The Cheese Swap That'll Take A Classic Cuban Sandwich To The Next Level

Cuban sandwich on wooden board
Cuban sandwich on wooden board - Lauripatterson/Getty Images

The Cuban sandwich is a deli icon, melding textures and flavors effortlessly to create a perfectly balanced, satisfying concoction of salty and slightly sour flavors. The best Cuban sandwich recipe features a base of Cuban bread supporting roast pork, ham, dill pickles, mustard, and Swiss cheese. It's unusual to see a variation without Swiss cheese, but a revolutionary swap you can make to elevate this savory, tangy sandwich is replacing the usual ingredient with blue cheese.

By swapping the Swiss cheese in your Cuban sandwich out for crumbly blue cheese, you upgrade the sandwich and introduce a unique element that brings a new sharpness to the sandwich's tangy profile. Blue cheese pairs remarkably well with the mustard and dill pickle, adding extra tartness without overwhelming the salty, fatty elements of the meats. While Swiss cheese is a more neutral, nuttier base for all of the sour flavors, blue cheese highlights them with its slightly piquant taste, letting the bread and meat provide all of the contrast.

Read more: 41 Must Try Hot Sandwich Recipes

Blue Cheese Also Enhances The Cuban Sandwich's Texture

Crumbly block of blue cheese
Crumbly block of blue cheese - Nicolamargaret/Getty Images

Blue cheese also melts into a creamy texture as the sandwich is pressed and toasted, creating a luxurious counterpoint to the crusty bread and chewy cuts of meat. This combination is at once richly flavorsome and perfectly cohesive. Blue cheese becomes slightly creamier than Swiss cheese does, mingling more with the layer of mustard (and any butter you choose to add before toasting) to create a decadent sauce that coats the sandwich and leaves a lasting sharpness on the tongue.

This combination might be too bold for some, but it is worth a try for anyone looking to take their Cuban sandwich to the next level. It's a simple swap that yields a more sophisticated flavor profile, amplifying the tantalizing contrast between salty and tangy (as well as between crusty and soft) that is at the heart of the sandwich. For those afraid to stray too far from the classic Cuban recipe, keep in mind there exist many regional versions of the sandwich across the U.S.

For example, in Florida alone, there are multiple variations, as Tampa opts to add Genoa salami to its interpretation, while Miami excludes it. Regardless of individual spins, the unifying factors are ham, roast beef, mustard, pickles, and -- of course -- the essential Cuban bread (though, in a pinch, Italian or French baguettes can work, too).

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