Cuban Bread Authentic Pan Cubano Recipe – How to Make it in 29 Simple Steps

Although this recipe for Cuban Bread takes quite a bit time, we think that the results will be well worth it. Made from white flour, Cuban Bread is different from French or Italian bread in that it is made with lard as well as an overnight bread starter.

A slice of traditional Cuban sandwich with pork and mustard.

While both Miami and Tampa, Florida both claim to be the city of origin for the first loaf of Cuban bread in the United States, the first commercially baked Cuban loaves were made in a bakery in Ybor City, Florida.  In the late 1890s, the bread originally sold for three to five cents in Ybor City, a Cuban community in Tampa Florida. Often, the bread was delivered to individual homes. Many of the homes had a nail driven by the door on which the bread delivery man could hang the day’s loaf.

Slice of traditional Cuban sandwich with pork and mustard.

Cuban Bread Authentic Pan Cubano Recipe

April Freeman
Anyone who has ever been to the South Florida-Miami area may be familiar with the classic Cuban Sandwich. These sandwiches, piled high with cold cuts and cheeses, can only be made authentically with the use of Cuban Bread. Whether you want to make a Cuban Sandwich or you just need a delicious loaf of bread to accompany your dinner, this recipe for Cuban Bread will hit the spot.

Video Version

Prep Time 12 hrs
Baking Time 25 mins
Total Time 12 hrs 25 mins
Cuisine Cuban
Servings 10 Servings


  • Medium-Sized Bowl
  • Electric Mixer
  • Rolling Pin
  • Baking Pan


Starter Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup Warm Water
  • 1/2 teaspoon Yeast
  • 1/2 cup Flour

Bread Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup Warm Water
  • 1 tbsp Sugar
  • 1 package Instant Yeast
  • 1 tbsp Salt
  • 3 tbsp Lard
  • 2 1/4 cups Flour
  • 1 tbsp Cornmeal
  • 1 pc Water in a spray bottle


  • To create the starter, combine the warm water and the yeast.
  • Set it aside for about 15 minutes and then check the bowl.
    The yeast and warm water are combined in a bowl.
  • The mixture should be foamy and bubbly. If it’s not, your yeast is not fresh, so try again with fresh yeast.
  • If the yeast is alive, stir in the flour. Cover it loosely with plastic wrap and set it aside overnight.
  • The next morning, the starter should be bubbly and slightly risen. Set it aside while you prep the rest of the ingredients.
    The starter is now ready to be used.
  • Use the remainder of the package of yeast and combine it in a clean bowl with the sugar.
  • Stir in the warm water and let it sit for about 15 minutes to check the yeast for freshness. When the time has passed, the yeast mixture should be bubbly and foamy.
  • Melt the lard and add it to the bowl, along with the salt and one cup of the flour.
  • Mix it well to form a sticky, wet dough.
  • Add the starter from last night along with another cup and a half of the flour.
  • Stir well. The dough should start to form a ball. You should have about a half cup of flour left for kneading.
  • Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead in some of the remaining flour.
  • You should knead this dough for at least 20 minutes to get the texture right. If you don’t want to knead by hand, feel free to use a stand mixer with a dough hook.
  • When you are done kneading, the dough should be a ball that is smooth, shiny, and elastic.
    The sticky dough is mixed into one big dough.
  • Coat a large mixing bowl with cooking oil and place the dough ball in the bowl, turning it to coat.
  • Cover the dough ball with a clean dish towel and allow the dough to rise in a warm place for at least two hours or until it is doubled in size.
    After doubling in size, the dough is now ready.
  • Grease a large baking sheet with a rim and sprinkle cornmeal all over it.
  • Punch down the dough and transfer it to a lightly floured surface.
  • Divide the dough in half.
  • Shape each half into a long rectangular loaf that is about a half-inch thick and twelve to eighteen inches long.
    The dough is flattened with a rolling pin into a long strip.
  • You can use a rolling pin if you like. Roll the dough from the long side to form a very skinny, rolled loaf.
  • Place the loaf on one of the prepared pans and repeat with the remaining piece of dough.
  • Cover the loaves with clean dish towels and allow them to rise for about 60 to 90 minutes.
  • Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
  • Cut a slit in the top of the loaves by running a sharp knife or razor blade lengthwise down the loaf of bread.
  • Lightly spray the loaves of bread with water.
    The dough is then placed on a baking pan.
  • Place the loaves in the oven and bake for about 20 to 25 minutes, misting every 10 minutes with water.
  • Remove from the oven and allow the bread loaves to cool for about twenty minutes before slicing.
    A freshly baked loaf of Cuban bread.
  • Cuban bread dries out very quickly. If you can’t eat it all within a day, freeze the bread, tightly wrapped in aluminum foil, for up to a month.


Cuban bread is similar in texture and taste to French or Italian bread. The main difference is that Cuban Bread is made with lard. You can substitute vegetable shortening for the lard if you prefer.
Another thing that sets authentic Cuban bread apart from other kinds of bread is that it is made with a starter. Yeast, flour, and water are mixed together and allowed to rise overnight to develop a complexity of flavor that is unique to Cuban Bread.
Authentic Cuban bread is generally baked in three-foot long loaves. Since most people’s home kitchens do not have ovens that can accommodate a loaf of that size, our recipe splits the dough in half to make two smaller loaves. The dough is spritzed with water during baking a few times to allow paper-thin crispiness to the crust of the Cuban loaf.
Don’t forget to slash the tops of your bread dough before you bake it. Traditional Cuban Bread bakeries lay a palm frond on the top of each loaf before baking. Since palm fronds are scarce in most of the country, slashing the loaf can provide a similar appearance to your bread dough.
Keyword Bread, Cuban Bread, Pan Cubano, Recipe

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