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Rueben Sandwich

Posted by Denise on January 21, 2011


This tasty sandwich is one of our favorites.

I have loved Rueben sandwiches ever since Mom fixed them for us when we were children. Gooey and slightly messy, there is something so good about the taste of salty corned beef layered with tangy sauerkraut and melted Swiss cheese topped by toasted rye bread that sings in your mouth. 

When we were young, having Rueben sandwiches was a huge treat because the ingredients were more expensive than what we could afford to buy very frequently.  Now days, it is fairly inexpensive to purchase thinly sliced corned beef and Swiss cheese from the grocery store delicatessen. We use a light rye or marbled rye bread.

You can use any brand of Thousand Island dressing in this sandwich, but I spent several years trying to find the same taste as what I remembered. As a child, we used a bottled Thousand Island salad dressing that created a certain taste that I tried for years to duplicate. You see, I’m pretty sure we used Kraft dressing, but they must have changed their recipe as it didn’t match what I remembered. We tried every brand we could find in the grocery store and we liked them all, but it still wasn’t the exact taste I remembered. Finally, one evening we went to Red Lobster restaurant for dinner and I had a salad with Thousand Island dressing on it. It hit me that their dressing was the very flavor I had been searching for. After purchasing some of their dressing, the next day I rushed to get the other sandwich ingredients to give it a try. One bite and I was thrilled! It tasted just as I remembered. Since then, we have discovered that Chik-fil-a fast food restaurant has the same type (as well as a really yummy grilled chicken salad!) so we pick some up there when needed.  

We like to use two layers of cheese to keep the bread from getting soggy from the sauerkraut juices. Try not to make the sandwich too thick or the middle ingredients will not get hot. We cook the sandwiches on medium so that they brown slowly enough to allow all of the ingredients to get hot and for the cheese to melt. 

With a nice salad or cup of soup, this sandwich is filling enough to be a complete meal for hearty appetites. 



Rueben Sandwich Recipe

Makes 1 sandwich
rueben ingredients 


3-4 oz.                   Corned beef, thinly sliced 

4-6 pieces              Swiss cheese, thinly sliced 

2-3 oz.                    Sauerkraut, drained 

2-3                          Tablespoons Thousand Island salad dressing 

2                             Slices rye bread 

                               Butter or margarine, room temperature so it can be spread 


  1.      Preheat a heavy skillet on the stove on medium heat. 

2.      Spread two slices of bread with butter on one side of each slice. Place buttered sides together to avoid smearing butter over counters and hands as you prepare the rest of the sandwich.

 rueben being buttered 


3.      Spread back of top slice of bread with a layer of Thousand Island salad dressing.

                                rueben thousand island dressing


4.      Lay half of the cheese on top of the salad dressing on the bread.

              cheese on rueben


5.      Layer the meat on top of the cheese, then layer sauerkraut on top of meat. If you fold the meat over as you are placing it on the sandwich (similar to the photo below), you can use less meat and it looks prettier.




6.      Add the remaining cheese to top of stack. Pick up the sandwich, leaving the second piece of bread off for the moment and set the sandwich with the buttered side down in the warmed skillet. Take the remaining slice of bread and spread more Thousand Island dressing on the unbuttered side. Place the bread buttered side up on top of the sandwich in the pan.

                               rueben in pan1


7.      When first side of sandwich is lightly browned, carefully flip the sandwich over with other buttered side down on skillet surface.

rueben in pan2


8.      When second side is browned to your preferred level, remove sandwich from the pan and place on a plate. If it appears that the inner portion of the sandwich is not getting hot (you can tell by whether or not the cheese is melting), you can cover the sandwich to keep some of the heat in to get it hot. You will not want to keep it covered for long, however, or the bread will not be crispy. 

9.      Slice the sandwich diagonally in half, gather several napkins and get ready for a treat. Enjoy!



 rueben on yellow plate



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