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Use frozen or fresh spinach for this easy creamed spinach recipe that’s the ultimate cozy side dish! It comes together in just 25 minutes and has that restaurant-quality taste you crave.

Need another quick and easy side dish? Try my Sautéed Spinach with Bacon or Easy Garlic Sauteed Mushrooms next.

a bowl of creamed spinach

Why you’ll love it

You know how when you get creamed spinach at your favorite steakhouse, and it’s almost an afterthought compared to the steak until you take that rich, creamy, irresistible first bite? Then you’re reminded just how delicious it is! The good news is that you can make creamed spinach easily in your own kitchen that is just as tasty.

I definitely don’t limit this buttery, cheesy, and perfectly seasoned classic creamed spinach just for holidays or entertaining since it’s really simple to throw together. It’s fantastic for weeknight meals any time of the year and goes with so many main courses.

What you’ll need

  • Spinach – my preference is chopped frozen spinach for convenience and texture since you don’t need to blanch it, but we’ve got instructions here for fresh as well. If you like your spinach leaves more intact, go with fresh spinach. Frozen spinach makes more of a purée.
  • Butter – for sautéing and making the rich base
  • Onion – I like to use sweet (Vidalia) best, but yellow or white would work too
  • Garlic – for that classic savory pop of flavor.
  • Heavy cream – it’s what makes it so luxurious
  • Cream cheese – Philadelphia is my go-to. It makes it even more creamy and adds a hint of tanginess. 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 simply microwave it if you forget.
  • Parmesan – who can resist that cheesy touch?
  • Nutmeg – it adds a special warm, nutty quality to set my version apart from others

Can I use fresh spinach?

  • To prepare fresh spinach instead of frozen for this recipe, boil a large pot of water and cook the spinach for 1-2 minutes to blanch it. 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.
ingredients for creamed spinach in prep bowls

Tools for this recipe

Check out Natasha’s favorite kitchen essentials, gadgets, and cookware!

  • I like to mince the garlic with my trusty garlic press, which doesn’t even require peeling the cloves first.
  • This is the Dutch oven I use.
  • I love this wooden cooking spoon.

How to make creamed spinach

This is an overview with step-by-step photos. Full ingredients & instructions are in the recipe card below.

making sauce for creamed spinach in a pot

Prep your spinach. In a large pot, sauté the onion until lightly browned. Add in the sauce ingredients, and stir until the cream cheese is incorporated and the sauce has thickened.

adding spinach to a pot for creamed spinach

Stir in the spinach, and let it warm through. Season with salt & pepper generously, and enjoy right away.

Troubleshooting tips

  • The sauce thickness will vary based on a couple of factors, namely how well you squeeze the water out of the spinach and how quickly you’re able to melt the cream cheese into the sauce. But it’s easy to adjust the sauce to your liking!
  • If the sauce seems too dry once the spinach is added, 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, and it’s personal preference if you want a thicker or thinner sauce.

Substitutions and variations

  • 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. 
  • You can definitely use more (or less) onion and garlic to suit your personal preferences. As written, neither is overpowering in my version and it’s nicely balanced.
  • Swap the heavy cream out for something lower fat at your discretion. We haven’t tested any other way, and it’ll likely yield a thinner sauce and take longer to reduce.

What to serve with creamed spinach

Leftovers and storage

  • Leftover creamed spinach will keep in fridge for up to 3 days in a covered container.
  • Reheat over a low heat slowly in a saucepan, stirring fairly often until warmed through. You may need to add a splash of cream to revive it.
  • I don’t recommend freezing since they may not reheat so well, but if you happen to have leftovers you can try. It’ll still taste good, but the texture may change and it may become more watery.
a wooden spoon with creamed spinach

Did you make my 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.

a bowl of creamed spinach
4.97 from 31 votes

The Best Creamed Spinach

Use frozen or fresh spinach for this easy creamed spinach recipe that's the ultimate cozy side dish! It comes together in just 25 minutes and has that restaurant-quality taste you crave.
Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 15 minutes
Total: 25 minutes
Servings: 6

Ingredients 

  • 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

Instructions 

  • Frozen spinach: Thaw the spinach, 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 pot, 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. 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).

Notes

  • 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). 

Nutrition

Calories: 300kcal, Carbohydrates: 7g, Protein: 11g, Fat: 26g, Saturated Fat: 16g, Cholesterol: 86mg, Sodium: 417mg, Potassium: 344mg, Fiber: 2g, Sugar: 2g, Vitamin A: 9817IU, Vitamin C: 5mg, Calcium: 324mg, Iron: 2mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

© Salt & Lavender Inc. Content and photographs are copyrighted. Sharing this blog post is much appreciated, but copying and pasting full recipes without authorization to social media is strictly prohibited.

Leave a star rating and comment below!

This recipe was originally published on January 2, 2020. It’s been updated with new photos and better instructions but is the same great recipe!


Hi! I’m Natasha.

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4.97 from 31 votes (4 ratings without comment)

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85 Comments

  1. Barbara W says:

    Best creamed spinach I’ve ever made. The parmesan and cream cheeses really made the difference. I also added a bit of leftover Panek Paneer from Trader Joes and it was just excellent.

    1. Natasha says:

      Wonderful!

  2. Mary Ann says:

    Not a huge creamed spinach fan but had some leaf spinach in the freezer so I tired this. It was delicious and I will make it again. Loved the added flavor with the fresh grated Parmesan and nutmeg too! Thank you!

    1. Natasha says:

      That’s awesome!! Thanks for letting me know, Mary Ann!

  3. Mary Jenkinson says:

    Can this be made ahead and baked next day
    Thinking of this for thanksgiving

    1. Natasha says:

      Sure!

  4. Katie says:

    5 stars
    We made this exactly as described, except that only had 30 ounces of fresh spinach on hand so that’s what we used.. it was the best creamed spinach I’ve ever had! My whole family loved it.

    1. Natasha says:

      That makes me so happy, Katie!! 😀 Thanks for taking the time to write me a review!

  5. James Harold Colin says:

    Hey Natasha. We made your creamy spinach and it was delicious! You hit it out of the park with this recipe. Especially liked your introduction to the recipe about going to a steak house and getting the creamy spinach, like it a throw away and it turns out to really shine, along with the great steaks. Looking forward to trying more of your recipes. Thanks and GOOD EATING 🍔🍕

    1. Natasha says:

      I’m thrilled it was a hit!! 😀 Thanks for your review!

  6. Lionel Swartz says:

    What should the yield be on this recipe
    Thx

    1. Natasha says:

      Hi! The recipe card indicates it’s 6 servings. I am not sure if that’s what you’re asking?

  7. Tracy says:

    Made this tonight for dinner along with my husband’s grilled steak. This recipe is a 10!!!

    1. Natasha says:

      Fantastic!! 😀

  8. Bobbi says:

    5 stars
    Made this for my mother-in-law who loves creamed spinach. My husband and I tried it and loved it too!

    1. Natasha says:

      I’m thrilled to hear it, Bobbi! Appreciate your review!

  9. Sandi Morton says:

    I would think cooking the fresh baby spinach in the sauce if you have a good cook ware would be a better way to go. Omitting the water.

  10. AngelaML says:

    5 stars
    I made this tonight and LOVED it! I saw in an online newspaper I regularly read a similar recipe served with chicken over rice and thought that it would taste great. Came back to your site (as you know you are my “go to” ❤) and went with your version.

    I first pan fried the chicken breasts with garlic powder as many of your recipes use. Put on a plate and covered to keep warm. Used the same pan to cook the rest which tasted great with the chicken brown bits left in the pan. Bonus!

    I used frozen spinach that I had thawed. I made the following few tweaks – used only half the parm cheese, light cream and not heavy cream, used 1/3 less fat soft cream cheese in a tub, cinnamon for nutmeg because I had it.

    Served over jasmine rice. We loved it and will definitely be making this again and again! Already told my sister who wants the recipe ASAP.

    1. Natasha says:

      Yay!! So glad it was a hit, Angela! 😀