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Open Faced Reuben Sandwich

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Open Faced Reuben Sandwich is a fresh and delicious take on the iconic American favorite, the Reuben Sandwich! Hot & juicy Corned Beef piled on toasted Rye bread, a slice of Swiss Cheese melted over it, underneath all that is a pile of Sauerkraut and Thousand Island dressing. It’s yummy, it’s easy, and it’s family friendly! The list of ingredients is kind of random, but it truly creates the most perfect bite.

open faced Reuben Sandwich on a plate with a side of carrots topped with thousand island dressing and a couple of pickles

To quote Eric, “Every once in a while, you make something that just seriously blows me away… these are it. This might be one of my all-time favorites.” So, a little behind the scenes info: Eric is a low key Reuben Connoisseur, okay? When we visit a restaurant for the first time, and there’s a Reuben sandwich on the menu, 9 times out of 10 he’s going to order it. Doesn’t really matter if said restaurant is known for its pizza, wings, or cheeseburgers. If they make a Reuben- Eric is probably getting it. Seems to me like such a random thing to be someone’s favorite food. Like, on a list of all my favorites, Reubens just don’t make the cut. However… they are delicious, and you can’t deny it’s an iconic sandwich. I’m starting to think they’re highly underrated!

I think of a Reuben as almost exclusively a St. Patrick’s day thing, right? Because when March 17th comes around, I always make a corned beef in the Crock Pot with all the fixins. We look forward to it all year! And we always, always make Reuben Sandwiches with the leftover meat.

Not long ago, I was at the grocery store grabbing some deli meat, and corned beef in the refrigerated counter. Once I realized you could get delicious deli-sliced corned beef, my mission was clear. Holy smokes! No need to buy an entire corned beef, and go through the whole production of slow-cooking it. That’s right, y’all… we can have Reubens anytime. These are super quick and easy to make, as well as super satisfying… any old night of the week!

I used to make them the classic way- all the meat, gobs of full-fat Thousand Island dressing, layers of cheese, and of course I buttered the bread before grilling. You know, all that good stuff. But remember, here at The Skinnyish Dish, you can have your reuben and eat it, too!

I lightened up the dressing, and created an open-faced situation that is absolutely to die for! And if you pair it up with a side of some roasted vegetables, it’s a nearly perfect meal. It won’t weigh you down, and doesn’t add up to a mountain of WW Points/calories. Yeah, it is a little bit more on the indulgent side. But it’s still healthy-ish… and just as important, it’s a delicious one!

Spoiler alert: you’re going to LOVE these!

What is a Reuben Sandwich?

It just occurred to me that there are probably a lot of people out there who aren’t familiar with what a Reuben Sandwich is! So if you’re in that group, no blame or shame at all.
A super quick lesson – The classic Reuben is a sandwich of sliced corned beef, Swiss cheese, sauerkraut, Thousand Island or Russian dressing on rye or marble rye bread, that is then grilled until the cheese melts, and the bread is toasted and crispy.
According to sources like google and Wikipedia, The inventor and place of origin is up for debate. It seems to come down to either Reuben Kulakofsky, a grocer in Omaha, Nebraska; or Arnold Reuben, proprietor of a deli in New York City. It’s possible they both randomly created it, and had no knowledge of the other… the universe just needed a reuben situation to happen.
Either way, to whomever created it- THANK YOU! Because it truly is one of the most perfectly unique sandwiches out there. And in most ways, this new recipe takes inspiration from, and gives a nod to, the American classic.

roasted cabbage, carrots, and a open faced reuben

How to make lightened up Thousand Island Dressing

For extra ease, you can absolutely use a bottle of the store-bought dressing. But this homemade version only takes a couple minutes to throw together. Homemade definitely sets these open-faced Reuben Sandwiches apart!

Ingredients you need

  • Light Mayo
  • Ketchup
  • Nonfat Greek Yogurt
  • Sweet or Dill Relish (while sweet is traditionally used if you don’t buy it on the regular don’t buy it just for this)
  • Kosher Salt
  • Hot Sauce
  • Worcestershire Sauce
  • Apple Cider Vinegar (white vinegar will work too)
  • Milk (Water can also work – you just need 1-2 tbsp to thin it out just a bit)

Combine all the ingredients into a small bowl, and stir it together well. Add milk (or water), one tablespoon at a time, to give it a thinner consistency; but you don’t want to make it too thin/drippy. Do this first, and then put it in the fridge so the flavors can meld together. If you wanna make this ahead of time, that’s even better. It’ll last in the fridge up to 5-6 days. If you think you will want more, double this.

How to make Open Faced Reuben Sandwiches

ingredients: thousand island dressing, rye bread, package of sauerkraut,

Ingredients for Open Faced Reuben Sandwiches

I stayed pretty true to the ingredients in a classic Reuben Sandwich here, but switched to a couple lighter options, to make this a Skinny-ish dish!

  • Corned Beef- I’m using top round corned beef from the deli. The brand is Boar’s Head, but you can use a different brand of corned beef from the deli. I will say the higher quality the better when it comes to deli meat. Not only does it taste better, but the ingredients list is much simpler and more appealing (not made with tons of fillers, preservatives, etc). Or if it’s around St. Patrick’s day and you’ve made a big pot of Corned Beef & Cabbage (Like me), you can easily use the leftover corned beef. Additionally, you could use pastrami, or even make it an “Open-faced Rachel Sandwich”, and use turkey! Boars Head actually makes a pastrami seasoned turkey, but I’ve never tried it.
  • Swiss Cheese- I’m not the biggest fan of Swiss cheese, but I will buy it for these sandwiches. Make sure to buy BABY Swiss cheese- that seems to have the best taste, and it melts easily. I also have this sliced off the cheese block at the deli counter, because it’s more fresh. I ask them for only the number of slices I need, for the number of sandwiches I’m planning to make… ’cause that’s easiest when asking them to slice cheese. If you want to skip the Swiss, Provolone will also work well. But don’t tell anyone who’s a Reuben lover… they will tell you it has to be Swiss!
  • Rye Bread- I’m actually a firm believer in the Marble swirl Rye and Pumpernickel bread for these sandwiches. But I’m starting to think there’s a Marble Rye and Pumpernickel bread shortage! I couldn’t find it anywhere. Plain rye will work, and tastes super good. But a quick note: I’m not a big fan of the seeds in rye bread, so I always get seedless. If you’re unsure about what your taste buds will love, I would stick to the seedless rye, or the marble swirl variety.
  • Thousand Island Dressing– Homemade or store bought will work just fine here. I find homemade tastes better, and the list of ingredients are things that I always have on hand. So I’d rather make it myself than buy a bottle that takes up extra space in the fridge. (If you prefer Russian Dressing over Thousand Island, that also works well here.)
  • Sauerkraut- I’m not a person who likes sauerkraut, by itself. But it really does bring this sandwich together. When I first started making these at home for Eric, I would turn my nose up the second I opened the package, and make my Reuben without it. But one day, I decided to give it a go… and honestly, it just works.
  • Cooking Spray
  • Salt & Pepper

Make the sandwiches

This recipe really is as easy as one-two-three! I love this, because if you don’t want to make the big ol’ pot full of Corned Beef and Cabbage for St. Patrick’s day, you can cut out the mess and hassle, and still enjoy the holiday’s traditional tastes. But like I said- don’t be afraid to be an Eric, and enjoy a Reuben sandwich any time, on any old day, any time of the year! They really are so good… they deserve more attention.

  1. Preheat your oven to 425. For an easier cleanup, line a sheet pan with some parchment paper or aluminum foil.
  2. Add slices of rye bread to your sheet pan, and spray with olive or avocado oil cooking spray. Season with a pinch of salt, and some fresh cracked pepper. Place in oven for about 4-5 minutes, until the bread is toasty. This will help the bread hold all the goodies we’re about to pile on, so I wouldn’t skip it.
  3. Add your Thousand Island dressing, and spread it evenly across the bread. Follow this up with a healthy, spread out scoop of sauerkraut on each. Then layer on the deli-sliced Corned Beef, and then pile on some cheese. (I use about half an ounce for my sandwich, but for Eric’s I use closer to a full ounce.)
  4. Place it in the oven for about 4-5 more minutes, or just long enough for the cheese to get nice and melted.
  5. I like to make extra Thousand Island, and sometimes add a couple Kosher Dill Pickle slices to the top of mine!
  6. Serve warm, and chow down!
corned beef sandwich with carrots on the plate

I admit that open-faced Reuben Sandwiches are not the most attractive thing to photograph… but I think they look just mouth-wateringly good. You and your family are going to LOVE these!

How to store and reheat

  • Storage: Store in an air tight container, for up to 4 days. I like to add a small sheet of paper towel to the container this just keeps the moisture down so the bread doesn’t get too terribly soggy.
  • Reheating: I like to reheat mine in the microwave (about a minute), or Air Fryer (350 degrees for about 3-4 minutes). Conventional oven works fine also (375 for about 8-10 minutes) watch the cheese so it doesn’t get too burned. And honestly, these actually taste excellent as a cold, deli sandwich situation. This makes them a great option for school or work lunches, and for meal-prep!

More Lightened Up Sandwich recipes

close up of reuben
5 from 7 votes

Open Faced Reuben Sandwich

Prep Time5 minutes
Active Time10 minutes
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Yield: 6
Calories: 250kcal
Author: Star @ the skinny-ish dish


Open Faced Reuben Sandwich

  • olive oil or avocado oil cooking spray
  • salt and pepper
  • 6 slices Rye & Pumpernickel swirl bread (or rye unseeded bread)
  • 3/4 cup homemade or store-bought thousand island or Russian dressing
  • 1 cup Sauerkraut drained
  • 3/4 lb corned beef deli meat (you can also use pastrami or turkey- I prefer to use a really good quality deli meat like Boar's Head)
  • 3 oz Baby Swiss cheese or provolone I prefer baby Swiss cheese from the deli counter because to me, it has the best taste and melts the best. Use your favorite!

Homemade Thousand Island

  • 1/4 cup light mayo
  • 1/4 cup nonfat Greek yogurt
  • 1 tbsp sweet or dill relish Sweet relish is generally used, but don't go a buy a thing of sweet relish for 1 tbsp if all you have is dill- it will be good with either one!
  • 1 tbsp ketchup
  • 1 tsp Worcestershire
  • 1 tsp apple cider vinegar white vinegar will work too
  • a shake or two of hot sauce
  • pinch of kosher salt
  • 1-2 tbsp milk or water


Homemade Thousand Island

  • If making homemade do this first so you can let the flavors meld for a bit before adding to the sandwich.
    Combine all the ingredients into a small bowl and stir together well. Add milk (or water) one tablespoon at a time to give it a thinner consistency, but you don't want it to be too thin/drippy. If you wanna make this ahead of time, even better. It'll last in the fridge up to 5-6 days. Double this if you think you will want more.

Open Faced Reuben Sandwiches

  • Preheat oven to 425. For easy clean up line a sheet pan with some parchment paper or aluminum foil. Add slices of rye bread to sheet pan and spray with olive or avocado oil cooking spray. Season with a pinch of salt and some fresh cracked pepper. Place in oven for about 4-5 minutes until the bread is toasty. This helps it hold all the goodies we're going to pile on it, so I wouldn't skip it.
  • Add thousand island dressing and spread it evenly across the bread then add a healthy scoop of sauerkraut and spread out, layer on 2 ounces of corned beef followed by 1/2 ounce of cheese.
  • Place in the oven for about 4-5 more minutes or just until the cheese in nice and melted.I like to make extra thousand island and add pickles to the top of mine! Serve warm and chow down! 


Serves 3-6 depending on appetite. 
Serving size: 1 sandwich 
Calories: 258 10g fat, 3g saturated fat, 18g carbohydrates, 2g fiber, 2g sugar (0g added sugar, 0g sugar alcohols) 900mg sodium, 16g protein 
WeightWatchers Points: 7 
please note 
  • nutrition and points were counted using exact ingredients that I use so your ingredients may be slightly different if using leftover corned beef brisket or different brands of deli meat, cheese, and bread
  • sodium is higher in this recipe because of deli meat and saurkraut mainly, if you need to lower sodium for medical reasons you may want to either skip this one or look for lower sodium options to use 


Serving: 1sandwich | Calories: 250kcal | Carbohydrates: 18g | Protein: 22g | Fat: 10g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Sodium: 900mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 2.5g

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  1. 5 stars
    As always, this was absolutely delicious! Ruebens are my favorite so I was so excited to see these on the site! We will be making these all the time! Easy and lowish in points??? Sign me up!

  2. 5 stars
    Made this tonight. It was amazing! I used Dave’s Killer Rye bread, and Boar’s Head Corned Beef and Baby Swiss. I loved the homemade Thousand Island. It made the whole sandwich. Star, please don’t ever stop doing your amazing thing. I’ve lost 50 pounds by making your recipes. Healthy, delicious, and still feel decadent.

    1. oh I didn’t know Dave’s Killer bread made a rye version. I’ll have to find that. I am so so so happy you loved it!! Thank you so much for stopping back by to let me know how it went. Appreciate you!

  3. 5 stars
    LOVE THIS. And just in time for all those St. Patty’s Day leftovers, too!

    Star, you culinary magician, you’ve done it again – stay awesome, stay you, and keep up the great work!

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