A Reuben sandwich is a deli favorite and making it at home is almost as easy as placing an order. This delicious sandwich is made with corned beef, sauerkraut, Swiss cheese, and Russian dressing all layered between rye bread and heated until warm and toasty.
This recipe is for one Reuben sandwich but making more is simple. Double, triple, quadruple the ingredients to make as many sandwiches as you need. When you are ready for another sandwich night try this steak sandwich and a fried pork sandwich for a deliciously different dinner.
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- Rye bread – Use seeded, marble rye, or regular depending on your preference (we use seeded rye)
- Dressing – Russian or thousand island can be used. The thousand island is slightly sweeter, either one will work well (we use Russian dressing).
- Sauerkraut – Fermented chopped cabbage. It has a sour taste that cuts the richness of the corned beef beautifully. Find it at the deli section or in the hot dog section of larger grocery stores.
- Cheese – Swiss is the traditional cheese used for Reubens, but suitable substitutes include Munster, provolone, and mozzarella because they are mild-tasting and complement the beef and sauerkraut flavors.
- Corned beef – Use deli bought or homemade corned beef. We use leftover corned beef. Whenever we make it, I make sure there’s leftovers for Reubens.
- Softened butter – To brush the tops of the rye bread if using a griddle, panini, or skillet to press, optional.
- Pickles – For serving, optional
Frequently asked questions
The ingredients of a Reuben sandwich are typically corned beef, Swiss cheese, sauerkraut, and Russian dressing all piled up on rye bread.
A classic Reuben sandwich is always made with corned beef. A pastrami sandwich is sometimes referred to as a Rachel, it is like a Reuben, but it is made with pastrami (or turkey) instead of corned beef and coleslaw instead of sauerkraut.
Build the sandwich by adding 1 tablespoon of Russian dressing to each slice of bread. Then arrange the meat on one of the slices covering the entire area and taking care not to mound it in the middle. Add the sauerkraut, 1-2 cheese slices, and top with the remaining bread slice.
Toast the sandwich using your preferred method.
Toaster oven: Set the cooking rack to the middle position without the baking sheet on. Set the toaster setting to medium or light toast. Repeat if needed until the desired color is reached and the cheese is melted (we use the toaster oven for our sandwich).
Sandwich press or panini maker: Preheat the press on moderate heat. Optional: Brush the top of the rye bread lightly with the softened butter and add a little to the bottom of the press. Place the sandwich and cover with the top. Do not press down, just place it, and let the weight and gravity flatten the sandwich as it toasts.
Cook about 5-7 minutes until the top is toasty and the cheese is melted. Keep an eye on it and check it after 3-4 minutes to gauge the remaining time.
Skillet: Heat a non-stick skillet on medium to medium-low heat. Butter the top of the sandwich lightly with the softened butter and add a little butter to the skillet. Place the sandwich on the skillet. Use another skillet, lid, or a bacon press to place on top and press down gently. Heat about 4-6 minutes, flipping once, until the bread is toasted, and the cheese is melted.
Cut the sandwich in half and serve with pickles if desired.
Heat the corned beef slices for the sandwich if desired. Add a little oil (about ¼-½ teaspoon) to a non-stick skillet. Cook over moderate heat until just warmed through.
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- 2 Slices Rye Bread
- 2 tablespoons Russian Dressing or thousand island dressing
- 2-3 tablespoons Sauerkraut drained
- 1-2 Slices Swiss Cheese
- 4 ounces Corned Beef thin sliced
- Pickles for serving optional
- Softened Butter to brush the tops of the rye bread if using a griddle/panini or skillet to press, optional
Build the sandwich
- Add 1 tablespoon of Russian dressing to each slice of bread.
- Arrange the meat on one of the slices covering the entire area and taking care not to mound it too much in the middle.
- Add the sauerkraut and 1-2 slices of cheese.
- Top with the remaining bread slice to make a sandwich.
- Toast the sandwich using your preferred method. (The toaster oven method is included here, see the post for instructions using a sandwich press/panini maker and a skillet.)
- (No butter method) Set the cooking rack to the middle position without the baking sheet on. Set the toaster setting to medium or light toast. Repeat if needed until the desired color is reached and the cheese is melted.
- Cut the sandwich in half and serve with pickles if desired.
- Heat the corned beef slices for the sandwich if desired. Add a little oil (about ¼ – ½ teaspoon) to a non-stick skillet. Cook over moderate heat until just warmed through.
- Make the sandwich “grilled cheese” style on a panini/sandwich press, or a skillet. Or toast it in a toaster oven. Instructions are provided for the different methods in the post.
- This recipe makes one sandwich, double, triple, quadruple the ingredients to make as many as you need.