Discover the Must-Have Ingredients for a Classic Reuben Sandwich

Reuben Sandwich

Welcome, sandwich lovers! Today, we will introduce you to the perfect lunch option: A classic Reuben sandwich. This iconic sandwich, originating from the United States, is a timeless favorite. Consisting of its signature ingredients such as corned beef, sauerkraut, Swiss cheese, and Russian dressing, it is a fan-favorite worldwide. In this article, we will dive deeper and discover the must-have ingredients for the perfect Reuben sandwich, so you can enjoy this delicious meal right at home.

What is a Reuben sandwich?

A Reuben sandwich is a grilled sandwich made with corned beef, Swiss cheese, sauerkraut, and Russian dressing, served on rye bread. It is an American classic that has been around since the early 1900s, and it is one of the most popular sandwiches in the United States.

There are different theories about the origin of the Reuben sandwich, but most historians believe that it was created by Arnold Reuben, the owner of the now-defunct Reuben’s Delicatessen in New York City. According to one version of the story, in the 1920s, a gentleman named Reuben Kulakofsky asked Reuben to make him a sandwich with corned beef, sauerkraut, and Thousand Island dressing, and Reuben added Swiss cheese and grilled it on rye bread. Another theory says that the sandwich was invented by another deli owner in Omaha, Nebraska, and was later popularized by Reuben’s Delicatessen.

Regardless of its origins, the Reuben sandwich has become a staple of American cuisine, and it is now served in delis and restaurants all over the country. It is a hearty and filling sandwich that is perfect for lunch or dinner, and it is often accompanied by potato chips or a pickle.

The key ingredients of a Reuben sandwich are the corned beef, Swiss cheese, sauerkraut, and Russian dressing, but there are variations of the sandwich that use pastrami instead of corned beef, or replace the Swiss cheese with another type of cheese. The Russian dressing can also be substituted with Thousand Island dressing, which is similar in flavor but has a slightly different texture.

To make a Reuben sandwich, the corned beef is cooked and then sliced thin, the Swiss cheese is added on top, and then sauerkraut is spooned on. The sandwich is then grilled until the cheese is melted and the bread is toasted. The Russian dressing is spread on the other slice of bread, and the sandwich is assembled.

In addition to the classic Reuben sandwich, there are also other variations, such as the Rachel sandwich, which uses turkey instead of corned beef, or the vegetarian Reuben, which replaces the meat with mushrooms or tempeh.

Overall, the Reuben sandwich is a delicious and satisfying sandwich that has stood the test of time. Whether you prefer the classic version or a more modern variation, there is a Reuben sandwich out there for everyone to enjoy.

The essentials: Corned beef, sauerkraut, and Swiss cheese

When it comes to iconic sandwiches, few can rival the reuben. With its perfect combination of flavors and textures, this classic sandwich is a go-to choice for many people. One of the things that make reubens so special is their ingredients. In this article, we’ll take a closer look at the reuben sandwich ingredients, starting with the essentials: corned beef, sauerkraut, and Swiss cheese.

1. Corned beef

The first key ingredient in the reuben sandwich is corned beef. Corned beef is a type of cured meat that comes from the brisket or round section of a cow. It gets its name from the large grains of salt, known as “corns,” that are used in the curing process. Corned beef is typically boiled or simmered until it is tender and then sliced thin for sandwiches.

One thing that sets reuben sandwiches apart from other deli sandwiches is their use of warm, cooked corned beef. Unlike many other sandwiches that use cold cuts, reubens are made with heated corned beef that has been grilled or sautéed until it’s slightly crispy on the edges. This gives the sandwich a rich, meaty flavor and a satisfying crunch.

2. Sauerkraut

The second key ingredient in the reuben sandwich is sauerkraut. Sauerkraut is a type of fermented cabbage that has been sliced thin, salted, and left to ferment for several weeks. This process creates a tangy, slightly sour flavor that pairs perfectly with the salty, savory flavor of the corned beef.

Sauerkraut is an essential component of reuben sandwiches, and it’s what gives the sandwich its unique flavor profile. Without sauerkraut, a sandwich might still be tasty, but it wouldn’t be a reuben.

When preparing a reuben sandwich, it’s important to properly drain the sauerkraut to prevent the sandwich from becoming too soggy. Many people also like to heat the sauerkraut slightly before adding it to the sandwich, as this can help bring out its flavor.

3. Swiss cheese

The third key ingredient in the reuben sandwich is Swiss cheese. Swiss cheese is a type of cheese that originated in Switzerland and is known for its distinctive holes and nutty flavor.

Swiss cheese is an essential component of reuben sandwiches, as it provides a creamy, cheesy flavor that balances out the tangy sauerkraut and savory corned beef. The cheese is typically melted onto the sandwich during the cooking process, which gives it a gooey, melty texture.

Some people like to use other types of cheese in their reuben sandwiches, such as cheddar or provolone, but Swiss cheese is the classic choice and the one most often used in traditional reuben recipes.

In conclusion

Corned beef, sauerkraut, and Swiss cheese are the three essential ingredients in the classic reuben sandwich. These ingredients work together to create a mouthwatering combination of flavors and textures that make the reuben one of the most beloved sandwiches in the world.

So the next time you’re in the mood for a hearty, satisfying sandwich, give the reuben a try. With its delicious combination of corned beef, sauerkraut, and Swiss cheese, it’s sure to satisfy your cravings and leave you feeling more than satisfied.

Making the perfect Thousand Island dressing

Thousand Island dressing is the perfect sauce to accompany any Reuben sandwich. It is a simple yet creamy sauce which can enhance the flavour of the sandwich. It got its name from the Thousand Islands that lie between the United States and Canada, and has become a classic sandwich dressing in America. Here are some tips on how to make the perfect Thousand Island dressing for your Reuben Sandwich.


The first step in making the perfect Thousand Island dressing is to gather all the necessary ingredients. The ingredients needed include:

  • 1 cup of mayonnaise
  • ¼ cup of ketchup
  • 1 small onion finely grated
  • 2 tablespoons of sweet pickle relish
  • 1 tablespoon of Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 teaspoon of smoky paprika
  • 1 teaspoon of white vinegar
  • Salt and pepper to taste


Once you have all the ingredients, it’s time to start preparing the Thousand Island dressing:

  1. In a bowl, mix the mayonnaise, ketchup, grated onion, sweet pickle relish, Worcestershire sauce, smoky paprika, white vinegar, salt, and pepper.
  2. Whisk all the ingredients until they are fully combined and the sauce is an even colour.
  3. Cover and chill the dressing in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes before use to let the flavours blend together.

Your Thousand Island dressing is now ready to be added to your Reuben sandwich.


Here are some tips to help make the perfect Thousand Island dressing:

  • For the ultimate creaminess, use full-fat mayonnaise instead of light or reduced-fat versions.
  • Grate the onion finely to ensure it is evenly mixed and does not leave chunks in the dressing.
  • If you don’t have any sweet pickle relish, you can make your own by finely chopping pickles and mixing them with sugar and vinegar.
  • If you want a spicier sauce, add a pinch of cayenne pepper or extra smoky paprika to the mixture.
  • To make the dressing ahead of time, cover and store it in the refrigerator until ready to use, it will keep for 4-5 days.

With these tips in mind, you now have the perfect Thousand Island dressing recipe for your Reuben sandwich. The dressing will add a creamy and tangy kick to the sandwich, and will take it to the next flavour level.

Choosing the right bread for a Reuben

Choosing the right bread is essential when making a Reuben sandwich. Rye bread is the traditional choice, but there are different kinds of rye bread that you can choose from. Some prefer a light rye bread while others prefer a darker, more assertive bread. The bread should have a sturdy texture and be able to hold all the ingredients together without falling apart.

If you’re not a fan of rye bread, you can opt for other bread options. Marble rye bread is a tasty alternative to the traditional rye bread. You can also use sourdough bread, which has a slightly tangy flavor that complements the savory ingredients of the Reuben. Pumpernickel bread is another option you can use.

It’s essential to get fresh bread as it makes all the difference in the sandwich’s taste. Avoid bread that’s been sitting on the shelf for a while. Look for bread that’s soft and has a slight crunch on the crust. A good bread should elevate the flavor of the Reuben rather than overpower it.

When preparing a Reuben sandwich, the bread should always be toasted or grilled. Toasting or grilling the bread adds an extra dimension of flavor to the sandwich. It also helps to create a nice crust on the bread, which is an important texture component of a Reuben.

You can also use butter or oil when grilling or toasting the bread. Butter adds a rich, creamy flavor to the bread and helps it brown evenly. A neutral oil like vegetable oil or canola oil can also be used.

If you’re making a Reuben for a large group of people, it’s always best to have a variety of bread options available. Some people may have allergies or dietary restrictions that prevent them from eating certain types of bread. Having different options ensures that everyone can enjoy the sandwich.

In conclusion, choosing the right bread is an essential component of making the perfect Reuben sandwich. Traditional rye bread is a popular choice, but there are many other options to consider. The bread should be fresh, sturdy, and have a slight crunch on the crust. Toasting or grilling the bread adds depth of flavor. It’s always best to have a variety of bread options available, especially if you’re feeding a large group.

Variations and alternatives to the classic recipe

The Reuben sandwich has been around for over a hundred years, and while the classic version with corned beef, Swiss cheese, sauerkraut, and thousand island dressing is undoubtedly delicious, there are countless ways to mix it up and make it your own. Here are five variations and alternatives to try:

1. The Rachel Sandwich

If you love Reubens but don’t eat beef, the Rachel sandwich is the perfect alternative. Swap out the corned beef for thinly sliced turkey or pastrami, and swap the thousand island dressing for Russian dressing. You can also replace the Swiss cheese with a milder cheese like Monterey Jack or cheddar. The result is a lighter and more refreshing sandwich that still has all the classic flavors.

2. The California Reuben

If you’re in the mood for a healthier sandwich, consider making a California Reuben. Instead of using corned beef or pastrami, opt for grilled chicken or turkey. Add avocado and sprouts to the sandwich, and use a whole-grain bread instead of rye. You can also use a light dressing like honey mustard or balsamic vinaigrette instead of thousand island dressing.

3. The Seafood Reuben

If you love seafood, you’ll adore this twist on the classic Reuben. Instead of piled high with corned beef or pastrami, try substituting with fresh shrimp or crab meat. Replace sauerkraut with coleslaw for a sweeter and milder taste. Don’t forget to add thousand island dressing or aioli to enhance the flavor and texture of the seafood. Serve it with a side of fries or a salad for a complete meal.

4. The Veggie Reuben

If you’re a vegetarian or simply want to cut down on your meat intake, this veggie Reuben recipe is for you. Skip the meat altogether and replace it with hearty roasted or grilled vegetables such as eggplant, bell peppers, and zucchini. You can also substitute the Swiss cheese with your favorite vegetarian cheese, and use plant-based Thousand Island dressing. The sandwich will have a unique texture and taste while still being filling and tasty!

5. The Breakfast Reuben

This last variation puts a breakfast twist on the classic recipe. Instead of using corned beef, opt for slices of crispy bacon or ham. The best part is that, instead of sauerkraut, you can use scrambled eggs and some baby spinach. Add a slice of Swiss cheese or cheddar cheese, and thousand island dressing. Serve your breakfast Reuben sandwich with a cup of coffee or juice, and that’s an excellent way to start your day!

No matter which variation or alternative you choose, it’s undeniable that the Reuben sandwich is a tasty and filling classic sandwich. Try each of these variations and see what you like, or mix and match ingredients to create your own perfect Reuben sandwich.

Thank you for embarking on this journey of discovering the essential ingredients for a classic Reuben sandwich with us. We hope you’ll give this irresistible sandwich a try with its corned beef, sauerkraut, Swiss cheese, Russian dressing, and rye bread. With every bite, you’ll taste the perfect blend of flavors and textures that make this sandwich a true classic.

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