Upgrade your lunch repertoire with a hearty, homemade Reuben Sandwich. Pile rye bread high with corned beef, Swiss cheese, and sauerkraut, then grill to crispy, melty perfection.

A A reuben sandwich on a cutting board surrounded by chips and a pickle spear.

Some believe Reuben Sandwiches were created at a New York deli, while others insist the recipe came from an Omaha, Nebraska grocer who wanted a late-night poker snack for his pals.

Regardless of its origins, one of the earliest versions won a national sandwich contest and made the Reuben Sandwich an American icon (they are not Irish no matter how much I want them to be).

Recipe ingredients

Reuben sandwich ingredients labeled and in various bowls.

Ingredient notes

  • Rye bread: Take your pick; seeded rye, pumpernickel, and marbled rye all work well.
  • Thousand island dressingWhile thousand island is the traditional spread, some recipes call for Russian Dressing. The latter isn’t made with pickle relish and can be spicy. Both make excellent Reubens.
  • Swiss cheese: You’ll need 2+ slices of Swiss per sandwich.
  • Sauerkraut: You can certainly make your own sauerkraut, but store-bought canned fermented cabbage works just as well, too.
  • Corned beef: Stock up on sliced corned beef at the deli, or you can make your own from scratch.

Step-by-step instructions

If you’re making multiple sandwiches but are aiming for all to eat at once, put a wire rack inside a rimmed baking sheet in the oven and preheat the oven to 200 degrees to create a warm place that will keep everything hot until you’ve finished.

  1. Make some space for 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 dressing. Add one slice of Swiss cheese, and ⅓ cup sauerkraut. Spread 1 tablespoon of dressing on the sauerkraut. Layer 6 ounces of sliced corned beef next. Add one more slice of cheese, then 1 tablespoon of salad dressing. Finish with the remaining bread slices and pat the sandwiches down gently.
The stages of building a reuben sandwich.
  1. Heat a skillet or griddle over medium heat. Brush the outside of 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. Place a weight (another heavy pan or a Dutch oven) on top of the sandwiches to press them flat against the skillet as they cook.
Two reuben sandwiches in a frying pan with a second frying pan pressing on the top of the sandwiches.
  1. Grill for 5 minutes until golden brown. Remove the weight off the sandwiches, brush the bread with melted butter, and gently flip to toast the other side. Weigh them down again as they cook on the opposite side for 5 more minutes. As the sandwiches are done, place them in the oven to stay warm while you cook the rest.
Two reuben sandwiches in a frying pan.

Recipe tips and variations

  • Yield: One recipe makes 4 sandwiches.
  • Make ahead: Assemble the cold sandwiches and wrap them in plastic wrap to store in the refrigerator a few hours before you plan on grilling them.
  • Hot or cold: Yes, a Reuben is also delicious cold (without grilling it).Try it if you’re in a hurry or don’t want to dirty a skillet.
  • Montreal-style: Trade in Montreal smoked meat for the beef brisket for a Montreal Reuben.
  • Walleye Reuben: Try walleye pike fillets instead of beef for a pescatarian-friendly reuben.
  • Rachel: Craving pastrami or turkey rather than corned beef? Voila, you’ve got a Rachel.
  • Egg rolls: For a riff on this popular flavor combo, take inspiration from a menu item made famous at Mader’s in Milwaukee, WI: deep-fried egg rolls stuffed with corned beef, Swiss, and sauerkraut, served with a side of thousand island dressing for dipping.
  • Serve with: Reubens are best enjoyed with the cold slices of kosher pickles, crunchy potato chips, plus sides of coleslaw and macaroni salad, plus strawberry cheesecake bars for dessert.
A reuben sandwich on a cutting board surrounded by chips and a pickle spear.

More stellar sandwiches

A reuben sandwich on a cutting board surrounded by chips and a pickle spear.

Reuben Sandwich

Upgrade your lunch repertoire with a hearty, homemade Reuben Sandwich. Pile rye bread high with corned beef, Swiss cheese, and sauerkraut, then grill to crispy, melty perfection.
5 from 3 votes
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 25 mins
Total Time 40 mins
Servings 4 servings
Course Main Course
Cuisine American, Irish
Calories 703

Ingredients 

  • 8 slices rye bread (see note 1)
  • 3/4 cup Thousand Island salad dressing (see note 2)
  • 8 slices Swiss cheese (see note 3)
  • 1 pound (1 ⅓ cups) sauerkraut rinsed, drained, and squeezed of extra moisture (see note 4)
  • 1 1/2 pounds corned beef thinly sliced (see note 5)
  • 2 tablespoons butter melted

Instructions 

  • Preheat oven to 200 degrees. Prepare a rimmed baking sheet with a wire rack.

To assemble the sandwiches:

  • 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 corned beef, 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.

To cook the sandwiches:

  • 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.

Recipe Video

Notes

  1. Rye bread: Take your pick; seeded rye, pumpernickel, and marbled rye all work well.
  2. Thousand island dressingWhile thousand island is the traditional spread, some recipes call for Russian Dressing. The latter isn’t made with pickle relish and can be spicy. Both make excellent Reubens.
  3. Swiss cheese: You’ll need 2+ slices of Swiss per sandwich.
  4. Sauerkraut: You can certainly make your own sauerkraut, but store-bought canned fermented cabbage works just as well, too.
  5. Corned beef: Stock up on sliced corned beef at the deli, or you can make your own from scratch.
  6. Yield: One recipe makes 4 sandwiches.
  7. Make ahead: Assemble the cold sandwiches and wrap them in plastic wrap to store in the refrigerator a few hours before you plan on grilling them.
  8. Hot or cold: Yes, a Reuben is also delicious cold (without grilling it).Try it if you’re in a hurry or don’t want to dirty a skillet.
  9. Montreal-style: Trade in Montreal smoked meat for the beef brisket for a Montreal Reuben.
  10. Walleye Reuben: Try walleye pike fillets instead of beef for a pescatarian-friendly reuben.
  11. Rachel: Craving pastrami or turkey rather than corned beef? Voila, you’ve got a Rachel.
  12. Egg rolls: For a riff on this popular flavor combo, take inspiration from a menu item made famous at Mader’s in Milwaukee, WI: deep-fried egg rolls stuffed with corned beef, Swiss, and sauerkraut, served with a side of thousand island dressing for dipping.
  13. Serve with: Reubens are best enjoyed with the cold slices of kosher pickles, crunchy potato chips, plus sides of coleslaw and macaroni salad, plus strawberry cheesecake bars for dessert.

Nutrition

Calories: 703kcalCarbohydrates: 38gProtein: 41gFat: 43gSaturated Fat: 18gCholesterol: 138mgSodium: 3321mgPotassium: 830mgFiber: 7gSugar: 5gVitamin A: 478IUVitamin C: 63mgCalcium: 362mgIron: 6mg
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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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Comments

  1. Hi Meggan’

    My wife and I make Reuben quesadillas with our quesadilla maker. Just mix all ingredients together and use like other stuffings. Always a party fav. Best wishes, Bob