This scrumptious toasted Reuben Sandwich is piled high with melty Swiss cheese, thin layers of sliced corned beef, sauerkraut, and homemade thousand island dressing, all on rye bread. Discover the ultimate Reuben sandwich recipe with this step-by-step guide.
The Ultimate Reuben Sandwich
From perfectly toasted bread to layers of flavorful corned beef, sauerkraut, and melty Swiss cheese, this recipe will satisfy all your sandwich cravings. This classic sandwich was the brainstorm of Reuben Kulakofsky at the Blackstone Hotel in Omaha, Nebraska, in 1914. Serve with homemade air fryer potato wedges, potato salad, fried potatoes, or homemade potato chips. Don’t forget the dill pickle spear.
What is a Reuben Sandwich
A traditional Reuben Sandwich is a grilled sandwich with thinly sliced corned beef, Swiss cheese, and sauerkraut on rye bread or pumpernickel slathered with thousand island dressing or Russian dressing.
What’s in a Reuben Sandwich
To make the sandwich, you will need corned beef, rye or pumpernickel bread, Swiss cheese, sauerkraut, and butter.
To make the Thousand Island Dressing, you will need mayonnaise, onion, ketchup, sweet pickle relish, paprika, and salt.
How do you make a Reuben Sandwich?
Start by mixing all the ingredients for the Thousand Island dressing together. Next, place a slice of Swiss cheese on each slice of bread. Spread the cheese with the homemade Thousand Island dressing. Now add the corned beef to one side and the sauerkraut to the other side. If desired, spread a little more Thousand Island dressing.
Then, carefully fold the two sides together to form a sandwich. Spread soft butter over the top and place butter side down in a hot nonstick skillet over medium heat. Now spread butter over the side facing up. Cover the skillet loosely with aluminum foil. Cook until both bead slices are golden brown, flipping halfway through. The sandwich should be heated through, and the cheese should be melted.
- Use good quality dark rye bread, pumpernickel, or a rye/pumpernickel blend or swirl.
- Drain the sauerkraut well and squeeze or press against the side of the colander to release any excess moisture. No one likes a soggy sandwich.
- Put the cheese on the bread first, as this helps the cheese melt better by being close to the heating element, and it also helps keep the bread from getting soggy.
- Ask the deli counter to slice the corned beef thin. I like using thinly sliced corn beef so the Swiss and homemade Thousand Island dressing can meld between the slices.
- Protip – microwave the corned beef for about 45 seconds at 50% power to take the chill off. You don’t want to cook it; just ensure that your sandwich is heated all through and is one glorious hot mess.
- The dressing can be made up to several days in advance.
- Cover the skillet loosely with aluminum foil so the whole sandwich warms through and the cheese melts perfectly.
Thousand Island Dressing or Russian Dressing
I like the Reuben Sandwich made with Thousand Island dressing, but some prefer Russian dressing. Russian dressing has horseradish and Worcestershire sauce, which Thousand Island does not have. Thousand Island has pickle relish, while Russian dressing does not.
More Sandwiches to try
Classic Reuben Sandwich Recipe
Thousand Island Dressing
- ½ cup mayonnaise
- 2 tablespoons grated onion
- 2 tablespoons ketchup
- 2 tablespoons sweet pickle relish
- 1 pinch paprika
- 1 pinch salt
- 12 ounces corned beef
- 8 slices rye or rye and pumpernickel mixed
- 8 slices swiss cheese
- 1 cup sauerkraut well drained
- 4 tablespoons butter
- In a small bowl mix the mayonnaise, grated onion, ketchup, sweet pickle relish, paprika, and salt together.
- Place a piece of Swiss cheese on each slice of bread. Spread about 1 tablespoon of dressing over each slice of bread. Add the corned beef to four of those slices of bread, dividing evenly. Add the sauerkraut to the other four slices of bread, dividing evenly. Carefully fold the corned beef sides onto sauerkraut sides to form 4 sandwiches.
- Spread soft butter over the top of each sandwich. Place the sandwich butter side down in a hot skillet over medium-low heat. Spread butter over the side facing up. Cover the skillet loosely with aluminum foil. Cook until the bottom is golden brown then flip. Cover and cook until the other side is golden brown. The sandwich should be heated through and the cheese should be melted.