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Hot Reuben Sandwich

The Reuben Sandwich is an American icon and my husband’s favorite!  According to tradition, we made this grilled sandwich with rye bread slathered with Russian dressing and layered with slices of corned beef, sauerkraut and Swiss cheese.

Reuben Sandwich
Rye bread, thick slices of corned beef, tangy Swiss cheese and sauerkraut

There is a murky background lurking in the history of this iconic sandwich and it is unclear of the sandwich origins.   But there is nothing murky about the taste of this sandwich.  It is undeniably delicious.  This is also a great repurposing of your leftover St. Patrick’s Day corned beef and cabbage leftovers.  It is a celebration in itself!  

Is Pastrami the same As Corned Beef?

They are a little different even though they are both beef cuts. Both pastrami and corned beef go through a curing process. Pastrami is then coated with a dry rub and smoked. The corned beef will be either boiled or roasted after curing.

Reuben Sandwich
The classic Reuben Sandwich

Can I make a Reuben Sandwich with Pastrami?

That would be a Rachel Sandwich.  The Rachel sandwich is a variation of the Reuben Sandwich and it has a crunchy layer of coleslaw substituting the sauerkraut.

What is the Best Bread for a Rueben Sandwich?

The traditional Rueben sandwich is made with rye bread. Rye bread is made with either all rye flour or a combination of rye and wheat flours.  There are different types of rye bread and the most popular are:

  • Deli
  • Light
  • Dark
  • Pumpernickel
  • Jewish

Reuben sandwich ingredients.

There are only 5 basic ingredients in a Reuben but there is nothing basic about the taste of this delicious, filling sandwich. Here is the breakdown of what you need to get.

  • Rye bread
  • Russian dressing
  • Swiss cheese
  • Corned beef
  • Sauerkraut 

These are the ingredients for a classic Reuben sandwich. You can certainly substitute some of the ingredients and make a variation of the classic sandwich. The important thing is to pile ’em on and make a thick sandwich. 

Reuben Sandwich
Sauerkraut and fat dill pickle

How to Make A Reuben Sandwich:

Check out our printable recipe card below but first, here is a breakdown. 

  • Spread both sides of your favorite style of rye bread with Russian dressing
  • Add a generous layer of thin slices of corned beef to one slice of bread
  • Top the corned beef with several slices of Swiss cheese
  • Cover the cheese with tangy sauerkraut
  • Place the second slice of bread over the sauerkraut.
  • Brush the outside of the bread with melted butter
  • Place sandwich in a preheated hot skillet and cook each side until golden.

Serve this Reuben sandwich with a crisp dill pickle, crunchy potato chips and a cold glass of suds!

What’s the difference between Russian and Thousand Island dressing?

Russian dressing is spicier and bolder tasting than Thousand Island. The tangy, sweet, Thousand Island dressing has a much milder flavor and fewer spices. We aren’t sure why Russian dressing is called “Russian” but we do know that both dressings are American made condiments. 

You can use either dressing in this Reuben sandwich but it is much more traditional to use Russian dressing. 

Hot Reuben Sandwich
A good ole’ fashioned Corned Beef Hot Reuben Sandwich

Things to serve with a Reuben sandwich. 

We love a side of chips and a dill pickle with our Reuben but if you have a big appetite, serve it with a Dilly Potato Salad or some coleslaw. Steak fries dipped in Russian dressing is also a big winner. 🙂 What? You haven’t tried dipping your fries in Russian dressing? Go get some and do it. You will set a new tradition. 

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Hot Reuben Sandwich

Hot Reuben Sandwich

Yield: 2 servings
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 12 minutes
Total Time: 27 minutes

A classic hot Reuben sandwich, filled generously with thinly sliced corned beef, sauerkraut, Russian Dressing and Swiss cheese then toasted to a golden brown.


  • 4 slices rye bread
  • 1/3 cup Russian dressing
  • 4-6 slices Swiss cheese
  • 8 ounces thinly sliced corned beef (or pastrami)
  • 6 ounces sauerkraut, drained and squeezed dry
  • 4 tablespoons butter


  1. Preheat oven to 400°F
  2. Spread each slice of bread generously with Russian dressing and top with one slice of Swiss cheese. Put half of the corned beef on two slices of bread and top with half of the sauerkraut. Place the other slice of bread on each. Butter both sandwiches and place buttered side down on a hot griddle or skillet.
  3. Flip the sandwiches over and toast an additional 2-3 minutes or until the cheese is melted.

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