Thanksgiving Turkey Reuben

Each Thanksgiving I like to come up with new leftover turkey panini recipes to share with you guys. Some of my past favorites have been Turkey Jalapeño Melt Panini (based on one of my husband’s favorite sandwiches from a local deli) and Turkey Cuban Panini (inspired by a Bobby Flay recipe). This year I’ve given two classic sandwiches a Thanksgiving twist. First up is my Thanksgiving Turkey Reuben.

If you know the traditional Reuben, you’re familiar with a robust sandwich piled with corned beef or pastrami, sauerkraut, Swiss cheese and Russian dressing, served on rye bread. A turkey Reuben – also known as a Rachel or a California Reuben – substitutes turkey and cole slaw in place of beef and sauerkraut. To bring in even more Thanksgiving flavor, I made a cranberry Russian dressing and tossed it with cabbage to make a very pink and zesty cole slaw.

“This is delicious!” was my husband Mike’s immediate reaction. That cranberry cole slaw in the middle of the sandwich is such a fabulous flavor burst. I made the slaw a little extra wet to have more of that great dressing but you can always adjust to your own taste. Read on for the recipe…and stay tuned for one more leftover Thanksgiving panini recipe coming up tomorrow!

Thanksgiving Turkey Reuben


Thanksgiving Turkey Reuben

Prep time: 15 minutes | Cook time: 8 minutes | Total time: 23 minutes

Yield: 4 panini


Cranberry Russian Dressing:

  • 1/3 cup mayonnaise
  • 2 tablespoons cranberry sauce (I used whole berry)
  • 2 teaspoons freshly grated horseradish
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • Kosher salt and black pepper, to taste


  • 2 cups shredded green cabbage or packaged cole slaw
  • 8 slices rye bread
  • 8 slices Swiss cheese
  • 3/4 lb carved turkey, thinly sliced (I think thigh meat is best)
  • 2 tablespoons melted butter


To make the Cranberry Russian Dressing:

  1. Whisk together the mayonnaise, cranberry sauce, horseradish and Worcestershire sauce in a small bowl. Season with salt and pepper to taste. It will be rather pink!

To make the panini:

  1. Preheat the panini grill to medium high heat.
  2. In a medium bowl, toss the with cabbage with the Cranberry Russian Dressing.
  3. For each sandwich: Lay one slice of cheese on a slice of bread. Add a thin layer of turkey, a few spoonfuls of the dressed cabbage another thin layer of turkey and a second slice of cheese. Close the sandwich with a second slice of bread. Brush a little melted butter on top.
  4. Grill until the cheese is melted and the bread is toasted, about 4 minutes. Serve immediately.



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. lo wrote:

    You got me… Reuben lovers unite!
    Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family… Enjoy those leftovers!

    Posted 11.23.11 Reply
  2. great idea! Have a happy holiday!

    Posted 11.23.11 Reply
  3. you are brilliant.
    lord knows the creations i could do if i had one of these!
    i know they are on sale come friday but to be honest i still need to get a kitchen aid mixer! i know wild right?
    happy thanksgiving girl!
    (sorry i’ve been so absent)

    Posted 11.23.11 Reply
    • Kathy wrote:

      By all means, Dawn – get the mixer!! You know you’ll put that thing to good use! Happy Thanksgiving to you too. 🙂

      Posted 11.23.11 Reply
  4. My brother and his wife are cooking the feast this year. But I just might have to pilfer some leftover turkey to make this outstanding day-after panini with! Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family! 😉

    Posted 11.23.11 Reply
  5. Cranberry Russian dressing? wow, I think I would love that! Happy Thanksgiving… I’m baking some bread tomorrow for leftover sandwiches…

    Posted 11.23.11 Reply
  6. Wow, these look fabulous! I will have to try them out with my leftovers since I am a huge glutton for reubens!

    Posted 11.25.11 Reply
  7. marla wrote:

    Love it! Sharing in my post today 🙂

    Posted 11.25.11 Reply
    • Kathy wrote:

      Thank you! 🙂

      Posted 11.25.11 Reply
  8. Yes, that does sound absolutely delicious. Too bad I don’t have any turkey or cranberry sauce to fix one… 🙁

    Posted 11.30.11 Reply