Cubano chicken is a baked chicken recipe with the flavors of a Cuban sandwich. The meal features chicken breasts with a topping of ham, pork, pickles, and delicious seasonings!
My Cubano chicken recipe starts with the makings of a traditional Cuban sandwich, which are ham, pickles, and Swiss cheese. With the addition of chicken breast and pulled pork, the flavor of the meal is taken to new heights! Although this isn’t a sandwich, the chicken cubano packs a lot of flavor.
The use of three different meats is what makes the meal so flavorful. It packs flavor as well as protein. Plus, it is very easy to make using leftovers. With carnitas meat from earlier in the week, and ham for sandwiches on hand, this idea came to light.
I use carnitas meat that cooks low and slow, with a heavy dose of seasoning for extra of depth of flavor. Simply create the layers and bake for an international dinner!
What is Cubano chicken?
As mentioned earlier, this meal is a twist on a Cuban sandwich. The sandwich has its roots in Tampa.
The original Cubano is ham and cheese on Cuban bread with pickles, mustard and other meats like salami and pork. Cuban bread is a loaf, similar to French or Italian bread.
I’ve take the sandwich ingredients and place them in a casserole dish with chicken breasts. To finish off the chicken Cubano, I bake the ingredients on a bed of black beans.
To achieve the original balance of flavors, I use these ingredients:
- Chicken breasts (if yours are thick, you can slice them in half horizontally or pound them between sheets of parchment paper to make thin cuts of chicken. They will bake more evenly if they are thin)
- Yellow mustard
- Adobo seasoning
- Ham slices
- Shredded carnitas (carnitas is slow cooked pork butt)
- Dill pickle slices
- Swiss cheese
How to make carnitas
Carnitas is always a favorite. You can serve it in a variety of Mexican dishes. Even better, making a large batch is just as easy as making a small one.
I season my carnitas with:
- Bay leaves
- Brown sugar
- Mexican oregano
The Homemade Carnitas are easy to make in a slow cooker, Instant Pot, or on a stove top. Use the method that will be the easiest for you. The meat is flavorful and versatile enough to use in tacos, enchiladas, and sandwiches. It is especially delicious in baked chicken recipes like Cubano chicken.
How to make Cubano chicken
This one pan Cuban chicken recipe has all the unique flavors of a favorite Cuban sandwich in casserole form.
- Place a base layer of black beans in the bottom of a 9×13 pan that has been prepared with cooking spray or olive oil.
- Place a layer of chicken on top of the beans. This recipe makes four stacked chicken breasts, but you can increase the serving size easily.
- Season the chicken with Adobo Seasoning and the brush with yellow mustard
- Add a layer of ham
- Create a layer of carnitas meat
- Bake uncovered at 400°F for 25 minutes. If your chicken breast are thick, you will need to let it bake longer. Chicken is fully cooked when its internal temperature is 165°F.
- Remove from oven and add a pickle slice and a layer of Swiss cheese
- Finally, bake uncovered for another five minutes to melt the cheese
This is wonderful served over the seasoned black beans. Enjoy!
Watch how to make this below!
Baked Chicken Cubano
- Preheat oven to 400°F.
- Place the black beans in a rectangle 9x12" casserole dish that has been sprayed with cooking spray or vegetable oil and sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon of the Adobo Seasoning.
- Layer the chicken breasts on top of the black beans and season with remaining Adobo seasoning. Baste the chicken with the yellow mustard.
- Add 2 slices of ham on top of each chicken breast, then half a cup of the carnitas.
- Bake uncovered for 30 minutes, depending on the thickness of your chicken breasts. (See Note 1)
- Remove from oven and add 2 dill pickles and then 2 Swiss cheese slices to each piece of chicken. Put it back in the oven, uncovered for 5 minutes. Allow to rest 5 minutes before slicing or serving.
- If chicken breasts are too thick (1 inch or more), slice in half horizontally and pound between sheets of plastic wrap for even thickness. For best results, use an instant read thermometer, the chicken is cooked when it reaches internal temperature of 165°F.