Reuben Sandwich is an American classic that is so popular, you can find in every restaurant. It’s no wonder that this corned beef sandwich is so popular with the combination of juicy, tender corned beef, Swiss cheese, sauerkraut, Thousand Island dressing, and rye bread. Taking all those ingredient and getting them nice and toasty in a pan creates a crunchy crust, warmed meat, and gooey melted cheese. Every bite is a slice of heaven and I will share my Reuben sandwich recipe and tips to make it the best.
If you love Reuben sandwich flavors as much as I do, you will enjoy my Reuben Dip, Reuben Egg Rolls, and so many more recipes inspired by this great sandwich.
If there is a Reuben sandwich on a menu, that is what I order most of the time. Through years, I’ve tried a Reuben sandwich in every restaurant in my area and many across the country. There have been some amazing Reuben sandwiches and some complete disappointments.
How can a Reuben Sandwich be disappointing? Even though this sandwich seems like it’s hard to mess up because of simple ingredients and simple preparation method, it is not done the same everywhere. Sometimes the bread is toasted and then cold ingredients were put inside the sandwich. Other times, the ingredients ratio was so off, that one ingredient was overpowering everything else.
Reuben Sandwich is a combination of corned beef, Swiss cheese, sauerkraut, Thousand Island dressing, and rye bread. All those delicious ingredients are layered on two slices of bread and then grilled with a little butter. This makes the bread crunchy while warming other ingredient and melting the cheese.
TIPS FOR MAKING THE BEST REUBEN SANDWICH
There are a few simple things you can do to make your Reuben sandwich the best.
Start with cooking your own corned beef brisket. Corned beef brisket can easily be cooked in an Instant Pot in just about an hour. It can also be done in an oven but it will take a bit longer.
When making Instant Pot corned beef for Reuben sandwiches, there is no need to add mustard and finish it under broiler. Use corned beef right after taking it out of the pot and slice it thin.
While assembling the sandwich, keep filling ingredients balanced. Don’t overload it with corned beef or too much dressing and cheese. The beauty of this sandwich is in the balance of ingredients.
Treat this sandwich like a grilled cheese and that means pan-grilling in with a little butter. The bread will be delightfully crunchy on the outside, the ingredients will be warm, and cheese will be melted.
When cooking the sandwich, don’t cook it too fast. Cook it at a medium-low temperature so that the ingredients have a change to warm up and Swiss cheese has time to melt, while the bread gets golden and crunchy.
INGREDIENTS FOR THIS CORNED BEEF SANDWICH
Corned Beef – this is a star ingredient you make it a good quality! Cook your own and if you have to buy it, get freshly sliced, good quality corned beef from the deli.
Sauerkraut – it provides great tangy and sour flavor to balance out the creamy ingredients and meat.
Swiss cheese – the absolute perfect cheese for this flavor combination.
Thousand Island dressing – the combination of creamy, sweet, and tangy flavors is the perfect compliment to corned beef and rye bread.
Rye bread – the classic bread for this sandwich that has so much more flavor than the plain white or wheat bread.
HOW TO COOK CORNED BEEF:
Corned beef brisket can easily be cooked in an Instant Pot in just about an hour. (It can also be done in an oven but it will take a bit longer.)
I prefer to make Instant Pot corned beef for Reuben sandwiches because it’s so much faster.
Use cooked corned beef right after taking it out of the pot, cut off the fat cap from the top, and slice it thin.
An uncooked 3 lb corned beef brisket, will be enough for 3 Reuben sandwiches once cooked.
HOW TO MAKE REUBEN SANDWICH:
Treat this tasty corned beef sandwich like a grilled cheese because you want the bread to be crunchy, the cheese to be melted, and everything inside to be warm.
Preheat the pan over medium heat and add a little butter. Add two slices of bread and spread some dressing over it. On one slice of bread, add some squeezed sauerkraut and on the other one, two slices of cheese. Spread corned beef evenly on the slice with cheese and let it all heat through.
Place one slice with corned beef over the other slice and press. Cook a few more minutes, until cheese is melty.
SOME MORE SANDWICH RECIPES TO TRY:
Italian Grilled Cheese Sandwich
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- 1 tbsp butter
- 2 slices of deli rye swirl bread
- 3 tbsp Thousand Island dressing
- 6 oz corned beef sliced thinly
- 2 slices Swiss cheese
- 1/4 cup sauerkraut liquid squeezed out
- Preheat a medium cooking pan over medium-low heat. Melt butter in the pan and spread it around evenly.
- Place slices of bread in the pan and spread Thousand island dressing on both slices.
- Squeeze liquid from sauerkraut and spread it on one slice of bread. Place two slices of Swiss cheese on the other slice of bread.
- Layer corned beef over cheese evenly. Let the bread crisp and ingredients heat up. Once cheese is melted, use a spatula to carefully place one slice over the other to close the sandwich.
- Cook for a couple more minutes on both sides, until bread is golden. Press gently.
- Take the sandwich out of the pan, cut in half, and serve right away.
Originally published on Will Cook For Smiles in February, 2019. Updated March 1, 2021.
Emma Emily says
I love this sandwich recipe
This recipe was so easy and so delicious! I used Trader Joe’s “Magnifisauce” rather than Thousand Island dressing and it was very tasty. My daughter said she’s could eat these sandwiches every night!
PATTI K HELSEL says
I love a good Reuben any day but long ago had one without thousand island dressing..instead the sandwich shop used mayonnaise , mustard and then some juice squeezed from the saurkraut to thin it. The dressing is your preference of mayo to mustard ratio… I like it so much better than the sweeter thousand island.. I encourage you to try it sometime, Oh Yum!!!
I will do that, Patti!
Marc Baranchik says
In the Hyde Park neighborhood in Chicago, some restaurants add egg salad on their Reubens.
That sounds interesting!
Marco the wine guy says
This is a really nice way to make the iconic deli sandwich at home. Lyuba is the queen of all things Reuben.👍👍👏👏
Haha, well thank you for the title, Marco!!