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.

classic Reuben Sandwich on plate with pickles

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.

Ingredients and Substitutions

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

grilled reuben sandwich on platter with pickles

Recipe Tips

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.

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reuben sandwich on skillet

Get the Recipe: Grilled Reuben Sandwich

A classic way to enjoy corned beef, with Swiss cheese, quick pickled red onion and homemade Thousand Island dressing.
5 stars from 10 ratings
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes
Yield: 2 sandwiches


For the Quick Pickled Onions:

  • 1/2 small red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/4 cup cider vinegar
  • 1 Tablespoons sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon mustard seed
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper

For the Thousand Island Dressing:

  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 2 Tablespoons ketchup
  • 1 Tablespoons white vinegar
  • 2 teaspoon white sugar
  • 2 teaspoon 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 Tablespoon Dijon or grainy mustard
  • 3 Tablespoons 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.


Be sure to read the notes above this Recipe Card or more tips on making this delicious sandwich.
Cuisine: American
Course: Lunch, Main Course
Serving: 1serving, Calories: 586kcal, Carbohydrates: 43g, Protein: 22g, Fat: 36g, Saturated Fat: 21g, Cholesterol: 99mg, Sodium: 786mg, Potassium: 211mg, Fiber: 4g, Sugar: 11g, Vitamin A: 990IU, Vitamin C: 3mg, Calcium: 501mg, Iron: 2mg
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