What Is a Reuben Casserole?

B. Miller

A Reuben casserole is a baked dish that is meant to be reminiscent of the popular Reuben sandwich that is made with corned beef, sauerkraut and thousand island dressing. The casserole is easy for cooks to prepare and bake, and it makes an excellent choice for a large dinner or to bring to a potluck supper. There are a few ways for a cook to prepare a Reuben casserole and many recipes to be found online, but it is also one of those casseroles that can just be improvised without too much fear. The ingredients for this casserole typically include shredded or sliced corned beef, sauerkraut, thousand island dressing and mayonnaise. Bread crumbs or cubed rye bread replace the sandwich bread.

Sliced pastrami for a Reuben casserole.
Sliced pastrami for a Reuben casserole.

Another benefit of making a Reuben casserole is that the size can be completely customized depending on the number of people who will be eating it. Cutting the ingredient measurements in half is one easy way to do this. In general, most people will simply purchase sliced deli meat to make a Reuben casserole, but leftover corned beef also can be used successfully, if it is shredded or sliced thinly. All of the ingredients are then simply layered in a casserole dish.

Mayonnaise, which is often used to make Reuben casseroles.
Mayonnaise, which is often used to make Reuben casseroles.

Some people begin by layering cubed rye bread on the bottom of a dish, then placing a layer of corned beef, followed by a layer of sauerkraut. Others will simply place the corned beef on the bottom of the dish and skip the rye bread entirely. It really does not matter for baking purposes, just taste preferences; cooks should keep in mind that the bread will absorb the juices in the casserole. After the corned beef and sauerkraut layers, most people will top that with a layer of Swiss cheese, followed by a layer of dressing. Typically, dressing is made by combining thousand island salad dressing with mayonnaise.

Sauerkraut is used in a Reuben casserole.
Sauerkraut is used in a Reuben casserole.

For a slightly crunchy topping, a Reuben casserole can be topped with breadcrumbs. After it is baked in the oven, it can be served plain. Some people choose to serve it with slices of rye bread. This casserole is a popular dish because it uses so few ingredients and is so easy to make. It is not a casserole that freezes particularly well, however — especially if it is made with bread — so it should be made only if it will be eaten within a few days and not stored.

A Reuben casserole uses rye bread.
A Reuben casserole uses rye bread.

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Discussion Comments

Wisedly33

Oh, mercy. My mother loves Reuben sandwiches, so she would probably adore this casserole. I think topping it with crunchy rye bread croutons would be great.

I think I'd be more apt to use a more sour cream based binder, though. And mustard. My mom isn't a big thousand island fan, but loves mustard. So do I. And I love hot Reuben dip, so a casserole is a short step. I think that dip uses cream cheese, which would also be good here. It would be rich, though. I'll have to check on some Reuben casserole recipes and see what looks good.

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