Creamed Spinach - Once Upon a Chef (2024)

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Made with frozen spinach and heavy cream, this classic creamed spinach can be made ahead and reheated in the microwave.

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I 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—guess that dates me a bit, doesn’t it? This classic steakhouse side dish of bright green spinach leaves in a rich, cheesy cream sauce might be old-school, but it’s so good that it never goes out of style. You’ll be surprised at how quick and easy it is to make. This version calls for frozen spinach and can be prepared entirely ahead of time and reheated in the microwave. Whether it’s a festive holiday or a simple family dinner, this creamed spinach fits right in. Pair it with pan-seared steaks, roast beef tenderloin with red wine sauce, roast chicken, or pan-seared salmon.

“Loved this…Tastes just like a good steakhouse side.”

What You’ll Need To Make Creamed Spinach

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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.

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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.

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Add the heavy cream, salt, pepper, and nutmeg.

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Bring to a gentle boil.

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

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Add the cheese.

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Stir until melted.

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Add the spinach to the sauce.

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Stir until evenly combined with the cream sauce.

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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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“I made this to go along with our Christmas dinner and everyone loved it! Super delicious and easy to make…Thank you!”

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Creamed Spinach

Metric Cup Measures

By Jenn Segal

Made with frozen spinach and heavy cream, this classic creamed spinach can be made ahead 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

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  • 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

Nutritional Data Disclaimer

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.

See more recipes:

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  • Vegetarian
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Comments

  • I made this and I used fresh baby spinach and I actually just cut it with kitchen shears and left the stems on but just cut them along with all the rest I cut each into Apx 2-3 clips per handful. It turned out perfect! It was super simple and very delicious! Thank you! Blessings!

    • — April Whisonant on June 9, 2024
    • Reply
  • Great recipe. I bought chopped spinach not knowing I should have gotten the leaf version, but it turned out great. I actually like the idea of not having to chew up long stems. I also used half and half because I did not have heavy cream, and it was still thick and creamy. I just added about 1-2 TBSP of cornstarch whisked with some half and half and added it after the cream started bubbling. I’d imake it again.

    • — Chris Leong on May 20, 2024
    • Reply
  • Not my favorite, a lil dated.

    • — Daniel V. on May 19, 2024
    • Reply
  • Yummy!! Used chopped spinach instead of cut leaf so I was nervous about texture, but it was a hit. Even the kids loved it! Thank you for such a great recipe. New go to side for sure!!

    • — Stephanie G on March 30, 2024
    • Reply
  • Made this last night and as we were cleaning up the family asked if I would make it again tonight. So easy and the flavor is off the chart. I made it with fresh spinach, stirring the fresh spinach during the 10 minute sauce thickening phase. This might have been more work, but still extremely easy.

    • — Jennifer on March 16, 2024
    • Reply
  • Another winner from OUAC! This is so delicious and everyone absolutely LOVED it.

    This is super easy to make. I do, however, strongly recommend 1) allowing enough time (a few hours!) for the frozen chopped spinach to thaw out and to ensure that as much moisture as possible has been drained/wrung from it (I ultimately had it resting on paper towels up until I added it to the cream) and 2) having the rest of the ingredients prepped ahead of time (except I like to press the garlic shortly before I need to add it so it doesn’t dry out). This comes together relatively quickly and I found I definitely needed the 10 minutes that the cream was simmering to focus on my other dishes.

    Here are a couple of things I discovered while making this.

    Since there are only three of us I halved this recipe, which it does beautifully. However, I forgot to reduce the garlic cloves from 2 to 1, but in doing so found that the halved recipe can easily handle the extra clove without the flavor of the garlic tasting disproportionate or overpowering (I’m actually considering increasing it to 3 cloves next time I make this).

    I didn’t have Parmesan Reggiano so I grated the Pecorino Romano I had instead. I believe this ended up working out quite well because Pecorino naturally has a higher salt content than Parmesan and, because of this, I found the salt level of the dish was very nicely balanced and therefor felt there was no need whatsoever to add any additional salt on the back end.

    Lastly, I ended up needing a few extra minutes to plate my entre and because of this, I kept the spinach on low to keep it warm. However, the cream continued to reduce so I added a splash of half and half a couple of times to keep the spinach from drying out while it was being kept warm, which worked out great. (The next day I reheated the leftover spinach in a 250 degree oven, covered in an oven-safe nonstick pan and didn’t need to add a single thing).

    This is a great “secret weapon” to have tucked in your back pocket and I can not recommend this enough.

    Thank you for another great recipe, Jenn!

    • — Jeffrey D / Minneapolis on February 20, 2024
    • Reply
  • Great tasting and family loved it!

    • — Elenore on February 8, 2024
    • Reply
  • Made this tonight, followed the recipe exactly. It was soooooo good. Perfect!

    • — Caroline on January 9, 2024
    • Reply
  • I’ve enjoyed this recipe for years using the frozen spinach.
    This holiday I tried it with fresh spinach and it was even better!!! Steaming the fresh spinach cut down on squeezing out the water from the frozen spinach and it tasted better!
    I much prefer the fresh…
    I made it the day before and it heated up perfectly.

    • — Wendy Schoenburg on January 2, 2024
    • Reply
    • I made this for the first time last night. I think using fresh spinach would make a big taste difference. I think I did not let the spinach thaw long enough and the taste, for me wasn’t there. I like creamed spinach and will be making this again soon…with fresh spinach. Thank you for your comment.

      • — Tina on March 10, 2024
      • Reply
  • Absolutely delicious!!!! Made this twice now and it has been a fan favorite. I will never be able to order creamed spinach from a restaurant again, because this is the best I’ve ever had!

    • — Allie on January 1, 2024
    • Reply
  • I absolutely loved this recipe. I’m 18 and a college student and have been looking for something that was delicious and still made me eat my veggies. You are a godsend!!!

    • — Aislinn on December 30, 2023
    • Reply
  • Jen – Thank you so much for this absolutely fabulous recipe! I made it for our Christmas dinner and have to say everyone just loved it! I host both Christmas Eve and Christmas Day family dinners and it will be part of every holiday dinner! Thank you for such delicious, simple and elegant recipes. Happy New Year!

    • — Celeste on December 26, 2023
    • Reply
  • Made this today for our Christmas dinner which will be mashed potatoes, prime rib, rolls and your creamed spinach. First time I have ever made creamed spinach-it was obscenely delicious!
    I followed directions exactly ( which I never do) and this will be on the table many more times.
    THANK YOU

    • — Pam Schindler on December 25, 2023
    • Reply
  • Amazing as always! So easy to make and was devoured by the whole family, no leftovers!!! Bravo Chef Jenn!

    • — Tara on December 24, 2023
    • Reply
  • Do you think this would work with cashew creme instead of heavy cream?

    • — Mary B on December 18, 2023
    • Reply
    • Hi Mary, I haven’t ever worked with cashew cream, so I can’t say for sure, but I think it’s worth a try. Please LMK how the spinach comes out if you try it!

      • — Jenn on December 19, 2023
      • Reply
  • Delicious recipe!

    • — ACass on December 17, 2023
    • Reply
  • Excellent recipe. I followed exactly- many compliments.

    • — C Andrews on December 17, 2023
    • Reply
  • As soon as it says use frozen spinach ….BYEEEEEEER

    • — james atkinson on December 12, 2023
    • Reply
    • Don’t comment on a recipe you didn’t even bother trying to make!

      • — Tara on December 24, 2023
      • Reply
    • So use fresh spinach? Not sure why you bothered to even comment, it’s okay to not say what’s in your head and keep moving forward.

      • — Kaybee on February 11, 2024
      • Reply
  • I make this with creamy blue cheese added. A top recipe.

    • — Mark on December 7, 2023
    • Reply
  • I made this with thanksgiving, and it was one of my favorite things.

    • — Ashlley A. on December 7, 2023
    • Reply
  • If the creamed spinach is made ahead of time, what size dish would you suggest for serving?

    • — Madelyn on November 26, 2023
    • Reply
    • Hi Madelyn, I’d go with a medium-sized serving dish. Enjoy!

      • — Jenn on November 27, 2023
      • Reply
  • I love your recipes and they are always a hit. I will be making this for Thanksgiving. We are fans of the creamed spinach au gratin from Ruth’s Chris. How can I make this one au gratin?

    • — Nitza Geiger on November 16, 2023
    • Reply
    • So glad you like the recipes! I just took a look at some images of Ruth’s Chris’ creamed spinach, and they look fairly similar to mine. Do they also have one that has some sort of topping?

      • — Jenn on November 17, 2023
      • Reply
      • Hi Jenn, I believe it’s cheddar cheese topping.

        • — Nitza H Geiger on December 7, 2023
        • Reply
        • Hi Nitza, you could try topping it with some shredded cheddar (and could combine it with a bit of panko for some crunch) and stick it under the broiler for a minute or two. LMK how it turns out if you try it!

          • — Jenn on December 7, 2023
          • Reply
  • Excited to try this as it looks fabulous! Can it be frozen?

    • — Jen Malinoski on October 19, 2023
    • Reply
    • Hi Jen, this recipe isn’t the best candidate for freezing — sorry!

      • — Jenn on October 19, 2023
      • Reply
  • The recipe is absolutely amazing and delicious as written – I prefer it to any fancy steakhouse creamed spinach I’ve had, and the two of us could finish it in one meal. In order to enjoy it more frequently with a bit less guilt, I’ve tried subbing heavy cream with half milk and half chicken broth, and that came out nicely, too.

    • — Julia on October 15, 2023
    • Reply
  • Mmmm mmmm mmmm!!!!! This recipe is absolutely delicious!! I used a yellow onion since I didn’t have shallots on hand and it came out just as great! I also used fresh spinach because I adore how spinach withers 😆. The creamy texture was perfect for the mashed potatoes I paired it with. My bf enjoyed it very very much!! Keeping this one in my recipe book😋

    • — Cashéy on September 29, 2023
    • Reply
  • Lovely stuff that I could make from things I already had on hand. Trivial changes – halved the recipe, more or less (it takes about 2/3 of the original recipe of sauce to properly coat a 450g bag of frozen spinach once squeezed dry). I ran a little short of cream so I stirred in some crème fraiche to make up the volume. I only had a dry end of Parmesan so in addition to the scrapings of that, I took advantage of a little Gouda that needed to get used. And since this was intended to be served with simply grilled chicken breast and crushed baby potatoes, and a thick gravy would have just been too much, I added a spoonful of homemade glace de volaille to the sauce (chicken stock reduced until thick). Less fussy cooks than me could just use a good quality stock cube, and if this was being served with beef, I would leave it out.

    • — Speedwell on September 10, 2023
    • Reply
  • This is so easy and amazing!! Thank you for sharing. Used fresh spinach from the garden; steamed and cooled..so good!!!

    • — Angela L Anderson on August 27, 2023
    • Reply
  • This was wonderful! I’m a big fan of creamed spinach and prior to making this recipe tonight, I had always opted for the frozen stuff from Green Giant. Well, I became rather disappointed with that because they totally shrinkflated the package! After making this recipe tonight, I can safely say I won’t buy the frozen stuff anymore.

    I did not have enough fresh spinach on hand for this recipe, and could not for the life of me find any frozen leaf spinach, so I did do the frozen chopped spinach – 12 ounces per bag. I bought two bags because using three would be soooo much leftover. I don’t know how, but it worked perfectly! I know Ms. Segal warned us about the texture of the chopped, but since I didn’t know any better, it turned out great, texture & all! I followed the rest of the recipe to a T, and it was fabulous! Thank you for this, it was so delicious!

    • — KayBee on August 26, 2023
    • Reply
  • Very forgiving recipe! I just used what I had—dried minced onion, jarred minced garlic, fresh baby spinach and shaved Parmesan cheese. I did not blanch my fresh baby spinach, I just added it to the sauce and cooked it for a few minutes. My husband who “does not like spinach” ate more than I did. I did not even measure anything out so mine was probably had a bit more cream sauce. We ended up eating the leftovers over chicken breast. Try the recipe even if you think you don’t like creamed spinach. It was FABULOUS!! Very low carb (keto friendly) use the heavy cream, you’ll be glad you did. Did I sat it was FABULOUS?

    • — Kami on August 21, 2023
    • Reply
  • Thank you for sharing your wonderful, easy to follow recipe. This was the first time I had ever made creamed spinach and it was an outstanding hit. The spinach paired well with both the steak and potatoes.

    • — Charity on July 18, 2023
    • Reply
    • This recipie was perfectly delicious and will definitely be on my go to list for memorable meals. Thankyou for sharing it…..so simple yet so outstanding!

      • — Donna-Marie Jordan on August 20, 2023
      • Reply
  • I have never made (or eaten) creamed spinach, but it’s my dad’s favorite side when we go to fancy steakhouses, so I decided to give this recipe a try for his birthday this week. I followed the recipe exactly and it came out AMAZZZZING!! Very flavorful and super easy to make. My mom didn’t even finish her filet mignon (also cooked per your recipe, which turned out fantastic) because she filled up on eating so much creamed spinach! I will definitely make this again!

    • — Derek Folds on May 19, 2023
    • Reply
  • I made a roux and used full fat milk . Very easy and delicious

    • — Pam Llorens on April 10, 2023
    • Reply
  • Just tried it using fresh spinach from my garden and half n half to cut the calories a bit..also added 1/4 tsp of baking soda to the blanching of the spinach..it was delicious and so pretty.

    • — Jeani Paulson on March 1, 2023
    • Reply
  • What a great recipe!
    Everyone loved it.
    Will make again for sure.

    • — Brian ONeill on February 15, 2023
    • Reply
    • How much is a serving? A cup? A half cup?

      • — Alexandra on April 26, 2023
      • Reply
      • Hi Alexandra, I’d estimate it’s about 1/2 cup.

        • — Jenn on April 26, 2023
        • Reply
  • Stunningly delicious! This is truly 5 stars. I used fresh spinach and it was so good, I immediately downloaded the recipe into my Paprika app. This is one I’ll be making often.

    • — Roz Carvin on February 13, 2023
    • Reply
  • This recipe is delicious. I had to thaw out my spinach in a pinch so I microwaved it and then was able to squeeze out the excess water. My husband loved this recipe and I would definitely make it again! I always add extra garlic to my food and this recipe makes it easy to make small changes. I didn’t add the nutmeg but it was still very flavorful.

    • — Clarice L. on February 6, 2023
    • Reply
  • 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
    • My husband is allergic to nutmeg – what would you suggest I use instead?
      Thanks
      Meta

      • — Meta Lightfoot on December 9, 2023
      • Reply
      • Hi Meta, You can just omit it – it will still be tasty!

        • — Jenn on December 10, 2023
        • 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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Creamed Spinach - Once Upon a Chef (2024)

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