This homemade Reuben dressing is the perfect topper for your Reuben sandwich. Reuben sandwich sauce is filled with the rich, tangy flavors that are the hallmark of the classic Reuben. It’s the perfect recipe for the perfect sandwich.
If you’ve been reading my blog, you know I love Reuben sandwiches. I love Reuben everything, in fact. I’ve made sandwiches, crescent rings, and even sliders with the delicious flavors of a Reuben sandwich.
As a lifelong Reuben lover, I’m always looking for new and different ways to enjoy the great flavors of this classic sandwich. And of course, as a cook, I love to make it from scratch – at least from time to time.
One of the ingredients of a Reuben that I love to make myself is that classic Reuben sandwich sauce. You just can’t beat the flavor of homemade! It’s rich, creamy, and tangy, and it’s also easy to make.
Easy is a big deal for me, so I love that I can to my sandwich with such a delicious, flavorful sauce that also doesn’t take a lot of time to make.
Perhaps one of my favorite things about this dressing is how versatile it is. Of course, it’s the classic topper for any Reuben sandwich, but it’s also an exceptional dipping sauce and even a tasty topping for a chef salad.
That rich, creamy, tangy flavor just goes so well with almost anything.
What dressing goes on a Reuben?
Originally, Russian dressing was used to make the first Reuben sandwich in 1914 but since then thousand island dressing has become more common. Many more have it in their households and appear to prefer the sweeter flavor.
Russian dressing or thousand island for Rueben?
Both dressings are created from blending ketchup and mayo together with thousand island being sweeter with the addition of pickle relish and Russian dressing spicier with the addition of horseradish and hot sauce.
Use your preference to make your own Rueben sandwich at home.
The History of Russian and Thousand Island Dressing
As you all know by now, I’ve gotten very into the history of food. I was Googling a recipe a few months ago, and I went down the rabbit hole of food history. I’ve been hooked ever since.
It’s so interesting to learn about the food that I love so much, so before we get into the recipe, I want to share the history of Reuben sandwich sauce with all of you.
Reuben dressing is really nothing more than Russian dressing or Thousand Island dressing, they can both be used interchangeably, as they’re almost exactly the same thing.
I want to take a second to talk about the brief history of both, as you’ll find them both on Reuben sandwiches.
History of Russian Dressing
Russian dressing is a rich, tangy salad dressing made up of mayonnaise, ketchup, and other ingredients. Russian dressing references can be found as early as 1900 and is also documented in a 1910 catering book as a vinaigrette alternative for dressing tomatoes or asparagus.
New Hampshire food historians claim that the mayonnaise-based version of Russian dressing was invented in Nashua, New Hampshire by James E. Colburn in the 1910s.
A biographical article published in 1927 calls him “the originator and first producer of that delectable condiment known as Russian salad dressing”.
By that time, Colburn had been selling “Colburn’s Mayonnaise salad dressing” at his store since at least 1910 and maybe earlier.
An interesting fact is that this American dressing got its Russian name because the original recipe included caviar which was a staple of Russian cuisine.
History of Thousand Island Dressing
Thousand Island dressing is another mayonnaise-based dressing that’s often used interchangeably with Russian dressing. In fact, the major difference between the two is Thousand Island dressing’s use of finely chopped ingredients.
Variations on the dressing include ingredients like pickles, onions, bell peppers, green olives, hard-boiled egg, pimento, chives, and garlic.
Thousand Island dressing gets its name from the Thousand Islands region along the upper St. Lawrence River lying between the USA and Canada. A common tale of the dressing’s origin is that a fishing guide’s wife, Sophia, La Londe, made the dressing as part of her husband’s dinner.
In this version of the story, actress, May Irwin, is said to have requested the recipe after trying it and, in turn, giving it to another person. From there, the use of the dressing spread.
In another version, Thousand Islands summer resident, George Boldt, proprietor of the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel, had the hotel chef put the dressing on the menu in 1894. He had forgotten dressing for salads and improvised a recipe using the ingredients he had on hand at the time.
There are numerous accounts of the origin of the dressing all across the Thousand Islands region, so no one has any concrete evidence of who actually created the first iteration of the dressing or where.
This Reuben sandwich dressing or sauce is a little bit Russian dressing, a little bit Thousand Island dressing, and all delicious. It’s a rich, creamy dressing that is both sweet and tangy.
It also has a nice kick with the addition of hot sauce. It’s the perfect flavor profile to pair with the corned beef, sauerkraut, and cheese that make up the rest of the classic Reuben experience.
It only takes a few ingredients to make this incredibly flavorful topper for your Reuben sandwiches or appetizers. Almost every ingredient used in this Reuben sandwich dressing recipe is a condiment that you probably already have in your home, and the other ingredients are pantry staples.
Chances are you have every ingredient in your kitchen right this second! Here’s what you’ll need to make this AMAZING Reuben salad dressing.
- Chopped onion
- Olive oil
- Worcestershire sauce
- Hot sauce
- Lemon juice
- Garlic cloves, minced
- Black pepper
- Relish, if desired
- Horseradish, if desired
That’s a pretty simple list, isn’t it? And I’ll bet you have almost every ingredient in your kitchen. Heck, you might even have them all.
Making the Reuben Dressing
This Reuben sandwich sauce is even simpler to make than the ingredient list. The bulk of the work you’ll do is simply chopping a scant few ingredients.
After that, it’s simply a matter of mixing everything together. It couldn’t be easier to make Reuben sandwich dressing. You’ll find the complete recipe with amounts in the recipe card at the end of the post, but take a look at this simple overview.
- Finely chop the onion and mince the garlic.
- Combine all ingredients in a medium bowl and mix.
- Use an emulsion blender to create a smooth dressing.
That’s all there is to it! Easy peasy!
Serving Reuben Dressing
Of course, this Reuben sandwich sauce is the perfect topper to your Reuben sandwiches, crescent rings, sliders, or whatever other delicious Reuben recipes you might have on hand, but there’s so much more you can do with it.
The delicious flavors in this Reuben sandwich dressing recipe make it the perfect dipping sauce for all kinds of food. Just some of the things you can use this dressing for include:
Of course, depending on how much you love the flavors in this dressing, you can dip anything you like into it.
Storing the Dressing
This dressing will keep well in the refrigerator in an air-tight container for up to two weeks. You can’t freeze this dressing. At all. The ingredients will separate upon thawing, and you’ll be left with a weird, curdled goo that is quite unappetizing.
- What ingredients are needed for this recipe?
- Mayonnaise – This is the basis for a smooth dressing.
- Chopped onion – Don’t worry if you do not like fresh chopped onion, it will get blended later.
- Olive oil – This adds to the smooth consistency of the dressing. If you prefer, you may use vegetable oil instead.
- Worcestershire sauce
- Hot sauce – I used a generic brand of hot sauce. Do not use salsa, it is not the same and it will make a great difference in the flavor.
- Lemon juice – You can use either fresh squeezed or bottled lemon juice with the same results.
- Garlic clove minced – Do not worry if you cannot get this super finely minced, it will get blended into a smooth consistency later.
- Pepper – Pepper is always better when it is fresh ground, however, feel free to use plain black pepper.
- Paprika – This does not make the dressing spicy, it just enhances the flavor.
- Supplies you will need to make this recipe
- Medium-sized bowl
- Immersion blender that’s about 18 inches long and I LOVE it because it fits in everywhere, this immersion blender is like the one I used to own that is much shorter or a regular blender – Using an immersion blender makes blending this easier and creates less dishes, however, if you do not have one, you can put the ingredients into a regular blender or even a food processor.
- What is the texture of this dressing? – This dressing is smooth and creamy. It is blended into the perfect consistency for dipping, not too thick and not too thin.
Try This Reuben Dressing for Yourself
Whether you’re as big a fan of Reuben sandwiches as I am or you just love salad dressing, you need this homemade dressing in your life.
It’s rich, creamy, and tangy, and it makes the perfect dressing for chef salads or a dipping sauce for everything from French fries to burgers. Whether you serve it on a Reuben or dip your favorite food in it, this dressing is always a winner.
It’s also ridiculously easy to make! That makes a combo worth checking out in my opinion. Give this delicious Reuben dressing a try, and I’m sure you’ll agree that it’s one of the best dressings of any sort you’ve ever had.
More Reuben Goodness
If this post has you hungry for more delicious Reuben everything, you’re in luck! I’ve got some more great recipes that involve everything we love about Reuben sandwiches from sauerkraut to corned beef.
- immersion blender or whisk
- 1 cup mayo
- ⅔ cup onion chopped
- 3 tablespoons olive oil or another vegetable oil
- 2 tablespoons ketchup
- 4 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
- 3 tablespoons hot sauce
- 2 teaspoons mustard
- 2 teaspoons lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon garlic cloves minced
- 2 teaspoons black pepper
- ½ teaspoons paprika
- relish, if desired
- horseradish, if desired
- Get out and measure your ingredients.
- Add ingredients to a medium sized bowl.
- Using an immersion blender or a whisk, blend until smooth.
- Serve and enjoy!
- Storage: Sauce may stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.