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Reuben Meatballs Feature

Reuben Meatballs with Thousand Island Coleslaw

Deconstruct that Reuben sandwich and you've got a bite-sized meatball! Ground beef, sauerkraut, Swiss cheese, rye bread crumbs create an awesome replica in this recipe!
Prep Time 30 mins
Cook Time 20 mins
Total Time 50 mins
Servings 50 meatballs



  • 2 teaspoons toasted caraway seed see notes below
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon Kosher salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground clove
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 2 cups sauerkraut
  • 8-10 slices rye bread
  • 2 pounds ground beef
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tablespoon stone-ground mustard
  • 1 cup shedded Swiss cheese
  • 1 onion peeled and cut into 1” pieces
  • 3 carrots peeled and cut into 1” pieces
  • 2 stalks of celery cut into 1” pieces

Thousand Island Slaw

  • 1 14-ounce bag Coleslaw Mix no dressing needed
  • 1 cup salad dressing or mayonnaise
  • 3 tablespoons ketchup
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire Sauce
  • 1 tablespoon sweet or dill pickle relish see notes below
  • 1 tablespoon stone-ground mustard
  • 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon Salt



  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  • Toast caraway seeds in a dry pan over low heat, stirring frequently, for 2-3 minutes or until fragrant. Remove from pan and into a small bowl. Add black pepper, salt, cinnamon, allspice, clove and ginger. Place in a small food processor or coffee grinder and pulse until caraway seeds have been crushed. Mixture could also be placed in a resealable plastic bag, folded into a towel and crushed with light pressure from a rolling pin.
  • Add 2 cups of sauerkraut, removing as much liquid as possible, in the bowl of a food processor and pulse until finely chopped.
  • Tear half of the the rye bread slices into smaller pieces and place in a blender. Pulse until fine crumbs form. Measure resulting crumbs and repeat with more bread to make 3 cups.
  • In a large bowl, combine ground beef, 1 1/2 cups of the chopped sauerkraut, spice mixture, eggs, mustard, 2 cups of the bread crumbs and cheese.
  • Form into 1 1/2 inch meatballs. If the mixture is too soggy, add more breadcrumbs (1/2 cup at a time). If the mixture is too dry, add liquid from sauerkraut (1/4 cup at a time). Make adjustments until meatballs will hold together. Place in a roasting pan or two sheet pans that have been coated with cooking spray or lined with aluminum foil. Leave room between the meatballs to allow browning and even baking. Toss carrots, onions and celery in between the meatballs.
  • Bake for 10 minutes. Reduce heat to 350 degrees and bake for an additional 10 minutes. Larger meatballs may require more baking time.
  • Serve hot with Thousand Island Coleslaw.

Thousand Island Coleslaw

  • Combine all ingredients except cabbage mix in a bowl and stir to combine.
  • In a large bowl, combine coleslaw mix and half of the dressing. Fold together gently just until cabbage is lightly coated with dressing. Allow to rest for 10 minutes. The salt will draw out the water from the cabbage, adding moisture to the slaw. More dressing can be added according to personal preference.
  • Serve remaining dressing as a dip for the meatballs.


Toasting Caraway Seeds: Pour seeds into a dry, non-stick pan over low heat, stirring frequently. Allow seeds to warm 1-2 minutes, or until fragrant. Remove from heat and from pan and allow to cool.
Pickle Relish: If using dill relish instead of sweet, add one teaspoon of sugar to the dressing.
Keyword beef, cabbage, dressing, meatballs, recipe, reuben