Creamed Spinach

Tested & Perfected Recipes

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

Servings: 6 to 8

Ingredients

  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped shallots, from 1 to 2 shallots
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 pint (2 cups) heavy cream
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • Pinch freshly grated nutmeg, or use ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 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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Reviews & Comments

  • I made this for Christmas dinner and like many others have stated it was a hit! My family loved it so I will be making it often.

    • — Travler2130 on January 12, 2020
    • Reply
  • Hi Jenn. LOVE your recipes and even more, LOVE your instructions!!!
    What would you suggest as the lowest fat substitute for the heavy cream to keep this recipe delicious? Thanks.

    • — Susan A on January 3, 2020
    • Reply
    • Honestly, I wouldn’t use anything other than the heavy cream here as it’s really necessary to get the right consistency. Instead, you may want to consider a creamed spinach that uses a bechamel sauce as it will be a bit lower in fat. Sorry!

      • — Jenn on January 3, 2020
      • Reply
  • We would love to try this recipe as I’m sure it is delicious. Unfortunately in our family, we cannot consume it due to dietary restrictions.

    I wont rate this since I tweaked it to be non-diary and it is a work in progress. I am including my changes for other families that are in a similar situation. I made a roux with oil and flour, then added cashew beverage instead of the cream. I didn’t add enough flour and required a last minute slurry of cornstarch to thicken the sauce. I used fresh spinach. The result was very good but needed something to replace the cheese flavor which I omitted.

    • — Ty on December 27, 2019
    • Reply
  • Absolutely prefect side dish for beef tenderloin. The best spinach recipe I have ever tasted. Thanks for another one Jenn!

    • — Beth on December 26, 2019
    • Reply
  • I made this for Christmas dinner and loved it. I even got my picky 7 year old to eat and enjoy it.

    • — Roz S. on December 26, 2019
    • Reply
  • Hello:
    I served this dish on Christmas day! The flavors were extremely good. Easy to follow instructions as well. I think I made a mistake by not adding the full 2 cups of heavy cream. I substituted 1/2 cup of water instead of heavy cream. I was trying to cut down on the fat, but I think that caused my sauce to thin out. Definitely, my bad! I look forward to making this again.
    Thank you for this recipe!

    • — Susan Maley on December 26, 2019
    • Reply
  • I made this for Christmas dinner to accompany prime rib. It was a huge hit and I will definitely be making it more often than just Christmas Day. I tweaked the recipe a bit and used 1/2 spinach and 1/2 rainbow Swiss chard. So delicious.

    • — Travler2130 on December 26, 2019
    • Reply
  • I made this the day before our big dinner…tasted it and it was so delicious….only problem was at our dinner, I accidentally left it in the microwave and didn’t discover it until the next morning!!! LOL!! I will make it again…..

    • — Wendy Schoenburg on December 25, 2019
    • Reply
  • I made this for Christmas Eve dinner and we all loved it. I think a new tradition is born. I made it ahead that afternoon, which was fantastic because it was so easy to reheat in the microwave just before dinner. I also used two 10 oz. packages of spinach (instead of three) because I didn’t read the recipe closely enough beforehand and it still came out beautifully!

    • — Lisa on December 25, 2019
    • Reply
  • Hi – I want to make this for christmas and I’m expecting a fairly large crowd. Do you think it will be ok if I double the recipe? Thanks!

    • — Leah on December 20, 2019
    • Reply
    • Yep – hope you enjoy! 🙂

      • — Jenn on December 20, 2019
      • Reply
  • If using fresh spinach does one have to stem it?

    • — Marjory toronto🇨🇦 on December 17, 2019
    • Reply
    • Hi Marjory, If you use fresh baby spinach, there’s no need to stem it. However, if you use regular, I would remove the thick stems.

      • — Jenn on December 17, 2019
      • Reply
  • Hello, thanks for providing this recipe.

    I’m curious if this can be prepared an hour or two ahead of time and reheated one I arrive at a dinner party I’m going to?

    Any tips on storing, stirring, re-heating, etc?

    Thank you!
    Mike

    • — Mike on December 13, 2019
    • Reply
    • Definitely! See the bottom of the recipe for detailed reheating instructions. Hope everyone enjoys it! 🙂

      • — Jenn on December 13, 2019
      • Reply
  • I’m preparing this dish for 8 adults. How much should I tweak? I need to prepare ahead of time

    • — Gloria woodell on December 12, 2019
    • Reply
    • Hi Gloria, This recipe serves 6 to 8 and the servings are fairly generous so I don’t think you’ll need to make any changes. Hope you enjoy!

      • — Jenn on December 13, 2019
      • Reply
  • Hi Jen
    I love creamed spinach so am excited to try this! Question though, is there a good substitute to flour or will anything else really change it? Thanks!

    • — Janet on December 12, 2019
    • Reply
    • Hi Janet, I’m not sure I understand — there’s no flour in this creamed spinach. Are you inquiring about another recipe?

      • — Jenn on December 12, 2019
      • Reply
      • I made this for Christmas dinner and it was a hit! Whenever I need ideas for dinner I know your recipes will not disappoint!

        • — Cathleen S. on December 26, 2019
        • Reply

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