Best Cuban Appetizer Recipe (Mini Cubano)

Mini Cuban appetizer sandwiches get a party makeover as bite-size finger food. These canape style snacks are easy to make ahead and heat up when you’re ready. Serve them warm or at room temperature for a Havana Nights theme party, or any get-together.

party canapes on wood tray with burlap tablecloth, surrounded by dominos, drinks, and plantain chips.

These delicious party appetizers are truly addictive! They’ve got deli ham, swiss cheese, and sliced pickle chips on bread. Plus you can prepare them ahead of time.

Serve these with other popular Cuban snacks like sausage empanadas, fruit salsa and chips, or fried plantains.

What’s a Cubano?

It’s a traditional Cuban sandwich made of roasted pork, ham, Swiss cheese, pickles, and mustard. The bread is buttered and grilled similar to a panini.

While you could make those into mini Cuban sliders, I’ve turned them into tapas for parties. They’re like little open-faced sandwiches or crostini.

mini cubano appetizers on wood plate, with drinks and banana chips.

When to serve this recipe

This recipe is fantastic on a cocktail party buffet along with other easy hors d’oeuvres.

They make excellent game day snacks or Super Bowl party food.

Serve them up at a Tropical theme party, in addition to fruity salsas and jerk seasoned chicken skewers.

Add them to your appetizers and sangria happy hour gathering.

Can I make them ahead?

You sure can. While these aren’t a cold appetizer per se, they can be served at room temperature. You can prep them all the way up until they’re ready to cook.

Put them on the baking sheet, cover and refrigerate. When you’re ready to bake, just transfer the baking sheet to the oven and cook.

PARTY TIP: Have the appetizers fully prepped and put them in the oven when guests arrive. They’ll be ready to eat in less than 15 minutes.

Cubano tapas on wood tray lined with tropical leaf.

How to make mini Cuban appetizers

These are quick and easy to put together. Just shred, chop, and mix the ingredients before popping them into the oven.

Ingredients

Bread. Use a French baguette. They’re long but small in diameter, so when you slice it you get the ideal size for finger food or canapes. Cut slices about 1/4-inch thick or slightly wider, and cut on a diagonal angle to make the surface slightly larger.

Butter. Use unsalted butter and make sure it’s softened so you can spread it easily onto the bread.

Swiss cheese. Shred your own for best results in melting. You could also substitute with white cheddar or Asiago.

Boiled ham. Those deli packs of rectangle boiled ham really does work best for this recipe. It’s easy to dice evenly and the flavor works well with the other ingredients.

Mayonnaise. This is the best binder around for creamy and cheesy appetizers. Use light or regular style.

Yellow mustard. This is standard on a Cubano but if you want to get creative you can try Dijon mustard or brown mustard.

Dill pickles. Use sliced dill pickle chips to make preparation simple. That way you don’t have to slice whole pickles. They add crunch and the taste combines so well with everything else on the bread.

Seasonings. You’ll need onion powder and a pinch of cayenne pepper.

Pre-toast the buttered bread then top with 2 pickle slices and a dollop of the ham and cheese mixture. Cook until golden and bubbly. See details instructions in recipe card below.

PARTY TIP: You can easily double or triple the recipe for a larger party.

More easy appetizers

Who doesn’t love a good appetizer party? Here are some more delicious recipes to add to the table.

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small wood plate with cheesy crostini appetizers on it.

Best Cuban Appetizer Mini Canapes

Yield: 15 appetizers
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes

Mini Cuban appetizer sandwiches get a party makeover as bite-size finger food. These open-face canapes are easy to make ahead and serve warm or at room temperature

Ingredients

  • 1 stick of French bread, cut into 15 slices 1/4-inch thick
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, soft at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup diced boiled deli ham
  • 1 cup shredded swiss cheese
  • 1/3 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/4 teaspoon onion powder
  • Pinch of cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon yellow mustard
  • 30 crisp dill pickle chips

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Spread softened butter onto each slice of bread and bake for 5-7 minutes until golden. Remove and let sit until cool enough to handle.
  3. In a small bowl combine ham, cheese, mayonnaise, spices, and mustard until well integrated.
  4. Place 2 pickles on each slice of bread; then spread 1 1/2 tablespoons of ham mixture on top.
  5. Bake for 8-10 minutes or until bubbly and golden.
  6. Cool a few minutes before serving. Can be served at room temperature.

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