Easy Reuben Sandwich Recipe

If you want a great sandwich, don't overthink things, and don't try to find some new or obscure eat; just order a Reuben. Or better yet, make it yourself. That's what chef and recipe developer Michelle McGlinn does multiple times a year. "I guess because I'm Irish, I always seek out Reubens on St. Patrick's Day to get my corned beef fix," McGlinn says. "That way I can have corned beef for lunch and shepherd's pie or fish fry for dinner." 

But why this exact recipe for the sandwich? She explains: "Of all the delis and restaurants I've gotten corned beef from, I've really preferred the deli-style shaved beef, piled up high on rye bread. And always toasted!"

How best to enjoy this messy delight of a sandwich? "These are a really solid lunchtime meal and go well with potato chips and a big kosher pickle," McGlinn says. "You can totally have these for an easy dinner, too. I'd serve them with potato salad and fruit or a big leafy green salad. Or, if it's a colder night, soup and a salad: maybe matzo ball soup, chicken and dumplings, or even a thick and creamy tomato bisque situation."

Gather your ingredients for these Reubens

To make the same sandwich McGlinn loves, you'll need, of course, two slices of bread — Jewish rye and pumpernickel swirl bread, specifically — butter, thinly shaved corned beef, sliced Swiss cheese, plain sauerkraut, and Thousand Island (or Russian) dressing.

And note an option for an ingredient change-up per McGlinn: "It's also a sandwich I make when I visit my parents' house. Corned beef is expensive, and the toppings a little unusual, so it's a little bit of a treat that I get to have while I'm there. While my dad's at the deli, he picks up coleslaw — he happens to like coleslaw — and one time I decided to add it to my sandwich in place of sauerkraut. Not too far off! They're both cabbage, and the coleslaw melts really deliciously into the meat when you toast it. It's a fun substitution, and something a little different. And less sour, too."

Butter the bread and stack the ingredients

Butter a side of both slices of bread, then stack the slices with buttered sides together; this will prevent messes as you prep the sandwich. Next, layer the corned beef onto the bread. Then add the cheese and sauerkraut, then drizzle some Thousand Island dressing atop the pile of ingredients.

Toast the sandwiches and enjoy

Place the bread topped with the sandwich ingredients, buttered-side down, into a skillet heated over a medium heat. Now close the sandwich by topping it with the second slice of bread with the buttered side up. Toast it until it has browned nicely on the bottom (about 2 to 3 minutes), then flip the Reuben over and toast it on the other side until the cheese has melted (another 2 or 3 minutes).

Finally, remove the sandwich from the heat and cut it in half to serve. Enjoy!

What makes a Reuben a Reuben?

This sandwich is a team effort; it's not a case where one ingredient shines above the others. Miss anything here, and the sandwich as a whole is taken down a peg. 

Take, for instance, the rye bread. Here, it's not just a vessel for whatever's inside the sandwich — it's contributing an herby, almost nutty flavor thanks to the caraway. "You can use any bread, of course," McGlinn says, "but I do think it's fun to seek out the pumpernickel swirl rye bread. It's thick, sturdy, and a really nice, lightly sweet base for all the bold flavors inside the sandwich." Plus, it's pretty to look at!

Easy Reuben Sandwich Recipe
5 from 26 ratings
When craving a sandwich, you can't go wrong with a Reuben. Enjoy this meaty, cheesy, and just a little tangy deli favorite without the trip to the deli.
Prep Time
Cook Time
Reuben sandwich on a plate
Total time: 10 minutes
  • 2 slices of Jewish rye and pumpernickel swirl bread
  • 1 tablespoon butter, softened
  • 8 slices thinly shaved corned beef
  • 2 slices Swiss cheese
  • ¼ cup plain sauerkraut
  • 3 tablespoons Thousand Island dressing
  1. Butter 1 side of each slice of bread, then stack the slices with the buttered sides together.
  2. Layer the corned beef on the bread.
  3. Add cheese, sauerkraut, and Thousand Island dressing.
  4. Heat a skillet over medium heat.
  5. Place the slice topped with the filling, buttered-side down, onto the skillet. Top with the second slice, buttered-side up.
  6. Toast the sandwich until browned (about 2 to 3 minutes), then flip and toast the other side until the cheese has melted (another 2 to 3 minutes).
  7. Remove from the heat and cut in half to serve.
Calories per Serving 195
Total Fat 14.2 g
Saturated Fat 5.2 g
Trans Fat 0.1 g
Cholesterol 42.6 mg
Total Carbohydrates 5.1 g
Dietary Fiber 0.5 g
Total Sugars 1.5 g
Sodium 822.7 mg
Protein 11.2 g
The information shown is Edamam’s estimate based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.
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