Making deli-style Reuben sandwiches is as easy as piling hearty rye bread with thinly sliced corned beef, tangy sauerkraut and gooey Swiss cheese. Make it a winner with a balancing drizzle of creamy Russian dressing.
Reuben Sandwiches Recipe photo by Taste of Home

There’s nothing quite like a Reuben sandwich. It’s got all the ingredients we love in a hot sandwich: Gooey melted cheese, thinly sliced meat and some acidity, all piled high on toasted bread. The Reuben sandwich can be made in a snap, and its bold flavors pack a welcome punch—especially in cold winter weather. We’ll show you how to make a winning version that rivals the deli’s.

What is a Reuben sandwich?

A Reuben is a classic deli sandwich made with rye bread, corned beef, Swiss cheese, sauerkraut and either Russian or Thousand Island dressing. You could serve the sandwich cold, but it gains a warm, melty consistency when the sandwich is toasted. You don’t need a panini press to pull it off, either. We use a regular-ol’ skillet in our recipe for Reuben sandwiches.

Ingredients for Reuben Sandwiches

Corned beef bread cheese and other ingredients on a wooden tableTMB Studio

  • Corned beef: Thinly sliced corned beef works best for sandwiches. Pick it up at the deli or use leftover homemade corned beef.
  • Rye bread: The caraway seeds in rye bread give this hearty bread its characteristic flavor. Feel free to use light, dark or marble rye.
  • Sauerkraut: Drain the sauerkraut well to avoid soggy sandwiches. To customize the flavor of this tangy fermented condiment, try your hand at homemade sauerkraut.
  • Russian or Thousand Island dressing: These creamy dressings counterbalance the salty flavors in the corned beef and sauerkraut. It’s easy to whip up Russian dressing or Thousand Island dressing, and the homemade versions really make this sandwich shine.
  • Swiss cheese: Swiss is a mild-flavored cheese that won’t overpower the other flavors. Plus, it melts like a dream!
  • Butter: We griddle these sandwiches in a skillet, and butter gives the bread a rich flavor and perfectly toasted texture. If you’re like me and make your grilled cheese with mayonnaise, feel free to substitute the butter with a thin layer of mayonnaise.


Step 1: Divvy up the corned beef

Arrange the corned beef on four slices of bread.

Step 2: Assemble the remaining ingredients

Layer each sandwich with a sauerkraut and beef on a wooden surfaceTMB Studio

Layer each sandwich with a quarter of the sauerkraut and 2 tablespoons of dressing.

Slice of cheese sauce beef and sauerkraut layered on breadTMB Studio

Add a slice of cheese, and top the sandwiches with the remaining slices of bread.

Editor’s Tip: We like to sandwich the dressing inside the fillings. That keeps the bread from getting soggy.

Step 3: Toast ’em up

Reuben Sandwiches Tohvs24 601 Mf 01 11 Reubensandwiches 4TMB Studio

Butter the outsides of the sandwiches. In a small skillet over medium heat, toast the sandwiches until the bread is lightly browned on both sides and the cheese is melted.

Editor’s Tip: It can be challenging to tell if dark rye bread has toasted, so keep a watchful eye.

Reuben Sandwiches served on a plate with chipsTMB Studio

Recipe Variations

  • Make a Rachel sandwich: If you make this sandwich with pastrami instead of corned beef, it’s called a Rachel sandwich. Pastrami is smoked, so it has a richer, smoke-forward flavor.
  • Think outside the corned beef: Skip the corned beef and use another flavorful meat instead. Leftover brisket makes fantastic brisket sandwiches, and Montreal smoked meat would give the sandwich a Canadian spin. You can also substitute non-beef fillings, like chunks of lobster meat to make a lobster Reuben or roasted beets for a vegetarian version.
  • Skip the sauerkraut: If you’re not a fan of this fermented condiment, swap in a creamy coleslaw instead.

How to Store Reuben Sandwiches

This Reuben sandwich recipe is best prepared fresh, so we don’t recommend making the sandwiches ahead of time. The bread will lose its crisp texture and become a little soggy. It’s best to store the sandwich components separately and assemble (and toast) the sandwiches just before serving.

That said, if you end up with leftover sandwiches, they will last for up to four days when stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

Reuben Sandwich Tips

Slices of Reuben Sandwiches in a plate ready to serveTMB Studio

What is the difference between Russian and Thousand Island dressing?

Russian and Thousand Island are very similar dressings made with a mayonnaise and chili sauce base. Russian salad dressing is spicier and contains added ingredients like horseradish and hot sauce. Thousand Island has a sweeter flavor thanks to the addition of pickle relish.

What do you serve with Reuben sandwiches?

Keep it simple and serve these toasted sandwiches with chips and a pickle. Or pair your Reubens with hot slaw, potato salad or pasta salad.

Watch how to Make Reuben Sandwiches

Reuben Sandwiches

Reuben sandwiches are shared by Kathy Jo Scott of Hemingford, Nebraska. "My mouth waters just thinking of these sandwiches," confesses Kathy Jo. "I adapted the recipe from one my mother found several years ago."
Reuben Sandwiches Recipe photo by Taste of Home
Total Time

Prep/Total Time: 15 min.


4 servings


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


  1. Arrange corned beef on four slices of bread. Layer each with a quarter of the sauerkraut, 2 tablespoons of dressing and a slice of cheese. Top with remaining bread slices. Butter outsides of sandwiches.
  2. In a small skillet over medium heat, toast sandwiches until bread is lightly browned on both sides and cheese is melted.

Nutrition Facts

1 sandwich: 547 calories, 31g fat (13g saturated fat), 106mg cholesterol, 2346mg sodium, 39g carbohydrate (10g sugars, 5g fiber), 28g protein.