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Creamed Spinach

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Made with frozen spinach and heavy cream, this easy yet elegant side dish can be made ahead of time and reheated in the microwave.

I first learned to appreciate a good creamed spinach while working at Sam & Harry’s, a fine dining steakhouse in Washington, DC that was “the place to be” back in the 90s (yes, I realize I’m dating myself). This classic steakhouse side dish of bright green spinach leaves in a rich, cheesy cream sauce might be retro, but it’s one of those dishes that’s so good, it never goes out of style. Making steakhouse-style creamed spinach at home is quick and easy. This version calls for frozen spinach and can be prepared entirely ahead of time, making it perfect for the busy holidays. Pair it with pan-seared steaks, roast beef tenderloin with red wine sauce, roast chicken, or pan-seared salmon.

What You’ll Need To Make Creamed Spinach

ingredients for creamed spinach

Note that the recipe calls for thawed frozen cut leaf spinach, which is not the same as chopped spinach. If your market doesn’t carry cut leaf spinach, look for frozen whole leaf spinach. (Chopped spinach will work but the texture won’t be as appealing.) If you’d like to start with fresh spinach, you’ll need about 2 pounds baby spinach leaves. Steam and drain the baby spinach, then roughly chop and measure out 2 packed cups.

For the cheese, it’s important to use authentic Parmigiano Reggiano. You can always tell if it’s the real deal by looking at the rind, which is embossed with the name over and over. (If the cheese is already grated, it should be labeled “Parmigiano Reggiano,” not “Parmesan.”)

How To Make Creamed Spinach

Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium-low heat and then add the shallots.
sautéing the shallots

Cook the shallots, stirring frequently, until soft and translucent, about 4 minutes. Add the garlic and cook, stirring constantly, for 1 minute more. Do not brown.

sautéed shallots and garlicAdd the heavy cream, salt, pepper, and nutmeg

adding cream and seasoningBring to a gentle boil.

boiling cream

Cook, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until the cream is thick enough to coat a wooden spoon, about 10 minutes.

thickened cream

Add the cheese.

adding cheese to cream sauce

Stir until melted.

smooth sauce

Add the spinach to the sauce.

adding spinach to sauce

Stir until evenly combined with the cream sauce.

mixed cream spinach in pan

Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary. (If the spinach seems a little watery, cook over medium-low heat until any excess liquid evaporates.) Serve warm.

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Creamed Spinach

Made with frozen spinach and heavy cream, this easy yet elegant side dish can be made ahead of time and reheated in the microwave.

Servings: 6 to 8

Ingredients

  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • ½ cup finely chopped shallots, from 1 to 2 shallots
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 pint (2 cups) heavy cream
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • Pinch freshly grated nutmeg, or use ground nutmeg
  • ½ cup finely shredded Parmigiano-Reggiano
  • 2 pounds frozen cut leaf spinach, thawed and squeezed very dry (see note)

Instructions

  1. Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium-low heat. Add the shallots and cook, stirring frequently, until soft and translucent, about 4 minutes. Add the garlic and cook, stirring constantly, for 1 minute more. Do not brown. Add the heavy cream, salt, pepper, and nutmeg and bring to a gentle boil. Cook, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until the cream is thick enough to coat a wooden spoon, about 10 minutes. Add the cheese and stir until melted. Add the spinach and stir until evenly combined with the cream sauce. Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary. (If the spinach seems a little watery, cook over medium-low heat until any excess liquid evaporates.) Serve warm.
  2. Note: Cut leaf spinach is not the same as chopped spinach. If your market doesn't carry cut leaf spinach, look for frozen whole leaf spinach. (Chopped spinach will work but the texture won't be as appealing.) Some markets carry 1-lb bags and some carry 10-oz boxes; if you can only find the 10-oz boxes, you'll need three of them. If you'd like to start with fresh spinach, you'll need about 2 pounds baby spinach leaves. Steam and drain the baby spinach, then roughly chop and measure out 2 packed cups.
  3. Make-Ahead Instructions: This dish can be made and refrigerated a day ahead of time. Reheat in the microwave, uncovered, stirring every 30 seconds or so, until hot, a few minutes. When reheated, the spinach won't be quite as creamy-looking as it was originally (though the taste will be the same); you can add a bit of cream when reheating to get a creamier consistency, if you'd like.

Nutrition Information

Powered by Edamam

  • Per serving (8 servings)
  • Calories: 306
  • Fat: 29 g
  • Saturated fat: 18 g
  • Carbohydrates: 8 g
  • Sugar: 3 g
  • Fiber: 3 g
  • Protein: 7 g
  • Sodium: 357 mg
  • Cholesterol: 98 mg

This website is written and produced for informational purposes only. I am not a certified nutritionist and the nutritional data on this site has not been evaluated or approved by a nutritionist or the Food and Drug Administration. Nutritional information is offered as a courtesy and should not be construed as a guarantee. The data is calculated through an online nutritional calculator, Edamam.com. Although I do my best to provide accurate nutritional information, these figures should be considered estimates only. Varying factors such as product types or brands purchased, natural fluctuations in fresh produce, and the way ingredients are processed change the effective nutritional information in any given recipe. Furthermore, different online calculators provide different results depending on their own nutrition fact sources and algorithms. To obtain the most accurate nutritional information in a given recipe, you should calculate the nutritional information with the actual ingredients used in your recipe, using your preferred nutrition calculator.

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Comments

  • Thank you for this recipe I wasn’t sure what the nutmeg was going to do, but everything balanced out well very delicious like a lot of the recipes I’ve tried of yours.

    • — Char on January 2, 2023
    • Reply
  • I love this site and recipes. Probably the most complete, well-thought recipes I’ve ever followed. Thank you for sharing. This dish is very rich- might try to lighten on future attempts. We had leftovers so I mixed in some caramelized onions, topped with grated Parmesan, and baked at 350F for 20 minutes for a spinach-onion dip with bread. Delish!

    • — Joella on December 22, 2022
    • Reply
  • Everyone loved the recipe! I added the leftovers to freshly cooked ziti, diced ham, a sprinkle of parmesan cheese and black pepper. It was a huge hit.

    • — Lisa on November 27, 2022
    • Reply
  • Loved this. Made for Thanksgiving dinner with my in laws — was super easy and got rave reviews. Tastes just like a good steakhouse side. Will be making this for Christmas as well when we host my family.

    • — Kathryn on November 25, 2022
    • Reply
  • Thank you for this delicious recipe! What is your preferred way to thaw your spinach?

    • — Lisa on November 22, 2022
    • Reply
    • Glad you like it! I use the microwave the thaw spinach.

      • — Jenn on November 23, 2022
      • Reply
  • Thank you! I am changing up the typical thanksgiving meal and adding this to the feast. LOVE all the true and time tested recipes! The cheese is the make or break deal:)

    • — Carmen on November 19, 2022
    • Reply
  • I love this because it’s flavorful and really easy to make.

    • — Dorinda Young on October 30, 2022
    • Reply
  • Hi Jenn, your recipes never disappoint and this is another keeper! Thanks for adding so much joy to our Canadian Thanksgiving dinner. Even the pickiest of kids raved about the spinach and took seconds. I was able to make this recipe work with frozen chopped spinach as that is all I had on hand. Can’t wait to continue exploring your other recipes. Your biggest fan!

    • — Shereen on October 9, 2022
    • Reply
  • Absolutely delicious! I didn’t change a thing and it turned out just like my favorite steak house creamed spinach. Highly recommend!

    • — Catherine on September 18, 2022
    • Reply
  • FA-BU-LOUS! Absolutely delicious and so easy to make. Another winner of a recipe! My picky 10 year old nephew said ‘I don’t like spinach …but I LOOOOVE this!’ …it’s better than grandma’s! (Thankfully grandma was not there!) Thanks for all your recipes Jenn, the books AND the blog.

    • — S from DC on September 8, 2022
    • Reply

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