Baked Reuben Poppers - or Reuben Egg Rolls - are "delicious pockets of yum", according to my husband. Easy to make, and super satisfying as a snack or appetizer!
Originally Posted February 12, 2014. Updated 2/24/2023
Corned beef is more Irish American than actually Irish, but then again ... St Patrick's Day is WAY more of a big deal with Irish Americans, than in Ireland, so here we are.
Let’s just consider these Reuben egg rolls to be an Irish Spring roll, for the month of March, anyway!
Back a few years - damn, had to be about 6, now - I made deep-fried Reuben poppers for my husband.
As I said then:
They say that great minds think alike - and fools seldom differ - but sometimes, my husband scares me!
It's been probably a year since I last made these.
Today at the grocery store, I spontaneously decided to make these for supper. Didn't say a word to my husband about it, thought it would be a nice surprise for him.
Well, as soon as he came home and saw the ingredients laid out, his jaw dropped, and he started laughing.
As it turns out, his boss had a Reuben sandwich for lunch today, which led to a discussion about these Reuben poppers. Hubby explained the whole thing to his boss... I guess when he goes to work tomorrow, he'll have both the recipe AND photos to share as well!
He is a VERY happy man tonight!
Reuben Poppers - Baked or Fried
Think crispy egg rolls, but completely different filling - modeled on a classic Reuben sandwich.
I'd had the idea after having some "Ham and Swiss" deep-fried dough balls at a pub somewhere a few years earlier:
Take the traditional Reuben fillings of corned beef, sauerkraut, and Swiss cheese, ditch the rye bread, and roll em up in a crispy egg roll wrapper!
Deep fry it and dunk it in some Thousand Island dressing, and you’ve got a fun spin on the classic sandwich.
With Porter being completely in love with Reubens (Have you seen the Reuben Buns I created for him?) it was brilliant!
Several years later, though... being married to a cook/baker is taking its toll, and he's trying to avoid excess fat and calories.
There's still a bit of oil involved - it's necessary to crisp up the wonton wrapper skin - but it's not *bathed* in oil.
So... much better for you, even if it's still not exactly health food!
"The Baked Reuben Egg Rolls are delicious pockets of yum.
Crap, I'm not good with words. I love the crispy texture of the crust with the kraut and beef. I could eat way too many of them!"
This recipe uses very few, simple ingredients that should be easy to find in any larger grocery store.
A few notes for you:
I generally make this recipe any time of year, and tend to use corned beef slices from the deli.
That said, if you have any leftover St Patrick’s Day corned beef from a boiled dinner, feel free to use some of it here - just finely chop it, or pull it into thin strands.
Egg Roll Wrappers
You can find these in the chilled section of the produce aisle, usually. They come in different shapes and sizes - the smaller ones are wonton wrappers, though.
You’re looking for the ones that are maybe 6-7" square?
I generally use a brick of Swiss cheese / Gruyere that I grate myself - not a fan of the pre-grated stuff.
That said, feel free to uses a slice of cheese - you may want to break it in half to be able to make it fit nicer, though.
Which oil you use is going to depend a bit on whether you’re baking or deep frying your Reuben egg rolls.
If deep frying, vegetable oil, canola oil, sunflower oil, safflower oil, or peanut oil are your best oil options.
Baking - or air frying - take less oil, but you’ll still want a little to crisp them up well.
Look to pretty much any spray oil - vegetable oil, olive oil, avocado oil, etc.
To finish making the ultimate deli sandwich in egg roll form, you’ll need:
Well drained sauerkraut
Caraway Seeds (Optional)
Thousand Island dressing for dipping
... I just don’t have anything to add about these ingredients!
How to Make Reuben Egg Rolls
The full recipe is in the recipe card at the end of this post, here is the pictorial walk through.
Lay 1 egg roll wrapper flat on your workspace, or lay all 8 out to assembly-line it. Wrap leftover egg roll wrappers in plastic wrap and store in the fridge, to avoid spoilage and drying out.
Note: When I’m rolling it traditional style, I’ll lay it in a diamond shape, when I’m rolling it Canadian style, I’ll have it parallel to where I’m sitting.
In this section, I’m showing traditional style, in the deep fried section, I rolled it Canadian style.
Arrange about ⅛ of the corned beef in a single column, diagonally across the center of the wrapper.
Make sure to avoid about 2″ border around the edges of the egg roll wrapper.
On top of the corned beef, layer ⅛ of the sauerkraut in the center of wrapper, then top with ⅛ of the Swiss cheese, again avoiding the border.
Sprinkle with caraway seeds, if using.
Fold the bottom corner of the wrapper across center of each egg roll wrapper, pressing down to the other side of the wrapper.
Fold the 2 opposite corners in to the center, gently pressing excess air out from the filling as you go.
Repeat with remaining egg rolls.
For Baked Reuben Egg Rolls
Before rolling your egg rolls, preheat your oven to 375F.
Generously grease a baking sheet with cooking oil or spray, or line with parchment paper (for easy clean-up), set aside.
Place egg rolls in a single layer on prepare baking sheet. Brush/spray each roll with additional oil.
Serve hot, with Thousand Island dressing - or even your favourite homemade Russian dressing - as a dipping sauce.
Air Fryer Reuben Poppers
To make air fryer Reuben egg rolls, preheat air fryer to 380 F.
Spray the air fryer basket with nonstick spray. Arrange egg rolls in a the basket - as a single layer - and spray with a bit more oil.
Air fry for 8-10 minutes - turning halfway - until golden brown and crispy.
Deep Fried Reuben Poppers
Here’s the original deep fried version, rolled Canadian style:
Preheat your deep fryer to 375 F / “high” setting.
Lay 1 egg roll wrapper flat on your workspace. Using a pastry brush (or just your fingers!), brush a bit of water around the entire edge of the wrapper – about a 1″ border.
Spread about ⅛ of the sauerkraut in a single column, in the middle of the wrapper. Make sure to avoid the 1″ border on either end of the sauerkraut row.
On top of the sauerkraut, layer ⅛ of the corned beef, then top with ⅛ of the swiss cheese, again avoiding the wet border.
Fold one side of the wrapper across the filling layers, pressing down to the other side of the wrapper. The water will “glue” the wrapper to itself.
Once all of the air is out, fold the edge of the wrapper around the roll, sealing it down. If there is any air after this step, again, push it out the sides.
Press down the 2 edges, wet the tops of the edges, and fold them over themselves to form a better seal. Press down firmly on the edges, and you’re good to go!
Fry in the hot oil for 2-3 minutes, flipping halfway, or until browned to your liking.
Use a slotted spoon to remove rolls from the oil, and transfer to a heat safe plate lined with paper towel. Blot excess oil with paper towels.
Serve with Thousand Island dressing for dipping!
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Reuben Egg Rolls - Baked, Fried, or Deep Fried
- Cooking oil or nonstick spray
- 8 Egg roll wrappers
- 8 oz Sauerkraut well drained
- 8 oz Corned beef deli meat
- 8 oz Swiss Cheese grated
- Caraway seeds optional
- Thousand Island dressing for dipping
- Preheat your oven to 375F. Generously grease a baking sheet with cooking oil or spray, set aside.
- Lay 1 egg roll wrapper flat on your workspace.
- Spread about ⅛ of the corned beef in a single column, diagonally across the middle of the wrapper. Make sure to avoid about 2″ border around the edge of the wrapper.
- On top of the corned beef, layer ⅛ of the sauerkraut, then top with ⅛ of the swiss cheese, again avoiding the border. Sprinkle with caraway seeds, if using.
- Fold one corner of the wrapper across the filling layers, pressing down to the other side of the wrapper.
- Use a pastry brush and some water to dampen the two side corners. Fold them in to the center, gently pressing excess air out from the filling as you go.
- Apply a little water to dampen the remaining corner edges and roll the popper carefully towards that corner, sealing all filling in as you go.
- Place your rolls on your well-greased cookie sheet, brush/spray with additional oil on top. Bake for 15 minutes, flip all of the rolls over, and bake for an additional 10-15 minutes.
- Serve hot, with Thousand Island dressing for dipping!
Air Fried Version
- Preheat air fryer to 380 F.
- Spray the air fryer basket with nonstick spray. Arrange egg rolls in a the basket - as a single layer - and spray with a bit more oil.
- Air fry for 8-10 minutes - turning halfway - until golden brown and crispy.
Deep Fried Version
- Preheat your deep fryer to 375 F / “high” setting.
- Carefully add finished rolls to your deep fryer in small batches of 2-3 rolls at a time.
- Fry in the hot oil for 2-3 minutes, flipping halfway, or until browned to your liking.
- Use a slotted spoon to remove rolls from the oil, and transfer to a heat safe plate lined with paper towel. Blot excess oil with paper towels.