Sourdough Reuben Picnic Buns

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Mess-free Reuben picnic buns - if you love Reuben sandwiches, but need an enclosed, mess-free version, this one's for you!

I absolutely love a good Reuben sandwich.

However, it's a messy, gloppy sandwich in all its glory, so I took inspiration from the Chinese pork bun (another food I love) and created a version that's essentially an enclosed meat pastry instead of a grilled sandwich.

This is a great option for lunch boxes, picnics, hikes, and road trips!


Sourdough Reuben Picnic Buns

makes 12-18 buns

For the rye dough:

3 1/2 cups active sourdough starter
1 3/4 cups water
3 tablespoons butter, cut up
1 1/4 cup whole rye or dark rye flour (more if the dough is sticky)
5 cups bread flour (or 5 cups all-purpose flour + 3 Tbls vital wheat gluten)
2 3/4 teaspoons sea salt
4 teaspoon caraway seeds

 For assembly:

You can find our easy recipes for Thousand Island dressing, Dijon mustard, honey mustard, and classic sauerkraut in our latest book, Restocking the Pantry. Get free sample pages here.)

Thousand Island dressing
Dijon or honey mustard
Corned beef or pastrami, thinly sliced (see how to make homemade corned beef)
Swiss cheese, thinly sliced
Sauerkraut, drained and squeezed dry (this is an especially good use of the Sauerkraut with Caraway and Juniper that is featured in the book!)


Combine all ingredients in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a dough hook. Knead for 5-6 minutes. Add additional flour only  if needed – this dough should be very soft but not sticky. Let the dough sit for 5 minutes.

After the rest period, scrape the sides of the mixer bowl, then knead the dough again for another 5 minutes.

Pour the dough onto a well-floured board, divide in two, cover with a tea towel, and let rest for 30 minutes.

After the dough has rested, divide each loaf into 6 portions. Roll out each portion into a circle approximately 1/4″ thick and about 6″ in diameter.

In the middle of the circle, place 1 slice of Swiss cheese, a dollop of Thousand Island dressing, a small dollop of Dijon or honey mustard, 2-3 tablespoons of sauerkraut (squeezed as dry as possible), and 2-3 thin slices of corned beef.

Brush the edges of the dough with an egg wash, then bring the sides up all around the bun, about 6 times. (Picture it: if you brought the sides up four times, you’d have a square package. By doing it about six times, we end up slightly closer to a circle.) Be sure that the dough completely overlaps the filling, or you’ll leak all over your baking pan during baking.

Place each bun seam side down on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Cover and let rise until slightly puffed, about 1 – 1 1/2 hours. Brush with egg wash. Bake at 375 degrees Fahrenheit for 20-25 minutes, until golden.

Serve with extra mustard for dipping, if desired.

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