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Published March 18, 2022. This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure policy.
This amazing classic Reuben sandwich recipe is loaded up with sliced corned beef, thousand island dressing, sauerkraut, and swiss cheese on dark rye bread. You have options when making this sandwich so be sure to customize it to your liking.
I don’t know about you, but I grew up eating lunch meat, and sandwiches. While I’ve upped my game to more gourmet sandwiches, I still eat them often. To take your sandwich-making skills to the next level, I recommend trying my Croque Madame or Philly Cheesesteak.
A Reuben sandwich consists of cooked corned beef that is served up on toasted rye bread with sauerkraut, dressing, and swiss cheese. It is a widely popular American sandwich that is served up on restaurant menus and in homes across the USA.
There are two origin stories to this classic sandwich. The first one is said to be made by Reuben Kulakofsky in Nebraska who used a thousand island dressing, which was created in New York City. The second story was that it was founded at Reuben’s Delicatessen in New York City using Russian dressing which was created in New Hampshire. Have fun figuring that one out.
Ingredients for a Reuben Sandwich
- Corned Beef – You will need cooked corned beef that is sliced to your desired thickness.
- Bread – The options to choose from are rye, pumpernickel, or marbled rye bread.
- Sauerkraut – Use a good sauerkraut or better yet, homemade.
- Dressing – Russian dressing or thousand island dressing are the classic sauces to use.
- Cheese – Swiss cheese is the traditional cheese, but in case you wanted to make it next level, go with gruyere.
- Fat – oil or unsalted butter is used to heat up the corned beef as well as toast the bread.
What is Reuben Sauce Made of?
Based on the origin of this recipe there are two options for the Reuben sauce or dressing.
- Thousand Island – This is a sweet mayonnaise-based dressing that has bread and butter pickles, pimentos, hardboiled eggs, and chili sauce.
- Russian – This is a zesty mayonnaise-based dressing that has chili sauce, horseradish, and onions.
How to Make a Reuben Sandwich
Use these easy-to-follow instructions with images to make a classic Reuben sandwich recipe:
Add some butter to a cast iron pan, flat top, or griddle over medium to medium-high heat, and heat up some corned beef. This will take about 4-6 minutes in total, so be sure to move the meat around every minute or so. See chef notes.
Next, toast one side of the bread on some melted butter until toasted, which takes about 2 minutes. Remove the bread, add more butter, and heat until melted before flipping the bread over toasted side up.
Immediately spread on some of the dressing on both slices of bread.
Next, layer on as followed, corned beef, swiss cheese, and sauerkraut.
Place the other toasted piece of bread with dressing on it to the top of the sandwich and press down. Cook the sandwich for 1 to 2 minutes per side once it is assembled, and then slice and serve.
Make-Ahead and Storage
Make-Ahead: A Reuben sandwich is meant to be eaten as soon as it is done being made. However, you can keep warm for up to 15 minutes in an oven at a low temperature (200°) before serving.
How to Store: It is best if you can keep all ingredients i.e., corned beef, bread, dressing, cheese, and sauerkraut, covered and separated in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. The corned beef is the only thing that will freeze well covered for up to 3 months. Thaw in the refrigerator for 1 day before using.
How to Reheat: When the ingredients are kept separate, simply assemble the sandwich according to the recipe instructions. If the sandwich is already made place on a sheet tray lined with parchment paper and bake in the oven at 350° for 5-7 minutes or until hot.
chef notes + tips
- You can immediately start making the other components of the sandwich once you place on the corned beef.
More Sandwich Recipes
Classic Reuben Sandwich Recipe
- Add 1 tablespoon of butter to a cast iron pan, flat top, or griddle over medium to medium-high heat, and heat up a 1/3 pound of corned beef. This will take about 4-6 minutes in total, so be sure to move the meat around every minute or so. See chef notes.
- Next, melt 1 tablespoon of butter until melted and place on 2 slices of bread to toast, which takes about 2 minutes.
- Remove the bread, add 1 more tablespoon of butter and heat until melted before flipping the bread over toasted side up.
- Immediately spread a ¼ cup of the dressing between both slices of bread.
- Next, layer on as followed, corned beef, 2 slices of swiss cheese, about a ½ cup of sauerkraut.
- Place the other toasted piece of bread with dressing on it to the top of the sandwich dressing side down and press down with a spatula.
- Cook the sandwich for 1 to 2 minutes per side once it is assembled, and then slice and serve.
- Repeat the process 3 more times for a total of 4 sandwiches. You can cook this all together at once as well.