Classic Reuben Sandwich

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It’s so quick and easy to make a classic Reuben sandwich, which is overloaded with melted Swiss cheese, tender corned beef, tangy sauerkraut, and scrumptious Thousand Island dressing.

Hand holding a Reuben sandwich.

Happy St Patrick’s Day!

Today I’m bringing you a quick and easy way to get your corned beef and cabbage in! I love to make this comfort food treat, particularly around St Patrick‘s Day.

As the title suggests, this classic Reuben sandwich recipe features everything you’d find on a traditional Reuben sandwich, including melted Swiss cheese, tender corned beef, sauerkraut, and rye bread. It’s so delicious and most importantly, quick and easy to make. Plus, I’ve included some suggestions below to make the sandwich your own (and please everyone in the family if you have a picky eater or two).

While we’re on the topic of delicious sandwiches, there is this place in Decatur, Alabama that I just love called The Brick. They serve these great sandwiches, overflowing with freshly sliced meats and cheeses and toasted to perfection. Located inside an old brownstone downtown, there is usually live music in the evenings and while the service tends to be a wee bit on the slow side when I’ve been before, you can’t complain because that just means you get to soak up the atmosphere a little more.

Now, if you’re a fellow fan of all things Reuben-flavored, you also have to try this ridiculously good Reuben dip recipe. Let’s get cookin’!

Labeled ingredients for classic Reuben sandwich recipe.

Recipe Ingredients

  • Swiss cheese
  • Corned beef
  • Rye bread (any kind, I’m using marbled rye bread)
  • Sauerkraut
  • Unsalted butter, softened
  • Ketchup
  • Mayonnaise
  • Pickle relish

How to Make a Classic Reuben Sandwich

Making the sauce for the Reuben sandwich.

First, we need to make a homemade Thousand Island dressing. You can skip this step if you have a bottle of dressing already open.

But if not, what you want to do is simply combine the ketchup, mayonnaise, and pickle relish in a bowl. Stir well until combined.

Spread butter on rye bread.

Spread some butter on the outside of each bread slice.

Start with a layer of Swiss cheese.

I put a layer of Swiss cheese first.

Top cheese with corned beef.

Top with sliced corned beef.

Have you ever noticed how much prettier a sandwich is if you fold and layer the meat rather than just laying them flat?

Add sauerkraut to sandwich.

Add sauerkraut.

At this point, I realized that no one in my house eats sauerkraut but me (dropped on their heads as children – the whole lot of ’em!) so I decided I might as well add one more thing that no one likes but me).

Add banana peppers or sliced bell pepper.

Sliced banana peppers, that is. You can also opt for sliced bell pepper.

Toast sandwich in a skillet.

Our classic Reuben sandwich is now ready to be toasted! That was easy, wasn’t it?

Place it in a skillet and brown on both sides over medium heat.

Toasted reuben sandwich.

We just want our bread golden brown and toasted and our cheese a little melted.

Yum yum yum!

Classic Reuben sandwich.

I gotta be lucky today to get to eat one of these!

Recipe Notes

  • Oh my goodness, how I love sauerkraut! When we were little, Mama browned it in a skillet with slices of weenies for supper. We usually had that and fried potatoes and pinto beans with cornbread for supper. I would put ketchup on my sauerkraut and weenies and it was the best dinner as a kid! You can get these at your local deli counter and just get whatever you need so there is no waste or additional cost.
  • If you like though, substitute the sauerkraut for coleslaw to keep kids happy!
  • Add more flavor to your butter by sprinkling it with garlic powder.
  • A classic Reuben sandwich is often made with Russian dressing, which is very similar to Thousand Island dressing. They each have a ketchup and mayonnaise base. However, homemade Russian dressing also includes a teaspoon of horseradish, hot sauce (to taste, depending on how spicy you like it), a tablespoon of chopped onion or green onion, 1 teaspoon of Worcestershire sauce, and a dash of sweet paprika.
  • Now, a traditional Reuben sandwich is always made with corned beef, but if you’d prefer to use pastrami go ahead.
  • My favorite Swiss cheese to use is Gruyere.

Recipe FAQs

What do you serve with a Reuben sandwich?

You can keep it simple and serve your Reuben sandwich with a side of potato chips. Otherwise, opt for a side like French fries, potato salad, coleslaw, or pickles.

Here are some more sensational sandwich recipes:

Chicken Salad Recipe for Sandwiches

Pimento Grilled Cheese Sandwich

Loose Meat Sandwiches

French Dip Sandwiches (Recipe With a Twist)

Steak Sandwiches

Classic Reuben sandwich.

Classic Reuben Sandwich

It's so quick and easy to make a classic Reuben sandwich, which is overloaded with melted Swiss cheese, tender corned beef, sauerkraut, and scrumptious Thousand Island dressing.
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Keyword: sandwich


  • 1 tbsp ketchup
  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 tbsp pickle relish
  • rye bread 2 slices per sandwich
  • butter enough to spread over the inside and outside of the bread
  • Swiss cheese enough to cover the meat on both sides
  • corned beef roughly a 1/4-pound for each sandwich
  • sauerkraut roughly a 1/4-cup per sandwich, drained
  • bell pepper, sliced optional


  • Mix the mayo, ketchup, and pickle relish together into a nice sauce and set it aside.
    1 tbsp ketchup, 1/4 cup mayonnaise, 1 tbsp pickle relish
  • Butter each side of the rye bread. Layer Swiss cheese slices, corned beef, another layer of Swiss cheese, sauerkraut, and banana peppers (optional).
    rye bread, butter, Swiss cheese, corned beef, sauerkraut, bell pepper, sliced
  • Spread the sauce over the sauerkraut.
  • Toast in skillet until golden brown and the cheese is melted.
Tried this recipe?Mention @southernplate or tag #southernplate!



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  1. I also had kraut & weinies, fried taters, white or pinto beans,cornbread and a big ole piece of onion. MMMMM good. There were four of us kids & it seemed like we had this meal often. I remember eating those taters raw while mama was cuttin’ them up. I just love that meal. This sandwich looks so so good. I wish I had one right now. Christy, why dont you just open up a restaurant next to your brother. Yall could be Alabama’s Paula & Bubba Dean!! Yall would be soo busy & I would not have to go to Savannah! Think about it! Nancy

    1. OMG! Did you grow up in our house!?! My Mom made that exact same thing at least a couple of times a month when I was a kid. I have yet to find anyone around here (Tulsa) who ate that growing up. And munching on raw potato sticks while she cut them up . . . love, love, love . . . my childhood (and yours) was the best!!

      1. My Granny cooked that same meal too 🙂 And I loved eating the raw cut up potatoes !! I liked them with a little salt LOL

  2. Love a Ruben. When to lunch with a friend today and Shepherds Pie was on the menu and tried that instead because we are having corn beef and cabbage tonight. The picture of yours makes me hungry for a ruben though.

  3. My mom always served sour kraut with little wieners too. I only mildly tolerated the sour kraut, but (somewhat) willingly ate it first so I could thoroughly enjoy every bite of those wieners. It took growing up to make me learn to really appreciate the flavor of sour kraut. 🙂

    The sandwich looks so delicious! I’ll have to try it tomorrow with slices of today’s corned beef dinner. Mmmm…

  4. I seriously thought I was the only child who loved kraut & weenies for supper, my mom always made fried potatoes with them as well. Now to this day I’m lucky to get my hubby to eat them, my kids no ..but I make kraut with smoked sausage & mushrooms. Yummo! I’ll have to give this sandwich a try. Happy St Patty’s Day!

  5. That is one of my most favorite sandwiches. I wish I had one right now. Christy the pictures you post of the foods always look so good, that we might try eating the picture. lol
    Might have to go see if my little local store has some corn beef. If not I might just fix me some sauerkraut and wieners.

  6. My husband & I love these sandwiches – I got tickled when I saw the Boar’s Head brand ‘kraut – most of the time I see you use non brand and I have started to try the non brands…now you go for the gold with Boars Head – so what is the story – I love how you always have one….Have a great day!!

    1. lol!
      You know me too well!

      I was at Publix and getting my meat in the Deli, the sauerkraut was right there and Katy hadn’t had a nap yet and was getting rather ill…I was doing good to be able to get this much before she had herself a little royal meltdown. At this point she was already laying her head on my hand and crying saying she wanted to go home and go to sleep!

      Publix is a great place (super nice people) but they just don’t have the generic options I am used to. I prefer my sauerkraut to be the type in a bag or a jar, preferably the bagged kind that they keep in the cooler – it is SO much better! At Wally world you can get a bag of it very inexpensively right underneath where the weenies are. 🙂

        1. Weenies is a Southern term for Hot Dogs. My mother never called them hot dogs, she always referred to them as weenies The correct spellings is WEINERS.. What ever you call them they are still good in so many recipes. Those of us from the south and living in the south have our own terminology for many things. It’s okay as long as we know what you are referring too.Sometimes we forget that those that are not from a Southern State have no idea what we are talking about because they are not familiar with the terminology..

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