So you want to make traditional Reuben sandwiches? You have tangy sauerkraut, toasted slices of rye bread, delicious slices of Swiss cheese and a generous amount of pastrami or corned beef. The only thing that you need to make the best Reuben Sandwich is a sauce that’s full of tangy flavour and creamy decadence. Try this Homemade Russian Dressing recipe for Reuben Sandwich and many more delicious meals! Trust me, a homemade version is so much better…
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What Is Russian Dressing?
Russian Dressing is probably best known for being an ingredient in the iconic sandwich, popularised by Katz’s Deli in New York City – Reuben! It is a mayo-based dressing that is typically favoured with pickles, chilli sauce and Worcestershire sauce.
The exact origins of Russian Dressing are debatable. One version of the story is that this dressing was invented in New Hampshire, USA, in the early 20th century by James E. Colburn. Others claim that the modern-day Russian Dressing recipe was crafted by the creator of Reuben Sandwich – Reuben Kulakofsky.
Uses for Homemade Russian Dressing
Creamy Russian Dressing is a perfect sauce to use in a classic Reuben sandwich recipe, but it certainly has more uses than that.
- Use it to make potato salad instead of plain mayo.
- Serve it as a dipping sauce for potato chips or French fries.
- Loosen the dressing with some cold water and use it as a Russian Salad Dressing.
- This easy recipe goes beautifully with other sandwich fillings like roast beef or even used in Tuna salad sandwiches.
- It’s a great alternative to tartar sauce that’s traditionally served with Fish and Chips.
- It’s a great relish for burgers too.
Ingredients: What Is Russian Dressing Made Of?
This simple Russian Dressing can be made using 8 common ingredients that you can find in any grocery store (and likely your cupboards). For exact ingredient amounts refer to the recipe card at the bottom of the post.
- brown onion: can be replaced with white onions or shallots.
- gherkins (dill pickles): pickle relish may also be used.
- tomato puree: also known as tomato paste.
- horseradish sauce: a staple of Russian cuisine that may have contributed to the dressing being called Russian.
- Worcestershire sauce: also known as Worcester sauce.
- mayonnaise: regular and reduced-fat mayo will work in this tangy dressing.
- sour cream: can be replaced with creme fraiche.
- hot sauce (optional): traditional Russian dressing for Reuben sandwiches has a bit of a kick, so add your favourite chilli sauce, like sriracha to the dressing.
1. On a cutting board, chop the gherkins (pickles) and onions very finely and add them to a small bowl.
2. Add the tomato puree, horseradish sauce, Worcestershire sauce, mayonnaise, sour cream and hot sauce and mix well to combine.
3. Store Russian Dressing in the fridge for at least 30 minutes before using it to allow the flavours to mend.
Recipe Tips & FAQs
- Make sure to chop the onions and gherkins very finely (almost mince) to ensure you don’t get big chunks in your sauce, as flavours will be unbalanced.
- Adjust the amount of horseradish and chilli sauce (if using) to suit your own spice preferences.
- Make the sauce 1-2 days ahead of time to allow the flavours to mend together for best results.
- If you are intending to use the Russian dressing for salads or drizzling, you may loosen it with some cold water just before serving.
What’s The Difference Between Russian Dressing and Thousand Island Dressing? Thousand Island dressing is typically sweeter, of thinner consistency, and primarily made with mayo, ketchup, and sweet pickle relish, giving it a milder taste. Russian dressing has a tangier, spicier flavour, featuring ingredients like horseradish, Worcestershire sauce, and hot sauce in its base of mayonnaise. However, the two sauces can often be used interchangeably in recipes.
Storage and Making Ahead
Homemade Russian dressing will keep in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a week. It actually gets better with time, as the flavours mend together and intensify, so we suggest making the dressing 1-2 days before you intend to make your Reuben Sandwiches.
Other Dressing Recipes To Try
Love making your own salad dressings? Here are some of our favourite recipes for you to try next:
Homemade Russian Dressing For Reuben Sandwiches
- 1 tablespoon brown onion very finely chopped or minced
- 1 tablespoon gherkins dill pickles, very finely chopped or minced
- 1 tablespoon tomato puree
- 1 tablespoon horseradish sauce
- 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
- 120 g (½ cup) mayonnaise
- 40 g (2½ tablespoon) sour cream
- 1 tablespoon hot sauce optional
- Chop the gherkins (pickles) and onions very finely and add them to a small bowl.
- Add the tomato puree, horseradish sauce, Worcestershire sauce, mayonnaise, sour cream and hot sauce and mix well to combine.
- Store Russian Dressing in the fridge for at least 30 minutes before using it to allow the flavours to mend.