Reuben Sandwich

Learn how to make the epic, insanely delicious Reuben Sandwich at home – America’s number one hotel sandwich!

There’s no need to dine out to when you can enjoy an exceptionally delicious Reuben Sandwich at home – it’s so easy to make! It’s cheesy, crunchy, tangy, spicy, and utterly fantastic.  This classic Reuben Sandwich recipe is made with juicy, vibrant, salty corned beef, tangy sauerkraut, spicy Russian dressing and gooey melted Swiss cheese all sandwiched between buttery, crunchy rye bread.  It’s a mouthwatering mashup that can be assembled ahead of time for an easy lunch, dinner, game night and every occasion in between.  Serve it up with a side of potato salad and tomato basil soup,  and prepare yourself for the best Rueben Sandwich of your life!

Calling all sandwich lovers! I love to recreate my favorite restaurant style sandwich recipes at home, so if you love sandwiches, you’ll love: Monte Cristo Sandwiches, French Dip SandwichesPhilly Cheesesteak Sandwiches, Italian Beef SandwichesBeef Brisket SandwichesBBQ Pulled Pork SandwichesTeriyaki Chicken SandwichesCuban SandwichesGourmet Grilled Cheese Sandwiches, and of course, this incredible Reuben Sandwich recipe!

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HOW TO MAKE Reuben sandwich VIDEO

a stack of Reuben Sandwich slices with Russian dressing, corned beef, Swiss cheese and coleslaw on rye bread

Reuben Sandwich Recipe

There’s nothing like sinking your teeth into a Reuben Sandwich all year around and especially on upcoming St Patrick’s Day!   Reubens are my husband’s all time favorite sandwich, which is appropriate because he is named Patrick, after his Irish ancestors.  (Although Reubens aren’t technically Irish but the corned beef is! See detailed origin section.) So, with St. Patrick’s Day around the corner, I thought it was the perfect time to share our favorite Reuben Sandwich recipe. 

Why you’ll love this recipe

  • It’s the most flavorful sandwich ever thanks to the salty, pungent corned beef and rich and creamy, spicy Russian dressing
  • You can use store-bought deli corned beef or homemade corned beef (this corned beef recipe is glorious!)
  • It’s the best way to use of your leftover corned beef  
  • Deli corned beef allows this recipe to come together in less than 30 minutes!
  • You can’t beat the homemade Russian dressing – you’ll be making it to slather and douse on everything AKA my favorite dressing in the world
  • My grilling technique ensures the bread is buttery but not greasy, golden, but not burnt, sturdy and crispy but still soft on the inside. The cheese is soft and melty, ooey-gooey without any room temperature bits.
  • The sandwiches can be grilled or broiled all at once in the oven
  • They’re delicious any time of year, for any occasion, not just on St. Patrick’s Day!

What is a Reuben Sandwich?

A classic Reuben Sandwich is an American grilled sandwich made with sliced corned beef, sauerkraut, Swiss cheese, and creamy Russian dressing sandwiched between two slices of rye bread that are grilled until the bread is crispy and the cheese melts.  It is a perfectly balanced explosion of salty, spicy, earthy, tangy, sweet flavors and crunchy, ooey gooey cheesy, creamy, juicy textures.

Is a Reuben Sandwich German or Irish?

The Reuben is neither German or Irish, it is an American invention!  Like America itself, the Reuben Sandwich is a celebrated mash-up of different cultures coming together to create something extraordinary.   

It honors corned beef from Ireland, sauerkraut from Germany, rye bread invented in Germany, popularized by New York Jewish, Russian dressing which is actually American, and Swiss cheese from Switzerland!

a hand picking up a Reuben Sandwich with grilled rye bread, sliced corned beef sauerkraut, Swiss cheese and Russian dressing

History of Reuben Sandwich:

The exact origin of the Reuben Sandwich is unclear, with several claiming the esteemed honor of its invention. Some claim it was created by an accountant, others claim it was invented by a chef, others say it was dreamt up by a grocer.   Here are just a couple of the possible origins of the Reuben Sandwich:

The earliest claim to inventing the Reuben comes from Arnold Reuben, the owner of Reuben’s Restaurant and Delicatessen in New York City in 1914.  His daughter claims that late one night Charlie Chaplin came into the restaurant and stated, “Reuben, make me a sandwich, make it a combination, I’m so hungry I could eat a brick.”  He whipped up a version of our now favorite sandwich complete with Russian dressing and proceeded to call it, “Reuben’s Special.”

Others insist the Reuben Sandwich was invented in 1925 by a Jewish grocer, Reuben Kulakofsky. Kulakofsky belonged to a weekly poker group whose members enjoyed fixing their own sandwiches for the weekly gathering.  When Kulakofsky brought his hearty sandwich concoction to the game, one of the players, Charles Schimmel, the owner of the Blackstone Hotel in Omaha, was so impressed that he put the Reuben Sandwich on the hotel menu.

What Ingredients go on a Reuben Sandwich?

The Reuben Sandwich is a seemingly simple combination rye bread, corned beef, Swiss cheese, sauerkraut and Russian dressing that sandwich together to create the world famous, explosively flavorful sandwich.  Let’s take a closer look at the ingredients you’ll need to make your very own Reubens at home:

Rye bread

  • What is it? Rye bread is the classic bread used for Reuben Sandwiches because it’s denser than traditional wheat bread to hold up to all the toppings, with a stronger sour, yet earthy taste which beautifully complements the pickled corned beef.  In the United States, commercially made light and dark rye breads tend to be made with rye flour and wheat flour to lighten the bread and give it a softer crumb.  Rye bread is also often made with additions like caraway seeds, molasses and cocoa powder, which add color and flavor.   
  • Where can I find it? It can sometimes be difficult to find quality rye bread, but hopefully you’ll have luck at your grocery store bakery, or better yet, your local bread store.
  • Which type should I buy? When looking for rye bread, you might come across several different types such as light rye, dark rye, light marbled rye and dark marbled rye.  For this recipe, I recommend using medium or dark rye or dark marbled rye for the best balance of flavor and texture. Medium or dark rye has a higher ratio of rye flour to wheat flour so it will be sturdier and more flavorful.  Light rye, on the other hand, is made with only white rye flour which is the equivalent of white flour/white bread.  You may also seeded rye which means it contains caraway seeds – an extra flavor perk for these sandwiches. 

Do I Have to Use Rye for this Reuben Sandwich Recipe?

Although the traditional Reuben is made with rye bread, you can substitute with other sturdy breads such as sourdough, ciabatta or crusty artisan bread.  You’ll need a bread that is not thin and flimsy and can stand up to the dressing and grilling without becoming soggy or falling apart.

showing how to make corned beef for Reuben Sandwich by slicing corned beef brisket across the grain on a wood cutting board

corned beef

  • What is it? You’ve heard the term “corned beef” thrown around, especially around St. Patrick’s Day, but what exactly is it?  Corned beef is flat-cut brisket cured in a salt brine with vibrant, pungent pickling spices and pink curing salt which gives it its signature pink color. It’s rich, salty, spicy, and tender with so many layers of flavor that added delightful dimension to the Reuben Sandwich. 
  • Why is it called corned beef? It was during the 17th century that salted beef was coined “corned beef” by the British to describe the corn-kernel-size salt crystals used to cure the meat during the “corning” process which they purchased from the Irish. 

what KIND OF CORNED BEEF TO USE?

  • Deli-style corned beef:  Did you know your grocery deli sells sliced corned beef?  That’s right, just ask for a pound of sliced corned beef and you’re halfway to making your Reuben Sandwich recipe already! 
  • Corned beef from scratch:  If you make your owned corned beef for St. Patrick’s Day, save the leftovers for Reubens!  Or you can make corned beef just for these sandwiches – they are worth it.  To make corned beef from scratch, you’ll brine beef brisket with kosher salt and pickling spices like peppercorns, mustard seed, allspice berries and coriander seeds, then roast the brisket until tender.  By making your owned corned beef, you can enjoy meatier chunks instead of thin, shaved slices, or you can also slice it thinly if you wish.   To use leftover corned beef, save it in the jus to moisten, then give it a quick zap in the microwave to slightly warm and tenderize before piling on the sandwiches. 
  • Store-bought corned beef:  By nature of its name, “corned beef” that you purchase at the grocery store is brisket that is already cured/corned in its own pickling spices, all you do is cook it according to package directions.  This is a great shortcut for semi-homemade corned beef.

Sauerkraut

  • What is it? Sauerkraut (aka “sour cabbage”) was invented long ago as a means of preserving cabbage AKA it’s simply pickled finely sliced raw cabbage! Its sour crunch is an essential element of a traditional Reuben Sandwich.
  • How do I use it? You are welcome to pick up sauerkraut at your grocery store, or you can make your own. Regardless, make sure you drain as much moisture as you can from the sauerkraut before piling it on your Reuben so it doesn’t make it soggy.

Swiss Cheese

  • What is it? At first glance, Swiss cheese seems straight forward, but the term “Swiss cheese” in America is actually a broad term that includes hundreds of Swiss cheeses made in America, many of which are sorry imitations of Emmental Swiss cheese actually from Switzerland (Emmental Swiss originated in Emmentaler, Switzerland).  Americanized Swiss cheese is made from pasteurized milk and is significantly less flavorful and buttery than real Swiss cheese. (See this article if you’d like to read more about the differences.)
  • What type should I use? For the best Reuben Sandwich, use real Swiss cheese, specifically Swiss Gruyere cheese. Gruyere is a semi-hard, pale yellow Swiss cheese made of whole milk. It’s the consummate melting cheese that’s slightly sweet, slightly salty, creamy, nutty and boasts enough flavor to cut through the richness of the corned beef.   If you have the option to purchase aged Gruyere, then go with that, as the flavors become more complex as the cheese matures.
  • Where do I purchase it? You can purchase Swiss Gruyere with the specialty cheeses at your grocery store by the block, but this can be harder to thinly slice, so I recommend just shredding it.  Alternatively, ask the deli counter for thinly sliced Gruyere.

Russian Dressing

  • Why Russian Dressing? Russian Dressing is probably my favorite dressing on the planet because it’s SO FLAVORFUL!  Despite its name, Russian dressing originated in the United States around the late 1800s (according to EHow.com) and has been slathered on Reuben Sandwiches since its inception. It marries all of the ingredients together and takes less than 5 minutes to whip up – so pleased don’t skip!
  • What is it? Russian Dressing is creamy, tangy, slightly spicy, explosively flavorful and seriously addicting!  It reminds me of a spicy, more complex thousand island made of mayonnaise, ketchup, horseradish, hot sauce, Worcestershire sauce, onion, garlic, paprika and gourd mustard.
  • Can I use store bought? Though you can purchase Russian dressing or even substitute it with Thousand Island plus hot sauce and horseradish instead, my homemade version is TOO GOOD to not make!  It’s also make ahead friendly, pantry friendly and keeps for up to a week in the fridge!
showing how to make Reuben Sandwich recipe by showing how creamy homemade Russian dressing is

How to Make a Reuben Sandwich

This Reuben Sandwich recipe is super easy to make. If you know how to make a grilled sandwich, you are half way there!

  • Step 1: Make the Russian dressing.  Combine all of the dressing ingredients in a bowl, whisk until completely combined.  The dressing will be on the thicker side for a dressing because it’s going to be used as a spread.
a collage showing how to make Reuben sandwich recipe by adding Russian salad ingredients to a glass bowl and whisking until smooth and creamy
  • Step 2:  Add butter and Russian dressing.  Spread butter on one side of each eight slices of bread (these are the sides that will touch the skillet). Flip all the pieces over and spread the other side of each of slice bread with Russian dressing (the insides of the bread).
a collage showing how to make Reuben sandwich recipe by buttering one side of each slice of bread then spreading Russian dressing on the other side of each slice of bread
  • Step 3:  Assemble.   To four bread slices (the other slices are the tops), layer over the Russian dressing in this order: corned beef, sauerkraut and two slices of Swiss cheese. Top with the other 4 slices of bread, buttered side up/out.
a 4 picture collage showing how to make Reuben sandwich recipe by adding corned beef to Russian slathered rye bread, topping with sauerkraut, topping sauerkraut with Swiss cheese, then adding topped slices of bread, butter side out
  • Step 4:  Grill the sandwiches.  Toasting your Reubens is relatively simple, but you’ll want to pay attention so the bottom of the sandwiches don’t burn.  Start by melting some butter and oil in a skillet then adding 1-2 sandwiches, whatever comfortably fits in your skillet.  Add the sandwiches, cover, and grill over medium-low heat until the bread is golden and crunchy on the bottom and the cheese is starting to melt, about 3 minutes. Flip the sandwiches over and continue to cook until the cheese is melted and the bottom bread is toasted.
showing how to make Reuben sandwich by gilling in a cast iron skillet
  • Step 5: Repeat. Grill remaining sandwiches.  Dig in!
up close of Reuben sandwich sliced and stacked showing how cheesy it is

TIPS FOR THE BEST reuben sandwich recipe

  • Use sturdy bread.  While rye bread is classic for Reubens, you may use another bread as long as it is thick and sturdy so it can hold up the dressing and cheese.
  • Use medium or dark rye. It has the most flavor!
  • Drain the sauerkraut.  Drain as much liquid from the sauerkraut as you can or the sandwiches will be soggy. I suggest adding the sauerkraut to a fine mesh sieve very first thing, pressing out excess liquid with the back of a spatula and letting it drain while you make the dressing and gather the rest of the ingredients.
  • Slice the cheese thinly.  It should be thinly sliced so that it melts quickly. If you can’t get thin slices, it’s better to shred the cheese.  
  • Use room temperature cheese.  Remove the Swiss cheese from the refrigerator, slice if needed and let it rest while you prep the rest of the ingredients.  Even better, let it rest for 30-60 minutes ahead of time if you think of it.  Room temperature Gruyere will melt much more quickly than chilled Gruyere for perfectly melty cheese and a toasted crunchy crust.
  • What pan to use:  A panini press is a great option for perfectly even, golden crispy Reubens.  If you don’t have a panini press, you can technically use any pan to cook your sandwiches, but a cast-iron skillet distributes heat the most evenly for a better golden, crispy crust.
  • Don’t skip the oil. A splash of vegetable oil when pan frying the Reuben Sandwich helps prevent the butter from burning. You can also use another neutral oil like a light olive oil but don’t use a flavored oil or that’s what your sandwich will taste like!
  • Grill at a lower heat. Don’t be tempted to crank up the heat when cooking your Reubens or else the bread will toast and burn before the cheese melts. You want the cheese to have enough time to melt into gooey warm perfection. If the cheese melts and you still want a more golden exterior, then you can crank up the heat.  If the bread is getting too browned before the cheese is fully melted, then reduce the heat even further.
  • Cover the sandwiches when toasting.  I have experimented with numerous techniques for cooking the best Reubens and grilled cheese sandwiches and this technique is the clear winner. Start by covering the Reuben Sandwich when you first add it to the skillet to create a warm environment which helps the cheese melt without burning the bread.  Once the bread is golden-brown, remove the cover and grill the second side without it, so the toasted bread will stay crisp.
showing how to serve Rueben sandwiches with a Reuben sliced in half on a plate with potato chips

RECIPE VARIATIONS

A classic Reuben Sandwich recipe sticks to the same ingredients: Russian dressing, corned beef, Swiss cheese and sauerkraut.  Feel free to use a different cheese, dressing, add caramelized onions, bacon, etc. but just don’t call it a Reuben 😉!

  • Do I have to use rye bread?  To be considered a classic Reuben, rye bread is a must.  However, you can use any thick sturdy bread such as thick sliced sourdough, French bread, ciabatta or crusty artisan bread that will hold up the dressing and grilling. 
  • Alternate protein:   Corned beef is so dripping with flavor that any other protein, except pastrami, pales in comparison.  That being said, you can swap in ham, turkey, chicken, etc. and adjust your flavor expectations.  Here are some popular alternates:
    • Pastrami swap:  Pastrami is corned beef that has been cured in the same pickling solution but it is rubbed with seasonings and smoked instead of left naked and boiled or roasted. 
    • Georgia Reuben:  This sandwich is more subtle, mildly flavored twist on the classic Reuben.  It sticks with Swiss cheese and rye bread but swaps the corned beef for roasted turkey, the Russian dressing for thousand island dressing, and the sauerkraut for coleslaw.  
    • Rachel Sandwich:   This sandwich also sticks with Swiss cheese and rye bread but swaps the corned beef for pastrami or turkey and the sauerkraut for coleslaw.
  • Russian dressing alternative:  Use thousand island and mix in about 1 tablespoon hot sauce and horseradish.
  • Sauerkraut alternative:  If you don’t like sauerkraut, try coleslaw instead – just make sure it’s light on dressing so it doesn’t make the sandwich soggy.
  • Arugula option:  If you don’t like sauerkraut and/or don’t have coleslaw on hand, try another green such as baby arugula.  It adds an earthy, peppery layer of freshness that lightens the entire sandwich. 
  • Swap the arugula:  Not an arugula fan?  Try spinach instead!
  • Add pickled red onions:  They are sweet, tangy, fantastic punches of flavor and so quick and easy to make.
  • Swap cheese:  Try white cheddar, Havarti, brie, provolone or Gouda.
  • Add bacon:  Crispy, smoky bacon is a welcome addition to any sandwich!  You can fry the bacon up in the skillet or bake it in the oven at 400 degrees F for about 20 minutes (30 for thick cut).
  • Add bacon jam:   Bacon + onions + sugar, what’s not to love?
  • Add caramelized onions:  Golden caramelized onions are rich, sweet, deeply complex golden, glorious tender slices of heaven. See my Gourmet Grilled Cheese recipe for exactly how I make mine.
  • Add pickled beets: Add tangy-sweet, pickled beets for an instant “wow” factor.  My favorite beets by far are Aunt Nellie’s Pickled Beets which you should be able to find at your grocery store on or on Amazon – so much easier and less messy than making your own!
  • Add a Parmesan crust:  Sprinkle Parmesan over the butter and press it into the bread so it sticks.  The Parmesan will give the sandwich an extra salty, nutty crispy exterior.
  • Add avocado:  Line the sandwich with sliced avocados or mashed avocados lightly seasoned with lime and salt.
  • Add veggies:  Add grilled zucchini, mushrooms, roasted red peppers, sun-dried tomatoes, etc.
a stack of Reuben sandwiches sliced in half with a hand picking up one sandwich

How to cook Reuben sandwiches at the same time

Instead of grilling the sandwiches, you can bake them in the oven all at once.  Line all the buttered slices of bread on a baking sheet, buttered side down.  Spread Russian dressing on all the top sides of the bread.  On 4 slices of bread, top with corned beef, sauerkraut and one slice of cheese.  On the other four slices of bread, top with 1 slice of cheese.  Transfer to the oven and bake at 400 degrees F for 5-10 minutes until the cheese is melted.  Place the cheesy tops on top of the cheesy bottoms while hot.  Dig in!

Make-Ahead Reuben Sandwiches

Assemble ahead Reubens are a great option for a quick and easy lunch, dinner or handy for a party.  Take care the sauerkraut is very well drained so the sandwiches don’t become soggy.  I recommend toasting the bread by baking the bread slices at 400 degrees for about 5 minutes, then spreading the Russian dressing on the insides of the bread so the pre-assembled sandwiches don’t become soggy.

Assemble the sandwiches per recipe directions, wrap each layered sandwich separately in foil and store in the refrigerator for up to 24 hours.  To serve, bake in a pre-heated oven at 350 degrees F, just until the cheese melts, 10 to 15 minutes.

HOW to store leftover reuben sandwiches?

These Reuben Sandwiches are best served fresh but can be stored for up to 3 days, becoming less fresh/soggier the longer they are stored. To store, wrap each sandwich in foil then reheat in skillet or oven.  

HOW TO REHEAT leftovers

  • Stove: Melt some butter in a skillet over medium heat, cover, and cook for a couple minutes or until warmed to your liking, flipping the sandwich halfway through.
  • Oven: Wrap the sandwiches in foil and bake at 350 degrees F for about 10 minutes.
  • Microwave: Is not recommended because the bread will become soggy. You may opt for the microwave, however, if you’re in a time crunch, just adjust your expectations accordingly. To reheat in the microwave, transfer the sandwich to a microwave safe plate and microwave for 30 seconds, then at 15 second intervals until warmed through.  

CAN YOU FREEZE GRILLED CHEESE SANDWICHES?

No, I do not recommend Reubens because the bread will become soggy when thawed.

WHAT SHOULD I SERVE WITH a reuben sandwich?

There are many delicious side dish options that pair well with a Reuben Sandwich such as potato chips or French fries, potato salad, pasta salad and pickles.  Here are some of our favorite tasty side recipes:

Reuben Sandwich FAQs

Is a Reuben Sandwich served hot or cold?

Reuben Sandwiches are traditionally served hot to take advantage of the freshly butter toasted, crispy bread and melty Swiss cheese.  Reubens can also be served at room temperature but they lose some of the ooey gooey cheese appeal, and warm toasted goodness.  I do not recommend serving them cold because they taste like an entirely different sandwich.  The flavors are not as pronounced, the bread is no longer crispy, and the melted cheese is no longer soft and melty.

Is a Reuben made with pastrami or corned beef?

A Reuben sandwich is always made with corned beef.

What’s the difference between corned beef and pastrami?

Both corned beef and pastrami are made from beef brisket that has been cured in the same pickling solution.  The biggest difference is that pastrami is dry rubbed with additional seasonings and smoked whereas corned beef is left naked and boiled or steamed.

What is the difference between a corned beef sandwich and a Reuben Sandwich?

A classic Reuben Sandwich always includes Russian dressing, corned beef, sauerkraut and Swiss cheese served between rye or marbled rye bread.  A corned beef sandwich, however, can refer to any sandwich made with corned beef, no matter the toppings or the bread selection.

What is a Georgia Reuben sandwich?

The Georgia Reuben is a more subtle, mildly flavored twist on the classic Reuben.  It is made with roasted turkey instead of corned beef, thousand island dressing instead of Russian dressing and coleslaw instead of sauerkraut.  It sticks with Swiss cheese and rye bread which are also used in a Reuben Sandwich.

Reuben vs. Rachel Sandwiches

Both Reuben and Rachel sandwiches are butter-grilled sandwiches made with Swiss cheese on rye bread.  However, a Reuben is made with corned beef and sauerkraut and a Rachel sandwich is made with pastrami or turkey and coleslaw.

What’s the difference between Russian dressing and thousand island dressing?

Both dressings look quite similar with a creamy, pinkish hue thanks to a base of mayonnaise and either ketchup or chili sauce.  Thousand Island, however, is sweet and tangy and more textural due to sweet pickle relish.  Russian dressing is sweet, tangy and spicy thanks to peppery horseradish and spicy chili sauce. It does not contain pickles or relish.

picking up a Reuben sandwich to eat

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up close of Reuben sandwich sliced and stacked showing how cheesy it is

Reuben Sandwich

There’s no need to dine out to when you can enjoy an exceptionally delicious Reuben Sandwich at home that’s so easy to make! It’s cheesy, crunchy, tangy, spicy, and utterly fantastic.  This classic Reuben Sandwich recipe is made with juicy, vibrant, salty corned beef, tangy sauerkraut, spicy Russian dressing and gooey melted Swiss cheese all sandwiched between buttery, crunchy rye bread.  It’s a mouthwatering mashup that can be assembled ahead of time for an easy lunch, dinner, game night and every occasion in between.  Serve it up with a side of potato salad and tomato basil soup, and prepare yourself for the best Rueben Sandwich you’ve ever sunk your teeth into!
Servings: 4 sandwiches
Prep Time: 20 mins
Cook Time: 10 mins

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Ingredients

Sandwiches

  • 3 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 1 pound corned beef – thin deli slices, or homemade
  • 8 slices rye bread
  • 8 slices Swiss cheese, preferably Swiss Gruyere
  • 1 1/4 cups sauerkraut, well drained
  • butter for grilling
  • vegetable oil or light olive oil for grilling

Russian Dressing

Instructions

  • Dressing: Whisk all of the ingredients together in a medium bowl until smooth. Season with additional salt and pepper to taste (I like more of each); set aside.
  • Homemade Corned Beef, if using: Can be sliced or shredded. Microwave just to warm through with jus (or gently heat on the stovetop) and cover with foil to keep warm. Drain excess liquid before using.
  • Spread parchment paper out on a flat surface. Spread ½ tablespoon of butter on one side of each slice of bread. Flip all the pieces over and spread the other side of each slice of bread with Russian dressing.
  • To four bread slices (the other slices are the tops), layer over the Russian dressing in this order: corned beef, drained sauerkraut and two slices of Swiss cheese. Top with the other 4 slices of bread, buttered side up/on the outside.
  • Melt 1 tablespoon butter with 1 tablespoon oil in a nonstick or cast iron skillet over medium-low heat. Add 1-2 sandwiches (whatever comfortably fits), cover, and cook until the bread is golden on the bottom and the cheese is starting to melt, about 3-4 minutes.
  • Flip the sandwich(es) over and continue to cook until the cheese is melted and the bottom bread is toasted, another 3-4 minutes. (Reduce the heat as needed if the bread is browning too quickly before the cheese is melted). Repeat with remaining sandwiches.

Video

Notes

Tips and Tricks

  • Rye bread: I recommend using medium or dark rye or dark marbled rye for the best balance of flavor and texture. Medium or dark rye has a higher ratio of rye flour to wheat flour so it will be sturdier and more flavorful.  You may also seeded rye which means it contains caraway seeds – an extra flavor perk for these sandwiches.
  • Deli-style corned beef:  Ask your deli counter for a pound of sliced corned beef.  You can have them slice it as thinly or thick as you’d like-personal preference here.  
  • Corned beef from scratch: Use this corned beef recipe  – be aware that it takes 5 days to cure so plan ahead accordingly.  By making your owned corned beef, you can enjoy meatier, juicer chunks.  
  • Store-bought corned beef:  By nature of its name, “corned beef” that you purchase at the grocery store is brisket that is already cured/corned in its own pickling spices, all you do is cook it according to package directions.  This is a great shortcut for semi-homemade corned beef.
  • Swiss cheese: You can purchase Swiss Gruyere with the specialty cheeses at your grocery store by the block, but this can be harder to thinly slice, so I recommend shredding it.  Alternatively, ask the deli counter for thinly sliced Gruyere.  You may also use other Emmental Swiss cheese, but please avoid American made Swiss.
  • Use room temperature cheese.  Remove the Swiss cheese from the refrigerator, slice or shred if needed and let it rest while you prep the rest of the ingredients.  Even better, let it rest for 30-60 minutes ahead of time if you think of it.  Room temperature cheese will melt much more quickly than chilled cheese for perfectly melty cheese and a toasted crunchy crust.
  • Russian dressing: It marries all of the ingredients together and takes less than 5 minutes to whip up – so pleased don’t skip!  Though you can purchase Russian dressing or even substitute it with Thousand Island plus hot sauce and horseradish, my homemade version is TOO GOOD to not make!  It’s also make-ahead friendly, pantry friendly and keeps for up to a week in the fridge.

How to cook Reubens at the same time

Instead of grilling the sandwiches, you can bake them in the oven all at once. 
  • Line all the buttered slices of bread on a baking sheet, buttered side up. Bake at 400 degrees F for 5 minutes then flip all the pieces over.
  • Spread Russian dressing on all the top sides of the bread.  On 4 slices of bread, top with corned beef, sauerkraut and one slice of cheese.  On the other four slices of bread, top with 1 slice of cheese.
  • Bake at 400 degrees F for 5-10 minutes until the cheese is melted.  Place the cheesy tops on top of the cheesy bottoms while hot.  Dig in!

Make-Ahead Reuben Sandwiches

Take care the sauerkraut is very well drained so the sandwiches don’t become soggy. Toast the bread by baking the bread slices at 400 degrees for about 5 minutes, then spread the Russian dressing on the insides of the bread so the pre-assembled sandwiches don’t become soggy. Assemble the sandwiches per recipe directions, wrap each layered sandwich separately in foil and store in the refrigerator for up to 24 hours.  To serve, proceed to grill or bake at 350 degrees F, just until the cheese melts, 10 to 15 minutes.

HOW TO STORE AND REHEAT LEFTOVERS

  • To store: Reuben Sandwiches are best served fresh but can be stored for up to 3 days, becoming less fresh/soggier the longer they are stored. To store, wrap each sandwich in foil then reheat in skillet or oven:
  • Stove: Melt some butter in a skillet over medium heat, cover, and cook for a couple minutes or until warmed to your liking, flipping the sandwich halfway through.
  • Oven: Wrap the sandwiches in foil and bake at 350 degrees F for about 10 minutes.
  • Microwave: Is not recommended because the bread will become soggy. You may opt for the microwave, however, if you’re in a time crunch, just adjust your expectations accordingly. To reheat in the microwave, transfer the sandwich to a microwave safe plate and microwave for 30 seconds, then at 15 second intervals until warmed through.  
 

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6 Comments

  1. Mannette Pugh says

    I made this tonight for St. Patrick’s Day. I was a bit leery because I wasn’t sure about corned beef and horseradish as well. Well, what can I say. Jen hit it out of the park with this one. My husband said I better get to the store tomorrow and stock up on corned beef. It was so tasty we all kept licking our fingers. Another hit from Jen as always. Love, love, love.

    • Jen says

      Thanks so much Mannette! I hearing your husband wants you to stock up on corned beef and that this recipe won’t just be for St. Patrick’s Day! Thank you so much for making my recipes and making my day!

  2. Stephanie says

    We REALLY love Ruben’s in this house so we made them for St Patty’s day, using a store corned beef that we soaked 24 hrs in cold water to remove salt, then smoked on the traeger with a ton of pepper & spices to make it pastrami. Your Russian dressing was so delicious, I’ve always just used thousand island but this was way better. Being a non-baker, I even got really brave and baked a loaf of rye bread with caraway seeds for the first time, using Bob’s Red Mill dark rye flour recipe. I liked using Gruyère as you suggested too, it’s such a wonderfully mild Swiss with a nutty taste, was better than standard Swiss.

    • Jen says

      Everything about your Reuben Sandwiches sounds next level! Your pastrami sounds divine and I’m sure your homemade rye bread was fantastic! I love they joy you find in cooking and turning a recipe into the best it can be!

  3. MR says

    Hubby said this was the best sandwich he’s ever had, and he’s had a lot! Daughter who doesn’t eat much meat couldn’t get enough. It was that good!

    • Jen says

      That is amazing, thank you so much for the glowing review! I’m thrilled this recipe was such a huge hit!

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