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The Classic Rueben

Prep Time:

10 Minutes

Cook Time:

10 Minutes


4 Servings



About the Recipe

Like many classic dishes, the Reuben sandwich has multiple origin stories: Some accounts trace its origins to the since-shuttered Reuben’s delicatessen in New York City. Another origin story points to a customer, Reuben Kulakofsky, who was said to have ordered a corned beef and sauerkraut sandwich at Blackstone Hotel, in Omaha, where Chef Bernard Schimmel obliged and added Thousand Island dressing, Swiss cheese, rye bread and a hot grill. Today’s Reuben sandwiches feature corned beef, sauerkraut, Swiss cheese and a healthy smear of dressing between toasted, buttered rye. Homemade dressing has a brighter, fresher flavor than the bottled variety, and comes together in just a few turns of a whisk. You can also add mustard if using and the dressing directly to the sauerkraut!


  • For the Dressing

    • ½ cup mayonnaise

    • 5 tablespoons ketchup

    • 3 tablespoons dill pickle relish (not sweet)

    • 1 tablespoon minced onion

    • 1 teaspoon yellow mustard

    • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

    • For the Sandwich

    • 8 slices rye sandwich bread

    • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature

    • 1 pound thinly sliced corned beef

    • 1 cup drained sauerkraut (about 6 ounces)

    • 8 slices Swiss cheese (about 6 ounces)


Step 1

Make the dressing: In a small bowl, combine all ingredients and mix well.

Step 2

Make the sandwiches: Spread one side of each bread slice with ½ tablespoon butter. In a large nonstick skillet, arrange 2 slices of bread, buttered side down, over medium-low heat. Spread 2 tablespoons of dressing on each slice of bread, then top each with ¼ pound corned beef, ¼ cup sauerkraut and 2 slices cheese. Top each with 1 slice of bread, buttered side up. Cook until golden and crispy underneath, about 5 minutes. Flip the sandwiches and cook, pressing down gently with a spatula, until second side is golden and cheese melts, about 3 minutes more. Transfer sandwiches to plates and wipe out skillet. Repeat with the remaining bread, sauce, corned beef, sauerkraut and cheese. Serve warm.

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