Juicy Homemade Reuben Sandwich Recipe

5 from 11 votes
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A staple of any deli worth its salt, this Reuben sandwich recipe uses classic ingredients to create an easy corned beef sandwich for on the go – without having to rush to the nearest delicatessen.

Hand holding two halves of Reuben sandwich

As much as we might want to, we don’t always have the time to visit the famous Katz Delicatessen in New York City for an authentic rye sandwich. Whether you think they’ve got the best Reuben sandwich recipe – or you have another place you swear by – I think there’s nothing better than making this deli staple at home.

And it’s so easy! My recipe for Reuben sandwich is faithful to the original. It is also perfect to make and take to work, school, or even just to enjoy as a delicious lunch sandwich.

Serve your corned beef Reuben with classic home fries or my personal favorite, the crispy sweet potato fry. You can serve with a side of even more delicious homemade sauerkraut – a perfect compliment to a corned beef sandwich. Or serve with a handful of your favorite potato chips.

Two halves of a Reuben sandwich on a plate

Whether you’re serving with a crunchy pickle or a pile of potatoes cooked your way, there are plenty of ways to make the Ruben food your own. You can even adapt the basic recipe.

Replace corned beef with freshwater fish for a “Walleye”. Use Montreal smoked meat for a “Montreal Reuben”. Or replace the corned beef with turkey or pastrami for a unique twist on the classic that’s served around the world.

What is a Reuben sandwich

While Reuben’s origin is disputed between two different creators, this classic staple of the Jewish delicatessen was likely created by eastern European immigrants to the United States. Among the Reuben ingredients were slices of salt-cured beef – creating the corned beef Reuben – Swiss cheese, sauerkraut, and thousand island dressing, all sandwiched between slices of rye bread. My corned beef Reuben is authentic to the original Rueben on rye, but there are plenty of variations you can make.

What’s in a Reuben aandwich

The Reuben sandwich main ingredients are the following:

  • Rye bread slices: The Rueben sandwich is classically made with rye, but in a pinch, you can use another hearty bread, like sourdough or seeded.
  • Corned beef: For the best corned beef sandwich, you’ll want slices from the deli or any homemade leftovers you might have.
  • Slice of Swiss cheese: For the best cheese on Reuben, you can use classic Swiss, Emmental, Gruyere, or, if you prefer, slices of provolone. 
  • Sauerkraut: Make sure it’s drained. Alternatively, you can use coleslaw.
  • Butter: Use unsalted, to spread on the bread.
  • Homemade Thousand Island dressing: you will need mayonnaise, ketchup, sweet pickle relish, paprika, lemon juice, and diced yellow onion. Alternatively, you can use horseradish or your favorite salad dressing.
Ingredients for Reuben sandwich

Can you substitute Russian dressing for Thousand Island dressing

The dressing for Ruebens sandwiches can vary depending on where you go. The main difference between Thousand Island dressing and Russian dressing for Reuben is the use of pickles. You’ll only find them as part of Thousand Island dressing, giving the sauce more sweetness and a denser texture.

Russian dressing leaves this out. What goes on a Reuben sandwich is up to you and you can be as creative as you like with homemade Reubens.

How to make a Reuben sandwich

This corned beef sandwich recipe is a great way to use up leftovers from another corned beef dish. Cut a few thin slices of this Reuben sandwich meat or prepare your deli slices, if you are using pre-made.

If you have any extra leftovers, you can make Corned Beef Hash for breakfast.

Slicing corned beef

How to make Thousand Island dressing

To create the Reuben sauce, mix all of the ingredients into a small bowl until it forms a relatively smooth consistency. It should be light orange in color.

After you’ve prepared your thousand island dressing recipe, take your sauerkraut and squeeze all of the liquid from it. When you drain it, this will stop your Reuben sandwiches from going soggy.

Steps for making Thousand Island dressing

Stack the Reuben sandwich

There’s only one classic way to make a Reuben sandwich. First, butter one side of both slices of bread. Then add the slices of corned beef on top of one of them.

On the second piece of bread, spread the Thousand Island dressing. Add the sauerkraut, then layer the cheese. Then, put the sandwich together and enjoy.

Steps for stacking a Reuben sandwich

If you want to take this Reuben recipe on the go, wrap it tightly in paper or place it in an airtight container.

You can also warm the sandwich in a dry cast iron skillet over medium heat/medium-low heat to toast the bread. In this way, you can bring out a new flavor in the rye.

Two halves of a Reuben sandwich on a plate

This corned beef and sauerkraut sandwich is a must for St. Patrick’s Day. But it’s also great for any day of the year. It’s great served along a steaming hot bowl of soup with extra dill pickles on the side.

More delicious sandwich recipes

If you try this classic Reuben sandwich recipe, I’d love to hear your thoughts/questions below. I’d appreciate a recipe card rating below and feel free to tag me in your recipe recreations on Instagram @Alphafoodie!

Juicy Homemade Reuben Sandwich Recipe

5 from 11 votes
By: Samira
A staple of any deli worth its salt, this Reuben sandwich recipe uses classic ingredients to create an easy corned beef sandwich for on the go – without having to rush to the nearest delicatessen.
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 5 minutes
Servings: 1

Ingredients 
 

  • 2 slices rye bread or sourdough or seeded bread
  • 2.8 oz corned beef 1-2 deli slices, or more to taste
  • 0.7 oz Swiss cheese 1 slice
  • 1.8 oz sauerkraut 2 Tbsp, drained
  • 1/2 Tbsp butter

Thousand Island dressing

  • 1.5 Tbsp mayonnaise
  • 1 tsp ketchup
  • 1 tsp sweet pickle relish
  • 1/8 tsp paprika
  • 1/2 tsp lemon juice
  • 1/2 Tbsp yellow onion diced

Instructions 

  • Use up leftovers from another corned beef dish. Cut a few thin slices of this Rueben sandwich meat or get your deli slices.
  • Mix all of the ingredients for the Thousand Island dressing into a small bowl until it forms a relatively smooth consistency. It should be light orange in color.
  • Take your sauerkraut and squeeze all of the liquid from it. This will stop your Reuben sandwiches from going soggy.
  • Butter one side of both slices of bread. Then add the slices of corned beef on top of one of them. 
    On the second piece of bread, spread the thousand island dressing. Add the sauerkraut, then layer the cheese. Then, put the sandwich together and enjoy. 
    You can also warm the sandwich in a dry cast iron skillet over medium heat to toast the bread and bring out a new flavor in the rye.

Notes

Variations: There are plenty of ways to make Reuben food your own. You can even adapt the basic recipe.
  • Replace the classic Swiss cheese with Emmental, Gruyere, or, if you prefer, slices of provolone. 
  • Replace corned beef with freshwater fish for a “Walleye”.
  • Use Montreal smoked meat for a “Montreal Reuben”.
  • Replace the corned beef with turkey or pastrami for a unique twist on the classic.
 
Check the blog post for serving recommendations and more tips!
Course: Main
Cuisine: American
Freezer friendly: No
Shelf life: 1 Day

Nutrition

Calories: 527kcal, Carbohydrates: 39g, Protein: 23g, Fat: 31g, Saturated Fat: 12g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 4g, Monounsaturated Fat: 11g, Trans Fat: 0.2g, Cholesterol: 80mg, Sodium: 2035mg, Potassium: 482mg, Fiber: 5g, Sugar: 7g, Vitamin A: 584IU, Vitamin C: 31mg, Calcium: 250mg, Iron: 4mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

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