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How to Make a Delicious Reuben Sandwich at Home: A Step-by-Step Recipe

Reuben Sandwich

If you’re a fan of hearty and delicious sandwiches, the Reuben sandwich is a must-try. Packed with flavorful ingredients and a delightful combination of textures, this classic sandwich has been a favorite for decades. In this article, we’ll dive into the history of the Reuben sandwich, explore the key ingredients, and guide you through the step-by-step process of making the perfect Reuben sandwich at home. Whether you’re a meat lover, vegetarian, or looking for a unique twist on a classic, we’ve got you covered.



The Reuben sandwich is a beloved classic that has a rich and fascinating history. While its exact origins are subject to debate, the sandwich’s creation is often attributed to the early 20th century. One popular theory points to Reuben Kulakofsky, a grocer in Omaha, Nebraska, as the mastermind behind this iconic sandwich.

According to the tale, Reuben Kulakofsky was a regular at a local poker game held at the Blackstone Hotel. As the story goes, it was during one of these late-night poker sessions that the Reuben sandwich was born. The players would often get hungry during their games, and Reuben took it upon himself to create a hearty sandwich that would satisfy their appetites.

Reuben’s inspiration came from the classic combination of corned beef and sauerkraut, but he wanted to elevate it to a whole new level. He added Swiss cheese and Russian dressing, which added a creamy and tangy element to the sandwich. To complete his creation, he placed it all between two slices of rye bread, which provided a robust and flavorful base.

Word quickly spread about Reuben’s delicious invention, and it gained popularity among the locals and beyond. The sandwich became a staple at the hotel’s café, where it was affectionately known as “Reuben’s Special” or simply the “Reuben.” The Blackstone Hotel even featured the Reuben sandwich on its menu.

As the years went by, the Reuben sandwich continued to capture the hearts and taste buds of people across America. It made its way to New York City, where it gained further recognition and popularity. The sandwich became a favorite in delis and diners, and it soon earned a reputation as a classic American comfort food.

While Reuben Kulakofsky is often credited with inventing the Reuben sandwich, there are alternative theories and claims to its creation. Some suggest that the sandwich was actually created by Arnold Reuben, the owner of Reuben’s Restaurant and Delicatessen in New York City. According to this theory, the sandwich was named after him rather than Reuben Kulakofsky.

Regardless of its exact origin, there is no denying the enduring appeal of the Reuben sandwich. It has become a timeless favorite, celebrated for its delicious combination of flavors and textures. From its humble beginnings in Omaha, Nebraska, to its widespread popularity today, the Reuben sandwich has secured its place as a culinary icon in American cuisine.

Whether you enjoy the classic combination of corned beef, sauerkraut, Swiss cheese, and Russian dressing or prefer a creative variation, the Reuben sandwich continues to bring joy and satisfaction to sandwich lovers everywhere. Its rich history and enduring popularity are a testament to its status as a true culinary masterpiece.


Preparing the Corned Beef10 minutes
Assembling the Sandwich5 minutes
Grilling the Sandwich10 minutes

Please note that the times provided are estimates and may vary depending on individual cooking skills and equipment.


4 slices of rye bread4 slices
½ pound of thinly sliced corned beef½ pound
½ cup of sauerkraut, well-drained½ cup
4 slices of Swiss cheese4 slices
¼ cup of Russian dressing¼ cup
ButterAs needed

Please adjust the quantities according to your personal preferences and serving size.


Step 1: Preparing the Corned Beef

  1. Heat a skillet over medium heat.
  2. Add the thinly sliced corned beef to the skillet.
  3. Cook the corned beef for a few minutes on each side until heated through.
  4. Alternatively, you can warm the corned beef in the microwave if desired.

Step 2: Assembling the Sandwich

  1. Take two slices of rye bread.
  2. Spread Russian dressing on each slice.
  3. Layer the warmed corned beef, sauerkraut, and Swiss cheese on one slice of bread.
  4. Top it with the other slice of bread, dressing side down.

Step 3: Grilling the Sandwich

  1. Melt some butter in a skillet over medium heat.
  2. Place the assembled sandwich in the skillet.
  3. Cook the sandwich for a few minutes on each side until the bread is toasted and the cheese is melted.
  4. Press the sandwich gently with a spatula to help the ingredients meld together.

Enjoy your delicious Reuben sandwich while it’s warm and gooey!

Equipment Required

Nutrition Information

Nutrition InformationAmount Per Serving
Serving Size1 sandwich
Total Fat32g
– Saturated Fat14g
Total Carbohydrate35g
– Dietary Fiber4g
– Sugars7g
Vitamin D0mcg

Please note that the nutrition information provided is an estimate and may vary depending on specific ingredients and brands used.


  • Quality Ingredients: Choose high-quality ingredients for the best flavor. Look for fresh rye bread, flavorful corned beef, and a creamy Russian dressing that complements the other ingredients.
  • Drain the Sauerkraut: Ensure the sauerkraut is well-drained before using it in the sandwich. This helps prevent the sandwich from becoming too soggy.
  • Russian Dressing Substitution: If you don’t have Russian dressing on hand, you can substitute it with Thousand Island dressing. While the flavors may vary slightly, it still provides a tangy and creamy element to the sandwich.
  • Bread Substitution: While rye bread is the traditional choice for a Reuben sandwich, you can experiment with other bread options. Try using marble rye, pumpernickel, or even sourdough for a unique twist.
  • Cheese Variations: If you prefer a different type of cheese or want to experiment with flavors, feel free to try substitutes such as Gruyere or provolone instead of Swiss cheese. Each cheese will bring its own distinct taste to the sandwich.
  • Turkey Reuben: For a lighter alternative, substitute the corned beef with thinly sliced turkey. The combination of turkey, Swiss cheese, sauerkraut, and Russian dressing still delivers the signature Reuben flavors while reducing the richness.
  • Veggie Reuben: If you’re vegetarian or want to enjoy a meatless version, replace the corned beef with grilled or roasted vegetables. Portobello mushrooms, zucchini, and bell peppers work wonderfully in a Veggie Reuben. The rest of the ingredients remain the same, ensuring a satisfying and flavorful experience.
  • Pastrami Reuben: If you prefer a stronger, smokier flavor, make a Pastrami Reuben. Swap the corned beef with thinly sliced pastrami, which has its own distinct flavor profile. The combination of pastrami, Swiss cheese, sauerkraut, and Russian dressing creates a mouthwatering twist on the classic Reuben.
  • Adjust Grilling Time: Depending on your preference, you can adjust the grilling time to achieve your desired level of toasting and melting. If you prefer a softer sandwich, grill it for a shorter time. If you want a crunchier texture, grill it a bit longer.
  • Pair with Sides: Enhance your Reuben sandwich experience by serving it with delicious sides such as coleslaw, pickle spears, or potato chips. These sides provide complementary flavors and textures.

Pros & Cons

✅ Delicious and flavorful❌ High in calories
✅ Classic and iconic recipe❌ High in sodium
✅ Versatile – can be adapted with variations❌ Not suitable for vegetarians
✅ Provides a hearty and satisfying meal❌ May be challenging for beginners
✅ Great option for meat lovers❌ Potential for a messy eating experience


In conclusion, the Reuben sandwich is a timeless classic that never fails to satisfy. With its flavorful combination of corned beef, sauerkraut, Swiss cheese, and Russian dressing, this sandwich delivers a delightful blend of savory, tangy, and creamy flavors. Whether you stick to the traditional recipe or explore variations like the Turkey Reuben or Veggie Reuben, there’s a Reuben sandwich for everyone.

Preparing a Reuben sandwich is a straightforward process that yields delicious results. By following the step-by-step instructions, you can easily create a mouthwatering sandwich that will impress your taste buds and leave you craving more. Grilled to perfection, the Reuben sandwich offers a delightful crunch, melted cheese, and a warm, comforting experience.

With its rich history and enduring popularity, the Reuben sandwich has become a beloved classic in American cuisine. It’s a sandwich that evokes nostalgia, comfort, and a sense of indulgence. So, why not roll up your sleeves, gather the ingredients, and embark on a culinary adventure in your own kitchen?

Whether you’re enjoying a Reuben sandwich for lunch, dinner, or a special occasion, it’s a meal that brings people together. So, go ahead and invite your family or friends to join you in savoring this delectable creation.

Don’t miss out on the opportunity to try this iconic sandwich for yourself. Unleash your inner chef, get creative with variations, and indulge in the deliciousness of a homemade Reuben sandwich. It’s time to take a bite and experience the magic of this legendary sandwich firsthand. Enjoy!


  • 1. 🃏 The Sandwich’s Poker Night Origins
    • Did you know that the Reuben sandwich is rumored to have been invented during late-night poker games? Legend has it that Reuben Kulakofsky, a grocer and poker enthusiast, created this delicious sandwich to satisfy hungry players at the table.
  • 2. 🥪 A Sandwich with Multiple Birthplaces
    • While Omaha, Nebraska, and New York City both claim to be the birthplace of the Reuben sandwich, the debate continues. Whether you side with Reuben Kulakofsky’s Omaha or Arnold Reuben’s New York, one thing is certain: this sandwich has made its mark on American culinary history.
  • 3. 🥓 A Twist on the Traditional
    • The classic Reuben sandwich typically features corned beef, but did you know that it can be made with other meats too? From pastrami to turkey, you can put your own spin on this iconic sandwich by experimenting with different meats to suit your taste.
  • 4. 🎉 A Sandwich Fit for Celebrations
    • While the Reuben sandwich is a delicious everyday meal, it has become synonymous with St. Patrick’s Day celebrations in some regions. Many people use leftover corned beef from their St. Patrick’s Day feast to create mouthwatering Reuben sandwiches the next day.
  • 5. 🌱 A Vegetarian Twist: The Veggie Reuben
    • Vegetarians can also savor the Reuben experience! The Veggie Reuben is a flavorful alternative that swaps out the meat for grilled or roasted vegetables, offering a satisfying and delicious sandwich that caters to a variety of dietary preferences.


Can I use different types of bread for the Reuben sandwich?

Absolutely! While rye bread is the traditional choice, you can experiment with other options like marble rye, pumpernickel, or even sourdough to add your own twist to the sandwich.

Can I substitute the Russian dressing with another sauce?

Yes, you can substitute Russian dressing with Thousand Island dressing, which has a similar tangy and creamy flavor profile. It will still complement the other ingredients well.

Can I make a Reuben sandwich without meat?

Certainly! You can make a vegetarian version by replacing the corned beef with grilled or roasted vegetables like portobello mushrooms, zucchini, and bell peppers. The remaining ingredients and flavors will still create a delicious sandwich.

How do I store leftover Reuben sandwiches?

If you have leftover Reuben sandwiches, wrap them tightly in foil or store them in an airtight container in the refrigerator. They can be kept for up to 2 days. To reheat, you can warm them in a skillet over low heat or in a toaster oven.

Can I make a Reuben sandwich ahead of time?

It’s best to assemble and grill the Reuben sandwich just before serving to ensure the bread stays crispy and the cheese melts perfectly. However, you can prepare the ingredients in advance and assemble the sandwich right before grilling for convenience.

What is the best way to grill the Reuben sandwich?

To grill the Reuben sandwich, melt butter in a skillet over medium heat. Place the assembled sandwich in the skillet and cook for a few minutes on each side until the bread is toasted and the cheese is melted. Adjust the grilling time based on your desired level of toasting and melting.

Can I make a Reuben sandwich in a panini press?

Yes, you can use a panini press to make a Reuben sandwich. Preheat the panini press, assemble the sandwich, and then place it in the press. Close the lid and cook for a few minutes until the bread is toasted and the cheese is melted.

Are there any gluten-free alternatives for the Reuben sandwich?

Yes, if you follow a gluten-free diet, you can use gluten-free bread or wraps to make a Reuben sandwich. Look for gluten-free versions of rye bread or use a different type of gluten-free bread that you prefer.

Can I make a Reuben sandwich using leftover corned beef from St. Patrick’s Day?

Absolutely! Using leftover corned beef from St. Patrick’s Day is a fantastic way to enjoy a delicious Reuben sandwich. Simply warm up the corned beef and follow the assembling and grilling instructions in the recipe.

Can I freeze Reuben sandwiches for later consumption?

It is not recommended to freeze fully assembled Reuben sandwiches, as the texture and quality of the ingredients may be affected. It’s best to enjoy them fresh or store the individual ingredients separately if you anticipate leftovers.