Grilled marble rye is loaded with thin sliced corned beef, Swiss cheese, tangy sauerkraut, and a homemade Russian dressing in this delicious and irresistible Reuben sandwich. I’m sharing my homemade Russian dressing recipe as well, so you can be sure this will be the best Reuben you’ve ever had!
The first time I ever had a Reuben sandwich at a deli, I was instantly in love. This sandwich has everything: crispy, buttery bread, gooey cheese, salty meat, and tons of flavor from the sauce and sauerkraut. I’ll almost always order a Reuben if I see it on a menu, and I’m very rarely disappointed.
The good news is that you don’t have to go out to get an amazing Reuben sandwich, I’m teaching you how to make it at home! My homemade Russian dressing makes this Reuben the best I’ve ever had, and I think you’ll agree.
What is a Reuben Sandwich?
A Reuben sandwich is a corned beef and swiss sandwich with sauerkraut and creamy dressing on rye bread, typically grilled. This classic sandwich combines flavors from a variety of regional groups, and so it makes sense that it is an American creation! There are a couple of different origin stories for this sandwich.
One states that a hotel customer in Omaha, Nebraska started ordering a corned beef and sauerkraut sandwich at a weekly poker game. His name was Reuben, and so the sandwich had his name. The hotel eventually put the sandwich on their menu, adding thousand islands dressing and swiss cheese.
Another story gives credit for the Reuben to Arnold Ruben, the owner of Ruben’s Delicatessen in New York City. Either way, this sandwich has been in existence in the US since the mid 1930’s, and its delicious flavors have kept it popular for over 90 years.
This recipe is for a traditional Reuben and includes all of the expected toppings. While this sandwich can be served cold, we are grilling to get the best flavors and textures.
Why You’ll Love this Recipe
- It’s a Sandwich! I love making sandwiches for dinner, or lunch, or brunch, or really any time! They are simple, great on the go, and the perfect finger food for casual get togethers or parties.
- Homemade Russian Dressing. You might know that my mother and grandmother are from Russia, and I share traditional Russian recipes like Borscht Soup, Plushki, and others. I can tell you that Russian dressing as we know it isn’t actually a Russian recipe, but it is delicious! I prefer to use this russian dressing recipe rather than bottled 1000 islands, as it’s less sweet and more flavorful.
- It’s Inexpensive. Whether you buy deli sliced corned beef, or make your own, this is an inexpensive protein, and we aren’t using very much of it. You can feed the whole family for not a lot of cash.
Here’s what you’ll need to make the Russian dressing and the sandwich:
- Russian Dressing: We’re making our own! The ingredients for that include mayonnaise, ketchup, horseradish, Worcestershire sauce, mustard, and seasonings.
- Rye Bread: I like to use a marble rye because I think it just looks so pretty, but plain rye bread can work here too.
- Butter: Butter goes on the outside of the sandwich so that when we grill it in a hot pan it gets brown and crispy.
- Corned Beef: Thinly sliced corned beef from the deli is perfect for this sandwich. If you make a corned beef roast, thinly sliced leftovers will be delicious here as well.
- Swiss Cheese: The cheese will get melty and delicious inside of our Reuben sandwiches. Get it at the deli while you’re picking up the corned beef!
- Sauerkraut: You can buy sauerkraut in cans or bagged in the produce section of your grocery store. Drain the liquid out before adding it to your sandwiches.
Complete list of ingredients and amounts can be found in the recipe card below.
How to Make Russian Dressing
In a bowl, whisk together mayo, ketchup, grated onion, prepared horseradish, Worcestershire sauce, yellow mustard, paprika, salt, and pepper. That’s it! It’s super easy.
Make the Russian dressing up to three days ahead of time to save time and let the flavors develop.
How to Make a Reuben Sandwich
- Butter the Bread: Spread a generous amount of butter on each slice of rye bread.
- Build Sandwiches: Spread dressing on the other sides of each slice of bread, and top half of them with corned beef, cheese, and sauerkraut. Top with another slice of bread, buttered side up.
- Grill: Heat a skillet over low-medium heat, arrange the sandwiches buttered side down, and cook for 3 minutes on each side while gently pressing down with a spatula. Cook until the bread is lightly toasted and crispy.
- Serve: These sandwiches are best served warm, with crispy potato chips. If you have extra dressing leftover, it makes a delicious dipping sauce for chips or fries!
Recipe Success Tips
Make a “Rachel”. A Rachel Sandwich is similar to a Reuben, except the corned beef is replaced with turkey (or sometimes pastrami) and the sauerkraut is replaced with cole slaw or shredded cabbage.
Make it extra cheesy. Put a slice of cheese on both the bottom and top of the sandwich for an extra melty Reuben sandwich.
How to serve Reuben Sandwiches
Sandwiches like this one, or Tuna melt sandwiches or Cuban sandwiches make amazing simple dinners. I like to serve sandwich dinners with a simple tossed salad or oven baked fries to make things super easy.
You can also cut these sandwiches into 4ths, pop in some fancy toothpicks, and serve them as appetizers at your next holiday or football party.
Frequently Asked Questions
Many recipes call for 1000 island dressing, and while that’s fine, I much prefer this homemade Russian dressing. If you want to take a shortcut, buttled 1000 Island dressing can be used in this recipe.
Both of these sauces are similar, having a base of mayonnaise and ketchup. Thousand Island dressing includes chopped pickles or relish, giving it a chunky texture and a sweeter flavor, while Russian dressing generally has horseradish or some sort of chili, making it a bit more spicy.
You absolutely can enjoy this sandwich cold, but I highly suggest that you grill it!
If you have a panini press, this is an excellent way to use it! The press will ensure that your Reubens are warmed all the way through and perfectly melty.
Enjoy this classic Reuben sandwich recipe! I can’t wait to hear how you like it. Make sure to pin this recipe so you don’t lose it!
For the Russian dressing:
- ½ cup mayonnaise
- 3 tablespoons ketchup
- 1 tablespoon onion finely grated
- 1 teaspoon prepared horseradish
- ½ teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
- ½ teaspoon yellow mustard
- ½ teaspoon smoked paprika
- salt and pepper to taste
For the sandwich:
- 3 tablespoons butter softened
- ½ pound corned beef deli style, thin slices
- 6 slices rye bread
- 6 slices Swiss cheese
- ½ cup sauerkraut drained
- Russian dressing from above
- To make the dressing, combine all of the dressing ingredients in a bowl, whisk until very well combined. Set aside.
- Spread ½ tablespoon of butter on each slice of bread.
- Spread dressing on the other sides of each slice of bread, and top half of them with corned beef, cheese, and sauerkraut. Top with another slice of bread, buttered side up.
- Heat a skillet over low-medium heat, arrange the sandwiches (2 at a time) buttered side down, cook for 3 minutes while gently pressing down with a spatula, flip, then cook for 3 more minutes or until the bread is lightly toasted and crispy.
- Serve warm with potato chips.
- Make a “Rachel”. A Rachel Sandwich is similar to a Reuben, except the corned beef is replaced with turkey (or sometimes pastrami) and the sauerkraut is replaced with cole slaw or shredded cabbage.
- Make it extra cheesy. Put a slice of cheese on both the bottom and top of the sandwich for an extra melty Reuben sandwich.
This website provides approximate nutrition information for convenience and as a courtesy only. Nutrition data is gathered primarily from the USDA Food Composition Database, whenever available, or otherwise other online calculators.
© Little Sunny Kitchen