One of my favorite sandwiches is the Reuben. One problem I tend to have when making this at home is the sandwich is damp from the sauerkraut.

I buy sauerkraut from the store. Before putting it on the sandwich, I put a little bit of sauerkraut in a small strainer and push on it with a fork. I mix it up and keep pushing until I hit diminishing returns on time spent v. liquid removed.

However, my sandwiches still are damp from sauerkraut juice, and have liquid running down the sides and making the bread soggy. It appears I am not removing enough liquid. I would rather not spend an hour squeezing the liquid out.

Is there a better way of draining the liquid from sauerkraut than the method I describe above?

  • The warming on the grill method seems best, but if you're not wanting to heat it up, you could try a salad strainer (the ones with a lid and handle to spin the lettuce fast, like a clothes dryer).
    – SnakeDoc
    Commented Apr 29, 2016 at 21:04
  • @SnakeDoc pretty sure that is the same as rumtscho's answer.
    – user21524
    Commented Apr 29, 2016 at 21:10
  • Whoops, didn't see it.
    – SnakeDoc
    Commented Apr 29, 2016 at 21:17
  • 2
    I just pour it out into my hand and squeeze until its as dry as I want. Commented Apr 29, 2016 at 22:24
  • Put it into a sieve and shake it.
    – Richard
    Commented Apr 30, 2016 at 9:01

5 Answers 5


If you have one, a potato ricer is very effective at removing moisture from things that don't drain effectively with gravity alone, e.g. sauerkraut, cooked spinach, salted cabbage, salted squash/marrow, etc. In my experience, it's more effective, and easier to clean, than a salad spinner.
potato ricer
(For best results, look for the kind that's pictured above, with holes only on the bottom, not the sides. Otherwise, you're liable to end up shooting sauerkraut juice halfway across your kitchen.)

  • After trying it several ways (took a few days of eating Reubens after I received my potato ricer) this is the way. The ricer squeezes more liquid out of the sauerkraut than I could using a strainer. I would then finish up by putting the sauerkraut in the pan with the meat to heat it up, but by then, most of the liquid was gone. This method is also ideal for situations where the sauerkraut is not eaten warm.
    – user21524
    Commented May 5, 2016 at 22:34

At every restaurant I've ever worked at we warmed the sauerkraut on the griddle while the bread and meat were grilling. This evaporated much of the moisture in addition to making sure the sauerkraut was warm enough to not make the sandwich cold.

So we'd have the sandwich warming up open faced, cheese on each face. Then meat and sauerkraut would be warming individually. Once the bread was crisp and the meat/sauerkraut were warmed up you'd place the meat one piece of grilled bread, then the sauerkraut, then you'd squeeze on either mustard, thousand or Russian dressing and then top with the other piece of bread.

  • I hadn't thought of warming the sauerkraut along with everything else. Doing this at home I normally use a sauté pan as a griddle. I should have enough room in there to use this method. I'll try it next time.
    – user21524
    Commented Apr 29, 2016 at 19:10
  • 3
    The cheese also isolates the bread from any remaining juice to an extent, in the described method.
    – Ecnerwal
    Commented Apr 29, 2016 at 20:31
  • I now use a combination of this method and the one in the accepted answer (see my comment there for more info).
    – user21524
    Commented May 5, 2016 at 22:35

When making pierogies I personally place the sauerkraut in the palm of my hand and apply pressure with the other hand. I keep turning the sauerkraut over to make sure I get it from all sides. I would imagine this method would work for making Reubens as well.

This might work well for me since I am a bigger guy and don't have wrist pains so your mileage could vary :-)


Use a salad spinner. It is the right tool for the job. It might be a bit more work when you factor in cleaning, but it will get the sauerkraut drier than the fork-in-strainer method.

  • It seems really awkward to use a salad spinner (able to hold to like 10 cups of salad) dry 1-2 table-spoons of sauerkraut. But I guess it does only need a quick rinse afterwards. Commented Sep 18, 2018 at 6:10

Put in small wire strainer, push down with doubled paper towel

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