How to Make a classic Reuben sandwich

The Reuben sandwich is a classic American dish that features a delicious combination of corned beef, Swiss cheese, sauerkraut, and thousand island dressing (or Russian dressing) on rye bread. It is a perfect sandwich for lunch, dinner, or even a snack. Perfect to make when you got some left-over corned beef after St. Patrick’s Day!

I made some corned beef the other day not only to celebrate my birthday but also for St. Patrick’s Day. We had some leftovers because we are only a family of 4 and couldn’t finish an entire big chunk of corned beef. But, no problemo – I was glad we had some leftovers so I could make my favorite sandwich of all – the Reuben!

In this blog post, we will provide you with a classic Reuben sandwich recipe that is easy to make and guaranteed to satisfy your cravings. And don’t worry if you don’t have left-over corned beef, just get some in your favorite deli and gather the rest of the ingredients and in no time you can make your own homemade version of this American classic!

Before we get to the recipe, here are some common questions you may have about the Reuben sandwich itself and how to make it! Hope you find the answers helpful!

WHAT IS THE ORIGIN OF REUBEN SANDWICH?

The exact origin of the Reuben sandwich is a subject of debate, and there are several stories and claims about its creation. However, the most widely accepted theory is that it was first created in the early 20th century by a German-Jewish grocer named Reuben Kulakofsky in Omaha, Nebraska.

As the story goes, Kulakofsky was hosting a poker game with his friends and wanted to make them a sandwich that was different from the usual fare. He combined corned beef, Swiss cheese, sauerkraut, and Russian dressing on rye bread, and the Reuben sandwich was born.

Another theory suggests that the sandwich was created by Arnold Reuben, the owner of Reuben’s Delicatessen in New York City, in the 1920s. According to this story, Reuben invented the sandwich when a regular customer asked for a sandwich that was “not too light and not too heavy.”

Regardless of its origin, the Reuben sandwich quickly became a popular item in delis and restaurants across the United States. Today, it is considered a classic American sandwich and is enjoyed by millions of people around the world.

WHICH IS BETTER TO USE IN MAKING A REUBEN SANDWICH, THIN CUT OR THICK SLICES OF CORNED BEEF?

The choice between thin or thick slices of corned beef for your Reuben sandwich is a matter of personal preference, and both options can work well depending on your taste. I personally prefer thicker slices so I taste the flavor of the corned beef in between all the other layers in the sandwich but it’s a matter of one’s taste so there’s no right or wrong here.

Thinly sliced corned beef is more traditional for a Reuben sandwich and is often preferred by people who like a tender and more delicate texture. Thin slices are also easier to bite through and tend to meld better with the other ingredients in the sandwich.

On the other hand, thick slices of corned beef can offer a more hearty and robust flavor. Thick slices also tend to have a firmer texture, which some people prefer. Additionally, thicker slices can add more substance and protein to the sandwich.

Ultimately, the choice between thin or thick slices of corned beef depends on your preference for the texture, flavor, and overall mouthfeel of the sandwich. It’s a matter of experimenting with both options and choosing the one that you find most appealing.

CAN I OTHER BREAD APART FROM RYE TO MAKE A REUBEN SANDWICH?

Yes, you can use other types of bread for your Reuben sandwich if you prefer. While rye bread is the traditional choice for this sandwich, you can substitute it with other types of bread that you enjoy. Here are some options:

  • Sourdough bread: This bread has a slightly tangy flavor that pairs well with the salty corned beef and tangy sauerkraut.
  • Whole wheat bread: If you prefer a healthier option, whole wheat bread is a good choice. It has a nutty flavor and a hearty texture that complements the other ingredients.
  • Pumpernickel bread: This dark, dense bread is similar to rye bread and has a slightly sweet taste. It is a good alternative if you like the flavor of rye bread but want something a little different.
  • White bread: If you prefer a milder flavor, you can use white bread for your Reuben sandwich. While it doesn’t have the same flavor as rye bread, it still makes a tasty sandwich.

Ultimately, the choice of bread is a matter of personal preference, so feel free to experiment with different types of bread until you find the one that you like best.

DO I NEED TO REHEAT THE CORNED BEEF BEFORE USING IT IN THE REUBEN SANDWICH?

Whether or not you need to reheat your corned beef before using it in your Reuben sandwich depends on your personal preference and the temperature of the corned beef.

If you have freshly cooked corned beef that is still warm, you may not need to reheat it. However, if your corned beef is cold or has been refrigerated, you may want to reheat it slightly to improve the texture and flavor. You can do this by placing the corned beef in a skillet or microwave-safe dish and heating it for a few minutes until it is warm but not hot.

Keep in mind that overcooking or overheating the corned beef can cause it to become dry and tough. It’s important to heat it gently and only for as long as necessary to warm it through.

In summary, whether or not to reheat the corned beef for your Reuben sandwich is a matter of personal preference, but if you do choose to reheat it, be sure to do so carefully and only until it is warm.

And now let’s go to the recipe for the CLASSIC REUBEN SANDWICH!

FOR FULL RECIPE & INSTRUCTIONS and to PRINT, SEE RECIPE CARD BELOW.

This recipe makes a good serving of 2 sandwiches because my leftover corned beef only allowed me to make 2. But this basic recipe can easily be doubled or tripled depending on how much you want to make!


WHAT ARE THE INGREDIENTS FOR THIS CLASSIC REUBEN SANDWICH?

  • 4 tsp unsalted butter, softened (adjust amount to taste)
  • 4 slices of rye bread
  • 4 tablespoons Thousand Island dressing, (adjust the amount to taste)
  • 4 slices of Swiss cheese
  • 1/2 pound sliced cooked corned beef
  • 4 tbsp sauerkraut, drained (adjust amount to taste)

HOW DO YOU MAKE THIS CLASSIC REUBEN SANDWICH?

  1. Preheat a large skillet or griddle over medium-low heat.
  2. Spread butter evenly over one side of each slice of rye bread (about 1 tsp each or to taste).
  3. Spread 1 tablespoon of thousand island dressing on the unbuttered side of each slice of bread.
  4. On 2 slices of bread, add a slice of Swiss cheese, followed by a generous helping of corned beef, and sauerkraut. Top each sandwich with another slice of Swiss cheese and a slice of bread with the buttered side facing up.
  5. Place the sandwiches onto the preheated skillet or griddle and cook for 2-3 minutes on each side until the bread is toasted and the cheese is melted.
  6. Remove the sandwiches from the skillet or griddle and let them rest for a few minutes before cutting them in half.
  7. Serve warm and enjoy!

TIPS & TRICKS

  • If you prefer a lighter version of this sandwich, you can use turkey instead of corned beef.
  • For a crispy sandwich, you can also use a panini press instead of a skillet or griddle.
  • If you like your Reuben sandwich extra saucy, you can add more thousand island dressing or even a side of Russian dressing for dipping.

In conclusion, the classic Reuben sandwich is a must-try dish for any sandwich lover. It’s a hearty and flavorful meal that can be enjoyed any time of day. With this simple recipe, you can easily make your own Reuben sandwich at home and impress your family and friends with your culinary skills. Give it a try and see for yourself why this sandwich has stood the test of time.

How to Make a classic Reuben sandwich

Manila Spoon
The Reuben sandwich is a classic American dish that features a delicious combination of corned beef, Swiss cheese, sauerkraut, and thousand island dressing (or Russian dressing) on rye bread. It is a perfect sandwich for lunch, dinner, or even a snack. Perfect to make when you got some left-over corned beef after St. Patrick’s Day!
5 from 13 votes
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 5 minutes
Servings 2
Calories 199 kcal

Ingredients
 

  • 4 tsp unsalted butter, softened (adjust amount to taste)
  • 4 slices of rye bread
  • 4 tbsp Thousand Island dressing, (adjust the amount to taste)
  • 4 slices of Swiss cheese
  • 1/2 pound cooked corned beef, sliced
  • 4 tbsp sauerkraut, drained (adjust amount to taste)

Instructions
 

  • Preheat a large skillet or griddle over medium-low heat.
  • Spread butter evenly over one side of each slice of rye bread (about 1 tsp each or to taste).
  • Spread 1 tablespoon of thousand island dressing on the unbuttered side of each slice of bread.
  • On 2 slices of bread, add a slice of Swiss cheese, followed by a generous helping of corned beef, and sauerkraut. Top each sandwich with another slice of Swiss cheese and a slice of bread with the buttered side facing up.
  • Place the sandwiches onto the preheated skillet or griddle and cook for 2-3 minutes on each side until the bread is toasted and the cheese is melted.
  • Remove the sandwiches from the skillet or griddle and let them rest for a few minutes before cutting them in half. Serve warm and enjoy!

Notes

TIPS & TRICKS
If you prefer a lighter version of this sandwich, you can use turkey instead of corned beef.
For a crispy sandwich, you can also use a panini press instead of a skillet or griddle.
If you like your Reuben sandwich extra saucy, you can add more thousand island dressing or even a side of Russian dressing for dipping.

Nutrition

Calories: 199kcalCarbohydrates: 6gProtein: 1gFat: 19gSaturated Fat: 7gPolyunsaturated Fat: 6gMonounsaturated Fat: 5gTrans Fat: 0.3gCholesterol: 30mgSodium: 504mgPotassium: 87mgFiber: 1gSugar: 5gVitamin A: 323IUVitamin C: 4mgCalcium: 17mgIron: 1mg
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

Last updated on February 22nd, 2024 at 10:17 pm

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7 Comments

  1. Karen B
    March 21, 2023 / 7:45 pm

    Love Reubens. I’ve already made these as a wrap! One of our favorite easy dinners!!

  2. March 22, 2023 / 8:58 am

    Marble rye/pumpernickel is great! Seedless rye is preferable for those who don’t like the caraway seeds!

  3. Andrea
    June 24, 2023 / 4:05 pm

    5 stars
    My mouth is watering just looking at these marvelous Reuben sandwiches. I can’t wait to dig into one. Yum!

  4. Janie
    June 24, 2023 / 4:38 pm

    5 stars
    I love makiing sandwiches for lunch. Made this and was so delicious with the melted cheese on rye bread!

  5. Elisa
    June 24, 2023 / 4:48 pm

    5 stars
    Love this Reubens sandwich, did not knew it before, so definitely will try and make it for dinner. It looks delicious!! Thanks for sharing. 🙂

  6. Jen
    June 24, 2023 / 5:19 pm

    5 stars
    I have a serious love of reuben sandwiches and this one did not disappoint. I want to make some homemade corned beef next time.

  7. Sara Welch
    June 24, 2023 / 9:03 pm

    5 stars
    This was everything a gourmet sandwich should be, and then some! Easy, hearty and delicious; definitely a new favorite sandwich!

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