There is nothing like a classic Reuben sandwich! Put some corned beef, sauerkraut, Thousand Island dressing and swiss cheese between two fresh slices of rye or pumpernickel bread and grill it up. You will have one heck of a corned beef sandwich!
On St Patrick's Day, I often cook Corned Beef and Cabbage in my Dutch oven. I love making all the fixings of this traditional Irish meal but my favorite part is turning the leftovers into a Reuben sandwich. And really, I like making this sandwich all year round so I buy a few corned beef briskets when they are on sale and keep them in my freezer.
What is a Reuben Sandwich
A classic Reuben sandwich consists of corned beef, sauerkraut, swiss cheese, and Thousand Island dressing. It is typically made on rye bread and is grilled so that the cheese melts and the sandwich is served hot. There are variations where pastami is used instead of corned beef and cole slaw is substituted for sauerkraut but on St Patrick's Day, I always make the classic sandwich.
- Corned beef - I like it sliced very thin but slice it to your preference. You can also purchase corned beef from the deli if you want quick and easy!
- Thousand Island dressing - This creamy dressing gives tang to the sandwich and you can also use Russian dressing which is similar.
- sauerkraut - You can't have a good Reuben without this!
- rye bread- The fresher the better! I alternate with pumpernickel bread or you can even get a combination of both.
- swiss cheese - Again, I like my cheese thinly sliced. It melts really well this way.
- butter - Soften the butter for even spreading.
How to Make a Classic Reuben Sandwich
- Slice the corned beef thin and remove all extra fat. Gather all the ingredients.
- Spread the bread with the dressing.
- Warm the corned beef and sauerkraut and pile on the corned beef, sauerkraut and swiss cheese. Top the sandwich with the other slice of bread. Melt some some butter in a grill pan and put the sandwich on top. Spread a bit of butter on the top piece of bread. Grill and turn.
- Cook the sandwich until the cheese is melted and the bread is toasted. (See recipe card below for full instructions.)
Tips for making the best Reubens
- Cook your own corned beef if you have the time. While you can easily get corned beef from the deli, this sandwich tastes so much better when you make the corned beef brisket yourself. Of course I don't judge if you need to get deli corned beef in a pinch.
- Make sure to use fresh bread. My favorite is from the local bakery.
- Use softened butter to spread on the bread.
- Heat the meat and sauerkraut for 60 seconds in the microwave so the sandwich cooks quicker.
- Pile on as much or as little of each ingredients. Make it exactly like you like it. I like mine with just a little dressing but lots of sauerkraut and swiss cheese.
Reuben Sandwich Variations
- Cold Corned Beef Sandwich - Swap out the sauerkraut for cole slaw and serve the sandwich on the freshest bread without grilling.
- Turkey Reuben - Use sliced turkey rather than beef to make a delicious hot turkey sandwich.
- Pastrami Reuben - Get some pastrami from a local deli and make this variation of teh reuben sandwich.
What to Serve with Corn Beef Sandwiches
Try these side dishes to go with your Reuben.
- Sweet and Spicy Refrigerator Pickles
- Lighter Homemade Macaroni Salad via Everyday Eileen
- Herbed potato Salad via Cookies and Kate
- Arugula Salad with Beets and and Fennel
If you like this corned beef Reuben recipe, please leave a 5-star rating below.
Classic Corned Beef Reuben Sandwich
- 12 ounces sliced corned beef, all extra fat removed
- 1 cup sauerkraut
- ¼ cup Thousand island dressing, plus extra if needed
- 8 slices rye bread
- 8 slices swiss cheese
- 2 tablespoons butter, softened
- Heat the sauerkraut and corned beef in the microwave for about 60 seconds or until warm.
- Spread the Thousand Island dressing on each slice of bread. Top half of the slices with cheese, corned beef, and sauerkraut. Top each sandwich with remaining bread slices, dressing side down.
- Heat a large skillet or grill pan on medium heat. Melt half the butter in the skillet and place the sandwiches in the pan. Butter the top side of the sandwich bread. Cook until the bread is golden brown and the cheese is melted, about 3 to 4 minutes per side, turning in the middle of cooking..
- Cut in half before serving.
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