On rye or pumpernickel bread, this Reuben sandwich is stuffed with corned beef, sauerkraut, and plenty of cheese. It’s a great way to use up St. Patrick’s Day leftover corned beef!
WHAT IS A REUBEN SANDWICH?
Corned beef, Swiss cheese, sauerkraut, and Russian dressing are used to make the reuben sandwich. It is typically served on rye bread or marbled bread.
This sandwich can be made and served either hot or cold. I usually get one from a local deli, and it’s perfectly warmed up, with the cheese all melty and delicious.
A traditional Rueben Sandwich is made in a skillet and then heated until the Swiss cheese melts. We made the same sandwich again today, but this time we cooked it in our Air Fryer to perfection.
LET’S TALK BREAD!
For a corned beef sandwich, I recommend Ciabatta. Ciabatta has a lovely chewy texture that crisps up beautifully.
This provides a nice contrast to the corned beef’s very soft texture. I used ciabatta panini rolls in this recipe, but you can use regular ciabatta rolls or even slices from a loaf.
REUBEN SANDWICH INGREDIENTS
You’ll need the following ingredients to make a reuben:
Reuben dressing is a simple combination of mayonnaise, ketchup, and diced pickles.
Traditionally, a Russian dressing, which is a mayonnaise-based dressing with ketchup and other ingredients, is used. This is a condensed version.
- Reuben bread – For the traditional bread, use a light rye bread, but sourdough or any artisan bread that can be griddled will also work.
- Corned beef – A traditional reuben is made with corned beef, but you can substitute pastrami or even turkey (called a Rachel when there is coleslaw too).
- Swiss cheese – To make things easier, buy it pre-sliced.
- Sauerkraut – Canned sauerkraut works well in this recipe; just make sure to drain it thoroughly so your sandwich doesn’t become mushy.
CORNED BEEF SANDWICH
Here are my suggestions for sandwich fillings:
- Horseradish Mayo – Horseradish and beef go together beautifully. I like to add mayo to make a creamier sauce (homemade recipe in the recipe card below). However, a very thin spread of horseradish or even mustard will suffice!
- Caramelized Onions – These add sweetness to offset the saltiness of the corned beef. You can use store-bought or homemade (homemade recipe in the recipe card below). You can simply fry some onions if you prefer.
- Rocket/Arugula – This provides a peppery complement to the corned beef.
- Tomatoes – Make sure to use good quality vine-ripened tomatoes that aren’t too sour!
HOW TO MAKE A REUBEN SANDWICH?
This corned beef reuben recipe takes only 15 minutes to prepare!
Except for the reuben dressing, none of the ingredients require any preparation. (Isn’t that the best?!) Here’s the best reuben recipe:
- Make the reuben dressing. Combine the mayonnaise, ketchup, and pickles in a small mixing bowl. Place aside.
- Bread with butter Spread butter on one side of each loaf of bread.
- Assemble your reubens. Place a slice of cheese, sauerkraut, dressing, corned beef, and the other slice of bread on top of the bread (not the butter side!).
- Make reubens. Sandwiches should be cooked for 2-4 minutes per side over medium-low heat, until golden brown.
HOW TO STORE LEFTOVER REUBENS?
While the reuben ingredients can be kept in the refrigerator, I wouldn’t recommend making the sandwich and then storing it.
The combination of griddled bread and reuben dressing should not be stored because it will result in a mushy sandwich.
CAN YOU FREEZE CORNED BEEF?
Cooked corned beef can be frozen by tightly wrapping it in cling film or aluminum foil and placing it in an airtight container or freezer bag (more safe-spacing).
You can keep it in the freezer for up to 3 months, so label it. When you’re ready to eat it, simply defrost it overnight in the fridge.
I haven’t tried it myself, but you can freeze uncooked corned beef after it’s been cured. Remove the brine, wrap tightly, and place in a freezer bag for up to 1 month.
WHAT MEAT TO USE?
Although this is a traditional sandwich made with corned beef, it can also be made with pastrami meat.
Both can be found in the deli section; if you ask them to slice it, I recommend having it sliced in 1/8 inch pieces.
WHAT TO SERVE WITH REUBEN SANDWICHES?
Because the whole point of sandwiches for dinner is to keep things simple, keep the sides simple as well!
- Raw vegetables with a Greek yogurt veggie dip
- Crispy potato chips
VARIATIONS OF A REUBEN SANDWICH
Try it with fish, such as Walleye, Grouper, or Tilapia, for some variations on the classic Reuben Sandwich! Of course, living in Minnesota, the walleye variation makes perfect sense.
To make the “Rachel” version, replace the corned beef and sauerkraut with pastrami and coleslaw. You’re not a meat eater?
This Reuben Sandwich can also be made vegetarian-style. Simply substitute zucchini, cucumbers, or mushrooms for the corned beef.
TIPS FOR MAKING A REUBEN SANDWICH
You’d be surprised how simple it is to make an Arby’s reuben. But, to make the best reuben sandwich possible, keep the following tips in mind:
- Make sure to use good bread. Bread is an essential component of a sandwich. In this reuben recipe, we use rye bread, which is nutritious, soft on the inside, and crusty when grilled.
- The liquid from the sauerkraut should be drained. This will keep your sandwich from getting soggy. If you prefer, you can substitute coleslaw for it.
- Grill your sandwich on a panini press or griddle.
- To replace the Thousand Island dressing, use store-bought Russian dressing or chili garlic sauce. We recommend using these sauces if you want a little heat in your sandwich.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is it safe to eat corned beef straight from the can?
The “corn” in “corned beef” derives its name from the size of the salt crystals used to cure the beef. Canned corned beef, like other canned meats, is almost always already cooked and vacuum-cooked in its can, and once cooled, is ready-to-eat.
Do you need to cook canned corned beef?
Because canned corned beef is already cooked, you will only need to heat it when preparing these meals. It can also be consumed cold or straight from the can.
Why is canned corned beef bad for you?
Although corned beef contains some important nutrients, it is still processed red meat, which has been linked to an increased risk of health problems such as heart disease and cancer.
How do you eat canned corned beef?
Canned corned beef is a popular breakfast ingredient. Simply slice the beef and fry it in a skillet, then serve with eggs, grits, potatoes, rice, or whatever you want. On a simple sandwich, canned beef is delicious. Sear beef slices in a skillet and serve with plenty of mustard on white bread.