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, 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.


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  1. We ate kraut and wienies with ketchup too. Or had it baked in a big dish with potatoes. Yum! I picked up the ingredients to make Reubens today, and the three ladies in line in front of me were all buying corned beef too. I had to do an informal poll. Turns out we are all making the same thing! We chatted and compared notes and had a fine time waiting our turn.

  2. fried kraut and sliced weenies is a southern classic. loved the stuff, still do!
    love a good ruben, even if it is a “yankee” sandwich! ;D.
    marble rye is my fav, and yankees call the spread “russian dressing.” ilike my kraut well drained and chopped instead of shredded. i put it between the chipped corned beef and swiss cheese so the bread doesn’t get soggy and then I put it on the “George Foreman” and grill it to golden brown and the cheese is melting. ummmmm!

  3. When I was little my grandfather would have hot dogs & sauerkraut for lunch. I wasn’t going to eat that “white grass”. Now I love sauerkruat!!

  4. I eat the German sandwich for St. Patty’s day too! Guess the corned beef is what makes it Irish! I cook my corned beef ($2.99 a pound) in the crockpot, rather than pay $8.99 a pound at the deli. It freezes well but that’s not a problem at our house!

  5. This is my all time favorite sandwich. I need lots of mustard on mine in addition to the russian dressing. My mom used to make sauerkraut with pork chops, she also did the kraut with the pork ribs in the pressure cooker. Those were my favorite meals. I love sauerkraut on my hot dog with mustard, of course. There must be somethig wrong with people who don’t like saurekraut, I just don’t understand it.

  6. We also had reuben sandwiches today but I make mine open faced with layers of corned beef, sauerkraut, swiss cheese on two slices of pretoasted rye bread and broil them until the cheese melts, then top with my sauce of catsup, mayo, pickle relish and horseradish. I close mine up to eat, but my husband prefers to eat his in smaller pieces and dunks them in his sauce. Each to his own. ERIN GO BRAGH!

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