Reuben Sandwich Recipe on Marble Rye - Striped Spatula (2024)

This Reuben Sandwich recipe layers tender corned beef with Swiss cheese, sauerkraut, and Russian dressing on griddled marble rye. A classic deli indulgence!

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I have so much love for the Reuben sandwich. The crisp, buttery rye bread. The creamy Russian dressing and tangy sauerkraut. The gooey Swiss cheese against the salty meat. Someone get the jar of pickles ready and pass me a stack of napkins stat!

The warm, griddled sandwich has been a staple at diners, delicatessens, and luncheonettes across the country for almost 100 years. This classic Reuben sandwich recipe is also another post-St. Patrick’s Day “must” in my house, right along with my cold Corned Beef Sandwichwith coleslaw and Corned Beef Hash.

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Where Did the Reuben Originate?

The Reuben sandwich originated in America in the early twentieth century. There are two schools of thought as to who first created it, and where. It’s a subject that’s been pretty hotly debated by Reuben enthusiasts and food historians.

New York Origins

One camp traces the first Reuben sandwich recipe to Arnold Reuben of Reuben’s Delicatessen in New York City around 1914. The sandwich was called the “Reuben Special” or the “Annette Seelos Special” (named for the actress).

By the descriptions available online, this first appearance at Reuben’s Delicatessen used ham and turkey instead of corned beef, and coleslaw instead of sauerkraut. Certainly a delicious sandwich, but not the hot, grilled corned beef Reuben that later followed on New York deli menus.

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Nebraska Origins

Others attribute its origins to 1925 at the Blackstone Hotel in Omaha, Nebraska, where the sandwich was created during a poker game with the hotel’s owner, Charles Schimmel. Accounts agree that it was named for one of the players in attendance, Reuben Kulakofsky, a prominent Omaha grocer. Schimmel and the players liked the sandwich so much that he decided to put it on the hotel’s menu.

There seems to be a bit of disagreement between families, however, as to who at the hotel made the first Reuben that night. Some point to Kulakofsky himself having made the sandwich from a deli plate brought to the players.

Others hold that Kulakofsky only requested a sandwich containing corned beef and sauerkraut, and that Bernard Schimmel (Charles’ son and head of the hotel’s food service) created the now iconic combination known as the “Reuben” and served it to the party.

There are many (many!) articles published on the subject.For a particularly interesting read, check out Who Really Invented the Reuben?from Saveur magazine and Schimmel’s granddaughter. In this article, Elizabeth Weil notes, “the Reuben is pressed. Did the poker room include a panini maker? Make of that what you will.”

Food History Resources: Reuben Sandwich History and Recipe from What’s Cooking America, The Reuben: New York or Omaha Born? from Grub Americana, and the previously linked Saveur Magazine article.

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Tips for Making a Really Great Reuben

To make a deli-style Reuben sandwich, a few tips and techniques are key:

  1. Use thinly-sliced corned beef.If you’re using my Instant Pot Corned Beef, Beer Braised Corned Beef, or Slow Cooker Corned Beef recipes, you’ll have the easiest time cutting thin slices if you chill the corned beef first. You can take the chill off of the slices before assembling the Reuben by steaming them in some of the reserved cooking liquid for just a minute or two. Dry off any excess water before assembling the sandwich.
  2. Avoid the temptation to overstuff the sandwich.If the sandwich is too thick, it will take too long to warm all the way through on the griddle.
  3. Let the cheese be your “glue.”I like to layer the Swiss cheese on the bottom and top layers of the sandwich, instead of all in one place. The melted cheese will help hold the sandwich together as you flip it during cooking, and when you eat it.
  4. Use a good-quality rye bread. I like to use Jewish rye, for its chewy crust and soft, yet sturdy crumb. Whenever possible, I buy marble, which swirls light rye and pumpernickel. You can also use a dark pumpernickel loaf. Look for Jewish rye and pumpernickle breads near the deli counter at the grocery store, or in the bakery section.
  5. Make homemade Russian Dressing. It doesn’t take long and is especially delicious! If you don’t have time to make your own, I recommend Ken’s Steakhouse Russian Dressing {affiliate link}.
  6. Gently press down on the sandwich with a spatula while it’s cooking. This will help to compact the layers a bit and heat everything through. You don’t have to weight or press the sandwich, like a panini, but a little pressure with the back of the spatula works wonders.
  7. Roll up your sleeves, and dig in!The Reuben is a messy sandwich. Sauerkraut will fall out on your plate. Drips of Russian dressing might appear on your hands. Embrace it!
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What to Serve with this Reuben Sandwich Recipe

Reubens are pretty substantial on their own, but a few classic deli sides never hurt. We like kettle chips and a half or full sour kosher dill pickles on the side.

Hot, crispy french fries are also a good choice (reminiscent of a New Jersey diner plating), as is a scoop of a warm, vinaigrette-based potato salad. (I find mayonnaise potato salads a little too rich alongside the fatty meat and cheese in a Reuben.)

For beverages, cream soda is a New York deli staple. We also love a good, creamystout with our Reubens, especially if we’re making them around St. Patrick’s Day.

đź“– Recipe

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Reuben Sandwich Recipe

This classic Reuben sandwich is a deli-style indulgence that’s easy to make at home! Great for using your leftover corned beef from St. Patrick’s Day.

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Course: Lunch

Cuisine: American

Prep Time: 5 minutes minutes

Cook Time: 10 minutes minutes

Total Time: 15 minutes minutes

Servings: 1 sandwich

Estimated Calories: 828kcal

Author: Amanda Biddle


  • 2 slices rye bread (regular or marble)
  • 1 tablespoon butter , softened
  • 2 tablespoons Russian dressing
  • 2 slices Swiss cheese (or more, to taste)
  • 3-4 ounces corned beef , thinly sliced
  • ÂĽ cup sauerkraut , drained
  • pickles and potato chips or French fries (for serving)


  • Butter one side of each of the slices of rye bread. Spread Russian dressing on the unbuttered sides. Layer the sandwich in the following order: 1 slice of Swiss cheese, corned beef, sauerkraut, and the remaining slice of cheese. Top with the second slice of bread, dressing-side down.

  • Heat a nonstick skillet over medium heat. Grill the sandwich until the bread is golden and crispy and the cheese is melted, about 3 minutes per side. Gently press down on the sandwich occasionally with a spatula as it cooks. Serve immediately with pickles and potato chips, French fries, or vinaigrette potato salad.

Nutrition Estimate

Calories: 828kcal | Carbohydrates: 40g | Protein: 37g | Fat: 57g | Saturated Fat: 24g | Cholesterol: 151mg | Sodium: 2484mg | Potassium: 546mg | Fiber: 5g | Sugar: 8g | Vitamin A: 880IU | Vitamin C: 35.8mg | Calcium: 500mg | Iron: 4.6mg

Keyword: leftover corned beef recipes, reuben sandwich recipe

About our Recipes:Please note that our recipes have been developed using the US Customary measurement system and have not been tested for high altitude/elevation cooking and baking.

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Reuben Sandwich Recipe on Marble Rye - Striped Spatula (2024)
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