Love and Olive Oil

Classic Reuben Sandwiches

Classic Reuben Sandwiches

I can’t quite remember when my love for sandwiches began. I have memories of eating sandwiches on the playground at Mrs. Grant’s pre-school growing up in Colorado. My mom usually made me ham and cheese with mustard. Clearly at a young age I was impressed with the concept of the sandwich as I don’t remember much else from my pre-school days.

Perhaps it was the summer I spent in college working at The Hofbrau. The Hofbrau sat right on the ocean front in Morro Bay, CA. Their speciality was hand carved roast beef sandwiches. The beef was roasted in-house, carved right in front of you as you placed your order, and then quickly steamed with your choice of bread and cheese.

Sometimes when I daydream, my eyes glaze over and my mind wanders to that juicy roast, the melty cheese, and soft bread. As much as I loved The Hofbrau’s roast beef, they also had amazing pastrami and corned beef sandwiches, and it was there that I had my first Reuben.

There are many variations, but we stick with a classic version with marbled rye bread, thinly sliced corned beef, Swiss cheese, sauerkraut, and Russian dressing. This combination of ingredients, tangy sauerkraut, creamy dressing, cheese, corned beef spices, and rye bread create the perfect balance of interesting flavor and texture.

For me, that’s what the perfect sandwich is all about. You can load them with veggies, load them with meats, or a combination of the two to find your own perfect balance.

Classic Reuben Sandwiches

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For Russian Dressing:

  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 2 tablespoon chili sauce*
  • 1 tablespoon minced shallot (from 1 medium shallot)
  • 1/2 tablespoon minced dill pickle
  • 1/2 teaspoon minced parsley
  • 1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1/8 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

For Sandwiches:

  • 1 loaf marbled rye bread
  • 1/2 to 3/4 pound thinly sliced corned beef
  • 8 slices Swiss cheese
  • 1 16 oz package sauerkraut
  • 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter, softened and divided

*Chili sauce here is referring to the red cocktail sauce, not the spicy Asian sauce. It’s available in the condiment aisle of most major grocery stores (look for Heinz brand).


In a small bowl, mix together mayonnaise, chili sauce, shallot, pickle, parsley, mustard, and Worchestershire sauce until smooth.

Spread dressing on inside of 8 pieces of bread. Top 4 of the slices with corned beef, followed by a spoonful of sauerkraut and two slices of Swiss cheese. Top with remaining bread slices, dressing side down. Spread softened butter on the top and bottom of sandwiches.

Preheat skillet over medium heat. Toast both sides of sandwich, flipping once, until cheese is melted and filling is heated through. Serve immediately.

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  1. Your reference at the end stating chili sauce is actually cocktail sauce is incorrect. Heinz has a cocktail sauce,which is used for seafood, but the Heinz chili sauce is actually a thicker, slightly sweeter version of ketchup, which is used for sauces, dressings, etc., that doesn’t have the flavor of horseradish as the cocktail sauce does.

  2. Good heavens, yes.

  3. I too love reuben sandwiches. They’re amazing. Sandwiches are really some of the best foods ever invented.

  4. I love a great sandwich too. Sometimes they can be so satisfying. I also love your early sandwich memories, makes me feel like my food memories are totally normal :)

  5. These are absolutely BEAUTIFUL!! My husband would love me forever if I made him one!!

  6. I love a good classic reuben sandwich. I wish I could take a bite out of that one, my mouth is watering!

  7. Reubens are one of my fav sandwiches of all time! I eat them without kraut though because that’s the way I like em! Yum.

  8. the only thing you would need to change is use homemade sauerkraut, not storebought! My dad make some delicious kraut!

  9. You may not believe this but Cracker Barrel has a ‘to die for’ Reuben. Love!

  10. These have been my favorite sandwhich since I was a kid-and it’s fun to try new ones,as each place seems to have a little variation.  One of my favorites has both corned beef and pastrami with coleslaw instead of ‘kraut!  I usually shortcut the dressing though-Thousand Island all the way!

  11. If I could, I would choose to exclusively eat Reuben sandwiches for lunch everyday. Seriously, is there really anything better? I think not.

  12. I must admit that this is my most favorite sandwich in a whole word. 

  13. Oh my….I try a reuben everytime I go someplace new and it’s on the menu.  I can’t help myself!  Glad to finally have a recipe to make at home.

  14. I’m planning a coffee book on Reuben’s I Have Known and Loved!!  I lived in San Luis Obispo and Los Osos for many years, and the Hof Brau was always one of my favorite places. 

  15. I love a classic, making this tonight before Yoga

  16. My absolute favorite sandwich, which is weird because I don’t like rye bread, corned beef or sauerkraut.  Yours looks perfect. I’d love to grab the sandwich right off the screen.

  17. love the use of marbled rye!!! really brings that extra spark to these pictures – great recipe!

  18. This looks awesome! You can’t beat a perfect Reuben. Amen to the perfect balance– it’s truly what makes the sandwich!

  19. Whoa Lindsay!! This looks incredible. What a sandwich!

  20. Oh my goodness! I long for a Reuben sandwich like this – all so very delicious from the sauerkraut, to the rye bread (oh the rye bread!) and the corned beef…

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