and lots of sabor! It’s not only a delicious and fast dinner option, but it’s the typical stuffing/filling for many delish Latin dishes like rellenos de papa, pastelitos de carne and empanadas. My Cuban style picadillo recipe is very versatile, and I think it’s the perfect combo of sweet and savory. The Cuban flair comes from the addition of plump raisins, which add a chewy sweetness that balances with the tangy olives and savory beef. I even have a vegan version of picadillo if you want to make a plant-based version.

Cubanadas (Cuban Sandwich Empanadas) | Delish D'Lites

Want More Empanada Recipes? Check out these delicious recipes from Delish D’Lites!

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Cubanadas (Cuban Sandwich Empanadas)

A delectable twist on a Cuban classic!

Course Appetizer
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 5 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Servings 10
Author Delish D’Lites

Ingredients

Empanadas

  • 1 packet frozen empanada discs recommended: Goya
  • 5 thin slices deli ham halved
  • 5 thin slices Swiss cheese halved
  • 10 thin slices dill pickle patted dry
  • 1 cup shredded roast pork shoulder AKA pernil
  • canola oil for frying

Dipping Sauce

  • 1/3 cup canola mayo
  • 1 tablespoon yellow mustard

Instructions

  1. Start by laying a piece of Swiss onto the empanada disc. Add half a slice of ham, a bit of roast pork, and few slivers of pickle.

  2. You want a leave a border around the edges of the disc, so that you can seal it later.
  3. Fold the empanadas in half and crimp the edges down to close them up.
  4. Heat up about 1 inch of oil in a pan to medium heat.
  5. Cook the empanadas for 2-3 minutes per side, until they’re golden brown.
  6. Drain the empanadas and allow them to cool for 5 minutes before serving. They’re super hot!
  7. To make the dipping sauce, mix the mayo and mustard together.
  8. Serve the dipping sauce along with the warm empanadas.

Recipe Notes

Frozen empanada discs are found in most major supermarkets and ethnic stores. They usually come 10 to a package, so this recipe makes 10 empanadas.

You can assemble these ahead of time, freeze them (uncooked) and store until needed. Fry them from the frozen state on medium heat, to keep them from burning on the outside before the inside heats up.

Cuban Sandwich Empanadas (Air Fryer Option Included!)

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I’m Jannese, Founder of Delish D’lites

I’m a Puerto Rican girl living in paradise (Florida), and the creative mind behind Delish D’Lites. I love sharing my family recipes and travel inspired cuisine! My favorite things include collecting passport stamps, twerking to Latin music, and kissing puppies. Follow along on social.