Reuben Casserole

CasseroleComfort FoodFreezer-friendlyMake-ahead

Reuben casserole is a great way to use up leftover corned beef or to make a quick weeknight meal using pastrami from the deli. It has all the flavor of a Reuben sandwich, but very little hands-on time. Just mix it together, and pop it in the oven!

Photography Credit: Alison Bickel

Reubens are a family favorite at my house. This boldly flavored sandwich is layered with tangy sauerkraut, earthy Swiss cheese, meat, and thousand island dressing, pressed between hearty rye bread and grilled until golden and crispy. What’s not to love? Well, maybe one thing.

Making one sandwich after the other usually means that either I’m standing at the stove grilling the next sandwich or my husband is while everyone else eats. For nights when you want the flavor of a Reuben, without spending your evening at the stove, this Reuben Casserole is here for you.

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How to Make Reuben Casserole

Layer the bottom of the casserole dish with cubes of rye bread (hearty seeded rye is my favorite); mix the rest of the ingredients in a bowl; spread it over the cubed bread, and top it with breadcrumbs. The cheese melts, and all the flavors meld together without needing to stand at the stovetop.

A golden brown baked reuben casserole is cooling on a rack. A metal spatula is in the lower right hand corner. A matte grey plate has a side salad and black fork in the upper right. A dark teal linen is under the plate.

WHAT MEAT IS BEST FOR REUBEN CASSEROLE?

If I make this around St. Patrick’s Day, I always use leftover corned beef, but it’s a quick and simple weeknight dinner any time of year. If I don’t have leftover corned beef on hand, I just buy pastrami at the deli counter.

I prefer deli pastrami to deli corned beef, because the flavor is more pronounced and stands up better to all the competing flavors in this casserole. My deli will give me a sample; I’m sure yours would too. Don’t be afraid to ask to try a piece, then decide for yourself—corned beef or pastrami. They cost about the same.

WHAT TO SERVE WITH REUBEN CASSEROLE?

This is a pretty rich dish, and definitely not heavy in the vegetable department. I would serve this with a simple vegetable side like green beans, asparagus, or broccoli. A light, easy salad is always a great way to round out dinner.

Close up view of a ceramic plate with a scoop of easy reuben casserole and side salad with diced red peppers. A second plate with reuben casserole is partially in view to the right. A dark teal linen is underneath the plates.

MAKE-AHEAD TIPS FOR REUBEN CASSEROLE

Casseroles are the perfect make-ahead meal. Make this recipe the night before, cover, and keep in the fridge unbaked, then just pop it in the oven when you get home from work. You can also bake it completely, then just reheat it in a 350°F oven until it’s warmed through.

CAN YOU FREEZE REUBEN CASSEROLE?

Yes, you can! Feel free to assemble the entire casserole, wrap it in plastic wrap and aluminum foil, and keep it in your freezer for up to three months.

Just take it out the night before you want to eat, and let it thaw in the fridge overnight. Pop it in the oven when you get home from work, and bake as if it had never been frozen.

You can also bake the casserole as directed before freezing. Let it cool completely, then wrap and freeze the baked casserole. It will keep for up to three months. When ready, thaw in the fridge overnight and reheat in a 350°F oven.

A scoop of reuben casserole is on a matte grey plate with a teal linen underneath. A forkful of cheesy casserole is lifted above the scoop on the plate.

TRY THESE EASY WEEKNIGHT CASSEROLES!

Reuben Casserole Recipe

  • Prep time: 30 minutes
  • Cook time: 45 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 6-8

Ingredients

  • 8 slices (9 ounces) seeded sliced rye bread
  • 8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1 1/2 pounds sliced pastrami or corned beef (from the deli or homemade)
  • 8 ounces sliced Swiss cheese
  • 22 ounces (2 3/4 cups) sauerkraut, drained
  • 1 1/2 cups Thousand Island dressing
  • 2 teaspoons caraway seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • Butter for the baking dish

Special equipment:

Method

1 Prepare the pan and heat the oven: Butter a 9x13 baking dish and preheat the oven to 350°F.

2 Cube and crumb the bread: Take 6 slices of the bread and cut them into 1-inch cubes. Ultimately, you need enough bread to cover the bottom of your baking dish. If you're bread isn't pre-sliced, you might need more to do this.

Take the remaining 2 slices of bread and pulse in a food processor until fine crumbs are formed.

A person with a blue apron and long sleeved white shirt is holding a chef's knife and cubing rye bread on a wooden cutting board. Overhead view of a food processor bowl with bread crumbs inside.

3 Chop the meat and the cheese: Chop the pastrami (or corned beef if you’re using) into bite sized pieces. I do this by stacking it and cutting the meat first in strips, then I cut across the strips to form rough squares. It doesn’t need to be perfect. It’s a casserole.

Stack the cheese slices one on top of the other, then cut it in strips, and then cut across the strips into squares.

A person with a blue apron and long sleeved white shirt is holding a chef's knife and chopping swiss cheese on a wooden cutting board.

4 Make the filling: In a large bowl, add the cream cheese and smoosh it with a spoon or spatula to soften and break it up a bit. Add the meat, Swiss cheese, sauerkraut, thousand island dressing, caraway seeds, and salt. Stir to combine, making sure you fully incorporate the cream cheese.

5 Layer the casserole: Place the cubed bread on the bottom of your 9x13 baking dish (slice and add more cubes if needed to make a full layer). Then spoon the filling over the top of the bread. Spread it out as evenly as possible. Sprinkle the breadcrumbs over the top.

Cubed rye bread is in a glass casserole dish and behind it is a blonde cutting board with a stack of swiss cheese. Reuben Casserole filling is being scooped onto the top of the chopped bread in the bottom of a glass casserole dish. The background is a kitchen and a marble topped island. A person is holding a glass casserole dish with pastrami reuben unbaked inside.

6 Bake the casserole: Place the casserole in the oven and bake for 40-45 minutes until the crumbs are toasted and the casserole is heated through.

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Summer Miller

Summer Miller is the Senior Editor for Simply Recipes based in Nebraska. Her work has appeared in Bon Appetit, Eating Well, Grit, SAVEUR, and Every Day with Rachael Ray, among others. Her first book is New Prairie Kitchen (Agate Publishing, 2015).

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2 Comments / Reviews

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  1. Jackie

    Interesting — I’m surprised you would need to add salt to this dish; those ingredients are pretty salty on their own.

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A golden brown baked reuben casserole is cooling on a rack. A metal spatula is in the lower right hand corner. A matte grey plate has a side salad and black fork in the upper right. A dark teal linen is under the plate.Reuben Casserole