Air Fryer Reuben Sandwiches — Deli-worthy reuben sandwiches at home complete with rye bread, Russian dressing, melted Swiss cheese, and plenty of corned beef! The air fryer helps get the bread extra crispy but stovetop cooking directions are also provided. Get ready because these sandwiches are generously sized and SO GOOD!
Homemade Reuben Sandwiches Recipe
For those who’s always wanted to make a deli-worthy reuben sandwich at home, my easy homemade reuben sandwiches recipe has you covered.
I took it one step further and made the reuben sandwiches in an air fryer which cuts down on the overall amount of olive oil or butter you need to get a perfectly crispy exterior while the interior is soft and warm with melted cheese.
Toasted marbled rye bread is what gives you a crunchy exterior and holds everything together. Plus there’s a slightly earthy flavor from the caraway seeds.
Melted Swiss cheese is mild flavored but there are sour, tangy bites from the sauerkraut while the corned beef has a hearty salted and peppery taste.
Russian dressing adds creaminess and hint of spiciness and marries all the flavor elements together.
Why Use an Air Fryer?
If you’re the type of person who can burn sandwiches like a grilled cheese if you’re cooking them in a skillet on the stove because you get impatient and turn the heat up too high and boom, you need to start over, the air fryer eliminates that.
But I include stovetop cooking instructions, too.
Ingredients in Reuben Sandwiches
A classic reuben sandwich is made with a handful of ingredients, but each have their place in this classic sandwich recipe.
And I think it’s better to go with tried-and-true ingredients for the best tasting reuben.
Here’s what’s on a reuben sandwich (with acceptable substitutions in parentheses):
- Marbled rye bread (or rye bread)
- Olive oil (or melted butter)
- Russian dressing (or Thousand Island dressing)
- Swiss cheese
- Corned beef (or pastrami)
What’s in Russian Dressing?
If you’re wondering what the heck is Russian Dressing it’s really just doctored up and spicier homemade Thousand Island dressing.
Thousand Island works just fine if you don’t have the ingredients on hand to make Russian Dressing, which you whisk together in a small bowl. Here’s what you’ll need to make the reuben sandwich sauce:
- Sour cream
- Ketchup, spicy ketchup, sriracha, or chili garlic sauce
- White onion
- Worcestershire sauce
- Sweet paprika
- Salt, to taste
- Pepper, to taste
How to Make a Reuben Sandwich in an Air Fryer
Making reuben sandwiches in an air fryer is a cinch and what I love about it is the really crispy exterior the bread develops while the hallmarks of a reuben sandwich including the warmed corned beef, sauerkraut, and melted Swiss remain the same.
Follow these straightforward steps:
Step 1: Preheat a large or XL air fryer to 390F.
Step 2: Mix together all the ingredients for the Russian dressing or simply use store bought Thousand Island dressing and set it aside.
Step 3: Brush each slice of bread on one side with olive oil or melted butter.
Step 4: Place the two pieces of bread (oiled sides down) in the air fryer.
Step 5: Spread Russian dressing over the top.
Step 6: Add a slice of Swiss cheese or two.
Step 7: Add the corned beef.
Step 8: Top with sauerkraut.
Step 9: Drizzle more Russian dressing over the top.
Step 10: Top each with another slice of bread (oiled sides up).
Step 11: Air fry for about 8 minutes, flipping once midway through.
Step 12: Repeat with the remaining ingredients and process to make 2 more sandwiches, slice, and serve!
How to Make a Reuben Sandwich (Without an Air Fryer)
Making reuben grilled sandwiches in a skillet on the stovetop is easy and the traditional method for making reubens.
Stovetop preparation and cooking instructions include:
- Follow steps 2 through 10 above.
- Cook in a nonstick skillet over medium to medium-low heat for about 6 minutes, flipping once midway through.
- Repeat with the remaining ingredients and process to make 2 more sandwiches, slice, and serve!
Are Reuben Sandwiches Always Served Hot?
I should note that not everyone actually makes reuben sandwiches by heating them and they serve them like you’d eat a basic turkey sandwich found in a convenience mart with cold cut turkey, cheese, tomato, lettuce, mayo, and untoasted bread.
However, this isn’t the way we like our reubens! We are team warm, melty, and gooey!
What to Serve with Reuben Sandwiches
Serve your reuben sandwiches made in an air fryer or on the stovetop with classic sides like:
- Potato chips
- Dill pickles
- Or whatever sounds great to you – for us it’s something crunchy and a bit salty!
Without a doubt, air fryer reuben sandwiches or skillet reuben sandwiches are best served warm and fresh. Melted cheese is undoubtedly at its peak when it’s warm and gooey!
For this reason while you can technically hang onto leftover sandwiches and store them airtight in the fridge for up to 3 days, they’re not going to taste nearly as good as they do when fresh which is when I advocate devouring them.
How to Reheat a Reuben Sandwich in an Air Fryer
If you do find yourself with a leftover reuben sandwich and you want to reheat it, you can do it in an air fryer.
Set your air fryer to about 320F so that it just reheats the reuben, and doesn’t actually cook it too much (burn it).
What Kind of Air Fryer is Best?
If you don’t have an air fryer and are looking to possibly purchase one, I always advocate go with the biggest model you can find storage space for. Even XL models are by no means “huge”.
I am able to fit and make two sandwiches at one time in my Cosori XL Air Fryer with 5.8-quart basket. It’s a Generation II model and one of the most popular air fryers out there. Many people who jumped on the bandwagon bought this model.
There’s now a Generation III model Cosori with a 6.8-quart basket.
There are also other brands with double baskets if you have the room for them.
Reuben Sandwich FAQs
You can find them in the deli or in-store bakery section of most well-stocked grocery stores.
The toasted rye adds crunch and a slightly earthy flavor from the caraway seeds and it really helps give a traditional flavor to these air fryer reuben sandwiches.
Sure thing! Mozzarella, Havarti, or Monterrey Jack cheeses are all cheeses that melt easily. Of course these are “traditional” cheeses you’d find in a rureubeneben sandwich but they still taste great.
I use thin-sliced corned beef from my local deli or grocery store deli. While you could go to the work of cooking your own corned beef (or pastrami), I never have and always rely on deli corned beef that’s already cooked, sliced, and ready to go.
I use jarred, shelf-stable sauerkraut because it’s a bit more tangy and I like this. You can also use sauerkraut that’s fresh and is kept in the refrigerated cases of your grocer, or of course you can make your own homemade sauerkraut.
I drain but do not rinse my sauerkraut to preserve the tanginess. However, if you want to reduce the tanginess of sauerkraut you can rinse it and drain it. The rinsing quite literally rinses away some of the tangy bite.
Alternatively, you can use coleslaw instead of sauerkraut for anyone who just isn’t a sauerkraut fan.
Yes you sure can halve the recipe. As written, the recipe makes 4 generously sized sandwiches and you can halve it for 2 sandwiches.
Tips for the Best Air Fryer Reuben Sandwiches
Making sandwiches isn’t rocket science and that holds true for homemade reuben sandwiches!
However my biggest tips and takeaways are as follows:
Preheat your Air Fryer – Air fryers can take a bit to come up to temperature. By preheating it before you even start making the recipe, you’ll get a headstart on this.
Plus you’ll know it’s at the proper temperature after you add the sandwiches so they cook properly.
Watch the Food – Since all models of air fryers vary, and if you’re doing this on the stove all stoves and skillets vary, therefore so will cooking time.
If your food looks done quicker than the indicated cook times, by all means, pull it out.
Conversely, if the cheese hasn’t melted or the bread really doesn’t seem very toasted, don’t be afraid to cook it a bit longer.
Russian Dressing vs. Thousand Island – Russian dressing is going to give you more of a kick or spiciness (and you can make it spicier than I indicate by tweaking the seasonings), and depth of flavor than Thousand Island, which is not at all spicy nor kicked up.
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Russian Dressing (Thousand Island Dressing may be substituted)
- 1/4 cup mayonnaise
- 1/4 cup sour cream
- 2 to 3 tablespoons ketchup, spicy ketchup, sriracha, or chili garlic sauce (use the spicier options if you want it to read spicier)
- 1 tablespoon white onion, finely minced
- 1 to 3 teaspoons horseradish, or to taste
- 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
- 1/4 teaspoon sweet paprika
- Salt, to taste
- Pepper, to taste
- 8 slices marbled rye bread (or rye bread)
- 2 to 3 tablespoons olive oil (or melted butter), divided
- Russian dressing from above (or Thousand Island dressing), as desired; divided
- 8 to 16 slices thin-sliced Swiss cheese, as desired; divided
- 1 pound thin-sliced del corned beef (or pastrami), divided
- 1/2 cup fresh or shelf-stable (or homemade) sauerkraut, drained (rinse it to remove the bite if desired)
- Preheat XL air fryer to 390F.* (See Notes for Stovetop Cooking)
- Russian Dressing - To a medium bowl, add all ingredients, and whisk to combine. Taste, and make any necessary flavor adjustments; set aside momentarily. If you're using store bought Thousand Island, Ken's Steakhouse brand or Kraft are both good and readily available.
- Evenly drizzle or brush one side of each of the 8 slices of bread with olive oil or melted butter.
- Place two of the slices, greased sides down, in the air fryer.
- Spread a layer of Russian dressing over the tops, as desired.
- Add 1 or 2 slices of cheese to each piece of bread. Note - Based on the size of both the cheese and the bread, and how cheesy you want your sandwiches, you may only use 1 slice per slice of bread, but I use two.
- Generously mound the corned beef on each piece. Note - You've got 1 pound of meat and the recipe makes 4 sandwiches total, so evenly divide the meat into 4 portions.
- Top the corned beef with horseradish, as desired.
- Optionally, drizzle each with additional Russian dressing or Thousand Island, as desired. Note - You may not use all of the Russian dressing you mixed up but better to have a little extra than not quite enough.
- Top each with a slice of bread, greased sides up, and press lightly to "seal" the sandwiches.
- Close the air fryer basket and fry for 8 minutes total, stopping to check and flip at the 4 minute mark. Tips - Based on your exact model of air fryer, how thick your sandwiches are, etc. cooking time will vary so start checking for doneness a couple minutes early. Although don't be afraid to cook longer than 8 minutes total if your sandwiches aren't looking done at that point.
- Remove the two sandwiches from the air fryer.
- Repeat steps 2 through 12 to make two more sandwiches.
- Slice and serve. Reubens are best warm and fresh although will keep airtight in the fridge for up to 3 days.
Air Fryers - I am able to fit and make two sandwiches at one time in my Cosori XL Air Fryer with 5.8-quart basket. It’s a Generation II model. There is also now the Cosori XL Air Fryer with 6.8-quart basket. And double basket models.
Stovetop Cooking in a Skillet - Follow the same general instructions for air fryer cooking except rather than cook them in an air fryer, add the sandwiches to a large, nonstick skillet, and cook over medium heat for about 6 to 8 minutes, flipping once midway through. Tips - If sandwiches are burning on the outside or darkening too quickly before the cheese is melting, reduce the heat to medium-low. If cheese is resitant to melting, cover the skillet with a lid for the last minute or two.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 1099Total Fat: 83gSaturated Fat: 33gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 42gCholesterol: 230mgSodium: 2128mgCarbohydrates: 32gFiber: 3gSugar: 8gProtein: 55g
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