This easy creamed spinach recipe is even better than at the steakhouse! Perfectly seasoned & infused with a hint of garlic & parmesan cheese.
Today I’m sharing one of my most favorite side dish recipes: creamed spinach!
There’s a hint of garlic and a handful of savory parmesan added, so the flavor is wonderfully rich and nutty, plus it’s super-easy to make in just a few minutes!
Table of Contents
- What is creamed spinach?
- Why this is the best creamed spinach recipe
- What does it taste like?
- Special equipment
- How to make this creamed spinach recipe
- How to serve creamed spinach
- Expert tips
- Frequently asked questions
- A few more of my favorite side dish recipes
What is creamed spinach?
Creamed spinach is nothing more than tender spinach leaves, simmered in a rich and creamy sauce.
It sounds simple, and it is!
But the flavors here are perfectly balanced and the dish itself is a little more elevated than your average steamed veggie.
Why this is the best creamed spinach recipe
- Tastes amazing: The combination of seasonings, including garlic and parmesan cheese, are so killer!
- Few ingredients: You’ll only need a handful of basics to make it.
- Easy to make: The whole thing comes together in just one pan, in less than 30 minutes.
- Special: This creamed spinach recipe is a little more special than the everyday. It’ll make you feel like you’re in an expensive steak house!
What does it taste like?
Creamed spinach has a very mild flavor but the most luxurious richness on the palate.
It’s savory and cheesy, with a hint of garlic and a slightly sharp, nutty taste from the parmesan cheese.
Everything here begins with butter. It’s the basis for the creamy sauce that envelops every leaf of spinach.
I like to use unsalted butter because it lets me control the amount of salt in the dish. Different brands of butter can contain different amounts of salt, so this way you get a more consistent result.
For a vegan or dairy-free creamed spinach recipe, use a plant-based product that can substitute for dairy butter 1:1.
Onions add a sweet flavor contrast. I like to use a Vidalia or Maui onion, but any kind of onion will work!
Flour is used to thicken the sauce.
For a gluten-free option, use half the amount of cornstarch.
Heavy cream provides the basis of the sauce.
For a lower-calorie option, you can use the same amount of half and half or milk instead.
For what you see here, I’ve used frozen cut-leaf spinach. You don’t even have to thaw it out first!
You could also use whole-leaf frozen spinach or chopped frozen spinach.
Or you could use fresh spinach, but if you do, your creamed spinach could come out a little runnier from all the natural juices.
Parmigiano Reggiano is my favorite, but really you can use any kind of cheese you like. I think pecorino Romano would also be good, as would feta or even a sharp cheddar cheese!
How to make this creamed spinach recipe
This side dish comes together in 4 simple steps.
Step 1: Saute the onions
Slide a big cube of butter into your skillet and allow it to melt over medium-low heat.
Then toss in your chopped onion.
Allow them to saute until they’re cooked down, sweet, and tender.
Step 2: Make a roux
Next, sprinkle flour all over the surface.
Stir it around, continuing to cook, until every bit of onion is coated in the pasty mixture.
This combination of butter and flour is known as “roux” (pronounced ROO) and it is what will create a thick, luxurious sauce that’s never watery or runny.
Step 3: Add cream
After that paste has had a minute or two to cook, whisk in the cream.
Be sure to whisk well so there are no lumps!
Step 4: Fold in spinach and seasonings
Now just add in the spinach, salt, garlic powder, pepper, nutmeg, and cheese.
Fold everything together smoothly, and allow it to come up to a simmer.
How to serve creamed spinach
Traditionally, cream spinach is served as a side dish, and it’s a terrific way to accompany just about any type of protein and round out your meal with a tasty green vegetable.
But this recipe cooks up so thick and flavorful, I think it could work really well as a dip too. Try hollowing out a bread bowl and filling it up with this cream spinach recipe. The insides of the bread can serve as the dipper!
Cook the onion well: Saute the onion until it starts to look translucent. It should go very soft and sweet.
Whisk out any lumps: Use a whisk to stir in the cream slowly. This will work out any lumps so your sauce is velvety-smooth.
Garnish with more cheese: Transfer the creamed spinach to a serving bowl and top it with an extra pinch of cheese to make it even prettier.
Frequently asked questions
Yes! Creamed spinach will keep in the fridge for several days and it reheats well, either in a pan on the stove or in the microwave.
Creamed spinach freezes very well. Place it in an airtight container and it should keep in the freezer for a few months.
Thaw it in the fridge or in the microwave until heated through.
This recipe makes enough to serve 6 people as a side dish.
The nutritional information in the recipe card below reflects a serving size of 1/6th the whole batch.
A few more of my favorite side dish recipes
As an amazon associate I earn from qualifying purchases.
- 2 tablespoons (28 g) unsalted butter
- 1/2 (55 g) onion, (large), finely chopped
- 1/4 cup (31.25 g) all-purpose flour
- 1 cup (238 g) cream
- 16 ounces (453.59 g) frozen spinach
- 1/2 cup (50 g) grated parmesan , plus extra for garnish
- 3/4 teaspoon (4.5 g) kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon (1.5 g) garlic powder
- 1/4 teaspoon (0.5 g) ground black pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon (0.5 g) ground nutmeg
- Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium-low heat (approx. 1 to 2 minutes).
- Saute the onion in the melted butter until tender and translucent (approx. 5 to 10 minutes).
- Sprinkle flour over the onion mixture, and continue to cook, stirring, until a thick paste forms.
- Slowly whisk in the cream and bring the mixture up to a simmer.
- Fold in the spinach, cheese, salt, garlic, pepper, and nutmeg.
- Continue to cook until the creamed spinach is simmering, then transfer to a serving dish and garnish with another pinch of parmesan.