Have leftover corned beef? Use if for easy and delicious grilled reuben sandwich, made with quick pickled onions, Swiss cheese and homemade Thousand Island dressing.
If you’ve got a bit of leftover corned beef after St. Patrick’s Day, there is no nicer way to enjoy it than in this grilled Reuben Sandwich. If you aren’t familiar with the classic Reuben sandwich, it is a delicious combination of corned beef, Swiss cheese, mustard and sauerkraut.
My Reuben Sandwich is made without sauerkraut (not really a fan) and uses quick pickled red onions instead, for a similar tangy note. That said, if you’re a fan of sauerkraut, go ahead and add it instead of the pickled onion.
The Swiss cheese and the corned beef is here though, along with a homemade Thousand Islands dressing, all placed onto a nice multigrain sourdough rye and given a quick grill for warmth and crispness.
Here are the ingredients you will need for the sandwich:
Nice bread – rye bread is classic for a Reuben, but a nice rye variation, such as multigrain or marble is a good option, as well.
Cooked corned beef – you can use either leftover cooked and sliced corned beef from a corned beef brisket or deli-bought corned beef slices.
Swiss cheese – Swiss cheese is probably classic, but sliced Emmental would also be nice with a similar flavour profile.
Mustard – either regular prepared mustard, Dijon or my favourite, a nice grainy mustard.
If you’d like to make your own pickled onions – Red Onion, Vinegar and Sugar
For the homemade Thousand Islands dressing: – Mayonnaise, Ketchup, Vinegar, Sugar, Relish
Replace the quick pickled onions with Sauerkraut, for a more classic Reuben
Use store-bought Thousand Island or Russian dressing
This sandwich holds up surprisingly well made ahead!
If you prefer a more classic Reuben sandwich, swap the pickled onions for sauerkraut, maybe swap the Thousand Islands dressing for Russian dressing and skip the grilling.
Get the Recipe: Grilled Reuben Sandwich
For the Quick Pickled Onions:
- 1/2 small red onion, thinly sliced
- 1 cup water
- 1/4 cup cider vinegar
- 1 tbsp sugar
- 1/2 tsp mustard seed
- Salt and freshly ground pepper
For the Thousand Island Dressing:
- 1/2 cup mayonnaise
- 2 Tbsp ketchup
- 1 Tbsp white vinegar
- 2 tsp sugar
- 2 tsp sweet pickle relish
- Salt and freshly ground pepper
For the sandwich:
- 4 slices rye bread, or any bread you enjoy
- 4 slices Swiss cheese
- 8 slices Cooked corned beef, leftover or deli-bought
- 1 Tbsp Dijon or grainy mustard
- 3 Tbsp butter, softened
- Make the pickled onions: In a medium, microwave-safe bowl, combine the water, cider vinegar, sugar and mustard seed. Heat to boiling in the microwave (2 – 2 1/2 minutes). *Alternately, heat to a boil in a saucepan on the stovetop. Add the sliced red onion and season with salt and pepper. Stir and let stand at least 1 hour, before draining and using. (Refrigerate any leftovers to use for other things)
- Make the dressing: Combine all the dressing ingredients in a small bowl. Stir to combine well. Cover and refrigerate until needed.
- To prepare the sandwich: Lay out two of your bread slices. Spread with some of the Thousand Island Dressing. Top with cooked corned beef slices and two slices of Swiss cheese, overlapping them. Add a layer of pickled onions. Spread the inside of the two other slices of bread with Dijon mustard and place on top, mustard side down.
- Heat a skillet over medium heat. Spread top of sandwiches with softened butter. Place into hot skillet, butter side down and grill until golden brown underneath. Before flipping, spread the top piece of bread with butter, then flip and grill that side until golden.
I love your blog, your site and your food and a Canadian to boot.
Thanks so much, Patricia :)
It’s a cold and rainy day, and a reuben has never looked better!
Thanks Laura! Wishing there was some corned beef left myself :)
I cooked two corned beef briskets just so we could have leftovers for Rubens and hash. Had the hash, now it is time for a sandwich and your photos are making me hungry.
Do enjoy, Karen :)
This recipe is absolutely sensational!
Being empty nesters, yet wanting to observe St. Patricks day and realizing that doing the corned beef and cabbage was a huge exercise, this fit the bill.
We started out with a Potato Soup and then moved on to these delicious sandwiches. I adored the simplicy of the red onions and the Thousand Island dressing is a ‘keeper’.
I found the last pouches of corned beef in a bag at the supermarket earlier that day, and boiled them for a few minutes while preparing the rest of the sandwich.
Served a dill pickle and a couple of chips on the side and we were toasted you!
Sounds like a perfect meal and so glad you enjoyed this one :) I too like the simple combination of flavours! Thanks :)
Great way to use our corned beef leftovers! Your thousand island dressing was delicious! Thanks for another great recipe!
So glad you enjoyed it! I love Thousand Island dressing and especially on this sandwich :)
I saw this on Insta the other day and had to immediately turn the phone to show my husband! We wanted it in that very moment! How does one make a sandwich look so beautiful? Delicious!!
Thanks Annie :)
This seriously looks like the best sandwich ever, Jennifer! A big kosher pickle with this and some coffee and I’d be one happy lady! It’s been far to long since I’ve had one of these so I’m thinking it’s definitely time ;)
Thanks Dawn and yes, it’s a once a year treat for me, so it’s worth going all out :)
I don’t have any leftover corned beef, but I am absolutely going to find some for this epic sandwich!
Thanks Sue! I couldn’t resist with my leftovers :)
This looks insane Jennifer! My husband and I would be fighting over the last bite! It’s one of our favorite sandwiches!
Thanks Mary Ann :)
These sandwiches look scrumptious! I am loving the sound of this thousand island dressing. Totally going to try it out!
Thanks! Enjoy :)
Holy mother of deliciousness. I can’t decide what I like better, your mouthwatering recipe or your amazing food photography!! I love a good Reuben and this sandwich looks amazeballs. Pinning!
Thanks so much, Christina :)
Perfect! I also don’t like sauerkraut on sandwiches, but these pickled onions sounds delicious. And the flavor of rye bread always puts me in a good mood:)
Now you’re talking my kind of language! I love Reubens and would gladly eat this for breakfast, lunch or dinner!!
Me too, Chris :) Thanks!
I love sandwiches and especially ones like this with plenty of cheese, sauce and layers of meatiness! This alone makes me want to cook up some corned beef!
Thanks Tricia and me, too! Go big or go home, I say :)