My turkey Reuben sandwiches are layered up with sliced turkey, sauerkraut, melty Swiss cheese, and a homemade Russian dressing for the coziest grilled sandwiches around.
the turkey reuben is a lightened up classic
Whether you’re watching a big game, using up Thanksgiving leftovers, or just love a great hot sandwich for dinner, turkey Reubens really hit the spot. We’re subbing in turkey for the corned beef in the traditional Reuben sandwich for a culinary touchdown. This is one grilled sandwich you need in your life.
did you know?
The Reuben is a grilled sandwich made with corned beef, Swiss cheese, sauerkraut, and Russian dressing. As with so many famous foods, there are competing origin stories for this classic. But sometime between 1914 and 1930, either in the kitchen of a hotel in Omaha Nebraska or in a German Jewish deli in New York City, the Reuben sandwich was born. It has since become a staple of Jewish delis, and restaurants everywhere.
what you’ll need for turkey Reuben sammies
The only swap I made in my sheet pan Reuben sandwiches is switching out the corned beef for turkey ~ that means you’ll get the true Rueben experience, lightened up just a bit.
- deli sliced turkey
- I prefer to use a smoked turkey simply because it has more flavor.
- rye bread
- use your favorite. I used a plain seeded rye and a marbled rye.
- if you’re not a sauerkraut lover, feel free to use coleslaw.
- Swiss cheese
- imported Emmentaler or American Swiss cheese works.
- Russian dressing
- we’ll make ours homemade, it’s so much better than bottled.
- butter on the outsides of the bread helps it toast up in the oven.
how to make homemade Russian dressing
Russian dressing is a simple mixture and so easy you’ll never buy it again. Whisk these ingredients together and taste to adjust to your liking. For exact amounts, see recipe card below.
- I used my favorite jalapeño ketchup for a hint of heat.
- sweet relish
- yellow mustard
- prepared horseradish or creamed horseradish sauce
now we start layering our turkey Reubens
- Butter one side of each piece of bread
- Flip the bread over and spread each with Russian dressing.
- Pile sliced turkey on one half.
- Top that with sauerkraut (drained!)
- Add Swiss cheese
- Close up your sandwich. Buttered sides should be to the outside.
why do I use a sheet pan to grill my turkey Ruebens?
Using a sheet pan allows you to make 6-8 grilled sandwiches at a time, so everybody can have a hot melty sandwich together. You can grill them on a griddle, or in a skillet if you like.
tips for making the best turkey Reuben sandwiches
- Ask for smoked turkey at the deli counter, don’t buy pre-packed sliced turkey. I like Boar’s Head brand, and they have many different styles of roasted turkey to choose from. Smoked turkey will give a little bit of a nod to the corned beef that we’re supplanting in this sandwich.
- Ask for your turkey to be ‘sandwich sliced’ ~ that’s deli-speak for not too thick and not too thin. It gives the turkey just the right amount of body for the sandwich.
- If you are using leftover holiday turkey, try to slice it as thin as you can.
- If you find that the bottom of your sandwich gets a bit soggy
- You can try toasting the bread first, which will form more or a barrier against the moisture from the Russian dressing.
- You can leave the dressing off the bottom piece of bread.
- Or, instead of adding dressing to the bottom piece of bread, add it on top of the turkey layer of your sandwich.
when does a Reuben become a Rachel?
Some say that when you sub turkey for corned beef, a Reuben becomes a Rachel. Actually, a Rachel sandwich also swaps out the sauerkraut for coleslaw. Both are delish.
more game day style eats
Game day food has become a whole category of food unto itself, like ‘lunch’ or ‘soup’. Game day has come to mean any food that would be perfect for eating on the couch (while shouting at the TV.) It’s a favorite of mine and can range from an elegant cheeseboard to bagel knots and Guinness battered onion rings.
Sheet Pan Turkey Reuben Sandwiches
- sheet pan, optional
- 8 slices rye bread, use any style you like.
- Russian dressing (recipe below)
- 1 lb sliced turkey
- 1 cup sauerkraut, drained
- 8 slices Swiss cheese
homemade Russian dressing
- 1/2 cup mayonnaise
- 5-6 Tbsp ketchup (I used my favorite jalapeño ketchup, Heinz makes it.)
- 3 tsp sweet relish
- 1 tsp yellow mustard
- 1-2 tsp prepared horseradish, or to taste
- pinch salt, to taste
- Preheat oven to 400F
- Butter one side of each slice of bread. Flip the slices over so the un-buttered side is up.
- Spread Russian dressing on the unbuttered sides of the bread.
- Add turkey slices to four of the eight pieces of bread.
- Top the turkey with the sauerkraut.
- Then add the cheese.
- Top your sandwiches with the remaining pieces of bread.
- If using the sheet pan, arrange the sandwiches on an unlined pan and bake for about 10-15 minutes, or until the bread is golden. If you like you can flip the sandwich to crisp up the other side a bit more.
- Slice and serve asap with a side of dill pickles and chips.
griddle or skillet method
- If using a griddle or skillet work in batches and grill on one side till golden, then flip and grill the other side until golden.
to make the Russian dressing
- Whisk the ingredients together and adjust anything to your particular taste. Keep chilled until ready to use, you can make it up to 2 days in advance.