Meet the Rachel Sandwich, the lighter take on the classic Reuben that calls for turkey instead of corned beef. Yes, crunchy sauerkraut, Swiss cheese, and rye bread are all still invited to lunch.

A rachel sandwich on a gray plate with a pickle spear and potato chips.

A corned beef Reuben has to be one of the most beloved sandwiches of all time. There are at least a dozen variations, from egg rolls to dip, but the Rachel just might be the best.

Table of Contents
  1. Recipe ingredients
  2. Ingredient notes
  3. Step-by-step instructions
  4. Recipe tips and variations
  5. Rachel Sandwich Recipe

Recipe ingredients

Rachel sandwich ingredients.

Ingredient notes

  • Rye bread: Take your pick; seeded rye, pumpernickel, or marble rye all work well.
  • Thousand island dressingSome Reuben-style recipes call for Russian Dressing, which is similar in flavor to 1000 island, but isn’t made with pickle relish and may be spicy. Both types of dressing make excellent Rachel Sandwiches.
  • Swiss cheese: You’ll need 2+ slices of Swiss per sandwich.
  • Sauerkraut: You can absolutely make your own sauerkraut, but store-bought canned fermented cabbage works just as well. Whichever you use, drain it well so the kraut doesn’t make the sandwich soggy.

Step-by-step instructions

  1. Place a wire rack inside a rimmed baking sheet in the oven and preheat the oven to 200 degrees to create a warm place to keep everything hot while you cook the sandwiches. Prepare a sandwich-building station on the counter. Place half of the slices of rye bread down onto your work surface. Spread each slice with 1 tablespoon of thousand island dressing. Next, one piece of Swiss cheese, and ⅓ cup sauerkraut. Spread 1 tablespoon of dressing on the sauerkraut. Layer 6 ounces of sliced turkey on top of that. One more slice of cheese, with another 1 tablespoon of salad dressing.
Assembling a rachel sandwich on a cutting board.
  1. Top with the remaining bread slices and pat the sandwiches down gently. Heat a skillet or flat top griddle over medium heat. Brush the top rye bread slices with melted butter and fit the sandwiches butter-side-down inside the pan. Depending on the size of your pan, you may have to work in batches, cooking two sandwiches at a time.
A rachel sandwich in a skillet.
  1. Here’s a trick that line cooks use for hot sandwiches. Place a weight (another heavy pan or a Dutch oven) right on top of the sandwiches to press them flat against the skillet as they cook. Grill for 5 minutes until golden brown. Take the weight off the sandwiches, brush the tops of the bread with melted butter, and gently flip to grill the other side. Weigh them down again as they cook on the opposite side for 5 more minutes. As the sandwiches are done, move them to the oven to stay warm while you cook the others.
A rachel sandwich in a skillet.

Recipe tips and variations

  • Yield: One recipe makes 4 Rachel Sandwiches.
  • Make ahead: Assemble the cold sandwiches, wrap them in plastic wrap, and store in the refrigerator a few hours before you plan to grill.
  • Hot or cold: Feel free to eat your Rachel cold, without grilling it—it tastes delicious this way, too.
  • Serve with: Cold kosher pickles, crunchy potato chips, Coleslaw, Macaroni Salad, and Scotcheroos for dessert.
A rachel sandwich on a gray plate with a pickle spear and potato chips.

More tasty sandwiches

A rachel sandwich on a gray plate with a pickle spear and potato chips.

Rachel Sandwich

Meet the Rachel Sandwich, the lighter take on the classic Reuben that calls for turkey instead of corned beef. Yes, crunchy sauerkraut, Swiss cheese, and rye bread are all still invited to lunch.
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 25 mins
Total Time 40 mins
Servings 4 servings
Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Calories 516

Ingredients 

  • 8 slices rye bread (see note 1)
  • 3/4 cup Thousand Island salad dressing (see note 2)
  • 8 slices Swiss cheese
  • 1 pound (1 ⅓ cups) sauerkraut drained, and squeezed of extra moisture (see note 3)
  • 1 1/2 pounds deli turkey thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons butter melted

Instructions 

  • Preheat oven to 200 degrees. Prepare a rimmed baking sheet with a wire rack. On a flat surface, lay out 4 slices of bread.
  • Spread 1 tablespoon of thousand island dressing on each piece. Layer one piece of Swiss cheese, ⅓ cup sauerkraut, 1 more tablespoon dressing, 6 ounces deli turkey, one more slice Swiss cheese, and 1 additional tablespoon of dressing. Top each sandwich with another slice of bread and press each sandwich down gently.
  • Brush the tops of two sandwiches with melted butter. Lay them butter-side down in a large skillet. Place a Dutch oven or large pot onto the tops of the sandwiches and cook over medium-low heat until crisp and golden, about 5 minutes.
  • Remove the pot and brush the tops with melted butter. Gently flip over sandwiches. Place pot back on top of sandwiches and cook until the bottom side is crisp, about 5 minutes. Transfer the sandwiches to the prepared baking sheet and place in the oven to keep warm. Repeat the process with remaining two sandwiches.

Notes

  1. Rye bread: Take your pick; seeded rye, pumpernickel, or marble rye all work well.
  2. Thousand island dressingSome Reuben-style recipes call for Russian Dressing, which is similar in flavor to thousand island, but isn’t made with pickle relish and may be spicy. Both types of dressing make excellent Rachel Sandwiches.
  3. Swiss cheese: You’ll need 2+ slices of Swiss per sandwich.
  4. Sauerkraut: You can absolutely make your own sauerkraut, but store-bought canned fermented cabbage works just as well. Whichever you use, drain it well so the kraut doesn’t make the sandwich soggy.
  5. Yield: One recipe makes 4 Rachel Sandwiches.
  6. Make ahead: Assemble the cold sandwiches, wrap them in plastic wrap, and store in the refrigerator a few hours before you plan to grill.
  7. Hot or cold: Feel free to eat your Rachel cold, without grilling it—it tastes delicious this way, too.
  8. Serve with: Cold kosher pickles, crunchy potato chips, Coleslaw, Macaroni Salad, plus Cheesecake Bars for dessert.

Nutrition

Calories: 516kcalCarbohydrates: 47gProtein: 42gFat: 19gSaturated Fat: 10gCholesterol: 101mgSodium: 2549mgPotassium: 674mgFiber: 7gSugar: 9gVitamin A: 568IUVitamin C: 42mgCalcium: 380mgIron: 4mg
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Meggan Hill

I’m the Executive Chef and head of the Culinary Hill Test Kitchen. Every recipe is developed, tested, and approved just for you.

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