Homemade Reuben Sandwiches

Corned beef is so easy to make using an Instant Pot Pressure Cooker and it is absolutely mouth-watering in these classic Homemade Reuben Sandwiches with Sauerkraut, Melted Cheese and Thousand Island Dressing.

Homemade Reuben Sandwich

While this is the week for lots of recipes devoted to Corned Beef and Cabbage, I can’t. There must be a million recipes online, so why do one more? Beyond that? I love these homemade Reuben sandwiches so much more!

I’m a fan of Corned Beef, but not so much the side of cabbage. Don’t get me wrong; I love Colcannon, a very traditional Irish dish that combines mashed potatoes and cabbage.

I like a nice coleslaw as much as the next guy, and I love this warm cabbage slaw that I learned how to make from my dad. I’m simply not into the braised variety that most folks make for St. Patrick’s Day.

So I’m bringing you my own take on Corned Beef and Cabbage today with these Homemade Reuben Sandwiches with Pressure Cooker Corned Beef.

It’s got corned beef and there is cabbage in the form of sauerkraut so I’m good right? Sort of Irish. Sort of German. Sort of All American. Son of a gun…just like me! The origin of this sandwich is controversial at best and harsh words have been exchanged between families for years.

Check out this article on Saveur for the soap opera history and maybe, like me, you’ll still wonder who invented the Reuben Sandwich!

Several years ago I actually posted about this sandwich but I included it in a post sharing how to cure and cook your own corned beef. It got sort of lost in that post about one of my homemade Charcuterie projects plus the photos were so awful I needed to redo everything to make them look as good as this sandwich tastes.

While that method remains the absolute best way to prepare corned beef, I’m like everyone else, sometimes time gets the best of me. So I decided today to spotlight it in a post by itself but with the effort I did this week that was both easy and quick and the results were still amazing.

Since I was a bit short on time, my inclination was to buy some deli corned beef. That notion was seriously squelched immediately. $11.99 pound?

Oh come on…it’s a tough piece of meat that’s been brined for a week…not a piece of cured gold! So I turned on my heel; found a butcher and was led to a cold refrigerator bin with packaged corned beef.

It’s beef brisket in the brining liquid that also includes a seasoning packet to use during cooking. Done; especially on sale at $2.49 lb. Even after trimming the fat and cooking I had about 2 pounds of meat at the end; definitely worth doing yourself!

Instant Pot Pressure Cooker

Traditional methods call for braising the meat in the oven on low heat for 2.5 to 3 hours with a few additional ingredients and then slicing it in large chunks if serving next to cabbage or sliced thin across the grain if using for sandwiches.

But I am one of a bazillion people who have re-discovered the beauty of pressure cookers, so I decided to try my hand at making it in my Instant Pot (if you’re un-initiated, there is a craze over electric pressure cookers; this is one of the brands available).

Once again, it did not fail me. This could not have been easier and even with the time to get the ingredients to pressure and more time for some pressure release, the entire cook time was about 2 hours; just a bit more than half of the traditional method. 

I did it early in the day and it was totally hands off cooking. Is it any wonder electric pressure cookers have become the darlings of the cooking world?

Once the meat is done and cooled a bit, it can be thinly sliced across the grain for use in this sandwich.

Homemade Reuben Sandwich

From there it’s a pretty standard grilled or panini sandwich layered with corned beef, Swiss cheese, sauerkraut, and Russian dressing.

Before I moved into my current home, I lived close enough to a deli to run up occasionally and order a Reuben Sandwich for takeout. No more; this took little preparation and was so remarkably better that there are no words. Except maybe OH MY YUM!

So, if you’re like me and the corned beef and cabbage thing is not your deal; celebrate the American way with me. It’s a taste of Ireland combined with a bit of Germany in one of these Homemade Reuben Sandwiches and they are simply delicious…and still perfect with a dark Irish beer!

PIN ‘Homemade Reuben Sandwiches’

Homemade Reuben Sandwich with Corned Beef cooked in the Instant Pot. Served with sauerkraut and Thousand Island Dressing.

Yield: 6 sandwiches

Homemade Reuben Sandwiches

Homemade Reuben Sandwich
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 45 minutes
Total Time 2 hours 15 minutes

Ingredients

For the Corned Beef:

  • 3 pounds whole packaged uncooked corned beef brisket, including its seasoning packet
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 4 garlic cloves, peeled and left whole
  • 12 ounces lager-style beer or pale ale
  • 2 cups beef broth

For The Russian Dressing: (Or used prepared Thousand Island Dressing - I like the Marie's brand).

  • 1 1/2 cups yogurt - I use non fat Greek yogurt
  • 1/2 cup ketchup
  • 2 Tbsp grated onion
  • 1/2 tsp ground dry mustard
  • 4 drops hot sauce
  • 1/2 tsp horseradish
  • 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 Tbsp heavy cream

Ingredients to Make the Sandwich:

  • 2 slices Light rye bread, my grocery had a bread that was swirled rye and pumpernickel and I loved it
  • Butter
  • 2-4 slices of good swiss cheese
  • Corned beef
  • Sauerkraut
  • Russian Dressing, see recipe or I suggest Marie's

Instructions

To Make the Corned Beef:

  1. Unwrap and drain corned beef. Using sharp knife, carefully trim off excess fat. Rinse beef with cold running water. Put corned beef in cooking chamber of pressure cooker. Sprinkle with seasoning packet. Add bay leaves and garlic along the sides.
  2. Pour in beer and broth.
  3. Secure lid of pressure cooker, locking it in place following manufacturer’s instructions. Close pressure-release valve. Turn on pressure cooker. Set timer to cook under high pressure for 90 minutes.
  4. At end of cooking time, turn off machine. Unplug it. Leave pressure release valve closed for about 10 minutes or until pressure has returned to normal.
  5. Carefully unlock and remove lid. Transfer corned beef to cutting board and allow to cool enough to handle. Using sharp knife, cut meat across grain at an angle into thin slices.

To Make the Russian Dressing:

  1. In a medium bowl, whisk together the yogurt, ketchup, onion, mustard, hot sauce, horseradish, Worcestershire, and cream. Chill for at least 2 hours to have the ingredients meld.
  2. Can also be used for salads, in egg salad, veggies or meat.

To Make the Sandwich:

  1. Spread some butter on one side of each of the bread slices. Layer in skillet in this order; one slice of bread with butter side placed down, Swiss cheese, corned beef, sauerkraut, Russian dressing, more cheese and top with 2nd slice of buttered bread, buttered side out.
  2. Gently grill on medium heat until the bread starts to brown on the bottom and the cheese starts to melt (covering with a slice of aluminum foil helps).
  3. Flip and grill 2nd side until brown and you can tell cheese has melted throughout. Remove from skillet and cut in half to serve.
  4. If desired, serve with coleslaw and chips.

Notes

For Corned Beef and Cabbage in the Pressure Cooker:

1 medium head green or white cabbage, cored and cut into 8 wedges

4 medium Yukon gold or other yellow-fleshed potatoes, scrubbed and cut in half lengthwise

4 medium carrots, trimmed, peeled and cut into 2-inch chunks

2 medium yellow onions, trimmed, peeled and cut into 4 quarters each

Put beef in pot and tuck garlic and bay leaves around meat and sprinkle with seasoning. Arrange cabbage wedges on their sides evenly around corned beef. Evenly place potato halves, carrot chunks, and onion quarters among cabbage wedges. Pour beer and broth over everything in pot and cook as directed above.

Cooking Corned Beef on the Stovetop, in the oven or in a slow cooker:

No pressure cooker? No problem. I found a post at AllRecipes.com that shows how to do all three!

Notes on Russian Dressing:

I did do a bit of research on Russian dressing and found that it originally was made with yogurt, not mayonnaise and contained caviar which is most likely where it got the Russian moniker. Some people add pickles or chopped eggs but that really takes it more to the world of Thousand Island so I tried to stay within some confines of the original but without the caviar.

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

6

Serving Size:

1 Sandwich

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 599Total Fat: 29gSaturated Fat: 13gUnsaturated Fat: 13gCholesterol: 124mgSodium: 1269mgCarbohydrates: 33gFiber: 2gSugar: 12gProtein: 40g

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16 Comments

  1. I have kept this recipe for awhile and just realized that I was cooking on the rack, not emersed in the liquids. The flavor from the bay leaf and seasoning packets that I include are so much stronger that my old methods prior to using the electric pressure cooker. Today I looked back here to check cooking time and will use beer (Miller Lite) and chicken broth as these are the closest at hand without a trip to the store.

    1. Whatever works right? I’m cooking mine tomorrow morning and then we will have our favorite Irish dinner. Reuben sandwiches. 🙂

  2. In my family, we NEVER used Thousand Island dressing. We used Mayonnaise on both insides of the bread. We never used butter on the outside and fried them in a pan. After putting the sandwiches together, each sandwich was wrapped in aluminum foil and placed on a cookie sheet. Then put in the oven to heat through. A cook once told me that the use of Mayonnaise in Rubenstein is an Irish thing. I don’t know, but my mom was 100% Irish.

    1. It might be Irish? I’ve never heard of using mayonnaise and I’ve not had one that wasn’t grilled on a griddle! I love the crispy crust but admit I’m intrigued too; I might have to try it your way next time!

    1. Typically corned beef will require about 3/4 lb per person; considering that the brisket will cook down considerably but that is for sliced meat served with a side. I never serve it sliced so I think it’s a safe guesstimate to say it will make 6 sandwiches since they include sauerkraut, cheese, and toasted bread. It does shrink a lot; if you have a hungry crew; it might only make four big sandwiches!

    1. No you don’t have to but it will need some additional liquid; you can use water but I would suggest even better might be chicken broth so there is a flavor component added that will be missing without the beer.

  3. I made this today & it was great. I haven’t eaten corned beef in 30+ years. I never liked it as a kid, but my husband & sons do, so I decided to make it for them & try it. It was so tender & delicious!

  4. Wow, what a gorgeous looking sandwich! You’ve outdone yourself with this one. Deli corned beef is expensive, isn’t it? But I’m actually OK with the price. I just cooked a 3+ pound corned beef brisket, and after cooking — and removing a pretty significant fat cap — the weight came in at maybe a pound and a quarter. That’s a lot of shrinkage! And because the deli always removes that fat cap, their price suddenly looks much more reasonable. Like the idea of using the pressure cooker, though. Yet another reason to buy one! 🙂

    1. Thanks John! I did the math too…I think I got closer to 2 lbs of meat from a 3 lb piece. It was on sale so for about $7.50 I got two pounds instead of paying $23. Admittedly my years of single mom-dom have forever instilled in me a certain frugality I can’t always escape but my change of heart was good since I was also able to try it in the pressure cooker; it was so easy and tasty! I honestly think you would love one; I know I do. I have two!

  5. My God – am I the only one who visits this site and drools from one end to the other? Your photography is so mouthwateringly gorgeous. I could devour this sandwich and then wish I had room for another.

    1. Well, I hope not! I don’t get many comments though so I do love hearing from someone who loves what I do. And the truth is, when I first started this blog I loved to cook…but my photos, in a nutshell, sucked. I had never played with photography or had an interest and it’s been a long yet fun trip into something I never expected. I’ve come to love the photo setup and experience as much as the cooking experience. If that shows? YEAH!!! Hearing from someone that notices? Makes my DAY/WEEK/YEAR!!!!

      About this sandwich? Honestly I could only eat half at a time and I’m not a delicate eater at all. It’s just that filling. Which was OK…good to have for both lunch and dinner right? 🙂

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