Cuban Medianoche Bread Recipe (2024)


Cuban Medianoche Bread Recipe is an easy soft and tender bread recipe that’s slightly sweet and eggy. Make your own Cuban Medianoche Bread and you’ll be enjoying your own classic Cubano Media Noche sandwich in no time.

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The very best Cubano Medianache sandwich that we’d ever had was while vacationing near Miami. We knew we had to try to recreate this sandwich recipe so when searching for a Medianoche Bread recipe I landed on a site by “Three Guys From Miami“. It’s very evident that they are passionate about their recipes and I learned a lot about the sandwich itself. Now I can honestly say that the best Medianoche sandwiches come from my kitchen and I couldn’t wait to share it with you.

Medianoche, pronounced median noche means midnight in Spanish. It is believed that the first medianoche was invented in Havana around the year 1900 by late-night workers. It’s also said that Cubans would stop for a Medianoche Sandwich after a long night of dancing.

What’s the difference between Pan Cubano and Medianoche Bread?

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Medianoche Rolls

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Cubano Bread

Classic Cubano breadis a Latin American bread that’s shaped like a torpedo or batard. It’s a soft and airy loaf of bread shaped like French orItalianbread. Medianoche rolls are soft Challah-like bread that’s slightly sweet likeHawaiian Bread Rolls. What makes Cuban Bread like our Pan Cubano and Medianoche Bread Rolls so special is that they use lard which produces delicious flavor and the perfect chew.

Just like my Cuban bread recipe, I turned to theThree Guys From Miamifor my Media Noche Bread recipe. They state you can find Cuban Bread in any grocery store in South Florida but it’s not the same as getting it from a Cuban bakery or baking it yourself. I agree!

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Active Dry Yeast –we use 2 packets. If you buy your yeast in a jar, measure out 2-1/4 teaspoons for each packet or 4-1/2 teaspoons total. If you weigh your ingredients you’ll need a total of 14 grams. Make sure your yeast hasn’t expired.

White Granulated Sugar –adds a pleasant sweetness to the bread.

Water– warmed 98ºF to 110ºF which will help activate the yeast. I think of the temperature as comparable to bath water. You don’t want it to hot or it can kill the yeast.

Eggs –we use Grade A, large eggs for consistency in our baking. A higher number of eggs than most bread recipes gives this Cuban bread a soft texture and beautiful color.

Lard– is made from animal fat making Cuban bread soft and pillowy. Lard isn’t suitable for a vegetarian diet. Vegetable shortening can be substituted but it doesn’t have much flavor.

Bread Flour– creates a stronger dough that can be shaped. Bread flour also creates an airy chewy texture. You can substitute with all-purpose flour 1:1. The texture may be different but your bread rolls will still taste great.

Salt– Kosher salt for fine sea salt is what we recommend. Even though there isn’t a large amount of salt, the bread will be bland if it’s left out.

How to Make Pan Medianoche Roll Recipe

I’ve made this recipe using separate bowls of ingredients that are later combined together in an electric stand mixer. I now combine ingredients together in my mixer reducing the bowls and making cleanup a breeze.

1. Melt the lard and allow it to cool slightly.

2. Add the warm water, 3 tablespoons of the sugar, and yeast to the bowl of an electric stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment.

3. Add the beaten eggs and the rest of the sugar to the yeast mix. Slowly pour in the cooled melted lard while the mixer is on low speed.

4. Exchange the paddle attachment with the dough hook attachment and with the mixer on low speed, gradually add additional flour one cup at a time until the dough starts to pull away from the sides of the bowl. Turn the mixer up to medium speed and knead for 5 minutes.

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5. Place the dough into a lighly greased bowl and cover it with a clean towel or plastic wrap. Place the bowl in a warm place to rise until doubled.

6. Punch the bread dough down and divide and shape the rolls. Place them on a parchment paper-lined or lightly greased baking sheet. Recover and rise for 60 minutes.

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Apply egg wash

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Score each roll

7. Cut a shallow seam down the center of each roll and brush the top of the rolls with an egg wash. Bake in a preheated oven until golden brown. Remove the baked rolls and let them cool on a wire rack before slicing.

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10 smaller rolls

  • We often make 8 large oval-shaped sandwich rolls. You can make a smaller sandwich roll. Since the bread is dense, it’s filling so making 10 to 12 rolls are plenty big. I’ve also made round rolls which is quite easy.
  • We always make sure the yeast bubbles before proceeding with the recipe. It’s easier to start over if you have bad yeast.
  • We brush the tops of the rolls with a little melted butter as soon as they come out of the oven. It will keep the crust soft and give it an appetizing shine.
  • For perfectly even-sized rolls, get the total weight of the dough and divide it by the number of rolls you want to make.
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Frequently Asked Questions

Rolls should be stored at room temperature in an airtight container for 3 to 4 days or can be frozen in a freezer-safe container or recloseable zip-top bag for up to 3 months. To thaw open the container and let the rolls thaw at room temperature. Thawing rolls without removing them can cause the crust to become soggy.

Serving Suggestions

Medianoche rolls would still make a delicious late-night snack after a night of dancing, but I usually enjoy these rolls when making the best Medianoche Cuban Sandwiches. They can also be served alongside your favorite Cuban Cuisine such asRed Beans and Riceor stuffed withMojo Pork. If you made smaller rolls, you can serve them as sliders instead of using the traditional Hawaiian rolls.

We love both the Medianoche sandwich and a classic Cuban sandwich. They both combine layers of roast pork, swiss cheese, and dill pickles. The main difference is the bread. I encourage you to try them and let me know which one you like the most.

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I hope you enjoyed this delicious recipe as much as we do. Drop me a comment below, and don’t forget to give it a star rating. ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐. Your comments and ratings help others decide if this recipe is for them too.

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Cuban Medianoche Bread Recipe

Author: Julie Menghini

Make our authentic Cuban Medianoche Bread recipe at home! This soft, slightly sweet egg bread is perfect for Cuban Medianoche sandwiches.

4.60 from 20 votes

Print Recipe Collect Pin Recipe

Prep Time 3 hours hrs 30 minutes mins

Cook Time 25 minutes mins

Total Time 3 hours hrs 55 minutes mins

Course Bread

Cuisine American, Cuban

Keyword: Medianoche

Servings: 8 rolls


Egg wash

  • 1 egg with 2 tablespoons water whisked together until foamy


  • In a medium sized bowl combine the yeast, warm water, and three tablespoons of sugar. Set aside until the yeast begins to bubble. If it doesn’t bubble, the yeast isn’t good and you need to start over.

  • In a separate bowl, beat the eggs until foamy. Add the eggs, remaining sugar, and salt to the yeast/water mixture. Slowly pour in the melted lard whisking continuously to the yeast/water mixture.

  • In the bowl of an electric stand mixture, fitted with the dough hook attachment, pour in yeast/water mixture. Gradually add flour one cup at a time until dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl. My recipe only took 5 cups of flour. It will depend on your air temperature and humidity on how many it takes for you.

  • Knead the mixture for an additional 5 minutes on a medium speed. The dough will be soft and pliable but not overly stiff or sticky.

  • Grease a large bowl with nonstick cooking spray. Add the dough turning once so both sides are greased. Cover and let rise in a warm place for 60 to 90 minutes, or until doubled.

  • Punch the dough down on a work surface. Divide the dough into 8 to 10 rolls. I actually weighed mine out so they were similar in size (approximately 5.7 oz each).

  • Roll to make cylinders about 5 inches long and 2-1/4 inches wide. Place on a greased or parchment paper lined baking sheet.

  • Cover with a clean damp towel. Let rise in a warm place for 60 minutes.

  • Preheat the oven to 350 °F.

  • Using a sharp knife or a lame, cut a shallow seam down the middle of the top of the bread, leaving an inch or two uncut on each end of the roll. Brush the tops of the rolls liberally with the egg wash.

  • Bake until golden brown, about 20 to 35 minutes. Remove the rolls from the oven and take them off of the baking sheet immediately. Cool on a wire rack. While still warm, brush the tops with melted butter.

  • Store at room temperature in a covered container.


Recipes courtesy of the Three Guys From Miami from their book: “Three Guys From Miami Cook Cuban.” Copyright ©2004 All Rights Reserved. Check out their website at:


Calories: 443kcalCarbohydrates: 87gProtein: 14gFat: 3gCholesterol: 81mgSodium: 616mgPotassium: 128mgFiber: 2gSugar: 19gVitamin A: 230IUVitamin C: 0.8mgCalcium: 32mgIron: 1.2mg

Nutritional Disclaimer

This recipe was calculated using the exact brands and measurements I used to make this recipe. If you are following a strict diet please note changing anything will cause the nutritional info to change. My calculations are intended as a guide only.

Tried this recipe?Let me know how it was!

They could have been made smaller, but John thought they were just the right size. Especially when he got half of mine! The Best Cuban Sandwich is amazing so get your baking stuff together!

Did you enjoy this recipe? Don’t forget to pin it for later and follow me on Pinterest for more delicious recipes like this one!

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This recipe was originally shared in 2016 and has been updated to provide new images and additional details to help our readers make this recipe. No changes were made to the recipe.

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Cuban Medianoche Bread Recipe (2024)


What is the difference between medianoche bread and Cuban bread? ›

A medianoche consists of roast pork, ham, mustard, Swiss cheese, and sweet pickles. It is a close cousin to the Cuban sandwich, the chief difference being that a medianoche is made on soft, sweet egg dough bread similar to Challah rather than on crustier Cuban bread.

What is Medianoche bread made of? ›

Medianoche Bread is an enriched yeast bread made with eggs, butter, bread flour, and yeast that's popular in the Hispanic Caribbean. The famous medianoche sandwich uses this bread as its base, but it's just as good when enjoyed on its own.

What makes Cuban bread different? ›

Cuban bread is a fairly simple white bread, similar to French bread and Italian bread, but has a slightly different baking method and ingredient list (in particular, it generally includes a small amount of fat in the form of lard or vegetable shortening); it is usually made in long, baguette-like loaves.

What is the difference between Cuban and Puerto Rican bread? ›

The Puerto Rican Bread is the island's version of the “Pan de Agua” (water bread) one finds all over the Spanish Caribbean. It is similar to the Cuban Bread in look and texture, with its light color crust and soft dough, yet larger (11 oz) and with a slightly sweeter taste.

What bread is closest to Cuban bread? ›

If you live near a Latino bakery, you will probably be able to find Cuban breads. Lacking these, the best substitute for pan cubano is the long, soft French or Italian breads you find at the supermarket (a high-quality bakery baguette is too crusty). Challah or brioche makes a good substitute for pan suave.

Why is Cuban bread special? ›

The unique, contrasting, texture and savory yet light flavor of Cuban bread is what provides its distinction from other styles. It's thin and crunchy on the outside, while remaining soft and airy on the inside, making it the perfect bread to enjoy pressed—it remains soft inside but crispy like a cracker on the outside.

Who invented the Medianoche? ›

Medianoche is thought to have its origins in Havana, when the Cuban-Spanish-Italian immigrant Francisco Ferlita invented it in 1869. Now this recipe is also famous in the United States, in particular it is often enjoyed after partying in Cuban dance clubs in Miami.

What kind of cheese do they have in Cuba? ›

Although Cuba is not a country famous for its dairy production, small-scale local farmers have always transformed milk in to cheese for self-consumption. Nabacoa Cheese has been made for at least a century, but only in recent years has it found a place on the restaurant tables.

What is authentic Cuban bread? ›

What is Cuban bread? It is actually really similar to white sandwich bread. The bread is soft, fluffy, and dense. It is shaped like a French baguette but has a soft crust.

What are 4 unique Cuban foods? ›

The Flavors and Heritage of Traditional Cuban Cuisine
  • Rice, Beans & Plantains. Like the origins of most native cuisine, ingredients are often determined by what's abundant and available. ...
  • Mojo Criollo. ...
  • Ropa Vieja. ...
  • Pescado, Gambas y Camarones. ...
  • Cuban Mix Sandwich, Cuban Toast & Pork. ...
  • Cuban Coffee. ...
  • Rum.

What is the famous Cuban sandwich called? ›

The Cuban sandwich, better known as a Cubano, begins with soft, slightly sweet Cuban bread. Heaps of heavily seasoned pork roast and sliced ham alternating between layers of Swiss cheese and sour pickles. The sandwich is cemented together with yellow mustard and a garlic butter schmear.

What is the difference between a Medianoche & A Cuban sandwich? ›

The main difference between the medianoche and the Cuban sandwich lies in the type of bread that is used. While the Cuban sandwich is usually served on a more firm, crusty, Cuban bread, the medianoche is served on a soft, sweet, and doughy bread.

Why is there a palm leaf in Cuban bread? ›

The palmetto leaves serve a purpose beyond tradition dating back to the 1800s. Before the bread goes into the 400-degree oven, leaves are placed in the middle of the loaf. That creates the bread's signature seam and ensures even baking, Moré said. “It keeps that area under the leaves moist and soft,” Moré said.

Why is my Cuban bread dense? ›

Try to add just enough flour to make the dough elastic -- just as much as necessary so that the dough hook barely cleans the sides of the bowl. Too much flour and your bread will be too dense! You will use approximately 3 1/4 cups of sifted flour to bring the dough to this point.

What is Cuban bread called? ›

I didn't think I liked Cuban sandwiches until I had one on real Cuban bread (pan Cubano) — what a difference!

What is the difference between French Italian and Cuban bread? ›

What makes Cuban bread different from the French baguette is the addition of lard in the dough. This thick and flat Italian bread is traditionally flavored with salt and olive oil, and topped with herbs or other ingredients such as olives or onions.

Why is it called Medianoche sandwich? ›

The name means "midnight" in Spanish and comes from the idea that it was the sandwich enjoyed as a late-night snack (or even an early breakfast!) after hours spent dancing salsa in Havana and Miami.

What is Cuban bread made of? ›

Made simply of flour, water, lard, and salt, it never occurred to me while growing up that Cuban bread would require explanation—or that it would be virtually impossible to find outside of Florida. Like a New York slice or a Philly cheesesteak, there's no single ingredient or secret baking technique.

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