How to Make a Reuben Sandwich that Outdoes the Deli

Meat + melty cheese = sandwich heaven. Our Test Kitchen experts show you how to DIY a Reuben.

Reuben sandwich cut in half sitting on a plate with gooey cheese pouring over its sides

There’s nothing quite like a Reuben. It’s got all the ingredients we love in a hearty sandwich: toasted bread, gooey melted cheese and thinly sliced meat piled sky high. While we love a good grilled cheese or club sub, the Reuben’s bold flavors pack a welcome punch, especially in cold winter weather. Consider: Sharp rye bread, tangy sauerkraut, balanced by a drizzle of creamy Russian dressing.

Though it’s typically dished out at the deli, this winning sandwich can be made at home in a snap. The Taste of Home Test Kitchen shows you how.


  • 8 slices light or dark rye bread
  • 12 ounces thinly sliced corned beef
  • 1 can (8 ounces) sauerkraut, rinsed and well drained
  • 1/2 cup Russian or Thousand Island dressing
  • 4 slices Swiss cheese
  • Butter
  • Small skillet

person laying slices of bread with cheese, meat, sauerkraut and sauce

Step 1: Assemble your ingredients

Lay out four slices of the bread. This’ll serve as the base of your sandwich. Divvy up your corned beef between each slice. Then, layer with a quarter of the sauerkraut and 2 tablespoons of dressing. Round out your Reubens with a single slice of cheese. Lastly, top them off with the remaining slices of bread.

Fun fact: If the sandwich is made with pastrami, a close cousin to corned beef, it’s called a Rachel sandwich.

person toasting their assembled reuben on the stovetop while buttering the top-facing side

Step 2: Toast ’em up

Give the bread a healthy spread of butter and transfer to a small skillet over medium heat. Wait until the bottoms have browned slightly before flipping them over to toast the other side. It can be slightly harder to see if dark rye bread has toasted, so keep a watchful eye. Once flipped, the cheese should melt slightly.

Step 3: Enjoy

Serve your toasted sammies up with chips and a pickle. To best enjoy a Reuben’s warm and melt-y flavor, you’ll want to be sure to nosh on them right after they’re cooked.

Looking to switch things up? Check out these unique variations on the classic sandwich:

  • Lobster Reuben: Substitute chunks of lobster meat for corned beef.
  • Montreal Reuben: If you can get your paws on it, try subbing in Montreal smoked meat for a Canadian take on things.
Try more tasty Rueben recipes.
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Nicole Doster
Nicole is a writer, editor and lover of Italian food. In her spare time, you’ll find her thumbing through vintage cookbooks or testing out recipes in her tiny kitchen.