Creamed Spinach

Creamed spinach is creamy, cheesy goodness. It’s an easy side and tastes much better than any store bought or frozen versions.

This is the only way to eat spinach, my friends! In this quick side dish, fresh spinach is smothered in a creamy sauce for the perfect side. Try pairing this with Perfect Pot Roast, Instant Pot Pork Tenderloin, or Crispy Lemon Pepper Chicken.

Creamed spinach in a white bowl

A Simple Side Dish

While I love spinach prepared simply with a bit of balsamic vinegar on top, my kids are a little more picky. They like when there is a bit more flavor. Well this dish certainly delivers! 

It is not only cheesy and delicious, it is super easy to make. Easy Creamed Spinach does not get easier! This simple homemade side dish is so much better than store bought, and is ready in no time.

It makes a tasty side dish for a special occasion or a regular weeknight family dinner. It is a very common side dish that can be served with steak, chicken or pork. Your family is sure to enjoy this cheesy goodness.

Fresh ingredients for creamed spinach recipe

Ingredient Tips

Half and half/cream/milk? The fattier the milk product, the better flavor you will get. Half and half uses half milk and half cream; heavy cream is just cream. If you choose not to use either of these options you can use milk. It is recommended that you don’t use anything less than whole milk to ensure the right consistency.

Frozen, fresh, or canned spinach? Fresh spinach is ideal because it will give you the best flavor and texture. If you use frozen spinach make sure to defrost it and squeeze out all the extra water. Canned spinach is probably the worst choice out of all three. You can still use it, you just have to make sure to drain all the liquid out of the can. 

Oil can be substituted for butter if you want an extra buttery flavor.

Wilted spinach and other ingredients for creamed spinach recipe

How to Make Creamed Spinach

PREP. Prepare a plate with 4-5 paper towels and set aside.

WILT. Use a large soup pot and turn the burner to high heat. Heat the olive oil and then add the spinach. Cover and cook for 1 minute. Uncover the pot and continue to cook the spinach until the leaves are a bright green and wilted. About 2 minutes, stirring lightly.

DRAIN. Working quickly, use a colander to drain the spinach then pour the spinach onto the paper towel lined plate.

CHOP. Once the spinach has cooled enough to handle, squeeze out as much liquid as possible. Use a cutting board to coarsely chop the spinach.

SEASONING. In a small bowl, combine the salt, pepper, cayenne pepper, and nutmeg.

CREAM SAUCE. Over medium heat melt butter in a large skillet. Add the shallots to the butter and stir until they just turn a golden brown, (about 3-4 minutes). Add the seasoning mixture and the heavy cream. Increase the heat to medium high and cook until the sauce has reduced by half. (about 5 minutes) Add the lemon zest and stir.

COMBINE. Once the sauce has reduced, toss in the chopped spinach. Reduce the heat to low and cook until the spinach is heated through. Stir while heating so the spinach is evenly coated. Add the Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese into spinach mixture. Stir the cheese into the spinach until is evenly incorporated.

SERVE. Serve immediately.

How to make creamed spinach in a pan on the stovetop

Variations/Additions

  • Creamed spinach casserole: Take your creamed spinach and place it in a casserole dish, top with panko bread crumbs and bake at 400 degrees until the top is golden brown and bubbling.
  • Healthy creamed spinach: Use fat free milk and less cheese than you normally would. Make sure to season it really well since you’ll be missing out on that creamy taste.
  • Parmesan creamed spinach: Sprinkle your creamed spinach with shredded parmesan cheese. Don’t use the grated kind, you want the sophisticated flavor of the actual shredded parmesan.

Close up of creamed spinach on a fork

Serving & Storing

What goes well with creamed spinach? You can serve it alongside any meat, poultry, or fish. Here are some ideas:

Keep creamed spinach STORED in the fridge for up to 3 days. Then REHEAT over low heat until warmed through.

To FREEZE, let the creamed spinach cool completely before placing it in an airtight container and freezing it for up to 3 months. To reheat, take it straight from the freezer to the microwave. Place it in a bowl with a tablespoon of water and stir every minute or so until it’s warmed through.

Make ahead: You can make this one day ahead of time. Let it cool completely and then cover and store in the fridge.

Creamed spinach recipe in a skillet

For more vegetable side dishes, try:

Creamed Spinach Recipe

Creamed spinach is creamy, cheesy goodness. It's an easy side and tastes much better than any store bought or frozen versions.
5 from 2 votes
Pin Rate
Course: Appetizer, Side Dish
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 5 mins
Cook Time: 25 mins
Total Time: 30 mins
Servings: 6
Calories: 144kcal
Print Recipe

Ingredients

  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 2 (16 oz) bags fresh spinach
  • salt and ground pepper - to taste
  • 1 pinch cayenne pepper - to taste
  • 1 pinch freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 2 tbsp shallot - minced
  • 3/4 c heavy whipping cream
  • 1 tsp freshly grated lemon zest
  • 2 tbsp parmigiano-reggiano cheese - finely shredded

Instructions

  • Prepare a plate with 4-5 paper towels and set aside.
  • Use a large soup pot and turn the burner to high heat. Heat the olive oil and then add the spinach. Cover and cook for 1 minute.
  • Uncover the pot and continue to cook the spinach until the leaves are a bright green and wilted. About 2 minutes, stirring lightly.
  • Working quickly, use a colander to drain the spinach then pour the spinach onto the paper towel lined plate.
  • Once the spinach has cooled enough to handle, squeeze out as much liquid as possible. Use a cutting board to coarsely chop the spinach.
  • In a small bowl, combine the salt, pepper, cayenne pepper, and nutmeg.
  • Over medium heat melt butter in a large skillet. Add the shallots to the butter and stir until they just turn a golden brown, (about 3-4 minutes)
  • Add the seasoning mixture and the heavy cream. Increase the heat to medium high and cook until the sauce has reduced by half. (about 5 minutes) Add the lemon zest and stir.
  • Once the sauce has reduced, toss in the chopped spinach. Reduce the heat to low and cook until the spinach is heated through. Stir while heating so the spinach is evenly coated.
  • Add the Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese into spinach mixture. Stir the cheese into the spinach until is evenly incorporated. Serve immediately.

Nutrition

Calories: 144kcal | Carbohydrates: 2g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 15g | Saturated Fat: 9g | Cholesterol: 47mg | Sodium: 58mg | Potassium: 50mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 791IU | Vitamin C: 2mg | Calcium: 42mg | Iron: 1mg