This creamed spinach recipe is a decadent and comforting side dish that's perfect with steaks, roasts, or even fish! It comes together fast and tastes restaurant quality.
This classic creamed spinach is made with cream cheese, heavy cream, butter, parmesan cheese, onion, garlic, and a pinch of nutmeg. So, all the good stuff, basically. 😉
It also fits well into a low-carb/keto diet if you're into that or know someone who is. It's perfect for special occasions/entertaining... or any occasion.
You may also like my Sautéed Spinach with Bacon for an easy side dish.
Do I use fresh or frozen spinach?
If you prefer your spinach leaves more intact, go with fresh spinach. The frozen spinach makes more of a purée. Either fresh or frozen is delicious, though.
How to thaw frozen spinach
Add spinach to a colander/sieve and run lukewarm water over it. Once it's thawed, use your hands to squeeze out the excess water. If I'm in a rush, I just add the spinach to a bowl and microwave it for a few minutes (checking on it regularly) to thaw it, and then I'll add it to the colander, rinse it with cool water, and proceed to squeeze the water out with my hands.
How to prepare fresh spinach
Boil a large pot of water and cook the spinach for 1-2 minutes. Drain it into a colander, rinse it with cool water, and squeeze it out. This step makes it much easier to work with the spinach since there's so much bulk/volume before it cooks down.
How to make creamed spinach (overview):
Prep your spinach (thaw frozen or blanch fresh spinach). In a medium saucepan, sauté the onion until lightly browned/ Add in the sauce ingredients (garlic, cream, cream cheese, parmesan, nutmeg) and stir until the cream cheese is incorporated and the sauce is somewhat thickened. Stir in the spinach and let it warm through. Season with salt & pepper as needed. (Full ingredients and instructions are in the recipe card below)
Recipe notes, tips, & troubleshooting:
- This recipe works best if the cream cheese is softened, so take it out of your fridge 30+ minutes prior to starting the recipe (or you can microwave it if you forget).
- The sauce thickness will vary based on a couple of things: 1) how well you squeeze the water out of the spinach and 2) how quickly you're able to melt the cream cheese into the sauce. This isn't a problem, though, because it's easy to adjust the sauce to your liking in any scenario so you will think it's the best creamed spinach. If, once the spinach is added, the sauce seems too dry, add a splash more cream. If the sauce isn't reduced enough, cook it for a few more minutes. Creamed spinach can vary a lot... it's personal preference if you want a thicker or thinner cream sauce.
- If you want this creamed spinach to be even more rich and cheesy, try adding in some shredded mozzarella as well. I don't find it necessary for this recipe, but I know some steakhouses add it.
- Feel free to leave the nutmeg out if you don't have any.
More side dishes you'll love:
- Maple Roasted Beets and Carrots
- Easy Roasted Baby Bok Choy
- Simple Sautéed Cabbage
- Easy Brussels Sprouts and Bacon Recipe
- Easy Roasted Green Beans
Did you make this easy creamed spinach recipe? I'd love it if you left me a comment below!
Questions? Feel free to ask. As always, tag me on Instagram if you've made one of my recipes. 🙂
Creamed Spinach Recipe
- 1 pound frozen chopped spinach or 2 pounds fresh see notes
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1/2 medium onion chopped
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 3/4 cup heavy/whipping cream
- 4 ounces cream cheese (1/2 block Philly) softened
- 1 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
- Pinch nutmeg
- Salt & pepper to taste
- Frozen spinach: Thaw the spinach under running water (or try microwaving it for a few minutes to speed up the process), then squeeze out as much of the excess water as you can. Fresh spinach: Boil a pot of water. Add the spinach and cook for about 1 minute. Drain it and rinse it under cool water. Squeeze out excess water. Chop if desired.
- In a medium saucepan, sauté the butter and onion over medium heat until it's lightly browned (about 5-7 minutes).
- Reduce heat (I keep it on medium-low for this step, but you can increase heat as needed). Stir in the garlic, followed by the heavy cream, cream cheese, parmesan, and nutmeg. It will take a few minutes for the cream cheese to melt in, especially if the cream cheese is cold. I break it up with my spoon/stir it continuously. The sauce should thicken up as it cooks.
- Stir in the spinach and let it heat through. If you want more liquid, add in a splash more cream. If there's too much liquid, you may need to cook the spinach for a few more minutes to reduce the sauce to your liking.
- Season with salt & pepper as needed (I am pretty generous with both).
- It seems to vary as to what size frozen spinach packages come in, so anything from about 16 ounces (1 pound) to around 20 ounces (you'll sometimes see 10 ounce packages, so use two of these) will work for this recipe.
- Yes, two pounds of fresh spinach looks like a LOT, but it shrinks down a ton when it's cooked. If you'd prefer to use only one pound of fresh spinach, use 1/2 cup heavy cream, and you may need to cook it for a little longer if you want the sauce to thicken up the same way.
- If you forget to take the cream cheese out of the fridge to soften, you can microwave it (try 20-30 sec., but microwaves vary so keep an eye on it).
- Nutritional information is provided as a courtesy only and should be construed as an estimate rather than a guarantee. Ingredients can vary and Salt & Lavender makes no guarantees to the accuracy of this information.