Turkey Reubens! Also called the Rachel Sandwich, this griddled beauty is a lighter take on the classic corned beef superstar. Featuring thick-sliced deli turkey, melty Swiss cheese, Russian Dressing and your choice of creamy coleslaw or sauerkraut. 

griddled sandwich halves stacked on top of eachother and set in a metal tray with newspaper.

The Difference Between a Reuben Sandwich and a Rachel Sandwich

Think this is just another grilled cheese sandwich? Think again! This sandy is on a whole other level!

  • The Classic Reuben is a griddled sandwich made on rye bread with corned beef, Swiss cheese, sauerkraut and Russian Dressing. 
  • Rachel Sandwiches are also made on Rye bread with Swiss cheese and Russian dressing but features deli turkey or pastrami instead of corned beef and creamy coleslaw instead of sauerkraut. 

Ingredients In a Turkey Reuben (or Rachel Sandwich)

  • Rye sandwich bread. You can also use your favorite whole-wheat sandwich bread. If you do opt for a different type of bread, consider sprinkling some caraway seeds over the cheese before placing the second bread slice on top.
  • Olive oil. I’m all about healthyish so I opt for extra-virgin olive oil instead of butter for griddling the sandwiches. 
  • Homemade Russian Dressing. Not the same thing as Thousand Island dressing! Russian dressing is more savory and slightly spicy.
  • Thick-sliced deli turkey or Pastrami 
  • Sauerkraut or creamy coleslaw. If you’re looking for something more inline with a Reuben, opt for the sauerkraut. And if you want a true Rachel Sandwich, use creamy coleslaw. 
  • Swiss Cheese, thick-sliced is best.
sheet tray filled with rye bread slices, swiss cheese slices, sliced turkey, sauerkraut and a creamy orange sauce

How to Make a Turkey Reuben Sandwich 

Like any griddled sandwich—the turkey reuben is all about the crispy golden bread. It’s not rocket science, but it can blow minds when done well. 😉

  1. Brush olive oil on one side of each slice of bread. I opt for olive oil instead of butter because it’s healthier and I prefer its flavor. You won’t even miss the butter.
  2. Heat a splash of olive oil in a large nonstick skillet. I recommend only cooking two sandwiches at once—trying to pack more than two in a large skillet is just a pain and won’t encourage browning. If you have a large griddle and want to cook all of the sandwiches at once go for it!
  3. Place two slices of rye bread, oiled side down, in skillet. 
  4. Top bread slices with Russian dressing, turkey, sauerkraut or coleslaw, and cheese slices. Top each with a slice of rye bread, oiled side up.
  5. Cook until bottom is golden and crispy; flip and continue to cook until cheese is melty and bottom is golden and crispy. 

Test Kitchen Tip: the sandwiches are cooked in two bathes, so while the second batch cooks transfer the first batch to a wire rack-lined baking sheet and keep them warm in a 200-degree oven.
This will do two things—keep the sandwiches warm and avoid them from becoming soggy. If you place the sandwiches on a plate and let them sit, the steam from the sandwich will be trapped by the plate, softening the bottom side.

grilled sandwiches on newspaper set in metal trays with drips of sauce scattered around

What To Do With Leftover Sauerkraut

  • Make a reuben pizza! Top your favorite pizza crust with thinly sliced corned beef, sauerkraut, and shredded Swiss cheese.
  • Add to a wild rice pilaf or stuffing.
  • Add to a breakfast hash and top with fried eggs.
  • Top grain bowls with a spoonful of sauerkraut.
  • Go classic and serve with schnitzel.
  • Sauté apples until softened then stir in sauerkraut and whole-grain mustard. Serve with pork chops or pork tenderloin.

Make Ahead Tip: I do not recommend cooking these ahead of time but you can absolutely prep them ahead of time. Assemble the sandwiches as directed, except skip adding the Russian Dressing until right before griddling.
Arrange prepped sandwiches in a single layer on a baking sheet, wrap the sheet in plastic and store in the refrigerator until ready to griddle. I wouldn’t do this more than 6 hours in advance. Right before cooking, spread the Russian Dressing on the inside of the bottom slice of bread. Cook as directed.

Serve Rachel Sandwich With

Chips, pickles, potato salad, coleslaw and macaroni salad are classic, but these recipe would also be fabulous.

If you give this Turkey Reuben/Rachel Sandwich recipe a try, let me know! Leave a comment with a star rating below. You can also snap a photo & tag @zestfulkitchen on Instagram. I love hearing about and seeing your ZK creations!

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griddled sandwich halves stacked on top of eachother and set in a metal tray with newspaper.

Rachel Sandwich (Turkey Reuben Sandwich)

  • Author: Lauren Grant
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Total Time: 25 minutes
  • Yield: 4 sandwiches 1x
  • Category: Main Dish
  • Method: Stove top
  • Cuisine: American


A savory griddled sandwich made with Russian dressing, Swiss cheese, deli turkey, and sauerkraut on flavorful rye bread. 


  • 8 slices rye sandwich bread
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 recipe Lightened Up Russian Dressing
  • 1 pound thick-sliced deli turkey 
  • 1 cup drained sauerkraut (6 ounces)
  • 8 slices Swiss cheese (8 ounces)


Heat oven to 200ºF (93ºC); line a baking sheet with a wire rack and set aside.

Spread one side of each bread slice with ½ teaspoon oil. In a large nonstick skillet, heat 1 teaspoon oil over medium-low. 

Place 2 slices of bread, oiled side down, in skillet. Spread 2 tablespoons Russian dressing on each slice of bread, then top each with ¼ pound turkey, ¼ cup sauerkraut and 2 slices cheese. Top each with 1 slice bread, oil side up. 

Cook until bottom side is golden and crispy, about 5 minutes. Flip sandwiches and continue to cook, pressing down gently with a spatula, until bottom side is golden brown and cheese is melted, about 3 minutes more.

Transfer sandwiches to prepared sheet and keep warm in oven; wipe out skillet. Repeat with remaining teaspoon oil, bread, sauce, turkey, sauerkraut and cheese. Serve immediately.


Pastrami can be used in place of the deli turkey. As can corned beef or any preferred sliced deli meat. 


  • Serving Size: 1 sandwich
  • Calories: 581
  • Sugar: 8g
  • Sodium: 2129mg
  • Fat: 30g
  • Saturated Fat: 11g
  • Carbohydrates: 42g
  • Fiber: 6g
  • Protein: 39g
  • Cholesterol: 115mg

Keywords: Rachel Sandwich, Turkey Reuben

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About The Author

Lauren Grant is a professional culinary food scientist, food writer, recipe developer, and food photographer. Lauren is a previous magazine editor and test kitchen developer and has had work published in major national publications including Diabetic Living Magazine, Midwest Living Magazine, Cuisine at Home Magazine, EatingWell.com, AmericasTestKitchen.com, and more.

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