I’m from Omaha, Nebraska, where the Reuben sandwich was born (sorry, New Yorkers), and I grew up eating this classic sandwich.
I've had it in the homes of my mother, grandmothers, aunts and uncles. I’ve also consumed plenty of Reubens at bars and restaurants, where they usually come with a side of onion rings.
It’s a simple lunchtime favorite, and I've found that it also transitions into the perfect party dip.
This dip has all the elements you love in both a Reuben sandwich and a party snack: hot and creamy cheese, a mix of salty and sweet flavors from the corned beef and the Thousand Island dressing, and a crispy topping of toasted rye bread crumbs. Plus, of course, more slices of toasted rye bread for scooping everything up.
While you can use homemade corned beef if you have it, for this simple football party appetizer, I picked up some sliced corned beef from the deli counter. You can also make your own Thousand Island dressing, if you like, but your favorite bottled dressing works just as well here.
For the bread, artisan-style bakery loaves or pre-sliced grocery store loaves both work well. I like to get a loaf of lighter-colored seeded rye bread and a loaf of pumpernickel so I have contrasting colors on the plate, but you can use any rye variety you like.
Just make sure to use a lighter-colored loaf of rye bread for the breadcrumb topping, since it's easy to accidentally burn breadcrumbs made from darker bread.
The number of toasts you make and the amount of time it takes to toast them will depend largely on the size of your loaf. Just remember that this is a hearty dip, so the toasts need be thick enough to hold the weight.
Serve the dip hot with a spoon for scooping, and arrange your toasts alongside.
Hot Reuben Dip
- 10 ounces corned beef, from the deli counter or homemade, chopped
- 10 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
- 6 ounces Swiss cheese slices from the deli counter, cut into small pieces
- 3/4 cup sauerkraut, drained
- 1/2 cup Thousand Island dressing, homemade or store-bought
- 1 teaspoon caraway seeds
- 8 slices rye bread, divided
- 3 tablespoons butter, plus more for the toast
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more for sprinkling
- 1/2 tablespoon minced chives, for garnish
Heat the oven to 400°F
Mix the dip:
In a large bowl, combine corned beef, cream cheese, cubed Swiss cheese, sauerkraut, dressing, and caraway seeds with a sturdy spoon or spatula.
Spread evenly into a 2-quart oven-safe dish. Set aside.
Make the bread crumbs:
Tear two slices of rye bread into pieces and pulse in a food processor or spice grinder until coarsely ground. You need about 1 1/4 cups of crumbs; process additional slices of bread as needed.
Melt the butter over medium heat in a medium skillet. Add the crumbs and stir to coat. Continue cooking, stirring occasionally, for 5 to 10 minutes until the crumbs are dry and crisp. Remove from heat.
Bake the dip:
Sprinkle the crumbs evenly over the dip. Bake for 25 to 35 minutes until the top is golden and the edges are bubbling.
Make the toasts:
Lightly butter the remaining slices of rye bread and sprinkle with a bit of kosher salt. Stack slices on top of one another, and then slice into triangles or rectangles. Place a metal cooling rack inside a baking sheet and arrange the bread slices on top.
When there is about 10 minutes left on the dip, place the bread in the oven alongside the dip to toast. (It's fine to toast on a separate oven if you can't fit both the toasts and the dip on the same rack.)
Serve the dip:
Remove the dip and the toasts from oven. Top the dip with minced chives, stick in a spoon, and serve immediately while hot. Instruct guests to eat by scooping out a bit of the dip with the spoon and topping pieces of toast.