One of my favorite sandwiches of all time is a Cubano and this sandwich is my attempt to create something that cures that craving! It’s classically made with sliced ham and pork tenderloin, but we’re subbing chicken and using the Instant Pot to cook it in a mojo-style sauce made from orange, lime, garlic, and spices. This sandwich is all about the layers – spicy Dijon mustard,  juicy shredded chicken, tangy crunchy pickles, and melty Swiss cheese. It’s SO good!  

It takes about 40 minutes to make the shredded chicken, but since we’re using the Instant Pot, it’s mostly hands off. Highly recommend making this ahead!

Ingredient highlight

Swiss cheese! This mild cheese is known for it’s big holes that form during the maturation process (the bigger the wholes, the stronger the cheese!). Like many cheeses, it is a good source of calcium and protein, but Swiss in particular contains higher amounts of protein and calcium compared to other cheeses.

Servings 6
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes


For the chicken:*

  • 2.5 lbs boneless skinless chicken breasts and/or thighs**
  • 1/2 cup orange juice
  • 1/4 cup lime juice
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce or tamari
  • 1 tbsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro stems
  • 6-8 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 3/4 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 4 cups frozen spinach (optional)

For the sandwiches:

  • Sliced crusty bread***
  • Dijon mustard
  • Mayo or butter
  • Dill pickles, cut into thin strips
  • Swiss cheese
  • *You could also make this sandwich with sliced deli ham in a pinch.
  • **I prefer a mix of thigh and breast.
  • ***Cuban bread is the classic if you can find it, but you can also use baguette or a hearty, crusty loaf. 
  • Note: ~ easily freeze or add leftover chicken to tacos, bowls, or quesadillas.
  • Short cut: ~ use shredded rotisserie chicken and just simmer the sauce until it reduces a bit, then mix in the chicken.


To make the mojo chicken:

  • In a 6-quart Instant Pot, add the chicken, orange juice, lime juice, soy sauce, oregano, cumin, cilantro, garlic, salt and pepper.
  • Lock the lid in place and set the vent to “sealing”. Select “manual pressure” (set to high) and set the timer for 10 minutes.
  • Once the timer goes off, let it naturally release for 10 minutes, then manually release any more pressure, then press “cancel”. Press “saute” and set it to high or “more”, then transfer the meat to your cutting board and shred it up.
  • Simmer the liquid that is in the pot for about 10-15 minutes or until it reduces by about half. Stir in the shredded chicken to soak up all of those juices. If still a lot of liquid remains, continue to simmer or press cancel.
  • If using spinach, add the spinach to a microwave safe bowl and microwave for 1-2 minutes, or until just thawed. Squeeze out as much excess water you can, then stir it into the chicken.

To make the sandwiches:

  • Spread a thin layer of dijon mustard on one slice of bread and a thin layer of mayonnaise or butter on the other (or do mustard on both). Place the chicken on top of the mustard side and press it into a compact layer. Place the pickles on top, followed by the cheese. Place the other slice on top.
  • Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat and lightly oil it. Once the skillet is hot, add the sandwich, press it down, then cover it with a lid (or baking sheet). Reduce the heat to medium and let it cook for 4 minutes or until golden (if it’s browning too fast, reduce the heat. We want the cheese to melt!). Brush or drizzle the top slice with some oil, then carefully flip and repeat for 2-3 more minutes or until golden and cheese is melted.

Slow cooker instructions:

  • Add everything to a slow cooker and cook on low for 8 hours or high for 5 hours. Simmer the sauce after you remove/shred the pork (same as recipe).

Items you can prep ahead (optional)

  • Make the mojo chicken


  • To make vegetarian, make these grilled mushrooms in use in place of the chicken in the sandwich. You could also try pan-frying tofu slabs, then adding the mojo sauce to the pan and simmer until it reduces. Try adding a tablespoon of cornstarch to the sauce to thicken it up.
  • To make vegan, see above + use a vegan alternative melty cheese.
  • To make gluten-free, use a gluten-free bread or turn it into a quesadilla using a gluten-free tortilla (Siete Foods cassava tortilla is my fav for this!).


  • Store leftover chicken in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days or freezer for up to 2 months.

Leftovers + Repurposing:

  • Leftovers are so good in quesadillas – chicken, swiss, + pickles served with hot sauce or salsa.
  • Turn it into a mojo chicken rice bowl – microwave rice and chicken topped with swiss. Top with pickles and cilantro. Try throwing together a mustard yogurt sauce (½ cup yogurt, 1 tbsp mustard, 1 tbsp water, splash of soy sauce + maple, and salt) or just use salsa or guacamole as your sauce.
  • Leftover sandwiches are best reheated in a covered skillet until warmed through.
  • Leftover chicken can be used on rice bowls, salads, tacos, quesadillas, nachos, etc…

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