Creamed Spinach

This creamed spinach recipe is a perfect easy side dish for holidays and weeknights alike. It's fresh, delicious, and ready in 15 minutes!

Creamed spinach

Creamed spinach is a classic steakhouse side dish, but there’s no reason you shouldn’t be making it at home. My recipe comes together in 15 minutes, and it delivers rich flavor with just a few basic ingredients!

I used Jack’s mom’s creamed spinach as a starting point for this recipe. She made it for Thanksgiving every year when Jack was growing up, and he still raves about it. In developing this recipe, I wanted to capture the luxurious flavor and silky texture of her creamed spinach while putting the fresh greens front and center.

Many creamed spinach recipes use frozen spinach, butter, and cream cheese. To put the focus more on the greens, I use fresh spinach here, which provides more texture than frozen (though you can use frozen in a pinch!). Once I cook the greens down, I make a light, tangy cream sauce that gives the spinach brightness and richness, but—crucially—doesn’t overwhelm it. No cream cheese required!

Jack and I both love this creamed spinach recipe, and I hope you do too. Quick, easy, and packed with flavor, it’s perfect for holidays and busy weeknights alike. Enjoy!

Creamed spinach recipe ingredients

What You’ll Need to Make Creamed Spinach

Here’s what you’ll need to make this creamed spinach recipe:

  • Spinach, of course! I love the vibrant color and texture of fresh baby spinach in this recipe. You’ll need a full pound. That might sound like a lot of spinach, but it really cooks down!
  • Extra-virgin olive oil – You’ll use it for sautéing the spinach as well as the shallot and garlic.
  • Shallot and garlic – They add savory, aromatic flavor to this simple side dish.
  • Heavy cream – It creates the rich, flavorful sauce.
  • Cornstarch – It thickens the cream sauce.
  • Fresh lemon juice and Dijon mustard – Many creamed spinach recipes call for cream cheese to add tangy flavor to the sauce. I like to use lemon juice and Dijon mustard instead. They add that necessary tang while making the sauce feel fresh and bright.
  • And salt and pepper – To make all the flavors pop!

Find the complete recipe with measurements below.

Substitutions and Variations

  • For a dairy-free version of this recipe, use 3/4 cup full-fat coconut milk instead of the 1/2 cup heavy cream.
  • For more traditional creamed spinach, use butter instead of olive oil. Skip the lemon juice, and season the spinach with a pinch of nutmeg. Stir in some freshly grated Parmesan cheese just before serving.
  • Use frozen spinach. Allow it to thaw at room temperature, or defrost it in the microwave. Skip the sautéing step. Squeeze the excess water out of the thawed spinach and proceed with the recipe as written.

How to make creamed spinach

How to Make Creamed Spinach

This easy creamed spinach recipe takes under 15 minutes from start to finish. Here’s how to make it:

  1. First, cook the spinach. This recipe calls for a full pound of spinach, so you’ll likely need to work in batches. Sauté the leaves just until they wilt—they should keep their bright color and plenty of texture.
  2. Next, squeeze out the excess water. Allow the sautéed spinach to cool slightly, and then squeeze out any excess water from the leaves. Don’t skip this step, or your creamed spinach will be watery!
  3. Then, make the cream sauce. First, sauté shallot and garlic. Then, add the spinach back into the pan and stir in the cream, cornstarch, and Dijon mustard. Finish it with a squeeze of fresh lemon juice!
  4. Serve. Taste and adjust the seasonings, and you’re ready to eat.

This recipe is an excellent holiday side dish, but it’s also a good one to have in your back pocket for dinner any night of the week. Serve it with your favorite protein, a baked potato, veggie lasagna, or creamy polenta.

Storage

I like this creamed spinach recipe best just after it’s made, but leftovers keep well in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days.

To reheat leftovers, warm them over low heat on the stove, or quickly zap them in the microwave.

Creamed spinach recipe

More Easy Side Dishes

If you love this creamed spinach recipe, try one of these simple side dishes next:

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Creamed Spinach

rate this recipe:
4.75 from 12 votes
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 15 minutes
Serves 3 to 4
This creamed spinach is an easy, delicious side dish! We love this recipe with fresh baby spinach leaves, but feel free to use frozen spinach if you prefer. Find instructions for using it in the blog post above.

Ingredients

Instructions

  • Heat 1 teaspoon of the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Working in batches if necessary, add the spinach and toss until just wilted. Transfer to a colander and squeeze out the excess water.
  • Wipe out the pan and heat the remaining 2 teaspoons olive oil over medium heat. Add the shallot and salt and cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 to 8 minutes, or until soft. Stir in the garlic and sautéed spinach, then add the cream, mustard, and cornstarch mixture and stir until combined. Stir in the lemon juice, season to taste with more salt and pepper, and serve.

Notes

For a dairy-free alternative, replace the heavy cream with 3/4 cup full-fat coconut milk.

 

13 comments

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Rate this recipe (after making it)




  1. Karen
    04.01.2024

    5 stars
    Served the Creamed Spinach with ham for Easter dinner. Everyone loved it. It disappeared in a hurry! The lemon added such a nice note of tart to the flavor.

    The recipe did seem to leave out some steps that would be helpful to a novice cook. For example, – nowhere does it say to mix the cream, mustard and corn starch together in a bowl. I guess that should be understood, but a novice cook might not know that. And, is 2 TABLESPOONS (level or heaping?) corn starch the correct measurement? I mixed the corn starch with water in a small bowl before adding it to the cream & mustard mixture, then then added that to the spinach.spinach mixture so it wouldn’t be lumpy. Maybe I’m being too picky and everyone is a better intuitive cook than I am (not hard to imagine that).Bottom line – the spinach was well received by all

    • Phoebe Moore (L&L Recipe Developer)
      04.05.2024

      Hi Karen, for future reference, you can assume that our measurements are level unless we specifically say heaping or scant. I’m so glad everyone loved the spinach!

  2. Stace
    01.17.2024

    2 stars
    I always either leave a great comment, or none…
    Regretfully I can’t do either for this recipe!
    Creamed spinach has always been one of my favorites.
    I made this as is, by the “done part”, I tasted.
    It was definitely subpar.
    I reviewed numerous creamed spinach recipes so I had an inkling of what it needed!
    Ended up adding:
    – doubled the salt (and I’m definitely not a salt person)
    – 3 oz cream cheese
    Roughly 1 tsp nutmeg (kept adding until it tasted to my liking!)
    It now tastes very good!!!
    Thank you for the base recipe!!!
    🙂

    • Phoebe Moore (L&L Recipe Developer)
      01.19.2024

      Hi Stace, thanks for your feedback! I’m glad you were able to adjust the recipe to your taste.

  3. Eniko
    06.11.2020

    5 stars
    I just made it with frozen spinach…..it’s a flavor bomb! I highly recomend this recipe

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      06.11.2020

      I’m so glad you loved it!

  4. Lindsey
    12.30.2019

    Can you use frozen spinach?

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      01.03.2020

      Hi Lindsey, I haven’t tried this one with frozen spinach. I think fresh has a better texture and flavor.

  5. Elizabeth
    11.30.2019

    5 stars
    Delicious and very easy. Pulled together at last minute (along with l&l mashed potatoes) for thanksgiving dinner 2019. A really nice, flavorful, easy addition to the dinner spread. A keeper!

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      12.08.2019

      I’m so glad you loved this one as well! 🙂

  6. Kristen
    11.06.2019

    What do you think about using a nut milk? or thinned out yogurt?

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      11.08.2019

      Hi Kristen, I love coconut milk the best – homemade cashew cream could work, if it was blended to the right consistency (not super thick). Store bought nut milk would be too thin here unless it’s simmered down longer to thicken. Yogurt could work but would require a different cook time so that it won’t curdle. In short, I think either would work but wouldn’t be a 1:1 swap without adjusting some of the method. I hope that helps!

A food blog with fresh, zesty recipes.
Photograph of Jeanine Donofrio and Jack Mathews in their kitchen

Hello, we're Jeanine and Jack.

We love to eat, travel, cook, and eat some more! We create & photograph vegetarian recipes from our home in Chicago, while our shiba pups eat the kale stems that fall on the kitchen floor.