Cubano Hand Pies

Cubano Hand Pies

Scarlett went through a phase where all she ever wanted was a Cubano sandwich. A pressed sandwich using Cuban bread and filled with ham, Swiss cheese, roasted pork, dill pickles and mustard, it became her noon-time crush. She’d beg me to take her to Starbucks for their easy-to-grab version and want to dine in our neighbourhood Cuban restaurant whenever possible. It was something about the flavour. combination of the sharp mustard, brine-y pickles and sweet ham that had her heart. You obviously can tell where this is going, can’t you? This is the part of the story where I tell you I needed to find my own home version or all my money was going to be spent in coffee house sandwiches.

Photo by Ashley van der Laan

The obvious next step would be to make our own Cubano at home. However, I didn’t want to go that route. I wanted something that we could make ahead for her lunches. She not a fan of the soggy outcome of sandwiches that are made in advance and I’m NOT the mom who can add making a complete lunch to my morning routine. However, I love making hand pies at the holidays. In fact, I make a cranberry orange version at Christmas that is such a classic for my family, I get a lot of guff if I don’t make them. But you guessed it. I don’t have the time to make a homemade dough and do all the resting and chilling it requires. Instead, for these easy lunch box staples, I use frozen pie crusts. You do need to move quickly with them like usual dough and chill in between steps but the process is 200% easier. They’re also 200% better tasting than a typical straight forward ham and cheese sammie.

These guys aren’t totally authentic because they don’t have the roasted pork but, if you can get some in your grocery store, by all means add it. For me, I was trying to keep this recipe as easy and accessible as possible. And despite the omission of the pork, Scarlett tosses them back without any complaint so I know they’re a success.

Cubano Hand Pies

Savory hand pies are a great way to create a make ahead lunch and this version combines the flavours of a cubano sandwich in buttery pastry.
Prep Time20 mins
Cook Time15 mins
Total Time35 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Keyword: school lunches, hand pies, ham, lunch, make ahead
Servings: 4 hand pies


  • 2 9 " deep dish frozen pie crusts
  • 2-3 slices of deli ham, sliced into strips
  • 3 tbsp yellow deli mustard
  • dill pickles, sliced
  • 2 swiss cheese, sliced into strips
  • 1 egg, beaten


  • Preheat the oven 425. Line a baking sheets with parchment paper; set aside.
  • Using a rolling pin and working quickly on a lightly floured surface, remove the pie crusts from the tins and roll them so they're flat.
  • Cut from each pie crust 4 31/2 inch wide circles and place them on your baking sheet. Place the baking sheet in the refrigerator as you repeat for the other pie crust.
  • Add the new circles to the prepared baking sheet.
  • Brush edges of 4 circles with beaten egg. Put a bit of mustard in the center of the circle and then stack two strips of cheese, ham and pickle. Place remaining circles on top. Using a fork, crimp 1/4-inch around edges to seal. Place in the refrigerator to chill for 5 minutes.
  • Score dough, forming an X in the center of each pie. Brush tops of pie with beaten egg.
  • Bake pies until edges are golden brown, about 15 – 17 minutes. Let cool on baking sheet for 5 minutes; transfer to wire rack to finish cooling.
  • Hand pies can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 5 days.
Photo by Ashley van der Laan

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