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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

  • Question: Would I lose anything substituting with Gruyere?

    • — Leo on June 16, 2022
    • Reply
    • It will taste a little different but should still be great. 🙂

      • — Jenn on June 18, 2022
      • Reply
  • Just made a small recipe of this but I tried using “goutweed” in place of the spinach, which has invaded our garden. I was looking for recipes for spinach to use it up. I read that “anything spinach can do goutweed can do cheaper”. Haha, and in this case it did. Simple and tasty. I just wish I had made more. Oh well, I have A LOT of goutweed so it’s not a problem. Thanks for the recipe.

    • — Chrys on May 23, 2022
    • Reply
  • I’ve made a different variation of this recipe before and found the proportion of ingredients to be better in this recipe. I saw a British chef’s recipe for creamed spinach where he used Devonshire Double Cream instead. So I tried the double cream instead of the heavy cream. It was to die for! My guests could not stop eating it and raving about it. Thank you for posting such delicious recipes!

    • — Deb T on March 28, 2022
    • Reply
  • This creamed spinach recipe was not only SOO delicious, but SUPER easy and quick to make! We loved the flavor profile as well how quickly it came together! Thank you for sharing such a delicious recipe – one that can be made during a hectic evening!

    • — Kimberly on March 24, 2022
    • Reply
  • Wow. I love heavy cream. I love parmeg… regg…. I fixed this for my wife on our last night of staycation. She actually stopped knitting to ooh and ahh. Thank you Jenn for making it so easy to bank husband points.

    • — Glenn Simpson on February 6, 2022
    • Reply
  • I made this to go along with our Christmas Dinner and everyone loved it! Super delicious and super easy to make. Jen, your recipes never disappoint. Thank you!

    • — Amy H on January 2, 2022
    • Reply
  • I first (and last) had creamed spinach as an exchange student in W. Germany in 1986. Today, I decided to introduce my husband to this long-ago favorite. Your recipe was absolutely perfect, and he can’t stop raving.
    Thank you!

    • — Carizmah on January 1, 2022
    • Reply
  • Good morning,
    I made your creamed spinach recipe and I loved it. The only thing is that the spinach seemed too al dente for my liking. I used the frozen cut spinach. Do you recommend I cook the spinach before adding it to the sauce or should I add it to the sauce first and then keep it in the pan longer after it’s mixed in with sauce? Thank you!

    • — Gina on December 22, 2021
    • Reply
    • Hi Gina, I would just cook it longer with the sauce; if it gets too thick, you can thin it with a bit of water.

      • — Jenn on December 22, 2021
      • Reply
  • So good and so easy! A Thanksgiving hit and the leftovers were good, too. Next time I will likely be lazy and use dried onion but that’s only because I had to open the door to help keep me from looking like I had had hysterics (I usually start tearing up after the first onion/shallot cut!).

    • — Peggy on December 9, 2021
    • Reply
  • Jenn, thank you, thank you for such a full proof recipe. For the first time, I hosted a majority vegan Thanksgiving crowd this year. I made a vegan version of this creamed spinach, substituting vegan “grated cheese”, vegan no soy “butter”, and vegan cashew/almond combo “cream” in place of the three dairy ingredients, at the same quantities. It was devoured. Luckily, the other recipes I made (Orange Cranberry sauce and Balsamic Brussels Sprouts) needed no changes. You made this year’s meal better than ever!

    • — JoAnna on November 26, 2021
    • Reply
  • Hi Jen, I don’t see my earlier question, so I’m sorry if I posted twice. I’m using a 2.5 lb bag of fresh baby spinach from Costco. In the recipe Notes you say to steam them first, but then in your reply to a Comment back in 2019, you said there’s no need to steam first if using baby spinach. Can you please clarify? Should I just add the raw baby spinach (rough chop or not?) directly to the hot cream sauce to wilt and continue to cook through? Thanks so much. Looking forward to making it tomorrow for Thanksgiving. It’s my husband’s favorite side dish. Happy Thanksgiving!

    • — Karen on November 24, 2021
    • Reply
    • Oops, I just saw your reply. Thanks Jen. Really appreciate the quick reply. I shall steam the fresh baby spinach leaves, rough chop, then add to the cream sauce.

      • — Karen on November 24, 2021
      • Reply
    • Hi Karen, That comment refers to stemming, not steaming 🙂 — so I would go ahead and steam it before adding it to the sauce. Hope that helps and happy Thanksgiving!

      • — Jenn on November 25, 2021
      • Reply
  • Can I make the sauce a few hours earlier and then add spinach and finish off right before the dinner bell?

    • — Gina on October 18, 2021
    • Reply
    • Sure, Gina, that should be fine. Enjoy!

      • — Jenn on October 21, 2021
      • Reply
  • Excellent recipe! I used fresh spinach and added a bag of riced caulflour only because I didn’t have enough spinach on hand. It was so tasty. My kids and husband loved it!!

    • — Dina on June 12, 2021
    • Reply
  • Very simple and exactly what I’ve been looking for in creamed spinach! Thank you Jenn!

    • — S Harvey on April 30, 2021
    • Reply
  • Easy and delicious – this foolproof recipe turns an everyday dinner into an elegant affair. We LOVED it!

    • — Barb H on February 4, 2021
    • Reply
  • Best creamed spinach ever! I have made this multiple times with much success. Made it yesterday for a dinner party. We served grilled steaks. Company loved it. I didn’t have any shallots on hand, so used yellow onions. Came out great. I prepared it earlier in the day , then reheated it just before dinner.

    • — Calley OHenley on January 28, 2021
    • Reply
  • I recently made this as an accompaniment to a Sunday steak dinner. It was DELICIOUS! This dish made the meal feel so elegant. We all need an elegant dinner right now. It was so fresh tasting, yet rich and creamy. Comfort food at its best and easy to prepare. Thanks for another delicious classic Jenn!

    • — Cynthia S. on January 28, 2021
    • Reply
  • Loved this dish! I follow a low carb diet and this side dish is perfection, even my teenage daughter loved it!

    • — Noelle on January 21, 2021
    • Reply
  • Delicious! Using what I had on hand, I subbed sweet onions in place of shallots and freshly grated Parmesan Cheese in place of Parmigiano-Reggiano. Since it wasn’t going to sit very long, I gently reheated in the skillet rather than microwave. Served with prime rib and double-stuffed potatoes for our Christmas meal.

    • — Kathryn Phillips on December 27, 2020
    • Reply
  • Hi Jen, can I substitute with pecorino Romano instead of Parmesan cheese?

    • — Sheila Marie on December 23, 2020
    • Reply
    • Yep 🙂

      • — Jenn on December 23, 2020
      • Reply
  • I need to make this 2 nights ahead of time, is it ok in the fridge or should I freeze and defrost?

    • — Jackie W. on December 22, 2020
    • Reply
    • Hi Jackie, if possible, I’d make this no more than one day ahead. And I’d refrigerate it – I don’t think it would freeze very well with all the dairy. Hope that helps and that you enjoy!

      • — Jenn on December 22, 2020
      • Reply
  • Made this dish was delicious 😋

    • — Sandra booker on December 15, 2020
    • Reply
  • I have had the good fortune of eating in all of the best steakhouses in the United States and their creamed spinach while good is dwarfed by this recipe.

  • This recipe is perfection!

    • — Allison Hernandez
    • Reply
    • I’ve made a different variation of this recipe before and found the proportion of ingredients to be better in this recipe. I saw a British chef’s recipe for creamed spinach where he used Devonshire Double Cream instead. So I tried the double cream instead of the heavy cream. It was to die for! My guests could not stop eating it and raving about it. Thank you for posting such delicious recipes!

      • — Deb T on March 28, 2022
      • Reply
  • Amazing! I halved the cream sauce because I only had 6 ounces of fresh spinach, but roasted some mushrooms and baby potatoes (halved) and added that. This cream sauce will definitely be a go to for other veggies!

  • I’m almost ashamed to say that I’ve never had creamed spinach in my entire life and I’m almost 60! What a shame because this was so delicious. Alfredo spinach. Thanks for sharing your recipe, my husband and I enjoyed it so much with a marinated grilled Tri-tip.

  • Wow! Spinach has never tasted so good. Even my little ones scarfed this spinach down. Thank you once again for the 100th+ time for an amazing recipe. This recipe deserves 6 stars 🙂 All of your recipes are truly keepers- but this one might be my favorite. I’m thankful that you’ve shared all of these recipes as well as all of your expertise, especially during these rough times when going out to a restaurant may not be a possibility.

    • So glad you like the recipes! ❤️

      • Made this with a t bone steak delicious.will be make it for Christmas with prime rib thank you

        • — Sandra booker on December 15, 2020
        • Reply
    • Jen, I used to be able to eat spinach, and I loved it! But I am no longer able to eat this particular leafy green. I would love to try this recipe. Is there an acceptable substitute for the spinach?
      Thank you!
      Cathy

      • — Cathy on November 11, 2021
      • Reply
      • Hi Cathy, I think you could replace the spinach with Swiss chard or kale. Please LMK how it turns out if you use either one of these!

        • — Jenn on November 12, 2021
        • Reply
  • This is the way to make spinach! Made it second time today. So yummy!😋 I have discovered Jenn’s blog just recently, purchased her amazing cookbook right away and every single recipe I tried turned out perfectly. Recently my friend sent me a photo and said: I made Jenn’s apple cake! We love your blog Jenn. You are the best chef!

    I also loved your chicken curry, creamed zucchini, buttermilk ranch dressing, cornbread muffins, blueberry muffins, french apple cake, rustic french apple tart, lemon bars, warm lemon pudding cakes, chocolate mousse, chocolate banana bread. It’s impossible to write a review for every recipe, they are all 5*.

    Happy summer!

    • So glad you enjoyed this and all of the other recipes you’ve made from the blog — you’ve clearly been very busy in the kitchen!! 🙂

  • Wow! I followed the recipe exactly, and it was delicious. I will make this again for my family. Thank you so much.

  • I followed the recipe exactly as it says. I used fresh spinach. Sooo delicious. 5 stars!!

  • Jenn,
    Wow!! I made this recipe today as a part of our Easter dinner and what a hit. I had to substitute using Parmesan and onions since that is what we had on hand. My non spinach eating spouse even loved it. The bonus is that this is Keto friendly. Everything I make from your cookbook or blog turns out so well. You make me look good. Keep up the great work.
    Lena

  • I made this for the first time last night. I only had an 8 oz. bag of fresh spinach, half and half, and onions, instead of frozen spinach, cream, and shallots. I pared everything down a little since I didn’t have enough spinach and added a pinch of xanthan gum to thicken the sauce before I put the cheese and spinach in. I CANNOT WAIT to make the full recipe. Fortunately there were only 2 of us, but if there had been more spinach, I know we would have polished it all off. Jenn – you did it again! I have never had a clinker from your site, even when I had to make substitutions like I did here.

  • I made this today and it is wonderful! My daughter licked her plate clean. I’ve tried many creamed spinach recipes and this is the winner. I wasn’t able to get true Parmesan Reggiano due to the product restrictions happening so I had to use regular shredded Parmesan but it was still awesome. Your recipes never fail. Thank you Jenn.

  • Delicious and easy. Even the spinach haters ate it. Thanks Jenn.

    • Absolutely the best cream of spinach I’ve ever made. If I need any type of recipe, you are the first person I go to. Thanks

  • This is the best creamed spinach I have ever had. Uncomplicated and easy to find ingredients. I’ve made it twice this week! I prepared it as directed but at the end I put it in a nice looking baking dish and sprinkled some Parmesan on top. I then put it in a 350 degree oven just long enough to melt the Parmesan. Delicious!
    Thanks Jenn.

  • Loved this!! Paired this with sous vide steak & had a fancy steakhouse feel 🙂

  • 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.

  • 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.

    • 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!

    • I added a pinch of xanthan gum to half & half because I didn’t have any cream. That works wonderfully.

  • 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.

  • Absolutely prefect side dish for beef tenderloin. The best spinach recipe I have ever tasted. Thanks for another one Jenn!

  • I made this for Christmas dinner and loved it. I even got my picky 7 year old to eat and enjoy it.

  • 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!

  • 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.

  • 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
    • 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!

  • 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!

    • Yep – hope you enjoy! 🙂

  • If using fresh spinach does one have to stem it?

    • — Marjory toronto🇨🇦
    • 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.

      • Hi, I will be using a 2.5 lb large package of fresh baby spinach from Costco. If no steaming is needed, do I just rough chop and add the raw spinach to the cooked sauce to wilt? Thanks. Look forward to making it for Thanksgiving.

        • — Karen on November 24, 2021
        • Reply
        • Hi Karen, If you were reading the comment above, we were talking about stemming, not steaming. If you use fresh spinach, you will need to steam and drain it. Hope that clarifies!

          • — Jenn on November 24, 2021
          • 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

    • Definitely! See the bottom of the recipe for detailed reheating instructions. Hope everyone enjoys it! 🙂

  • I’m preparing this dish for 8 adults. How much should I tweak? I need to prepare ahead of time

    • — Gloria woodell
    • 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!

  • 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!

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

      • I made this for Christmas dinner and it was a hit! Whenever I need ideas for dinner I know your recipes will not disappoint!

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