Ready in 20 minutes, this Creamed Spinach recipe is an easy, tasty side dish for any meal. Perfect for holiday dinners or serving with steak. Simple ingredients make this spinach creamy, cheesy, and so delicious!
Best Creamed Spinach
Spinach is definitely a love or hate vegetable, and luckily my family is firmly in the “love” camp. While raw spinach is great for a strawberry spinach salad and a green smoothie, it can also make a great side dish when cooked. This easy creamed spinach is one of my favorite ways to serve it! It’s so creamy, cheesy, and flavorful that even those I’ve served this to who aren’t as enthusiastic about spinach have demanded I hand over the recipe.
Creamed spinach is ideal for holidays because it takes just 20 minutes or so to make, perfect for whipping up just before serving the turkey. But I make it all year round, since it’s crazy easy and pairs so well with steak, baked chicken breast, and pork chops. This recipe is similar to a steakhouse creamed spinach, one that you’ll find at your favorite restaurant. It’s rich and creamy, with both cream cheese and heavy cream, as well as freshly grated mozzarella and parmesan. DELISH!
Easy Creamed Spinach Recipe
One key to the best creamed spinach recipe is using freshly grated cheese, along with a pinch of the right spices. Here’s what you’ll need:
(Scroll below to the printable recipe card for details and measurements.)
- Frozen cut leaf spinach: Yep, frozen! Thawed and carefully squeezed dry of all excess liquid. Before you scrunch up your nose, read my notes below. Trust me.
- Onion and Garlic: For wonderful and necessary aromatics and flavor.
- Cream Cheese & Heavy Cream: These two ingredients are what make the dish so creamy, rich, and amazing.
- Parmigiano-Reggiano: Freshly grated parmesan is a must for flavor and so it melts properly.
- Mozzarella cheese: Freshly grated for optimal results and flavor.
- Butter: Used to sauté the onion and garlic. I like to use unsalted butter in this recipe, since the cheeses contribute plenty of salt.
- Salt & Pepper: To round out the flavors, so the overall taste isn’t flat.
- Nutmeg & Cayenne pepper: Just a pinch of these two spices really elevate the dish.
How to Make Creamed Spinach
This spinach comes together in just 20 minutes, with a few simple steps. Here’s a brief summary. (Don’t miss the printable recipe and video below for details.)
- Make the cream sauce. Melt the butter and sauté the onion until translucent. Add the garlic, followed by the cream cheese. When the cream cheese is melted, add the heavy cream and seasonings. Cook for two minutes then stir in the cheeses.
- Add the spinach & serve. Fold in the spinach until evenly combined. Adjust seasoning if necessary. Serve immediately.
Fresh or Frozen Spinach
As much as we love fresh spinach, we always opt for frozen spinach for creamed spinach. Frozen spinach is so much quicker and easier, cheaper, and you don’t need nearly as much of it. If you use fresh, you’ll need to cook it down first, then chop it, and you’ll need a lot. I bet if I served you two versions of this dish, one with frozen spinach and one with fresh, you wouldn’t be able to tell the difference. So, there’s my plea! Ha. If you still prefer fresh, see notes below.
Tips for Success
Here are a few things to keep in mind that will ensure you make the best creamed spinach:
- Frozen cut leaf vs chopped spinach. 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. If you can’t find either of those, chopped spinach will still work fine, but the texture isn’t as appealing.
- Using fresh spinach: If you’re not sold on our cry to use frozen spinach (above) and would still like to start with fresh spinach, that’s ok. You’ll need about 2 pounds baby spinach leaves. Steam and drain the baby spinach, then roughly chop and measure out 2 packed cups.
- What to do if the spinach appears watery. If the spinach seems a little watery, cook over medium-low heat until any excess liquid evaporates.
- Add salt and pepper. Since this is a simple dish with few ingredients, you definitely don’t want to skip the salt and pepper. Taste the cooked spinach and season to your preference.
Keto Creamed Spinach
If you’re following a keto diet, this creamed spinach recipe can fit into your menu plan. You may, however, want to reduce the amount of cream cheese in half to bring the carb count down even lower. It will be less creamy but still taste great.
We don’t recommend omitting the onion because it adds such great flavor, but if you are trying to keep your carbs super low and must get rid of it, consider adding in a tablespoon of dried onion to restore some of that flavor.
How to Store Leftovers
- In the fridge. Store leftover creamed spinach in the fridge for 2-3 days. Reheat in the microwave or on the stovetop. You may need to add a few drops of water or milk to loosen it up a bit.
- Can I freeze creamed spinach? Yes! Place in an airtight container or ziploc bag and it will last for up to 3 months. You can thaw overnight in the refrigerator and reheat on the stove or in the microwave, or thaw and reheat directly from the freezer into the microwave. Just add a splash of water and microwave in short intervals, stirring frequently.
Serve your creamed spinach immediately, while the texture is smooth and creamy. This is a great side dish to make for the holidays, especially Thanksgiving, because it’s so quick and easy to make.
It’s also a steakhouse favorite and pairs well with many proteins, like glazed ham, flank steak and grilled chicken. You can also use it to stuff chicken breasts (so good!), or reheat it the next day and enjoy it as a dip with chips.
More Easy Vegetable Side Dishes:
- Mashed Potatoes
- Creamy Cornbread Casserole
- Baked Sweet Potato
- Cheesy Zucchini Casserole
- Mashed Cauliflower Casserole
- Roasted Carrots
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 small sweet onion , diced
- 4 cloves garlic , minced
- 4 ounces cream cheese , cut into cubes
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1/2 cup Parmigiano-Reggiano , freshly grated
- pinch of nutmeg
- pinch of cayenne pepper
- 1 cup mozzarella cheese , freshly grated
- 2 pounds frozen cut leaf spinach (about 30 ounces frozen cut leaf spinach, thawed and carefully squeezed dry of all excess liquid – see note)
- In a large nonstick skillet, melt butter over medium-high heat. Add onion and sauté until softened and translucent, stirring frequently, about 2-3 minutes.
- Add garlic and cook for 30 seconds until fragrant. Add cream cheese and cook, stirring, until melted.
- Add heavy cream, salt, pepper, nutmeg, and cayenne; cook for 2 minutes.
- Add mozzarella cheese and parmesan cheese. Stir until combined and melted.
- Fold spinach into cream sauce until evenly combined, cooking for an additional minute or so to warm through.
- Taste and adjust seasoning, if necessary. (If the spinach seems a little watery, cook over medium-low heat until any excess liquid evaporates.)
- Serve immediately while the sauce is still shiny and cheese is gooey.
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. To use fresh spinach, please see our notes in the full article.