Skip to Content

Spicy Kimchi Reuben

A fresh twist on a classic, this spicy kimchi Reuben is layered with corned beef, a spicy mayo kimchi mixture, and pepper Jack cheese sandwiched between two slices of rye bread.

Close-up side view of two halves of a spicy kimchi reuben stacked atop one another.

Jessica Halverstadt is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.

Reuben sandwiches have long been and will probably always be my favorite sandwich. I’ve got to admit I’m pretty picky when it comes to them, because I was incredibly spoiled growing up with the best homemade Reuben’s.

Lucky me, my love for Reuben’s has been inherited by my children. They are a staple in my house because they are not only delicious but also easy and quick to make. Seriously though, these sandwiches can be prepped, cooked, and plated in just 15 minutes. Can’t beat that! Especially on hectic weeknights when there are baths to take and homework to do.

As you probably gathered from the title of this recipe these are not your typical Reuben sandwiches. Although I adore them, I’ve grown a bit burnt out on the traditional Reuben. That combined with the fact that I’ve been on a kimchi kick as of late inspired these Spicy Kimchi Reuben’s.

So if you’re up for trying something new and you’re not afraid of a little spice, give them a go. If you’re not a big fan of spicy food you could easily reduce or leave out the cayenne. To be honest I was afraid my kids wouldn’t like them, but to my surprise they did! And I’m sure you will too! They’ve still got all the best aspects of a traditional Reuben going on; rye bread, corned beef, fermented cabbage, and melty, gooey cheese.

Ingredients (+ notes & substitutions)

  • Rye bread: I actually used a sourdough rye bread from my favorite local bakery WheatFields. Soooo good!!! As always, I recommend high-quality artisan bread. Pumpernickel would be a solid choice as well.
  • Corned beef: You can’t beat corned beef sliced right off a freshly cooked brisket, however, I realize that for most households corned beef is not a staple. Not only that, but having to prepare the corned beef throws the quickness and convenience of this recipe right out the window. That being said corned beef is super simple to cook and hands-off. I stuck mine in a crockpot on low heat, covered it with water, and left it to do its thing overnight. If you’re not up to this, deli meat is fine.
  • Kimchi: Use your favorite! I’ve been dying to make my own kimchi, but haven’t gotten around to it yet, so I used what I had on hand.
  • Pepper Jack cheese
  • Mayonnaise
  • Cayenne pepper: For some added heat.
  • Butter: If you prefer, you can use mayonnaise to fry up the sandwich.

How to make a spicy kimchi Reuben (+ tips)

First, you will need to remove the excess liquid from the kimchi. Put it in a strainer and press down on it with a spoon/fork or your hands to remove as much liquid as possible.

Combine the kimchi with the mayo and cayenne pepper in a small bowl. Set aside.

Kimchi mayo mixture in bowl.

Heat a skillet to med-low heat; closer to medium. On my stove this would be a four.

rye bread,sliced corned beef, and sliced pepperjack cheese on tray.

Assemble the sandwich by layering the pepper jack cheese, corned beef, and kimchi mixture on one slice of bread; top it off with the remaining slice of bread.

Butter one side of the sandwich and place butter side down in the skillet. Cook for five minutes or until golden brown. Butter the face-up side of the sandwich then gently flip it over. Allow it to cook for an additional five minutes or the bread is golden brown and crispy and the cheese is melted. Serve warm.

Spicy Kimchi Reuben up close

More grilled sandwiches you may enjoy:

  • Turkey Avocado Sandwich: This simple and refreshing turkey avocado sandwich is layered with chive cream cheese, mashed avocado, turkey, and plenty of fresh veggies including sprouts, cucumber, and red onion.
  • Corned Beef on Rye with Guinness Braised Onions: Layered with tangy mustard, melted white cheddar, and rich Guinness braised onions, corned beef on rye is the ultimate way to use leftover corned beeand is mouthwateringly tasty.
  • Jalapeno Popper Grilled Cheese with Bacon Onion Jam: All the jalapeno popper goodness packed between two slices of buttery, grilled bread; melted cheddar and cream cheese, roasted jalapenos, and bacon onion jam. This sweet and savory sandwich is comfort food at its finest.

If you make this spicy kimchi Reuben I’d love your feedback. Please leave a comment and/or a rating below as I greatly value your opinion. Or snap a pic and tag me on Instagram @taoofspiceblog. Love, light, and happy cooking ya’ll ♥

close-up side view of two stacks of kimchi reuben stacked atop one another

Spicy Kimchi Reuben

Yield: 1 sandwich
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 15 minutes

Fresh twist on a classic. This Spicy Kimchi Reuben is layered with corned beef, spicy kimchi, and pepper jack cheese. Easy lunch or dinner. Ready in just 15 minutes.


  • 1/4 cup kimchi, drained
  • 1 tablespoon mayonnaise
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 2 slices rye bread
  • 2  slices pepper jack cheese, approximately 2 ounces
  • 3 ounces sliced corned beef
  • 1 tablespoon butter, softened 


    1. Heat a skillet to medium-low heat, slightly closer to medium.
    2. In a small bowl, combine kimchi, mayonnaise, and cayenne pepper.
    3. To assemble sandwich layer one slice of bread with cheese, corned beef, and kimchi mixture. Top with remaining slice of bread.
    4. Butter one side of sandwich and place butter side down in skillet. Cook for 5 minutes or until golden brown.
    5. Butter other side of the sandwich and gently flip; cook for another 5 minutes or until bread is crispy and golden brown and cheese is melted. Serve warm.
Nutrition Information:
Yield: 1 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 742Total Fat: 57gSaturated Fat: 25gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 27gCholesterol: 170mgSodium: 1791mgCarbohydrates: 23gFiber: 4gSugar: 3gProtein: 34g

The nutritional information provided is computer generated. It is only an estimate and intended for informational purposes only. Nutrition details may vary depending on various factors such as origin, freshness of ingredients, etc

Did you make this recipe?

Please leave a comment on the blog or share a photo on Facebook


Thursday 19th of March 2020

Made these for dinner tonight and I believe I like them better than sauerkraut Ruebens, and I love sauerkraut Ruebens! !

Skip to Recipe