How to Make an Amazing Reuben Sandwich

I’m a big fan of the Reuben sandwich and just think it is the perfect combination of flavors and textures.  In a perfect Reuben the bread must be rye (not swirl!) and grilled on the flattop to a perfect buttery crispiness.  The meat should be corned beef and chopped so it is easy to eat.  And of course there is the tangy, sour sauerkraut and slightly sweet 1000 island dressing.

When I lived in Annandale there was a diner near me that makes a mean Reuben but I stopped going there after a rude encounter with the smug owner.  For whatever reason there are 4-5 different Reuben variations on their menu–including a “Classic” and an “Original.”  Is it just me or is classic and original essentially the same thing?  At any rate, it’s easy to get confused.  I ordered a classic (or original, I don’t know) and instead of getting a Reuben I got a Rachel, which is a Reuben that replaces the sauerkraut with coleslaw.  I told the owner (who happened to be my waiter on that slow afternoon) and he said “well that’s what you ordered” and proceeded to bring the menu over to point it out.  I bit my tongue and avoided pointing out that what I was served was not “original” “classic” or even “Reuben” but in fact a Rachel.  In disbelief at this rudeness I just looked at him and said “well, this isn’t what I wanted.  I want a Reuben.  With Sauerkraut”

At any rate, after sampling Reuben that were microwaved, untoasted, gristly, or sadly lacking in the sauerkraut and dressing department, I realized that I would just have to do it myself. My method isn’t traditional, but it does give me a perfect ratio of ingredients in each bite.  Here’s what I do:

Ingredients (note: I don’t have measurements for this, I just go by what looks like depending on how many sandwiches I’m making):

Corned beef, sauerkraut, Swiss cheese, Rye bread and 100 Island (not pictured)

Corned beef, sauerkraut, Swiss cheese, Rye bread and 1000 Island (not pictured)












1. In a dry pan, heat up the corned beef.  Break it up with your spatula as you cook.

2. After a few minutes, add the sauerkraut and dress to your liking.  Allow this to cook for a minute or so, mixing.

A Reuben mess

3. Now throw a few slices of swiss on top.  Break it up with your spatula and mix it in.

4. Put that gloopy, delicious mess on your bread and enjoy!


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Categories: Meat, Recipes


A former English teacher living in Stuttgart, Germany who finds some sanity and peace through cooking.


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One Comment on “How to Make an Amazing Reuben Sandwich”

  1. Deborah
    May 18, 2013 at 9:08 am #

    Yum! A great way to do it

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