Reuben Panini

{I first posted this recipe in September 2008 — now updated with clearer instructions, a new photo and an excerpt from my cookbook, The Ultimate Panini Press Cookbook}

Once upon a time I asked Panini Happy readers to name their favorite sandwich. The overwhelming choice turned out to be the Reuben. It wasn’t hard for me to understand why. Just the sight of all of that bright pink, salty corned beef piled on top of mouthwatering sauerkraut, with Thousand Island dressing and melted Swiss cheese on rye . . . well, you know you’re in for a flavor explosion.

There are lots of Reuben variations out there—some use turkey or pastrami instead of corned beef, some opt for Russian dressing rather than Thousand Island. This version happens to be the one I like best, especially after St . Patrick’s Day when there is leftover corned beef in the fridge.


Reuben Panini

Kathy Strahs,
Prep time: 20 minutes | Cook time: 10 minutes | Total time: 30 minutes

Yield: 4 panini


Thousand Island Dressing:

  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 2 tablespoons ketchup
  • 2 teaspoons sweet pickle relish
  • 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 teaspoons minced onion
  • Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper


  • 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) butter, at room temperature
  • 8 slices rye bread, sliced from a dense bakery loaf
  • 4 ounces Swiss cheese, sliced
  • 8 ounces sliced corned beef
  • 1/2 cup sauerkraut


For the Dressing:

  1. Whisk together the mayonnaise, ketchup, pickle relish, Worcestershire sauce, and onion in a small bowl, and season with salt and pepper to taste. Cover the bowl and refrigerate the dressing until you’re ready to use it.

For the Panini:

  1. Heat the panini press to medium-high heat.
  2. For each sandwich: Spread butter on two slices of bread to flavor the outside of the sandwich. Flip over one slice and top the other side with cheese, corned beef, a dollop of Thousand Island dressing, sauerkraut, and more cheese. Close the sandwich with the other slice of bread, buttered side up.
  3. Grill two panini at a time, with the lid closed, until the cheese is melted and the bread is toasted, 4 to 5 minutes.



KathyPanini Happy, online since 2008, is more than just a sandwich blog. Here, you'll find hundreds of my original panini recipes, my guide to choosing a panini press and a whole lot of other creative uses for the panini press.
~ Kathy Strahs
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  1. Mike wrote:

    This looks awesome! I got a ‘Reuben-esque’ grilled sandwich in the pipeline to be posted on my blog too.

    Nowhere near this one though.

    Damn, all hungry now and it’s only 09:00 in the morning. 😉

    // Mike

    Posted 9.4.08 Reply
  2. HoneyB wrote:

    I have made these on my small George Foreman grill for a long, long time. I admit I have used lower fat turkey or ham to do it, but love them just the same! I’m the only one (Grumpy would rather not eat them) so I normally will make Reubens when I’m alone. 🙂

    Posted 9.4.08 Reply
  3. Deborah wrote:

    I am so asking for a panini grill for my birthday in a few weeks!!

    Posted 9.4.08 Reply
  4. noble pig wrote:

    I do love a good reuban sandwich! I never thought of doing it as a panini!

    Posted 9.4.08 Reply
  5. grace wrote:

    i once knew a fella named reuben. he was a real jerk and didn’t deserve the name. 🙂
    great sammich, as usual. 🙂

    Posted 9.4.08 Reply
  6. Tara wrote:

    My Father-in-law adores reubens, and I will admit that the sight of yours made my stomach growl. Maybe the next my in-laws visit, I should treat them to these.

    Posted 9.4.08 Reply
  7. Elle wrote:

    I want one for dinner! That’s such a gorgeous shot you took, too. Mmmmmm…..

    Posted 9.4.08 Reply
  8. S.Lynne wrote:

    Mmmm…looks and sounds delicious! Reubens are a favorite of my son, who is away at college, and I usually only make them when he is home. That will change this week-end!

    Posted 9.4.08 Reply
  9. Tom Aarons wrote:

    You know when you just get struck dumb for a few minutes by a truly great idea? This was one of those times! 🙂

    Posted 9.5.08 Reply
  10. Kevin wrote:

    That looks good!

    Posted 9.5.08 Reply
  11. Oh, dear. I love the reuben.
    And I’m CERTAIN it’s fantastic “panini-d”… we’ll have to try this!! Maybe on my new panini press 🙂

    Posted 9.5.08 Reply
  12. I don’t know if you can call this a Reuben if you leave out the sauerkraut, but that’s how I make mine. Sometimes I sneak a bit of cole slaw in, instead.

    Posted 9.5.08 Reply
    • Cindi wrote:

      That would be called a Rachel I think!!!!

      Posted 8.16.09 Reply
      • Hildi Valenzano wrote:

        Cindi, you are correct, it’s a Rachel.

        Posted 3.14.14 Reply
  13. Kristen wrote:

    Kathy – I cannot look at your site without getting totally hungry! YUM on this one. I love it! My dad would love it… will have to pass this on to him!

    Posted 9.5.08 Reply
  14. Natasha wrote:

    It looks wonderful, but I’m just not sure about sauerkraut in a sandwich…

    Posted 9.5.08 Reply
  15. You know, I never liked Reubens, but your picture has me reconsidering.

    Posted 9.5.08 Reply
  16. Mary Anne wrote:

    It looks awesome. It’s only 6:45 am and your grilled reuben picture made me hungry. They are the best!

    Posted 9.6.08 Reply
  17. Kim wrote:

    Hands down when I go to New York City, I manage to eat at least 2 reubens with sauerkraut of course! Looks mighty good.

    Posted 9.6.08 Reply
  18. Sandie wrote:

    Ah, my husband’s favorite sandwich. (I have to admit, I’m rather partial to reubens myself!)

    Posted 9.6.08 Reply
  19. I love the classic reuben. You got me craving some good pastrami, guess I will have to go visit Kats in NYC and then come home and make this. You have some great grill marks on your panini. Looks Great!

    Posted 9.6.08 Reply
  20. Thanks for you comment!

    Wow – an entire blog devoted to paninis – excellent!

    Posted 9.6.08 Reply
  21. Jenny wrote:

    Mmm, I’d love one of your classic reubens. I am so excited to buy my own panini press in a couple weeks. Your blog is awesome and I know where I’ll get my panini recipes!

    Posted 9.6.08 Reply
  22. Jude wrote:

    Looks perfect. Gotta love grill marks on rye bread.

    Posted 9.6.08 Reply
  23. Marisol wrote:

    Perfection! I’m craving one now.

    Beautiful blog, too!

    Posted 9.7.08 Reply
  24. Pam wrote:

    I love reuben sandwiches. They are gooey and messy and oh so delicous!

    Posted 9.7.08 Reply
  25. robinsue wrote:

    Reubens are one of my favorite sandwiches to order out when I am at diners. They do such a good job on them. I like them either way, with coleslaw or sauerkraut but definitely with the Thousand Island dressing! I’ll have to try to make them at home sometime.

    Posted 9.8.08 Reply
  26. Sandy S wrote:

    This recipe suddenly makes me enormously happy to have a panini grill! Thank you!

    Posted 10.20.08 Reply
  27. I love those grill marks! Pity mine is just a regular sandwich press with flat plates with no chance of a fancy design like this! I will just have to imagine grill marks on my toast then.

    Posted 11.15.08 Reply
  28. Danny wrote:

    woah i dont think iv ever seen such a good lookin rubin before, my dad and i always have them but never in a panini formi got to go make one right now my mother is watering

    Posted 1.20.10 Reply
  29. Lyle wrote:

    As a follow-on to a previous comment about a Rachel – I believe that a Rachel is the same as a Reuben except it substitutes your favorite turkey for the corned beef. Although cole slaw would be an interesting alternative, too!

    If you don’t like the flavor of the kraut but want the cabbage crunch, just rinse it once or twice in a collander to remove some(all) of the pickling brine, squeeze to drain. Also, mixing the 1000 Island and kraut together moderates the flavor somewhat. Personally, I go for a Czech or Bavarian style kraut that has caraway seed in it… :- )

    Posted 2.4.10 Reply
  30. I am so totally going to try this! Corned beef is in the slowcooker for tonight’s meal and hubby bought two corned beefs because he said he likes it so much followed by “we’ll be having Reubens too, right?” How totally delicious will it been as a panini–my tummy’s grumbling already!

    Posted 3.17.10 Reply
  31. I don’t get the whole Thousand Island thing. It not only tastes retched but it isn’t accurate. Ruebens can have Russian Dressing, the flavor is better that TI and it is historically correct or they can have mustard which best matches the flavor profile of the other ingredients. Thousand Island is the brain child of fern bar chains like Applebee’s and Ruby Tuesday.

    So what are the thoughts of you Thousand Islanders?
    .-= Stuart Reb Donald´s last blog ..7 Questions with the Bikini Chef Susan Irby =-.

    Posted 3.22.10 Reply
    • Kathy wrote:

      To me, food is food. If it tastes good and isn’t *too* bad for you I’m all for it, whether it’s the traditional approach or not.

      Posted 3.22.10 Reply
  32. Jenn wrote:

    This is my husband’s favorite sandwich. It comes out so much nicer in a panini maker. We pile it high, so it always falls apart in a grill pan. So good. Thanks!

    Posted 1.10.11 Reply
  33. craig p wrote:

    my panini is in the mail, i cant wait to try this recipe!!! it looks fantastic!!!

    Posted 3.29.13 Reply
    • Kathy Strahs wrote:

      Have a great time with your new grill – I hope you love it!

      Posted 3.29.13 Reply
  34. This looks so awesome! I loooove corned beef, and I so wish I had access to all the ingredients for this so I could celebrate St. Patty’s Day in the most delicious way. Pinned!

    Posted 3.16.14 Reply
    • Kathy Strahs wrote:

      Thanks, Rachel!!

      Posted 3.16.14 Reply
  35. Lauren wrote:

    Taste explosion, you’re right!! This looks completely amazing!

    Posted 3.28.14 Reply