A Reuben sandwich isn’t complete without brined pastrami or corned beef sandwiched between slices of rye bread, melted Swiss cheese, sauerkraut, and thousand island dressing! This copycat Reuben sandwich recipe was recreated from a little local Diner called Little George’s Restaurant and is one of the tastiest grilled sandwiches!
So, what is a Reuben Sandwich? Thousand Island dressing or Russian French Dressing? Well, either dressing will work but I love my Reuben sandwich with homemade Thousand Island dressing rather than Russian dressing! A Reuben sandwich is a hot cheesy grilled sandwich, typically grilled from slices of rye bread, juicy corned beef, sauerkraut, Swiss cheese, and thousand island dressing (or Russian dressing.)
Is it Russian? No, actually claimed to be an American Grilled Sandwich, so I think Thousand Island dressing is safe enough to use. This meat and cheese grilled sandwich is an all-time American favorite sandwich, which is no surprise why Arby’s, Diner’s, and fast-food chains carry this delicious sloppy joe version of corned beef or pastrami!
Eat it Hot or Cold, but the meat tastes way better once heated in the skillet with swiss cheese oozing out of it! I never really cared for a Reuben Sandwich until I tried Little Georges take on the Reuben Sandwich. Little George’s is a small town Diner that has an open kitchen, which means you can watch the employees make your food right in front of you. So, after watching how the lady slapped some black cured pastrami slices onto the huge griddle and bunches of sauerkraut the soon to be Reuben sandwich was one of the best I ever had. She finished the grilled sandwich off with a reddish-orange sauce and some swiss cheese and grilled the whole thing until the cheese melted and sauce oozed out. It was incredible!
Corned Beef or Pastrami?
Although Little George’s uses pastrami, corned beef could also be used in place of pastrami. The difference between the two is the making method and ingredients used to season the meat. Pastrami (also usually beef) is brined and corned beef is cured. Both are prepared differently but are similar, so either one could be used. This recipe has been adapted from the diner version and heating the sour kraut and pastrami before assembling the sandwiches helps the inside of the sandwich stay HOT. Make this with quick homemade thousand island dressing (with ingredients you may already have on hand) and enjoy one tasty Reuben Sandwich!
How to make a Reuben Sandwich:
Reuben Sandwich Recipe
- 8 slices rye bread
- 1 lb pastrami
- 7 oz Swiss cheese
- 1 cup Sauerkraut
- 1 cup Thousand Island Dressing
How to Make a Reuben Sandwich:
- Butter each slice of bread and place buttered side down to work on the rest.
- Heat a large skillet to med-hi heat. Heat the meat then the sauerkraut separately. Wipe clean skillet and assemble the sandwiches.
- Place 3 slices of swiss cheese on the tops of each non-buttered bread slice. Layer with the meat, sauerkraut, and dressing. Sandwich together and cook on each side until golden and cheese melts.
- Cut in half and serve!
Nutrition per serving
What ingredients go in a Reuben Sandwich?
- Meat- corned beef or pastrami can be used to make a Reuben Sandwich. Little George’s Diner used a black-cured deli-meat known as pastrami which has a deeper pink hue. Check your local deli department in a grocery store near you to find the perfect meat.
- Sauerkraut- I used my homemade sauerkraut recipe, which has bits of carrots, but that can be omitted, especially if making for a Reuben Sandwich. The extra flavor won’t hurt (not that you can really detect them.)
- Thousand Island Dressing- I used Thousand Island dressing, but making a Homemade Russian dressing is similar since both dressings use ketchup.
- Cheese- A Reuben sandwich isn’t complete unless you use Swiss Cheese! Use baby swiss for a milder cheese.
What is a Reuben Sandwich?
A Reuben Sandwich is a popular grilled cheese sandwich, layered from slices of rye bread, corned beef (or pastrami), sauerkraut, swiss cheese, and a Russian type of dressing. Although it is an American grilled sandwich, it is said to have been invented from Jewish man, by the name of Reuben. Read more about the Reuben Sandwich facts at Wiki.
How to Make a Reuben Sandwich?
- Make the dressing first, if making a homemade Russian or Thousand Island Dressing.
- Butter the slices of rye bread.
- Heat a skillet over medium-high heat.
- Place the corned beef (or Pastrami) into the skillet and heat thoroughly, remove. Heat the sauerkraut, then remove.
- Assemble the sandwiches by placing the cheeses onto the bread slices. Add the hot pastrami, sauerkraut, and Thousand Island dressing. Sandwich together.
- Cook each buttered side of the sandwich in a hot skillet until cheeses melt and bread crisps up.
- Enjoy hot and eat leftovers warm or cold.
Russian Dressing or Thousand Island?
Making homemade dressing is easy! SInce either Russian or Thousand Island dressing call for common pantry ingredients it is not hard making your own at home. Both dressings have a pink and orange hue although depending on how much ketchup and paprika is used will determine how red of hue you want to go. If you want to go with a Russian Dressing check out this simple recipe or you can make my favorite Thousand Island dressing which is super tasty!
What’s the difference between Corned Beef and Pastrami?
The difference between the two deli-meats is the making method and ingredients used to season the meat. Pastrami (also usually beef) is brined and corned beef is cured. Both are prepared differently but are similar, so either one could be used.
Tips for making a Reuben Sandwich:
- Take a shortcut and heat the meat and sauerkraut first to ensure a hot sandwich inside.
- Spread the dressing between the meat so it doesn’t sog up the bread as quickly.
- Butter the bread slices for nicely toasted sides.
- Enjoy warm or cold!
More Sandwich Recipes:
- Copycat Chick-fil-A Chicken Sandwich
- Chipotle Chicken Panini Sandwich (Panera Bread Copycat)
- Asiago Cheese Bagel Sandwich Recipe
- Ultimate Burger Recipe
- Frontega Chicken Panini Sandwich Recipe (Panera Bread Copycat)