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Spicy Reubens

A traditional reuben sandwich with a little heat, these Spicy Reubens have a zesty sauce made from mayonnaise, chili sauce, horseradish, and cayenne pepper.

Spicy Reubens

The Reuben Sandwich. It’s my very favorite sandwich ever.  I order it practically every chance I get.

Spicy Reuben

Spicy Reubens

It’s pure comfort food between 2 slices of nicely buttered rye (or pumpernickel) bread. Layers of sliced corned beef, tangy sauerkraut,  melted swiss cheese, and the best part – the sauce. Typically I like a thousand island-style sauce with some sweetness on my reubens.  But sometimes I like to spice it up.

Spicy Reuben

I make this spicy sauce by combining mayonnaise with chili sauce instead of the ketchup I would normally use. Chili sauce already has a nice zip to it and then I spice it up even more by adding a big spoonful of horseradish and a sprinkle of cayenne pepper. Some sweet pepper relish balances the heat some so the sauce isn’t too one dimensional.

Spicy Reuben

The sauerkraut always threw me for a loop, but the Reuben sandwich has American origins and has been a popular sandwich in this country for nearly 100 years. And although I think a traditional reuben is a masterpiece that can’t be improved upon, I do like to see creative twists on reuben sandwiches. A Cuban Reuben with roast pork and ham, while maybe not quite as delicious as the original, is still a sandwich I’ll choose over many others. Tupelo Honey Cafe has a wonderful southern take on reubens in their cookbook using Chow Chow instead of sauerkraut and I recently had a Lowcountry Reuben at Plum’s Restaurant in Beaufort, SC which I will be sharing with you soon.

What about you? Do you like a traditonal reuben or is something like a reuben eggroll more your style?

Spicy Reuben

Spicy Reubens

Spicy Reubens

There's nothing like a reuben sadwich with its layers of sauerkraut, corned beef, and swiss cheese on some buttery rye bread. This one is kicked up with a spicy sauce.
PREP: 15 minutes
COOK: 5 minutes
TOTAL: 20 minutes


  • 8 slices dark rye bread or pumpernickel
  • 1 can sauerkraut, drained well
  • 1 pound sliced corned beef
  • 12 slices swiss cheese
  • 4 tablespoons butter

Spicy Sauce

  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/3 cup chili sauce
  • 2 tablespoons sweet pickle relish
  • 1 tablespoon horseradish
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper


  • Make sauce. Stir all ingredients together in a small bowl.
  • Spread about 2-3 teaspoons of spicy sauce on each piece of bread.
  • On half of the bread slices place about 1/4 to 1/3 cup sauerkraut.
  • On top of the sauerkraut, layer the corned beef, evenly distributing it among the 4 sandwiches.
  • Place 3 slices of swiss cheese on top of the corned beef for each sandwich. Top with remaining bread slices.
  • Heat a nonstick skillet or grill pan over medium heat. Place 2 tablespoons of butter on the hot pan and use a knife to spread it around the pan until it is completely melted.
  • Place the sandwiches on the pan and cook until the bottom is nicely toasted.
  • As you flip each sandwich, place a piece of the remaining butter on the pan and coat the pan well with it before setting the sandwich back down. Continue to cook until cheese melts, turning the heat to low if necessary.


To prevent a soggy sandwich, squeeze the sauerkraut with some paper towels to get as much liquid out as possible.
If my corned beef is cold from the refrigerator I will usually heat it in the microwave for a few seconds or warm it in the pan I will be cooking the sandwiches in. The cheese will melt much more easily and your sandwich will be more of an even temperature all the way through if you're not starting with cold meat in the middle.


Calories: 743kcal
Author: Christin Mahrlig
Course: Sandwich
Cuisine: American

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19 thoughts on “Spicy Reubens”

    1. Dave Bontreger

      Just wanted to add that I went with the creamy style and it tasted great. I think this sauce would make a great veggie dip too.

    2. Christin
      Christin Mahrlig

      This is what I use https://www.walmart.com/ip/Silver-Spring-Prepared-Horseradish-8-oz-Jar/101457676?wmlspartner=wlpa&selectedSellerId=0&wl13=7181&gclsrc=aw.ds&adid=22222222277101457676_161193766053_21214199653&wl0=&wl1=g&wl2=c&wl3=697173827980&wl4=pla-2300760861495&wl5=9010728&wl6=&wl7=&wl8=&wl9=pla&wl10=8175035&wl11=local&wl12=101457676&veh=sem_LIA&gad_source=1&gclid=Cj0KCQjwu8uyBhC6ARIsAKwBGpThT19S1OiuWxunR6hptRNmt0bF-u2TtDvOiViAcQOk0pA694R1R38aApsFEALw_wcB

  1. Hi Christin,

    Your recipe reads very deliciously spicy. I am thinking of trying this sandwich recipe for the upcoming Saint Patrick’s Day. The link to the chili sauce you recommended is broken. Would you please share the sauce brand again? Thank you.

    ~ Tiffany

  2. LOVE your addition of spice to the Reuben. I live in the UK and brine my own brisket to have authentic corned beef. I add spice including chili powder and smoked paprika to the brine. Your spicy sauce will be the perfect complement! We need to find a good replacement for the bread, so that this is keto-friendly. Maybe just turning all ingredients except bread (and sugar) into a dip using crudites might be a solution. Your photos are of excellent quality, too. Thank you!

  3. This sauce is just AMAZING!! If I loved Ruebens before….
    And everyone I’ve made them for loves it as well!!

  4. Rachel (teacher-chef)

    Reubens are my favorite! I was working on my shopping list for the week and after seeing this, I have added Corned Beef to my list because I now cannot fathom the rest of my week without having this in my mouth!

  5. Yumm that does look good. I recently made one with a little bit of kimchi subbing for the kraut.

  6. Sarah@WholeandHeavenlyOven

    Oh, man…How awesome does this sandwich look?? I’ve never had a reuben sandwich before in my life, but after seeing your recipe and gorgeous photos I’ve decided I’m changing that ASAP. Also I’m now craving these for lunch today. 😉 Pinned!

  7. Lauren @ Hall Nesting

    I love reubens!! I always have to omit the sauerkraut – maybe one day I will like it. But I love the spicy add on to this sandwich!

  8. Consuelo - Honey & Figs

    I’ve never had a Reuben, but I’m dying to do so after seeing this wonderful recipe! This sandwich looks bomb! xx

  9. These look delicious, and I love that spiced-up sauce! Horseradish is one of my favorite things ever. Have a wonderful Fourth, Christin! 🙂

  10. Kamila Gornia | for passion-driven solopreneurs

    1. This looks Ahhh-mazing. Seriously.

    2. Have an amazing 4th of July dear!


  11. Bam's Kitchen

    Loving the sauce recipe. This sandwich looks so delicious and I have not a rueben in ages, maybe since before I moved to Asia all those years ago. Just pinned!

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